Tag Archives: Van Halen

Runnin With The Devil/Noel Monk (Book Review)2017

 

So here we finally get 32 years after former Van Halen manager Noel Monk gets the heave-ho from our favourite two twisted dutch brothers Eddie & Alex Van Halen the book(Runnin With The Devil) which chronicles  Noel’s first hand account of trying to harness in Van Halen during the years of Monk’s  managing tenure of the band.(1978-85).

Now if your asking why now  32 years later after being fired would a book come out now. Well as Noel himself writes a final settlement back in 85 meant no publishing a book for years…so it’s now time!

Basically it boiled down to this. Noel managed(tried to) while everything else around it seems was a shit show to say the least!

Speaking of shit shows Noel was actually the road manager for the Sex Pistols on there ill-fated 1978 tour of the United States when after two weeks they were sent packing back to England. Noel had to deal with Sid Vicious & Johnny Rotten so I guess that was a good as any training ground for what would become Monk’s gig with Van Halen!(only it lasted longer than 2 weeks managing Halen)

Monk was jobless after the Pistols gig and but in no time was hired as Halens Road Manager once the debut self titled Halen album hit the streets in 1978. Halen at the time was manged by Marshall Berle who was canned once the band started selling albums and at the end of the tour everyone  realised they were $1.2 Million in debt.  VH also learned quickly that all the dressing rooms that you destroy and all the limo rides/paying the road crew etc comes out  of your pocket at the end of the day. The fact that Berle had Halen sign a crappy record deal also didn’t help his cause. Berle got tossed and hooked up with another L.A act and that would be RATT.

Cool to read that there first ever tour was playing third on a bill with Journey and Montrose. Van Halen and Monk figured it out pretty quick that they were selling a ton of tickets yet playing third on the bill which meant for Halen small dressing room/small stage space/hardly any soundchecks yet the debut Halen went Gold in 3 months so Monk and Crew would throw huge backstage parties while Journey and Montrose would be playing their show much to the chagrin of Journeys management.

Basically Halen didn’t give a Fuck about anything back than. Noel writes that the camaraderie between the band members was the best as it was the “Us against everyone” philosophy. Over time he writes to no one’s  surprise  that evaporated!

If anyone out there ever meets Steve Perry ask him if he likes guacamole!

So Monk begins his tenure as the Captain of the S.S Halen. It’s amazing he didn’t totally lose his own marbles keeping this boat afloat but at the end of the day Ed and Alex made Noel walk the plank.

Course the book is filled with ton of stories and that’s  what we want right?!

Drugs and Alcohol  which to no ones surprise is featured predominately throughout. It’s all here Weed/Coke/Booze these dudes were wired tighter than a top but they all had one goal in common and that was World Domination.

Everything is over the top back than especially when Lead Singer David Lee Roth was taking over (back in the early 80’s ) as the best front-man in Rock. Not vocally perse but with the acrobatics that was part of his stage routine. Offstage though was a whole other story. One of the interesting reads  of the book is in regards to how they travelled early on. Halen would fly commercial flights from city to city and it was Monk’s job to get the troops down to the lobby to catch their flights. The last one always to show up was Dave. Monk for a while thought Roth was being an ass as he wouldn’t pack, his hotel room would be a disaster and Monk would have to get Dave to the lobby where the rest of Halen would be continuously pissed at Dave for taking his time.

After a few flights this way Monk realised that Roth was afraid of flying as a Monk points out Roth always wanted to be in charge of everything. Sitting on an air plane Roth had no control.

Everyone knows that by 1981’s Fair Warning album there was tensions between Roth and the Brothers. Monk points out it started back in 1980  during the recording of Woman & Children First.

Monk writes that indeed a “Musical Rift” was starting to happen between Ed and Dave(SHOCKER!) back in 1980 when  problems started…

Monk goes into detail about the music business as well. When VH was about to release  VH 2 in 1979 he was called into the Billboard offices and was told by a high-ranking official where they would like the soon to be released album debut on the charts. Monk states he was stunned as he was told they could come in the Top 10 if they chose to. Monk was quick to say how about the mid forties so it would look like the album was rising instead of debuting high and sliding down the charts. Payback for the chart debut would be made by VH in Billboard….

How about some Payola? Yep, Noel writes in  great detail about when 1981’s Fair Warning went to gold record status and stalled in sales (there were no real “single like” tracks on the guitar heavy Fair Warning record) VH/Monk were freaking out so as Monk got summoned to Warner Brother records, someone told him on the side if they wanted Fair Warning to start selling than VH would have to cough up $200,000 of their own money and pay certain stations across the States $5000 each to get the album played at which VH did, not happily mind you but it worked and Fair Warning went Double Platinum.

