All posts by deKE

Never Gonna Stop The Rock

Ozzy Osbourne Patient Number 9 (2022)

Rock ain’t dead folks as the latest recording from the Ozzman has debuted at #1 on the Canadian Charts.

“Patient Number 9” has Ozzy teaming up with a bunch of iconic six stringers and also featuring a rhythm section of all stars as well.

I have to add that this is a very good Ozzy record. My 2 cents though as I read what people are commenting on the socials and I don’t feed into any of that horseshit as people are way to judgey with there opinion’s so I’m not wasting my time commenting.

But I will spout off here…

Funny thing though if and when Ozzy stops making records those same people will be crying about that..

Life is too short folks! Chill the fuck out and be happy that a young 73 year old Oz is still kicking ass or just don’t buy the damn thing!

As I mentioned already Ozzy with his co-producer Andrew Watt have enlisted a who’s who of mega talent on this record. Tony Iommi, Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Mike McCready, Duff McKagan, Robert Trujillo, Chad Smith and the late Taylor Hawkins.

The best thing I can honestly say about this album is I can listen to it  front to back with no skipping of tracks.

Some of the highlights for me are the two Iommi tracks (“Degradation Rules” and “No Escape from Now”) which to my ears Ozzy and Tony lay down a Sabbath like sludge like vibe that harkens back to yesteryear. Bonus points for Ozzy nailing down some harp on a couple of tracks as well.

“Dead And Gone” is one of those end of the album songs that I consider GEMS! Love that chorus, man it’s so catchy.

Really crazy to hear Eric Clapton find his volume knob on his amp and lay down some Cream like licks on “One of Those Days”. Jeff Beck is also on the albums title track as well.

Speaking of the title track. “Patient #9” opens the album on Apple Music yet on the vinyl the opening track is the Mike McCready tune “Immortal”. Weird move as the title track is more of an opener but maybe there was issues somewhere or maybe someone screwed up at the printing plant.

Zaki Wylde not only plays lead on four tracks but also contributes keyboards and organ on the album. I have to add that Zakk as well tosses down some serious riffage and adds a ton of rhythm guitar as well..

To be honest here I dug Ozzy’s last album “Ordinary Man” which had some good moments as well but for my dollars spent Patient #9 is far better spin. If Ozzy calls it day after this record fair enough as the Prince of Darkness has earned that right!

deKe’s Vinyl Score of Patient #9- 8.5/10

 

 

OASIS: Be Here Now (1997)

 

I love at times big overproduced  stuffy rock records that are so full of pre-release hype that once the record drops people are confused and are dismissive about it.

“Be Here Now” from those wacky fun loving brothers Liam and Noel did just that.

Oasis back in ’97 were mega coming off of there first two records the hype on these guys was massive.

If my memory was correct it wasn’t til sometime in 96 that I took the plunge and bought the first two Oasis on CD. I immediately liked em as they were rock records but I also dug that wall of sound that the guitars had which sounded massive.

In the summer of ’97 Oasis dropped the first single and video which was the album opener “Do You Know What I Mean”. When I saw the videoI was hooked as this tune had all those trimmings that I love especially on a opening track. You can hear the helicopter flying around and the video sold me as there they are playing in what looks like some war torn city.

I was down in Minneapolis at the time to see Aerosmith that summer and I scoured a few record shops as I wanted this album STAT! No luck as at one shop I came across an add for it and it was still a few weeks away..

Back home in Thunder Bay when “Be Here Now” hit the shops I pounced.

“Be Here Now” is my favourite Oasis studio album. Plain and simple. I love the debauchery on that front cover which reminds me of Keith Moon once I saw the Rolls Royce in the swimming pool. Plus the fact that Oasis basically looked like bunch of hooligans coming out of a soccer game or maybe they were looking like  factory workers. They did not care whatsoever about fashion.

A definite bonus in my books is their use of nicknames that you can see below in Exhibit A!

So when I received a Amazon gift card from my pals at work this was a quick click to order as this is the 25th Anniversary edition of “Be Here Now” on silver vinyl.  See below Exhibit B.

