New Rush Song, “Headlong Flight”

Just heard the first track off Rush’s soon to be released album. The track is “Headlong Flight” the album due June 12 is called “Clockwork Angels”

The sound is GREAT! The band sounds refreshed, revitalized, real good and ready to go!!

Nice to hear such a heavy aggressive song from our friends north of the border. Even as a huge fan I was pleasantly surprised how good this track sounded.

~Looks like the song has been taken down from the previously posted site try this link to Rolling Stone Magazine.~

Let me know what you think.

Worst AC/DC Album??

Alright, I am new to the whole blogging thing and all its protocols etc. So I have to be upfront that I am basically hijacking this topic from a fellow blogger. Who you should check out! I like his stuff!

Anyway his topic was basically regarding what is the worst AC/DC album of all time. I am revising the premise a bit because I think most people I know and certainly my thoughts are everything after “For Those About to Rock” although there are some gems is a huge jump the shark for the Aussies.ACDC Album Cover Art Poster

So give it to me! What you got? Write your thoughts down below.

I’ll save my answer til after a few replies.

Just a disclaimer. I am a huge AC/DC fan just curious which of their earlier releases does not stack up in other fans minds.

All apologies to “Every Record Tells A  Story” If I stepped on any toes! Love to have you weigh in as well!


Function of My Dysfunction

A note on setting up a good practicing atmosphere.

Tonight I’ve been working on a few things: practicing music, writing music, setting up my website, working some blog ideas, browsing the internet, researching some music.

Believe it or not I have been getting a lot of quality production in ALL these areas. Herein lies the function of my dysfunction-I get bored easy.  When I get bored my mind wanders and I get sidetracked. However, if I set myself up in a good chair for playing guitar, a computer nearby, my phone nearby, the TV on etc,. when my mind wanders it locks onto another project I need to focus on.

Even as a kid I remember doing this. I would have my stereo cranking down the hall, cuz I wanted to hear music, the TV on to keep my mind busy, some homework cause I had to and a guitar in my hand because I wanted to. Hearing the music would give me inspiration, watching TV would give my mind a break and playing guitar was my active focus and the homework got done as I’d take breathers from practicing. I remember this driving my parents nuts sorry mom & dad!

Of course I would never recommend that my students play in front of the TV. Well actually I have recommended it at times for students to keep them focused as it does for me.  In all seriousness there are times that complete and utter focus is needed. When I was getting ready for my college recitals there were times I practiced up to 10 hours a day. Most of this time was spent in quiet solitude, focused without all the ‘distractions.’

So a note to my student’s parents perhaps knowing your child’s work and focus habits you can decide the best environment for your kids to practice. Does your child function better in a quiet room or with a few slight distractions, such as, TV on, siblings playing in the same room, you and your spouse conversing???? Maybe mute the TV during commercials over the course of an evening and let them practice in intervals.  Sometimes sending your child to their room for a perfectly quiet, focused practice could be sentencing them to a boring solitary experience and never be afraid to comment, ask a few questions and praise your kids as they are working on their new skills. A more social experience may be what they need rather than a solitary ‘ideal’ working area. Then as their interest and skills grow they can develop their own ‘best’ habits.

30 Years Since Diver Down!

30 Years Since Diver Down's Release

Man, do I remember spring thirty years ago. I could not wait for the new Van Halen record to come out. I had just recently become a fan a few years late to the Van Halen party because I was so young. The upside, however, was that I became completely immersed into a life changing wash of guitar music, getting all four of their albums at one time. From that moment on I knew exactly what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I wanted to play guitar and pass the power of music on to others. Those first four Van Halen albums, “Van Halen,” “Van Halen II,” “Women and Children First” and “Fair Warning” shaped my formative teen years.  Eddie’s guitar playing and image changed how I dressed, friends I hung out with guitar equipment I bought, etc. He even married one of my biggest crushes, Valerie Bertinelli. There was nothing not to like about him in a guitar and music loving kid’s eyes.

Back to Spring of ’82 and my long wait. I would listen to 101.5 KGB a local rock station religiously waiting for a first chance to hear some new music from Eddie and the boys. I even used to call the DJs and ask when it was coming or if they knew what the cover art looked like.