Early 1982 Warner Brothers is begging for Halen product. VH has nothing new to offer so they record Pretty Woman and the single takes off which no one thought it would as Pretty Woman was released just to keep the Halen name out in the public. This is why 82’s Diver Down was half covers/half originals as it was recorded in about 3 weeks and rushed out due to the  single shooting up the charts!

These kind of stories actually fascinate me more for as we all know the Party Deal of VH.(  I still like to read about Krell Wars that Roth/Ed would indulge in )

Monk describes throughout the book the chaos that surrounded this band from 1978-85 when Noel’s 30 day contract was not renewed. Yup! You read that right for the 7 years he worked for VH they would only renew his contract every 30 days….

This is a great read into a band that basically was a” Professional Shit Show”. I’m amazed they could record/tour at a clip for that time and not actually kill each other.

1984 the mega album from VH you would think they would be on top of the world with album sales and tickets sold right? Wrong-o! Years of frustration with everyone come to a boil when Roth announces to everyone his cover E.P.

I will leave it at that!

I could go on with a boatload of stories(Roth being forced into a straight jacket being one) but the one common dominator being that we all know is that ex VH Bassist Michael Anthony is indeed the nicest guy in Rock.  Yes he is by all accounts and Monk confirms many a time over how great a guy Mikey is. No smut on him in this book whatsover…

Below is what Roth/Ed and Alex wanted  Anthony to  sign ….. Nice way to treat a bandmate eh?

This a fascinating read. Get This!

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The Tape Remains The Same: (Circa 1984)

 

unknown-4Mikey Ladano over at his Fantastic site covers a ton of stuff musically and he’s a great reviewer who at times dabbles in Movie Reviews but also  writes about his past which he has called Getting More Tale. 

Mikes one post titled #519: Mistakes I Made Fixing Broken Tapes totally brought back the time that my good pal of over 40 years Tbone bought the first 5 David Lee Roth fronted Van Halen releases  on cassette tape sealed for just under $20 back in 1984…

Lemme tell ya about…..

Too make a long story even longer ….January 1984 I lent Tbone my vinyl copy of VH’s 1984.  This was Tbones first Dabble with Halen and he liked what he heard! So much so he quickly purchased a copy  of 1984 for himself!

It wasn’t too much long after that T got the Halen Itch so one day over lunch at school he told me “I’m going to buy all the Halen albums TODAY!”

Whut? …

So after lunch we split from High School and off we headed to our local Shopping Mall which was and still is called Intercity. We parked and headed into Sears to cut over to the mall and head into A&A Records  so Tbone could drop some cash on Dave Halen!

But before and If Tbone’s good luck couldn’t get any better we came across two Bins stuffed with Cassette  Tapes  One Bin had basically a bunch of shit tapes marked for $2.99. The only one worth mentioning Ironically was an  Sammy Hagar Greatest Hits Tape called Cruisin And Boozin.  The next Bin was stuffed with a bunch of $9.99 cassette tapes (current rock at the time)like AC/DC /Def Leppard/Quiet Riot and bands of that ilk. The big score in the $9.99 Bin was that there was the first 5 Van Halen tapes sitting there waiting for Tbones hands to grab them up!

Tbone paused for a second took a look around and told me to watch for Sears staff sniffing around the area we were in.  Basically I was on “Watch” Duty. Alert T of any incoming Sears Staff  headed our way!

Next thing you know Tbone digs into the Cheapie Bin’s and pulls out a handful of Crap tapes all priced $2.99 and manage’s  to peel off  the stickers (quicker than a Monkey peeling a banana) and transfer them to the other bin where the Halen Tapes were all marked $9.99 and T than proceeded to place the $2.99 stickers over the $9.99 Stickers that were the VH cassette’s.

What a friggin Genius move before my eyes! TBone did this to all the Halen Tapes …

Let’s calculate this….(tax not included)

Full Price for 5 Van Halen Tapes at Sears back in 1984- $49.95

TBone’s Discount  Sticker Removal Times for 5 Van Halen Tapes in 1984-$14.95

Tbone even bought Hagars Tape for the actual price of $2.99..(Big Spender!)

Tbone spent $17.94! A savings of $34.96….for 6  sealed Cassette Tapes…..

Son of a Beeatch! I quickly did the Math on the Halen purchases and I DID pay at least $9.99 each for those Halen albums on Vinyl…..