This is one album I can listen too front to back. It’s that good and even some dismissed this record I sure as hell didn’t.  Sure its a big sounding over produced rock record but for me thats the charm.

Listen to that opening feedback from Noel’s guitar at the start of “My Big Mouth”. Perhaps my all time favourite song from these guys and what a perfect title of a song for Liam to sing!

The title track as well is another great tune. Love that driving tempo and what a belter of a chorus.

“Magic Pie” and “The Girl In A Dirty Shirt” are keepers as well.

Sure Oasis lifted their idea’s from some other bands that came before them  but who friggin cares man. It’s only rock n roll and I like it!

deKe’s Vinyl Score of “Be Here Now” – 9/10. (8.5 for the album and .5 added for the use of nicknames for band members in the credits)

 

ZZ Top: RAW (2022)

Frigg yeah. Now this is one fine recorded live off the floor release  (without an audience) that every blues/hard rock fan needs in there collection.

“That Little Ol Band From Texas” being ZZ TOP have released “RAW” which is the sound track to the documentary by Canuck’s Banger Films which by the way is an excellent watch.

The soundtrack to this record is phenomenal as listen to the three amigos that being Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and the late Dusty Hill get down in dirty blues with a side order of slippery greasy rock and deliver gem after gem on this twelve song release.

So good in fact that this should have been a double vinyl release with added tracks but hey beggars can’t be choosers!

The sound is indeed “RAW”.  Just cue up “Heard It On The X” which today as I write this is my favourite track on this record but that can change easily.

So many standout tracks and I can honestly tell ya all there is no skippers on here.

This is ZZ in a strip back sound hitting ya right between the eyes.

Do yourself a favour and add “RAW” to your collection in any format NOW!

deKe’s Vinyl Score of “RAW”- 10/10

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades: John Corabi (2022)

 

So when you get relieved of your rock n roll duty at fronting a popular band that has hit rough waters what does one do?

In the case of former Motley Crue singer John Corabi you drive truck. True story folk’s as John became a trucker driving an semi tractor trailer all across America.

Those kind of stories and more are talked about in “Horseshoes & Hand Grenades” which across the 400 plus pages Corabi tells it how he saw it.

Like any bio out there you get the lowdown on John from his upbringing in Philadelphia to of course when he first discovered music watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

From John fronting his own band “Angora” in Philly to getting in the mid to late 80’s offers to join Cinderella and Skid Row.

The book also focuses on a theme and that is timing. John candidly writes about moving away from Philly to go to L.A (like many did) and watching from afar Cinderella get signed and take off like a rocket back in ’86 with “Night Songs” back home in Philly.

“The Scream” a band John fronted for a few years did  get that break when they were signed to a major label only to have Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) acknowledge in Spin Magazine that “The Scream” was one of Sixx’s favourite albums back in ’92.

Corabi reached out back to Sixx to thank him and had no idea an audition was about to happen in February ’92 when the Crue sacked Vince Neil.

Course the whole Crue story is told from his angle and is done respectfully and it takes up a good portion of the book.

When Motley Crue released the self titled Corabi  release in March ’94 the album debuted at #7 on the charts (which was deemed a failure by everyone at the record company) to low ticket sales for the tour which of course everyone finger pointed at John’s direction as too why it failed.

In reading the Crue chapters you get the understanding that Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee could not figure out what  was going on as they continually bemoaned the fact that during the tour when they would play to 2500 people a night in an arena that held 15,000 the same building that four years earlier they sold out twice on the “Dr. Feelgood” tour. It messed them up to say the least.

As John explains the whole marketing team behind the Crue were fired (like 42 people) and by the Crue themselves pissing off interviewers at the time did not help the cause as well.

Remember I mentioned timing well same thing in the Crue. You get the winning lottery ticket to front one the biggest bands from the ’80s yet Grunge came along and derailed all that…

Motley Crue the album was dead in the water and when it came time to record the follow up, Elektra Records wanted to make money so they wanted Vince Neil  back so John got let go but still continued to work with them through the recording process which John says was a complete shit show.