Late one night I remember lying in bed listening to the radio and hearing these amazing guitar riffs. I jumped up wondering if this was it. Is it? I kept listening. It sounded a little dark and Van Halen even though they were heavy was always known to be on the happier party side of the rock/Heavy Metal vibe.  Maybe it was new Black Sabbath? Didn’t take long that I realized my wait would have to endure just like the kid on “A Christmas Story,” wanting his BB gun. I did find another cool guitarist though. The song I had thought might be the new VH was called “End of the World,” by Gary Moore, a great guitarist who unfortunately passed away last year.

Finally on this day April 14, 1982 it arrived! I made my mom drive me to the local Tower Records and scored “Diver Down,” on vinyl!

I know this album is ranked as a substandard Van Halen offering to some. Even though it was kind of thrown together with a handful of cover tunes there are some great originals, as well. Eddie was at the height of his cool choppy guitar riff composition style on songs like, “Hang ‘Em High,” “Little Guitars,” and “The Full Bug.” “Cathedrals,” was a ‘loudly’ soft spoken guitar solo in which the guitarist traded a pick for left hand hammering and his volume knob to produce sound. The Van Halen brother’s dad, a musician, even sat in with his boys, a clarinet solo on “Big Bad Will (Is Sweet William Now).”

By summer’s end I wore out that record and every 60 minute cassette tape I dubbed it to by listening over and over! Good times!

To this day with the bands latest release this past February “A Different Kind of Truth,” I have made it a tradition to get every one of their albums the day of its release. Gone are the vinyl albums with lots of cool artwork and photos and soon CDs will join their demise. The next release I might just have to download. Although that depends on the quality of compressed audio at that time, a topic for another day.

In the words of Roy and Dale Evans Rogers and from “Diver Down,” David Lee Roth…

Happy Trails!

National Anthem, Jose Feliciano-Play Ball!

It’s a great day, opening day of the baseball season! One of the unofficial holidays in the life of sports fans across America. Lucky me, on Spring Break and working from home this week got to see all the opening day festivities on TV, live from Miami.
They had all kinds of pregame fanfare: F-16 flyover, Vegas style showgirls escorting the players onto the field, an appearance by the ‘Champ’ Muhammad Ali and of course the National Anthem, sung by Jose Feliciano.
I am not one who usually enjoys much deviation of the norm on the Star Spangled Banner. I just don’t think it’s a song that should be used for personal self promotion and showing off what a great singer you are. The reason it is sung at events is to honor our country. So the runs, trills and ‘check me out’ vocal fireworks are usually out of place. And that is coming from a musician who loves to hear unique performances and musicians strut their stuff, just not so much on the National Anthem.
The Anthem just like all songs has room for interpretation. If a musician can embellish the intent and lyrics of the song, musically, I am all for it. Whitney Houston’s Superbowl XXV version is still the standard of great Anthem performances. A touch of her own personality and a boat load of passion! There are other famous versions out there too. Jimi Hendix’s opening of Woodstock was definitely not a traditional rendition in the least, but, has stood the test of time as a classic and was appropriate for the venue it was intended. Then there is the infamous. Roseanne Barr and her crotch grabbing, spitting and horribly out of tune antics at a San Diego Padre’s game in 1990 comes to mind.
Back to today’s baseball game, I was really taken by Jose’s rendition. It was a toned down version. Jose and his guitar. His arrangement is a bit pop/folkish, and although he lent his own style he was true to the melody. There are no ‘check me out’ antics. The lyrics were given precedence. Above all, aesthetically it was enjoyable.
Living in our modern world I immediately went online to see if it was posted yet and was surprised by what I did find. Feliciano originally performed this rendition in 1968 for a Detroit Tigers World Series game. He became a target of American’s who were used to ‘traditional’ performances.
His career suffered after the performance. He was boycotted by radio stations which obviously had ill effect on record sales.
Personally, I always thought he was a great singer, but, never knew much about him. Think I am going to listen to more of his music and find out more about him. Don’t be surprised to hear more about Jose Feliciano in future posts!

On another note: It was great to see Muhammad Ali driven onto the field before the game, but, so sad to see how his health has declined, Godspeed Champ!
And to all of you baseball fans out there…PLAY BALL!