Lou Gramm: Ready Or Not (1987)

 

As the 80’s rolled on, 1987 to be exact I had checked out on Foreigner after the music they had been releasing by that point sounded like radio fluff.

Lou Gramm though wanted to kick the fluff to the curb and that he did when he released his debut solo album “Ready Or Not” back in February 1987.

I didn’t bite on it right away when I read and seen the adds for Lou’s record. I was thinking 10 songs of “I Want To Know What Love” was my line of thinking. Basically a record of ballads!

I was turning 20 years young at the time so can you blame me for thinking like  that ?

MuchMusic spun Lou’s debut video “Midnight Blue” and as soon as I heard that opening riff on guitar I was drawn in and when Lou opened his mouth to sing, I was hooked.

The power of video sold me on wanting to get “Ready Or Not”  which I did and Teebone bought it as well on cassette and we cruised around like a couple of yahoo’s cranking the rock tracks on this record during those summer months of ’87.

I’m sure we weren’t the only two knuckleheads as this record climbed the Canuck Charts to #25.

Lou showed up on this debut and  I can quite honestly say that the first three tracks on here ( “Ready Or Not”, “Heartache” and “Midnight Blue”) has Lou throwing down the  gauntlet showing  his soon to be ex- Foreigner bandmate Mick Jones that he could still rock it out.

Speaking of bands, below are the cats that helped Lou record this album.

Turgon co- wrote eight of the ten tracks on here and Lofgren when he wasn’t hanging out with Springsteen plays some stellar six string  throughout this record as well.

Sure the album sounds a little over produced but that was the sound for the time.

The two songs that end each side of the record (“If I Don’t Have You” and “Lover Come Back”) are to me the closest things to the stuff that Lou had going on in his day job at the time.

That day job was Foreigner who later in 87 released “Inside Information” and for the record (no pun) I still didn’t bite!

Give Gramm full props as he released a great melodic rock album that still holds up well today.

Best $2 I have ever spent when I came across it recently sitting in the used bins.

RATT N ROLL with the Snowman!

Tonight!! The one and only John T. Snow is going to spend an action packed hour with me as we discuss those fun loving rodents RATT who had a real great run in record sales and tours in the 80s.

Nowadays they love suing each other but we will talk what it was about RATT that separated them from the 1000 other bands that came from L.A almost 40 years ago!

See the pic above for all the info about tonights show!

Thanks to Teebone for the killer artwork!

The Tragically Hip: Road Apples 30th Annivesary Deluxe Vinyl Edition(2021)

It’s all about timing. A few months ago (early September) the ladies in my house asked me what I wanted for my Birthday and no sooner that question was asked than Canada’s very own The Tragically Hip were reissuing on both CD and Vinyl a huge set commemorating  the 30th Anniversary of the iconic “Road Apples” album.

Umm, I would like one gift and one gift only Ladies and thats this box set!

Once I was given the green light by them it was off to The Hips web store and I preordered it straight  from them as they had a limited offer of charging only $10 for shipping!

So this past Monday (Nov. 15th) I was notified that this set was on route to my house.

Just three days later on Thursday the 18th here it was in my hands.

“Road Apples” for myself is an iconic album and it’s easily to say  in my all time Top 20 if we were keeping score.

For those unfamiliar with the album. It’s as if the five members of The Hip just plugged in and blasted out an ass kicker of a record live in the studio.

That’s why I love this album. It sounds so live as it was expertly dialled in by Don Smith (RIP) and Bruce Barris (RIP.) Together they let The Hip do there thing..

Included is a Blu-ray DVD with all remixes in 5.1 and 7.1 but really the selling the point is the vinyl especially the double “Live At The Roxy” (more on that in bit).

Included is the original “Road Apples” studio release along with the recently released “Saskadelphia” which features five studio tracks from the “Road Apple” sessions (plus a sixth track “Montreal” recorded live back in 2000).

 

“Hoof- Hearted” is a collection of outtakes and  rarities from 1990/91. Included is an actual poster promoting the album as well as a killer 36 page booklet which zeros in on just this time frame of the band.

The booklet is awesome as it has a ton of pics from recording at Danial Lanois Kingsway Studio in New Orleans plus a breakdown of each song and even pictures of Good Downies hand written lyrics.

I must also mention the impact that producer Don Smith and Bruce Barris had shaping and teaching the tools of the trade when it came to recording in the studio. Each member of the band talks about the impact that Smith and Barris had on them at that time and still to this day.

“Live At The Roxy” recorded back in May 91 is the selling feature for me as it’s the The Hip in their element which is the live stage.

“Live At The Roxy” has been heavily bootlegged throughout the years as I had some tracks but not the full show so how psyched was I to finally hear the full show from Kingstons finest.