John does state matter of factly that it fucked with his head how the Crue could treat him like a king at the start and yet five years later they didn’t want anything to do with him.

Corabi goes on to form Union with x-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick and after getting hosed by an accountant and not making much money they decided to stop Union. Napster played a part in it as well.

I could give away more as there is a ton of great stories and of course after Crue and Union, John joined RATT to play guitar. More dysfunction as well as John says there is more dysfunction in RATT than there was in Motley! That is saying something.

John Corabi is still out there doing it and for that you have to respect him as he could have easily given up time and time again yet through failed personal relationships, drugs( his own son’s heroin addiction) marriages, cranky cops and customs officials  and getting ripped off at times, John just kept going..

For that…

RESPECT!

deKe’s Book score of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades- 9/10

 

RUSH: A SHOW OF HANDS (1989)

Focusing on there early to late 80s output RUSH in early 1989 dropped the double live “A Show of Hands” for the masses.

What’s there to say about a live RUSH album that hasn’t been said? Geddy, Alex and Neil blast through 14 tracks recorded at a few stops along their ’86 “Power Windows” Tour and ’88’s “Hold Your Fire” Tour.

Lot’s of great tracks on here and how about that opening number “Big Money”? Sure, for some or maybe many RUSH got bogged down into the synths and technical wizardry of what a studio would offer but when Alex tears into the solo on “Big Money” it takes you back right to that power trio format as Geddy and Neil hold down that bottom end like there the boss!

Since it was really 1981 I got into RUSH I always enjoyed the band’s 80s output. From “Permanent Waves- Moving Pictures- Exit Stage Left- Signals- Grace Under Pressure- Power Window onto Hold Your Fire” there are a lot of gold nuggets on those albums.

RUSH themselves did a good job at picking out songs for this album. I do have one complaint, well a minor one at that is I bought the VHS copy of this tour “Prime Mover” which is one of my favourite tunes from “Hold  Your Fire” is on the VHS copy but not on the vinyl copy. Sure I’m being ornery but my post my rules right? lol

Other than that the playing it top notch as the album is recorded and mixed well. Lot’s of highlights though as well like “Subdivisions” as well as songs RUSH has not performed that much live since this time period. “Marathon”, “Turn The Page,” “Mission”, “Time Stand Still” so for that this record is worth the price of admission.

Yes there is of course “The Rhythm Method” where Mr. Peart goes off on his drums for about 4 minutes and proving without a doubt he is one of the best.

A definite add to anyone’s music collection.

Cheers to Tbone, Darr and Rugg who gifted me a  Sunrise gift card. Thanks Boys!

deKe’s Vinyl score of “A SHOW OF HANDS”- 8.5/10

 

The Who: Who’s Next (1971)

How many albums can you think of that start off with a classic song  and bookend the record with another all time classic?

“Who’s Next” is that record. Crazy to think that this recording is 51 years old yet Pete Townsend was ahead of the curve and tapped into sonics that still sound relevant today.

A few weeks back I was fortunate to come across a seller at a local Vinyl Fair who was selling “Who’s Next” sealed for a great price.

Have to add I love this cover….

I never have owned a copy of this all time great as I only had a taped copy on cassette tape and that was about 40 years ago!

Every single song on this record is stellar.  Opening with the synth and keyboard driven “Baba O’ Riley”, Townsend was at an all time high creatively and of course having a lead vocalist named Roger Daltry only helps to get the message across lyrically and vocally.

This album is deep with not a dud track on here.  “Bargain” which is one of my faves as Keith Moon is all over the map on his drums, The mid tempo like vibe of  “Love Ain’t For Keeping”, John Entwistle and his Bass drive home the Ox written song “My Wife” which is quite a funny tune lyrically and I’m sure is autobiographical.

Ending Side 1 is the classic “Song Is Over” which is ballad like yet Pete doesn’t make it sappy like and Roger delivers a killer vocal.

Side 2 keeps it going with “Getting In Tune” which is followed by another classic (which never gets talked about) “Going Mobile” (sung by Townsend) and by this point of the album The Who are firing on all 4 cylinders!