In other words….

Deke’s 6 Van Halen albums on vinyl back in the early 80’s.  $9.99 Times 6=$59.94….

Tbone was like a Giddy Pig In Shit that Day and we blew off the afternoon classes and drove all over Tbay that afternoon and everyone heard Hang Em High blaring from Tbones car whether they wanted to hear it or  not!

 

 

HardLine/Double Eclipse(1992)

Let’s be honest here people I have hammered on this blog about  Neil Schon pretty hard for back in the day(1980s) Neil would always pump every Journey album as “Lot’s Of Guitar Rock”…Ummm Ok Fella but when I read that and went and bought Journey’s 1986’s Raised On Radio his guitar was so buried under Jon Cain’s Keyboards that I Raised My Hands and Gave Up!

Of course Schon took his trade and moved onto Bad English and Man don’t get me started on those Yahoo’s of Power Syrup Rock. Bad English to this day still haunt Tbone as Moi and Tbones Brothers will still take the occasional jab at him for this 1989 Purchase! If you look on the site here I reviewed the debut Bad English under the 3/4’s Filler Section…….

Well 1992 roll’s around and I read in I think it was Metal Edge Magazine that Neil Schon was back with a couple of Bro’s in a new band called HardLine and once again Schon was going on about how heavy the guitar was sounding and once again Deke drank from the Schon Kool Aide cup and …..

HOLLLLLEEEEEE Sheeeeeeeeeit! Schon did not lie! His guitar is jacked to the masses and here’s Ol Neil ramping up some heavy guitar in the  year of 1992 with all things Grunge going on musically. It  took all of 8 years to get his heavy guitar Rock n Roll Ball’s after that great H.S.A.S album he did with Sam Hagar back in 1984. Welcome Back ….

All songs written by Neal Schon, Johnny Gioeli and Joey Gioeli except where noted.

“Life’s a Bitch” – 4:22
“Dr. Love” (Mark Baker, Brian Connors, Mike Slamer) – 5:31
“Love Leads the Way”- 4:04 (bonus track for Japanese release of the album only)
“Rhythm from a Red Car” – 3:40
“Change of Heart” – 4:42
“Everything” (Schon, Gioeli, Gioeli, Eddie Money, Jonathan Cain, Tony Marty, Mark Tanner) – 3:55
“Takin’ Me Down” – 3:34
“Hot Cherie” (Randy Bishop, Daryl Gutheil, Jeffrey Neill, Kenneth Shields, Kenneth Sinnaeve) – 4:47
“Bad Taste” – 4:23
“Can’t Find My Way” – 5:28
“I’ll Be There” (Schon, Gioeli, Gioeli, Cain) – 4:36
“31-91” (Schon) – 1:33
“In the Hands of Time” – 6:18

Band members
Johnny Gioeli – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, percussion
Neal Schon – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, catgut guitar, guitar synthesizer, backing vocals, producer
Joey Gioeli – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Todd Jensen – bass, backing vocals
Deen Castronovo – drums, backing vocals

Double Eclipse is a real good no make that a pretty great album of Hard yet Melodic at times Rock that doesn’t even border on wimpy even with Jon Cain creeping on co writes on two tracks!

The album gets off to the get go with Life’s A Bitch( with Schons guitar tone sounding Heavvvvy) and Dr Love. Sure there are underlying sounds of the synth going on but first and foremost this is a Guitar Record! Plus the vocals of Johnny Gioeli  are tailor made for this kind of music! Dude has a good set of pipes and the performances of the other Cat’s on this record is excellent.

Below posted is a Radio Broadcast of these guys playing Dr Love. Great stuff…Schon plays some super duper lightening bolts of lick’s at the beginning of the track. Love the chorus so simple yet so Friggin catchy!

Rhythm From A Red Car is for my money down the best song on this album! Listen to Schon Folk’s he smokes the frets on this tune (blast the video posted)and even at the 2 minute 40 second mark or so he inner channels his best Angus Young and Jeeper’s Creeper’s now we are talking!

For all us Canucks out there Hardline cover StreetHeart’s Hot Cherie and there’s a fine mix of good hard (Takin Me Down/Bad Taste) with some not so hard rock but still good nevertheless(Everything and especially album closer In The Hands Of Time)

The musical climate at the time wasn’t kind to this album even though they got on as support for Van Halen’s Carnal Knowledge Tour(1992) still though an uphill struggle for all these guy’s and a few years later OL Neil took his guitar and hooked up with the reunited Journey and Neil’s guitar vanished into the Fog Of AOR Rock!