Look at that setlist below…

Gord and The Hipsters were on fire that night in Los Angeles as they rip n roar through a 15 song set. Up until this Roxy show was included I thought the best live Hip I had ever heard was the bonus live show (included on “Fully Completely”) from Toronto (recorded in the fall of 1992 at the Horseshoe) but that all changed once the needle hit the turntable!

Holy Moly…from opener “Little Bones” to the last track “Canadian Surf Club”, these guys are on fire. “On The Verge” has them almost going off the rails of the stage.  I don’t think I ever heard them play this quick before…

Gord Downie is well, classic Gord on here.  Introducing  “Twist My Arm” to the crowd about a “guy delivering a pizza to a crack house” is mint or Gord singing a few lines of Poisons “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (which garners boos) before the band goes into “Long Time Running” is hilarious.

As I noted above this album has been heavily bootlegged two of those tracks are finally on here together those being “Highway Girl (Double Suicide)” and “New Orleans Is Sinking (Killer Whale Tank)” which not only includes Downie’s stories but the playing of guitarist Bobby Baker as well as the whole band (Gord Sinclair, Paul Langlois and Johnny Fay) is stellar.

Each show Gord would change up the stories so thankfully the tapes were rolling that night which  Don Smith was on site recording.

What also be noted that on all the streaming platforms (Apple, Spotify) The Hip chose not to include the Roxy show as of right now.

Another reason for me wanting this box set!

One more thing. The remaining surviving members put this box set together. No outside interference which if you have followed these guys throughout there career you know that has always been the deal.

Special thanks to Sue,Kylee, Lex and Lauren!

A must own!

 

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Walsh

I’m pumped to have Nicholas Walsh coming onto” Scotch On The Rocks” to talk to myself and Mikey about all things that Nick has been up to in his over 30 years in the music biz.

From Nick’s start in Toronto fronting the band “Portrait” which became “Slik Toxik” who released a couple of records on Capitol Records right on  through to his current band “Famous Underground”  and all points in between we are going to be doing a deep dive into his musical journey.

Join us tonight at 7pm!

Click the video below to see what Nick is up to currently.

Eruption: Conversations With Eddie Van Halen (2021)

Brad Tolinski and Chris Gill have compiled over 50 hours of interviews over the years (beginning in the late 80s) with Eddie Van Halen and have over the course of 336 pages let Eddie do the talking about all things Van Halen.

Eruption: Conversations With Eddie Van Halen is a fascinating read as you get what Eddie talking shop with Eddie as he talks about the various producers VH has worked with over the years (Templeman, Fairbairn, Johns, Post and Shanks).

And yes there is the fallout with the singers that being David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar.

Lots of guitar talk as well but for me the real deal in regards to this book were new interviews with Michael Anthony, Gary Cherone, Ray Danniels (worth the price of the book alone), Steve Lukather and Steve Vai.

Also the book has a bunch of unreleased photos which adds to its value.

By reading what is on these pages you can understand that Eddie was comfortable talking to both Tolinski and Gill as they both wrote for guitar magazines so that helps the vibe in this book.

Must read!

Don’t Throw Stones at Glass Houses unless your Weezer!

The one and only Geoff Stephen joins me live tonight for a chat on two albums that we both have connected on….

Billy Joel’s Glass Houses and Weezer’s self titled debut (The Blue Album) are what we will be yakking about tonight at 7pm on Scotch On The Rocks Youtube Channel.

Get ready for some cool backstories and our discovery points into both of these albums and how much we still enjoy em!

See ya then!

 

Andy Curran is BACK…..

Andy has partnered up with the Unison Fund which helps out those in the Canadian Music industry that are going through tough times.

Andy has some pretty cool stuff lined up and is doing his part so I reached out to him late last week to see if he wanted to come on the show and talk about it.

So tonight live at 7pm, Andy joins myself and Mikey for a chat on this and perhaps a few other questions we will toss Andy’s way…

Special Thanks to TeeBone who has whipped up another cool add for Scotch On The Rocks!

Cheers Pal!

OUR LADY PEACE: NAVEED (1994)

Our Lady Peace got a ton of video play back in 1994 when the debut Naveed hit the streets. MuchMusic loved OLP and so did the public as the this album or I guess I should say CD’s were flying out the door here in Canada.

I’ll admit I didn’t hop aboard right away. OLP sounded good but I never got around to picking up Naveed until the summer of ’95 when me and The Boss were in Toronto as we had tickets to both Van Halen shows and opening both those shows were OLP.

After witnessing OLP open for the Mighty Halen over the two nights made me seek out Naveed on my own. What hooked me that night as I watched OLP was the drums of Jeremey Taggert who was friggin young back then and could lay some serious damage to those drums. He’s that good.

Over the years though OLP kinda lost me but last summer when I was cruising Amazon I came across Naveed on vinyl for a real decent price.

It was a quick click and once I dropped the needle on the record it was such a great revisit with an old friend really. Speaking of vinyl check out the record itself.