As a rock fan who doesn’t love that opening chill vibe of “Behind Blue Eyes” until Moon and The Ox lift off  and this one just tears the roof off until the song ends on how it begins….Chill!

What can you say about the album closer “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that hasn’t been said. This song has been used by many a band as the battle cry to leading a band to the stage (KISS and Def Leppard are two that come to my mind right away that have used this song). How about that scream that Daltry lays down after Moon goes bonkers on his drums.

Holy Moly what a corker of a record!

Once again crazy to think that this album is 51 years young but all the boxes are checked off as Who’s Next is an absolute classic!

deKe’s Vinyl score of Who’s Next…10/10

W.A.S.P-W.A.S.P (1984)

 

“Nostalgia is a hell of a drug” my pal Brent Jensen once said and he’s right.

One of those Nostalgia like drugs for myself is the debut album by W.A.S.P. that hit the streets back in 1984.

Blackie Lawless grabbed my attention as 16 year old back then when he grabbed me by the throat and basically had W.A.S.P filling in for me what KISS had moved on from which was the makeup and the theatrics. By ’84 KISS ditched the makeup to give their own career a boost which worked.

Lawless was clever I tell ya. He knew the shock value that Alice Cooper and KISS had provided and decided to go for it and record a 38 minute debut that at times is still pretty damn good and still holds up relatively decent in 2022.

Too be honest I really had no clue I was about to pick this album up until I went to a recent Vinyl Fair and seen this sitting in the bins. I guess it was calling me to grab this one and of course I obliged and did just that. For anyone keeping score this is an original pressing from 1984.

When you drop the needle on this album and the first song “I Wanna Be Somebody” kicks in its all about the anthem track back then right?

Twisted Sister had “We’re Not Gonna Take” It and “I Wanna Rock” while Quiet Riot had the year before (’83) “Metal Health”.

Big rock anthems with catchy choruses and even though this W.A.S.P track didn’t set the world on fire, for the fanbase of this band it is the anthem. Pretty well written track with a decent enough guitar solo.

Blackie you gotta love that raw voice definitely not radio material but he gets the job done on this album.

Pretty good stuff on here even the tacky “L.O.V.E Machine” where drummer Tony Richards lays down a pretty decent groove with Lawless and his bass. Say what you want but damn it that is one catchy chorus.

“The Flame” a song I have not heard since umm 84-85 is another solid winner which shocked me as here we are three tracks in and I can’t believe I’m digging this one as much as I thought I would. This is crazy…

The guitars of Chris Holmes and Randy Piper are good throughout the record as they knew their deal and the solos stay in the confines of the tunes and that is a plus.

“On Your Knees” and “Hellion” are a couple of Side Two ass kickers that I did remember especially “On Your Knees” which is a great one as well.

“Tormentor” was one also that is real heavy as if you need a shot of adrenalin “Tormentor” will fill the void.

Rewinding back to the mid 80s I did buy at the time the followup to this debut which was “The Last Command” and that one to me sounded like a Quiet Riot album as producer Spencer Proffer had a hand in the Quiet Riot albums and “The Last Command”  which at the time was step back for Blackie and company. My two cents …

By the time “Inside The Electric Circus” had dropped in 86 I was done but I  did return in ’89 when Blackie upped his game with “The Headless Children”  especially once I saw the video for The Who cover of “The Real Me”. Actually that one I wouldn’t mind picking up at some point some day …

deKe’s Vinyl Score of W.A.S.P -W.A.S.P…8/10

The Record Round Up- Thunder Bay-Aug 13/2022

One of my big gripes in this town is the lack of shops that sell vinyl. Sure we have ‘Sunrise’ and a few other outlets like pawnshops and what not  but what has been missing are ‘Vinyl Fairs’ so to speak where vendors show up and sell their collection.

Finally a few local folks have taken that task at hand  and have set up just this kind of thing that Thunder Bay so desperately  needs.

This past weekend (Saturday August 13th) was billed ‘The Record Round Up’ which took place in downtown T-Bay and along with my pal’s Probie and Scott we headed downtown for 10 am when the ‘Record Round Up’ was to start.