But for a brief time …….

Cool Vs Gah! Round 4….Van Halen..

One I Want Vs How Many Say I

I’m not going to go down the whole Lead Singer debacle in regards to VH as I have written about it countless times so just search under David Lee Roth/Van Halen/Sammy Hagar and my diabolical writings in this matter will rear its ugly head. Actually I wrote something called L.S.D a few months back about bands flipping out singers at such at a speed that’s quicker than Tbone flipping  Finnish Pancakes!

What i’m gonna ramble on about are two tracks from VH3 that featured new vocalist Gary Cherone( Extreme) and for all intent and purposes tanked quicker down the toilet than me chugging  down a bottle of Silent Sam Vodka from way back into a toilet!

VH Mach 3….Featuring…

Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Alex Van Halen – drums, percussion
Michael Anthony – bass, backing vocals
Gary Cherone – lead vocals

I think its safe too say when looking at the band members that you can tack on’ Bass’ beside EVH’s name! By that point Anthony was just there…

The production angle is ludicrous as Mike Post (yeah exactly) a guy who had provided the music for the 80s Tv Show Hill Street Blues was brought onboard to co produce with Eddie…

Whut Da Fuk Is Going On Here?

VH3 had some decent stuff on it.

One I Want is a decent track. I dig the flip-flop of backing vocals to lead vocals and that little solo Ed blasts off at the end of the first verse. I posted the live track of this and VH3 cuts across real good live but man look at Alex behind the kit! Dudes all banged up from the shoulders up. Was he going for an Iron Maiden Powerslave look? Dunno but still this is Good VH….Not Great VH….But Good…

Which leads us to the last song on VH3…

How Many Say I is a Ed only piece with  him at the piano doing his singing as well sounding like Tom Waits and basically man this one was a tough  slog through…

At over 6 minutes worth of noodling I realized back in 1998 that this was indeed a EVH solo album from the production down to the Bass playing  to Ed singing lead on a track….

Whose gonna tell Ed no?  New Boy Cherone? Nope…Anthony..Brother Alex..Nope…Mike Post?..Hahaha..

The real clincher was my wife Sue at the time when I put on 3 in our living room and was playing it for perhaps the first time commented to me  when How Many Say I came on with a  “What Is This?”

Exactly Sue Exactly…..

Darr’s Top 20 Albums OF All Time(2016 Edition)

Darr I have known for about as long as I have known Tbone and there’s a simple explanation  for that and the answer would be that Darr is TBones younger brother( not by much though!)

Darr growing up got the knowledge of all good things Rock from myself and Tbone! Basically it worked like this. I would buy the product. Than pass it on to Tbone and from the inner sanctum of Tbones Basement Bedroom Darr would hear and be and be captivated by the Sonics Of Rock ….

Like what I did to Tbone I loaded up a syringe of Roth Era Van Halen and shot Darr up ! From there he gathered up all things  Rock(1987-88 or so) and found his own path. Digging around buying stuff and I would occasionally check in to see his growing Cassette Collection growing by leaps and bounds. After a short while I knew my work with Darr was done!

So here we are almost 30 years later and when I posted my Top 20 Albums on Facebook Darr delivered and real Super Duper List like along with his old brother as like all good friends do to another  I called them out publicly!

After Darr posted to my FaceCrack page his Top 20 and we bantered a bit I knew I had to yammer  about his selections.

Time To Dissect…..See Darr’s Top 20 Below….

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The Cult Electric and Guns N Destruction just like Tbones and my list made the cut! 1987 Babee……

Aerosmiths Pump(1989) makes an appearance and why wouldn’t  it? Its SoberAero but it still reeks some sleaze ball like slickness that is a classic for sure and just like the Aero albums of Toys In The Attic and Rocks. Steve-o and Joe put the ballad right at the end of the album and I’m real fuckin good with this move! Not a dud on this album and as we had all seen this tour in Winnipeg(March 1990) that may have swayed Darr somewhat but make no bones about Pump! It’s  a bonfide classic!

Like his older brother,Darr selected ZZ Tops Eliminator and this little Texas Nugget rocks bad ass! ZZ Nation is alive and well with the brothers in Tbay!

