Album Review: MR. BIG – Defying Gravity (2017)

I had a feeling that 2017 was gonna kick some serious ass but I had zero idea that it will be THAT good of a rock&roll year. Just when I thought that 2017 can’t get any better, Mr. Big dropped this awesomeness, titled “Defying Gravity” and once again I’m left speechless. Frontiers Music are on a roll this year – big thank you for keeping great music alive and supporting artists who deserve it.

“Defying Gravity”

Mr. Big - Mr. BigSo many beautiful things are happening in this album and I don’t even know where to start. First of all, remember that groundbreaking 1988 self-titled debut album with the torn shoes and the top hat? If you remember and you love that release, then you will most certainly be thrilled to know that their ninth studio album, “Defying Gravity” features those exact four original members Eric Martin (vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass), Pat Torpey (drums, with the help of Matt Starr due to his unfortunate Parkinson disease) and Paul Gilbert (guitar), along with the same producer, Kevin Elson. So far so good, right? It’s been almost 30 years since the release of that debut album but the guys and their talented producer did manage to recover the classic Mr. Big sound from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that made them so popular and critically-acclaimed.

 “It was great to get back in the studio with our original producer, Kevin Elson,” says guitarist Paul Gilbert. “Kevin recorded all of our original classic albums from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and we immediately felt that magic chemistry with him on DEFYING GRAVITY. We basically played live in the studio. Over the years, we’ve all had a chance to experiment with every recording technique possible, but it’s still always the best just to play together as a band. Most of my guitar solos were tracked live with the band. I’ve worked hard on my improvisation in the last few years, and it really paid off on this record…both melodically, and on the face-melting stuff.”

(Quote retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5392)

 

mr big defying gravity new album

Impressively, Mr. Big recorded this album in a matter of six days. Your jaw probably just dropped, just like mine when I first read that so hurry now and pick it up from the floor. Imagine the determination, creativity and talent you gotta possess in order to come up with 11 smashing rock hits in just six days! If that doesn’t grab your attention then I guess it’s time for you to just get the album and listen carefully. The genuine, melodic rock atmosphere of “Defying Gravity” will conquer you right from the very first track. The guys aren’t joking around, though. A lot of thought has been put into this album and you can clearly spot it once you crank it up. Perfect production, wrapped up around quality songwriting skills and don’t you even get me started on those vocals and bass lines.

Let’s talk songs! (my favorite part)

“1992” is the absolute winner and the track that stood out to me the most (no, not because I was born in 1992 and it’s the most awesome year in history). In terms of melody, the track has that inviting, laid-back old-school rock&roll vibe thanks to which you are simply unable to click the “stop” button. When they released it on YouTube, I played just this one song for the entire day. The lyrics are what you should pay attention to. “1992” is kind of a humorous intake on their rise and fall back in the day with hits like “To Be With You”. What a brilliant approach. Its charming honesty can’t but leave a smile on your face. The opening track, “Open Your Eyes” is something to watch out for – the song has killing riffs and bluesy vibes. It has a bit of a Zeppelin feel into it (but just a little). Now is the moment to point out that vocalist Eric Martin brough his A game on this album and this song is only highlighting what I’m saying. He sounds as good as he did back in 1988, if not even better! The title track is undoubtedly the catchiest song among the playlist. It has a fine modern touch which we don’t really get to hear on radios these days. The album offers variety, that’s for sure. The acoustic bliss, “Damn I’m Inlove Again” is as joyful as a chilly fall evening around a beach fire. “Mean to Me” has a very bizarre but unique fast-paced riff which makes this song an unique experience for the listeners. “Forever and Back” is your mesmerizing classic Mr. Big ballad without which “Defying Gravity” would’ve been a little bit emptier, at least to me.

Every other track on “Defying Gravity” is the ultimate earworm and I’m saying that in the most positive way you can imagine. Easy to sing along with, a little bit of fire, a little bit of ice, tons of good mood and excellent lyrical strength. What a solid comeback. Get it now in case you haven’t.


1992

Defying Gravity

Forever & Back

Everybody Needs a Little Trouble


 

References:
Mr. Big – “Defying Gravity” Album Page: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5392
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

An Inspirational Interview with Riverdogs’ Rob Lamothe

riverdogs debutEverything in life happens for a reason. Now I know that I was destined to hear and completely fall for Riverdogs’ debut album because it all led to nothing but a series of very special events, including discovering great soul-soothing music, meeting outstanding artists, witnessing their current adventures and the highlight – actually having a conversation with one of the masterminds behind the band, vocalist Rob Lamothe. I’m not sure which is more satisfying – the fact that I was given the chance to have an unforgettable conversation with an artist I admire so much, or that after an year of building this personal rock music digital brand, I finally got my first official interview with a musician (and not just any musician but someone I truly care about…).