Is that a thing of beauty or what?

The album still sounds current and still has  that real pop in the tracks as producer Arnold Lanni dialled it in perfectly.

Course you have to wrap your head around singer Raine Maida’s vocal delivery which is a totally different vibe than what any other rock singer’s were doing but he somehow makes it work.

A few radio staples at classic rock radio those being “Starseed” and “Naveed” have stood the test of time.

I will add my two cents that “Supersatallite” is one strong friggin track. Crank that sucker!

This band could play. Mike Turner is a great guitar player as he never overstays his welcome come solo time. His playing throughout the albums 12 tracks speaks volumes in that respect.

Drummer Jermey Taggert and Bassist Chris Eacrett form a very reliable rhythm section as they add some serious muscle behind the vocals and guitar.

For a debut this is a pretty strong record from start to finish.

Worth seeking out Folk’s.

Scotch,Muk&1982

 

Tonight Muk is back and we talk all things music back in the year 1982.

We were both turning 15 so music really ramped up for us and tonight at 7pm on the Scotch On The Rocks Youtube page you will all see for yourself.

Come and hang with us!

Up The Hammers!

Metallica: The Black Album (1991)

 

Another album that recently had its 30th Birthday was “The Black Album” from those fun loving metal heads known as Metallica.

What is there to say about this album that hasn’t been said?

Exactly…everything that could have been written about it has been especially lately in magazines, podcasts etc.

So for this post lets go back to August 12th 1991 when I was 23 years young and my younger brother Todd was 13!

It was a nice day out so we both decided to ride our bikes to the record shop and we would each grab copies of “The Black Album”. My copy being on CD and Todd’s preference at the time was cassette tape!

Now if you are a reader of this blog you will already know and if you don’t I will tell you all that the deal that I had with my brother was he would be in what you call in todays lingo my ‘mule’ back in 90-92!

If I was at work and once a new release would come out I would send my brother with the cash in hand to get us each a copy. CD and cassette.

What a great arrangement. This way I could shoot straight home after work and there in my bedroom would be the new releases at the time from Van Halen, Skid Row, Guns N Roses, David Lee Roth. Plus with my brother getting into music this boosted up his collection in no time.

As I mentioned earlier I had that week of August 12th off so as we made our 1 hour bike ride (each way) to the record shop once we entered I still recall seeing stacks of The Black Album and on tape and disc.

A quick purchase and we were out the door..

Ah, good times….damn good times…

Forward to September 2021 and with Metallica reissuing this album on all kinds of formats, I wanted it on vinyl.

I will tell you folks that it pays to preorder vinyl on Amazon as soon as you hear about new releases coming.

Case in point earlier this year I preordered both vinylreissues of Black Sabbaths Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules.  Under 70 bucks  Canadian for both double sets. Once the day of release came Amazon didn’t  have them.

I waited and about a month later I got them. Than they spiked up to $46 Canadian each!

Same with The Black Album. Once the preorder went up on Amazon I got the double vinyl set for including shipping $27 Canadian.

It pays to hunt around and if your asking why not support a local shop well there’s an easy answer to that. Other than Sunrise Records (a national chain) there is no local shop to support!

Kinda funny now (but I’m sure it wasn’t funny 30 years ago) that the working title of this record was “Married To Metal” as three of the Metallica guys were going through divorces at the time.

Expertly dialled in by Bob Rock and Randy Stuab at the production end of things, even though Hetfield and Ulrich are credited as well (producers) you know they were listed as they were having issues with letting a guy like Bob call the shots.

In the end though Rock and Staub delivered the sonics and hearing this on vinyl for the first time this record sounds HUGE!

No need to go into a track by track breakdown but man when Lars snare kicks in on “Enter Sandman” or even that snare crack at the beginning of “Sad But True”. Heavy it is but not in the tradition of Slayer heavy.

Bob Rock expertly executed the sound of Metallica and you can hear Jason Newsted’s Bass as well. Cheers to that.

The performances over the albums 12 tracks are brilliant and in saying that Metallica has always made good records.

On a side note I got into them when “Master of Puppets” was released when I was in Grade 12 (back in 86) and have followed them since.

“And Justice For All” I really liked and would put it behind the Black Albumalbum as perhaps my second favourite record of there’s as I love that it was the exact opposite of  everything  in terms of music when it came out in 88!

Long songs, big drums, loud guitars, no bass and for the longest time  no singles and no video!

You have to respect em at the time for that.

But by 91 Metallica realized to stay in the game and to make some serious dough maybe it was time to come down a notch.

By doing doing that since Aug 1991, “The Black Album” has sold 30 million records worldwide. Needless to say James, Kirk, Jason and Lars don’t have to worry about paying there electricity bill ever again!

Thats food for thought!

 

 

 

 

A music fan trying to put it down in words….