Heres  something that Darr pulled out of the Rule box and was a pure genius move! He selected Two Van Halen Albums! Now the rules were you couldn’t  pick two albums by the same band so Darr picked the Van Halen debut(1978) with Dave Roth singing and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)with Sammy Hagar singing. True its the same band in name but two different animals in the studio! Van Halens debut is the juggernaut of Guitar Brilliance and the Vocal Shenanigans of Roth while F.U.C.K is Sam fueled with his own spin on tunes like the immortal  Poundcake,Right Now and how could we forget Spank! HA!  Not to be outdone Darr even selected Dave’s Eat Em And Smile  as a Top 20 ….Well Played Darr….

Whitesnake before that Crazy Cougar slid all over hoods of cars made Darr’s list with Slide It In!(1984) Great add Darr as the late great Cozy Powell slams those drums and you have John Sykes( playing chill before he’s let loose a few years later on the 1987 album) along with others like Jon Lord and David Coverdale singing about everything Sex,Sex and more Sex! Hey Sex sells so Slide It In!

AC/DC take Darr on the Highway To Hell(1979) and He’s not coming back folks! Night Prowler,Get It Hot are some Gems there that never get discussed and they should! I need to review that bad boy someday!

Bryan Adams with Into The Fire resonated with Darr and this is another great surprise! This album at the time when released in 1987 kinda stalled publicly as it wasn’t Reckless Part Deux! Adams served up a change ball to us and for Darr he took the pitch! Atta Boy! Hearts On Fire from this album is one of the best tunes I think Adams ever wrote!

Bono and U2 make the grade and you can read my thoughts on TBones post about Achtung Baby(1991).

But a real  deadly pick was The Black Crowes with Shake Your Money Maker(1990) Holeee Fudge Darr! This is easily a piece of Rock Gold! Those two wacky Robinson Brothers nailed this one out of the park and into the next decade,make that two and half decades and the album still cooks! Thick N Thin I just love ..no we love it all!

Like on a few lists Def Leppard shows up and for Darr Its pyro rock n roll with Pyromania (1983). What can I say about a  album launching sonics into another stratosphere ….Man Oh MAN……

Darr does not leave the Canadian Rock behind and picks Rushs debut from 1974 with John Rutsey on the drums and Darr must have taken a shine to the throwback sound of the debut. Why Not? This little debut cooks quicker than Tbone frying Finnish Pancakes in the morning after a hard nights Drinkin!

Tragically Hip show up 20 years later after Rushs debut with Day For  A Night(1994) and compared to my fav of the Hip Road Apples  Day For Night is darker more moodier than Apples kinda like as if the Hip were to take a sledgehammer to a bag of Apples! Day For Night would come to fruition! Mopey Hip but it works! Grace Too is a beauty of a opener!

‘Here I Am I’m On The Scene’ so says Gordie Johnson and Big Sugar are here with 1998s Heated a mash-up of ZZ Top  and Bob Marley with a huge dose  of fuzzed up reggae like tones! Even Randy Bachman plays on Let it Ride and old BTO nugget that Bachman wrote…Sweet add as well….

Rest In Peace! Cupids Dead! Yup that would be Three Sides To Every Story(Yours, Mine And The Truth)  by Extreme and can you once again say Shock A Roo! Darr dug deep into his Sonic LunchBook and Wowzers Nuno and Gary would be pleased to see this! Pretty impressive that back in Grunge 92 these boys could toss out a solid rock record and still have it sell….somewhat!

Dazed And Confused a soundtrack that features amongst others a whose who of Classic Rock! Sabbath,Kiss,Foghat,Cooper,Sweet! There all here…..crank it,drink it,snort it whatever it may be! Added bonus points to Mr Darr for this being the first Soundtrack on any list I seen! A round of Kudos please!

Darrs last couple of picks that I’m gonna talk about are real cool one of which I’m familiar with and one I’m not with…

Jack Whites  Lazaretto just was released two years ago(2014) Too be honest my old buzzard mind has no idea about anything about this release but if Darr included It Lazaretto must be a Solid Ball Of  Rock! Great pick and perhaps one I should seek out myself and Darr can load up the Sonic Syringe and shoot me up with a dose of Jack Rock!

Beastie Boys Paul Boutique came out in 1989 and I even bought this on cassette and it was a huge departure as for myself I was weened on Fight For Your Right To Party from 1986 but man The Beasties change-up the sonic atmosphere and well how about a round of applause for “Shake Yo Rump” Ha…love that tune Mega Pumping Bass! Darr not only stepped out of the box on these two albums but he kicked the snot out of the box! Well done Son!

Actually out of Darr’s  Top 20 list I have only reviewed  4 of these 20 picks.  So I hope you’s all dug it!