Course we got there at 9:30 am as this is all about scoring Vinyl!

Once inside it was really cool to see about five different vendors selling records.

Friggin A …The Wait Is Over…

First stop was a couple of great folk’s Chris and Misty who go under the moniker ‘Vinyl Frontier’ who sell not only used records, but sealed one’s along with box sets, Imports, books, all kinds of stuff actually.

It didn’t take too long once we started digging for Probie to show me  the cover of the self tilted sealed copy of the  ‘Coverdale/Page’ record.

Whoa! First thing I said to Probie was “Do you want it” Probie just handed it to me and said “no worries” and from there once I had the David/Jimmy record under my arm we all had our heads down back digging through the massive collection that Chris and Misty had showed up with. I’m talking a lot of records…

I scored from the ‘Vinyl Frontier’ the following titles… ‘W.A.S.P’s’ self titled. (I’m a sucker for ‘On Your Knees’, ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’, ‘L.O.V.E Machine’ as these songs take me back to ’84), the already mentioned ‘Coverdale/Page’ bootleg which is an all time great. (little over a year ago I had the good fortune to talk to Mike Fraser who gave the complete lowdown on recording this album as Mike was the co-producer and engineer on this classic)

(Crate after crate of L.P’s set up by Chris and Misty. I took this shot as there were people digging through records and well I didn’t want to bug or freak anyone out since I was snapping pics)

I had to grab ‘Whitesnake’s Come And Get It’ album from ’81 which my pal Muk had back in the day and one I had never owned til now.

From there I sauntered over to another local seller,  K.F who had a bunch of used vinyl and a some sealed titles as well. I picked up ‘Queensryche-Rage For Order’ along with ‘John Mellancamp- Uh-Huh’, ‘Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble- Couldn’t Stand The  Weather,’ a sealed copy of ‘Who’s Next’ and finally ‘Brighton Rock’s Young, Wild & Free’ release.

Kevin another fella who had a table set up had some amazing titles as well and the one that I scored from him was  ‘Maiden England’ by Iron Maiden which is a double picture disc vinyl which of course when it comes to Maiden they always deliver on the packaging. Plus I just flat out wanted it!

I have to say I had a blast as not only was it great to hang  with vinyl loving dudes like Probie and Scott but to also meet  folks who were there to sell records. It all about the social interaction and just sharing the love that all us Vinyl Heads have with L.P’s!

 

 

 

 

Kim Mitchell: Live in Thunder Bay-Aug. 10/2022

 

Kim Mitchell and his Stratocaster come summertime will show up to your hometown and lay down on the 6 string a masterclass on how to play guitar.

Thats what happened..

Kim in 2022  can still kick you in the ass live.   This is what I have been personally been waiting for since my last concert which was back in November 2019 before the world got knocked upside down. Nice to see a decent sized crowd show up for Akimbo as well to the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition.

The first time I caught Kim live was back in July ’86 when Mitchell was touring behind his triple platinum album ‘Shakin’ Like A Human Being’ which had the biggie summertime hit ‘Patio Lanterns’ which was on constant rotation on MuchMusic.

Fast forward to 36 years  and Kim still shows up in the summer and lifts off.

Opening his set with ‘That’s The Hold’ was killer. Kim went up and down that fret board like he’s the Boss ( as he lets the fingers on the fretboard do the talking).  From there it was onto ‘Rocklandwonderland’ followed by Kim and the band doing their ‘Rock N Roll Duty’ in which they created a buzz, buzz, buzz from the stage.

I have to add that the support that Kim has on stage is stellar. Keyboardist Kevin Adamson who provided some great playing on the keys  as Kim pointed out that Adamson played piano for Supertramp’s  Roger Hodgson for 8 years as well as Kevin has a degree in music. (McGill University)

Drummer David Langguth as well studied at Berkee and is one powerful drummer who was hitting his snare drum so hard it sounded like gunshots going off.

Peter Fredette who has been with Kim for 40 years laid down some fantastic bass lines as well as providing those backing vocals. (more on that later)

Kim has built up a killer catalog of Can-Rock tracks so there was no shortage of rock.