 

T-Bones Top 20 Albums Of All Time(2016 Edition)

TBones Sacred Top 20....
TBones Sacred Top 20….

This past Saturday(April 14/16)  Stick It In Your Ear reader Jon (who runs his own fantastic website which you should check out here by clicking the link and reading about everything Rock!)

https://etainmentnewsreviews.wordpress.com/

posted on his FaceBook Page his Top 20 which Jon also said you could have easily done a Top 40 Fav Album List! True That!

Jon had some real cool albums such as Whitesnake(Slide It In) Y&T (Meanstreak) Motley Crue(Shout At The Devil) and KISS Alive amongst others!

It got me thinking about my Top 20 (a few months ago we did a Top 15  list with fellow WordPress Bloggers which was a ton of fun to see people’s tastes in music and books etc). So via Jon’s page I clicked the link and voila right to the page to enter my Top 20!

It was easy to do and entered in my Top 20. So I linked it right to Facebook went my list and first order of business was issuing a bit of a fun challenge to others as what your favourite 20 albums would be!  Only could  be studio releases(no live albums) and one album per artist as I would have loaded up on VH, old Aero,old Kiss,Maiden,AC /DC and that would have been it….hahaha…No Cheatin!

Tbone(whom I have known for 4 Decades!) right away came through in the clutch as he posted right away  his list ( T’s list is at the top of the page) and it was great to compare! A buddy of mind Tony also posted his Top 20 but he broke the rules with  as Tbone typed  “19 Anvil compilations and High N Dry don’t count!” Hahaha….Seriously though thanks for participating  Tony and how about a  shout out to Blackie Lawless!

My Top 20 you can see posted just below……

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 3.32.42 PM

It’s cool to see and compare lists with Tbone….I thought a post about Tbones Top 20 along with my usual smart ass comments would be a fun thing to talk about ….Shall we…?!

We are on the same page with The Cults Electric and Guns N Destruction albums and it’s kinda cool to see that back in the year that both of these albums were released (1987) myself and Tbone turned 20 years young and that Guns had opened up for The Cult on the Electric Tour! Yup groundbreaking info here! Hahaha…..

Of course Rush would be there as Tbone tossed in Moving Pictures which was basically our introduction to Rush that year of 1981 when we started at Lakeview High School and quickly learned that Rush had played at our very own School back in 1973!

I was very surprised and glad to see Maidens Number Of The Beast (1982)on there! Ha….Tbones parents  at the time probably thought he was gonna burn down a church after they could hear the  Air Raid Sirens wails of “6-6-6 The One For You And Me!” resonating from his bedroom. I’m sure his parents were relieved when they heard Bryan Adams Reckless(1984) which itself is  a solid pick T!  It is indeed an all time slab of great  CanRock that even to this day does not sound dated! Another great call is Tom Pettys solo album Full Moon Fever and its 40 minutes of an Ass Kicker Album!

Speaking of Maiden a few sentences back I went with Seventh Son Of  A Seventh Son! Moonchild is one of the best opening tracks on any Maiden album….EVER!

I take full Blame and responsibility on Tbone hoping aboard the HALEN Tour Bus Sonically that is and it didn’t surprise me in the least to see Fair Warning (1981) on his list! I mean any of those first 6 Dave Roth Albums could easily be in The Top 20 no problem! Speaking of Roth.  Bam! Here comes Eat Em And Smile (1986 ) and with that kick ass musical combo Dave had behind him(Vai,Sheehan,Bisonette and Tuggle) we spent many an hour chatting up songs like Bump And Grind,Big Trouble and Elephant Gun and wishing we were Dave(1980s Dave that is)….Another great pick T!

U2 with Achtung Baby we both could have  had on our list easily and perhaps I should  have as well but man Bono annoys me …..Achtung though what a brilliant album and along with the production angle of Lanois/Eno is so groundbreaking and to this day  to my ears is still one of the best sounding studio albums! Not as good as Rick Rubin’s produced Cult  Electric Album mind you but Achtung holds it own..

Great call on ZZ Tops Eliminator Tbone! Man how could I miss that one? I could have easily bumped out Cheap Tricks Dream Police for that  It goes without saying  that Tbone dug deep into this list and pulled out some Gems! After which Tbone drank deep into his Scotch! Haha…

Safe to say Standing Hampton(1981) by Sammy Hagar   is the Ultimate Shock A Roo! What a fantastic add! I just about spilled or was it spit out my coffee at that pick… Like I said earlier T did his homework and stepped up! Course this album features Heavy Metal and One Way To Rock but how about I’ll Fall In Love Again and Baby’s On Fire….easy peasy pickins! It’s a great album as it has a good sound as Sam I Am hadn’t fallen Into those 80s trappings of whiney  synths!

Nice to see Tbone select Stone Temple Pilots (1994) as well here with the Purple album and this was when we saw STP open for The Stones in Toronto on the Stones Voodoo Lounge Tour! Not to be outdone I selected Superunknown(1994) by Soundgarden! Man I love Cornell’s voice! Limo Wreck is a classic ! The Stones both made our lists with Tbone selecting Sticky Fingers and me going with Some Girls! Another band match was Zep with Tbone tossing down Zep 4 and Ol DeKEs dialing up Physical Graffiti!

Tbone rolling with Aerosmiths  Toys In The Attic and myself choosing Rocks are actually no brainers as it proves without a doubt that me and Tbone like our Aero slopped up  when Steve n Joe were loaded up on party treats (special mention must be given to Done With Mirrors) and wrote real cool songs before they became that AeroSap Band doing soundtracks and wanting to become something they weren’t ….

Another Shock A Roo pick from T would be Mr Books favourite band Sloan with Navy Blues! How can you go wrong with She Says What She Means,Izzy and Angus and the classic DC stolen riff of Money City Maniacs! Exactly you can’t! Did not see this one coming as well but a real good pick!

I went with another Canadian Band and that’s The Tragically Hip with Road Apples (1991) actually any of their first four  albums I could have picked! I love Road Apples as it reeks Canadiana,smells of Weed  and Cold Canadian Beer! ” You Just Hit Me Where It Hurts,I Guess It Felt Quite Primitive!” Bellows lead singer Gord Downie during Twist My Arm! Great track!

Bon Jovi with New Jersey(1988) made Tbones cut and fair enough as it was a strong album (the tour for it was a real good show)and still holds up well by today’s standard! Too bad Jon has currently disintegrated  a once great act into a big pile of Music Poop!

Tbone sneaks In Collective Soul’s (1985) self titled second album which  is a great rock record. Ross Childress plays some real supped up leads while Ed Roland is a talented singer songwriter! My only knock are the drums sound programmed but still great songs especially the opener “Simple!”

Before I let you all get back to reality(thanks for reading)  how could we not talk about AC/DC pre Axl Rose era! T says Highway To Hell(1979). DeKEs says Flick Of The Switch(1983)Can’t go wrong with either! Tons of salty lyrics (Rising Power and Beating Around The Bush) Lotsa Angus! What more do you need?

Def Leppard  with its mega zillion selling album Hysteria (1987)  made TBones Grade while I prefer the hard rock stylings of High N Dry(1981). Both are classics and like I have said in every Lep review I have done that once Steve Clark died lots of creativity in the riff department went to heaven with him…..

Holeeeee Shatz! This kinda went on but it was fun to go down memory lane sonically with my pal of 40+ years! (WHUT?) Thanks for reading and well….

As you were!

 

 

 

 

Van Halen/1984

 

Just like yesterday it seems like I was listening to our local radio station 580 CKPR back in December of 1983 as they were playing the new Van Halen single “Jump” at 9pm as they called their show the Top 9 at 9!

I never payed attention to much to the radio station back in 83 and as a matter of fact I still don’t but I had succumbed to the powers of AM radio occasionally as they would get the singles from bands before they hit the record shops! This was how I first heard Love It Loud by Kiss (1982)ironically enough. So with my hand firmly placed on my cassette deck as soon as John Summers(local DJ at the time) announced “Here’s the new Van Halen single titled JUMP I pushed record!

Cast Of Characters-Michael Anthony (bass) Eddie Van Halen(guitar) Alex Van Halen(drums) and David Lee Roth(vocals)

Looking back at that moment I probably had a puzzled look on my face as when Jump starts and you hear Ed play that keyboard synth opening I was like “WHUT?? Where’s Ed’s guitar Man??” Think about it for a sec! I was used to hearing Ed rip a mean guitar  tone on the previous studio records. And The Cradle Will Rock the opening track from 1980s Woman And Childern First  does have keyboard on it but it’s like it was shoved through a Marshall Stack! Speaking of which Woman And Childern First  sounds like the Halen boys loaded up on salsa,beer and party treats and knocked out what I consider to be my all time favourite album ever in about a day!

Fair Warning came next in 1981 and this being the favourite of Tbones . Ed’s guitar here sounds pissed off and gnarly and he further cements himself as Guitar Hero!