There were a few surprises in the set list like ‘In My Shoes’ from the ‘Shakin’ album as well as the funky driven ‘Lemon Wedge’ from 94’s ‘Itch’ release.

One huge surprise was how Kim reworked another one of his big hits ‘Easy To Tame’ with just him and the keyboards until the end of the song when the band joined him.

Course the diehards that have followed Mitchell from the Max Webster days were treated to ‘Paradise Skies’ with all those crazy tempo changes as the band really flexed there live music muscle.

Fredette though in the mix of all thing’s is Kim’s secret weapon. Peter took the lead vocal reigns on ‘Thats A Man’ as well as laying down that superb vocal in ‘All We Are’.

My brother Todd who went with me texted me a few days before the show with this comment…

‘Is that the same dude with the sweet ass backing vocals?’

Yes Sir it is…

Kim also talked from the stage about playing Tbay over the years and told a hilarious story about when he played ‘The Landmark’ back in the early 80s…

Kim quipped about playing a new tune ‘Best I Never Had’ from his current release (‘The Big Fantasize’) which he told the crowd that it probably has sold “Four copies in Thunder Bay!”

See thats the thing with Kim as he has a great sense of humour and doesn’t take shit that serious except of course his playing.

What would a Kim show be without the crowd participation tune which this night was “I Am A Wild Party (Rah Rah Ole)’

The band rocked out the final two songs which were of course ‘Go For Soda’ and ‘Lager & Ale’.

Thanks for showing up Akimbo!

What a great night of music for only $15!

Thanks to my pal Probie for the  Kim pictures and my sis in law Kristy for the photo of me and my Bro!

 

 

New Rock Tracks- August 2022

As fall is approaching it’s crazy to think that we are already into August. That being said here are some recent new tracks that various bands have dropped onto my iPod via Apple Music!

Let’s do this……!

It’s wild that Samual Hagar is now 74 years young, yet he along with his sidekick’s Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson and Jason Bonham keep putting out some decent music known as The Circle. ‘Crazy Times’ is the new single off the new soon to be released album and is quite good. A different vibe here with an upbeat tempo and some cool time changes. I look forward to hearing the rest of this album.

We all know Adrian Smiths day job is slinging some serious axe work in Iron Maiden yet when he got some downtime he hooked up with Richie Kotzen and together last year they put out an album together. Now comes a soon to be released EP that has some live tracks. ‘Hate and Love’ is a great track with some real snazzy guitar interplay between Richie and Adrian as well as some lead vocal swapping.  I’m pretty impressed at how good they sound live so I may score this one vinyl…

Remember last month when I wrote about Alter Bridge dropping the track ‘Pawn & Kings’ which was the last track on there soon to be released record this upcoming  October? I also mentioned that I looked forward to hearing the other tracks on this record. Well AB just dropped Track 3 which is titled ‘Silver Tongue’ which is another great one. Big opening riffs, double bass drumming and Myles and Mark doing their thing. A must listen.

Collective Soul get in on the action with not one but two tracks that they dropped from an upcoming album that Ed Roland and the boys are calling ‘Vibrating’. Opening track ‘Cut The Cord’ is what you expect from C.S. Upbeat with a catchy chorus and some good guitar work.  ‘All Our Pieces’ which is another song from ‘Vibrating’ is a little slower but still has a decent pace as Ed Roland is one those under the radar guys that is a hidden talent, no one ever says that except for John T. Snow!

I get a little tired when I see bands using the title of ROCK in their songs as how many times have we been down this road? Tesla is the latest band to take the word ROCK and run with it. At first I was skeptical but then I recall earlier this year Tesla put out a track called ‘Cold Steel’ which was very good. So now here comes the new tune ‘Time To Rock’ and it’s a killer track. Frank Hannon has dusted off his talk box and Jeff Keith still sings like Jeff Keith and they play to their strengths on this track which is what we love about this band as they stick to their formula of writing great jamming like tracks. Some great guitar interplay between Frank, his talk box and Dave Rude also helps the cause. Great stuff Tesla…