Diver Down even with its half originals/half covers concept tunes like Hang Em High and The Full Bug prove that Ed wasn’t easing off the gas with his playing and even though the mighty synth reared its head on Dancing In The Streets that doesn’t count as it’s not a Halen Original!

So here’s Jump and I’m kinda worried! Has Halen decided to go down Journey Avenue and water down the guitar and add more syrup to the keyboards? I really hope not and by golly as Jump progresses Ed shows up nails the volume on his Frankenstein Strat and saves the day with a cranked up solo and saves a young 15-year-old (me) at the time from going bonkers!

1984 was easily a first day purchase when the full album was released in January of 84.

So after the prelude, leadoff single and album opener(Jump)…

It was right to second track PANAMA that I felt at ease as Ed and Al begin the proceedings with Guitar  and Drums and there’s Mr Reliable Michael Anthony showing up slamming a straight ahead bass line keeping things simple and not overstepping his boundaries with the brothers Van Halen. Dave on the other hand knows no boundaries and he spills out all kind of lyrical magic on this album! Sly Horn Dog lyrics not withstanding Dave in 1984 was the Top Guy Live and even on this album vocally speaking he’s pretty damn good.

TOP JIMMY is a Boogie Woogie powerhouse of a track! Ed starts off with some chill picking and its intercepted by Sabbath like bolts of Doom just for a few seconds or so and viola here’s Dave telling us all about Top Jimmy the King Of Cool and I love the clean guitar tone Ed uses until the solo where he steps up and nails out a heavy metal like solo and then goes back to his clean slick style. Anthony’s backing vocal meshed with Dave’s lead vocal work brilliantly together. Under 3 minutes long Top Jimmy is easily a piece of musical art!

Ending side 1 DROP DEAD LEGS for me is the sleeper track here! What a classic. Ed makes noodling on the guitar sound cool and Alex man I dig his drumming on this tune(love the sound of the cowbell at the beginning). It’s what keeps this song moving forward. Dave is very creative with the lyrics here. ‘Throw My Rope,Loop De Loop,White  Teeth, Betty Boop!”  Not a ton of lyrics written here but the less is more philosophy works excellent on this song. Ed’s guitar here sounds deadly! Check out the video posted…..Crank it!

Side 2 begins with HOT FOR TEACHER and more importantly Alex’s drums sounding like a torpedo being launched from the U.S.S Halen and Ed joins in a proves that without a doubt that he’s the King Of The 6 String. He dips and dives and makes of us wanna be a guitar hero! This is VH Boogie Woogie Power Rock 101. Anthony punches the bass steady kinda like Cliff Williams from AC/DC on speed and Dave is once again in all his glory love his “Aww The Clock Is Slow!” drawl. He’s Hot For Teacher and has it Bad …Soooo Bad! Ed’s solo is Highway Robbery Like! A classic indeed and Halen though can play around with a synth but when push comes to shove they can blast these kinda tunes right out of the park!

If you want Synth! You Got it! I’LL WAIT hands down for me is some of Dave’s best studio vocal work ever! I dug this track in 84 and like it even more in 2016! Dave sounds wounded here in his voice! Great track filled with Synth until Ed delivers the solo and Alex plays some real cool fills. I’ll Wait is a bona-fide classic and I Betcha some of you’s out there didn’t know that Michael McDonald from The Doobie Brothers got a co write credit here.( First time ever that some one other Dave/Ed/Alex and Mikey got a slice of the Halen pie!) Think I’ll Wait as a Doobie Brothers song on steroids!

Ed and Alex begin the proceedings and ramp the amps back to 10 and throttle down a real scorcher of a ditty called GIRL GONE BAD This song breezes riff cool and it just blasts into another orbit when solo time comes as Ed tosses more gauntlets toward us the listener as Mike and Al steady the rhythm boat! Ahoy! This is another down n dirty classic!

All good things must come to an end so Halen enters the HOUSE OF PAIN with its Black Sabbath like Doom wobble and once again Van and the Fella’s keep it heavy but in an old school kid of mid 70s Rock mode!

We knew when released that we were listening to a classic in the making and Halen delivered in spades. Look no further than my pal Tbone.Up till that point I taped him the Halen stuff as soon as I lent him my copy of 1984 on vinyl the next day he went out and bought all 6 Halen cassette releases at various musical outlets in Tbay! That my friends is what we would call Impact!

Just clocking in at over 33 minutes and that’s all it takes to drop down a  album that is still classic nowadays as it has that timeless  sound that only Halen could deliver.