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIGAs everyone knows, earlier this July, Riverdogs made a triumphant comeback with “California” – an album that quickly conquered hearts, charts and basically everything on its way with its personality and unique style. In case you haven’t heard it yet, go ahead and do it because you are missing something really exciting! “California” and my instant attachment to that album became the reason why I got to actually talk with Rob Lamothe. I’m writing this and smiling from ear to ear because I still can’t believe it actually happened. Thanks to the development of communication technologies and of course, the Internet, a 25-year old Bulgarian girl spent her evening talking to a beloved artist about the past and present of rock music, the new generation of fans, records, social media, pets and of course, the new album “California”. Here’s the interview and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed experiencing it.


 

qsJrLnVm.jpg largeThis is a very emotional and historical moment for me because you are the first musician I will interview for my blog, actually.

Really, I’m so honored. I can’t believe I’m the first. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. That’s amazing. Thank you.

2017 has been a pretty solid year so far when it comes to rock music. Your new album might be one of the reasons why. I was just wondering, before we get to “California”, if these days you have a favorite album or artist?

You know I work with a lot of young artists. I teach private songwriting lessons all over the world through Skype and e-mail. I teach at a songwriting camp, I’ve been doing that for 14 years, I run my own songwriting camp, I don’t know if you know. That is kind of amazing because right now I have two of my songwriting campers – I’m working with them outside of camp, like a private songwriting course. It’s ongoing, I’m like a songwriting mentor, songwriting tutor, I guess you might say. I’m getting to work with these really intelligent, really sharp, really motivated 15-year old songwriters so I’ve got that, and then I’ve also got stuff that I hear from my contemporaries, you know my friends who are in their 50s who are still working, still making great music so I get to hear a lot of music. I am in a studio an awful lot.

A couple of my former campers have a band called Courage my Love. Check them out. I met them actually when they were 15, two twins – Phoenix and Mercedes – just this amazing band. They are just doing what I love to see.

Of stuff that you might now, I love Vintage Trouble, I love the singer. If a band has a killer singer, I’m gonna notice and I’ll probably be interested. There’s another band from Hamilton, a band called Monster Truck.

I love Monster Truck. I saw them two months ago, they were opening for Deep Purple.

Amazing! Real rock&roll, right?

…That’s one of my favorite bands for sure.

So these days these are some of the bands you have been listening to?

Yeah, things like that. There’s another band from Hamilton, called the Arkells – a great rock band, fantastic rock band with a killer singer. I’m always looking for bands that get me excited so I feel like I’m 15 or 25, you know.

When I did the album review of California, a lot of people responded with comments saying how great it is. I also found out that your album is actually conquering charts as we speak – it’s on UK TOP40 Albums, it’s on Billboard. I’m just curious how is this positive reaction making you feel and did you expect this kind of response?

The response has been amazing. I just got an e-mail today about Billboard charts in American and I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable. But you know we had this fantastic gift that Frontiers, the label gave us and that was they gave us a direction. They said “We really we want it to sound like the first record”. And some bands might go “Don’t tell us what to do man, we are artists!” You know, that was 27 years ago but I immediately thought that’s wonderful, they are giving us a gift, they are telling us what they like to hear and really when we thought about it, we made this record for ourselves and fans that already knew us, that already loved the first record. And to be honest, I was thinking about it today, I never once thought about trying to win over new fans. Never entered my mind that we’d be hoping that a 25-year old from Bulgaria might like what we’re doing. Not one time did I think “How do we record this song or write this song or perform this song in a way that we’ll bring new fans?” It was never ever something that crossed my mind. We had these really loyal people that were with us for 27 years since that first record.

Frontiers gave us a decent budget so that we could actually spent the time writing like a band and recording it like a band and they gave us that direction. What a wonderful gift. So, I’m totally unprepared for all these new people that are coming in. We’ve never thought “Oh, maybe we’ll get on the radio, or maybe we’ll get on some charts.” It never crossed our minds, not for a second. We were just having a good time writing songs as a band and having an amazing time together. It’s a wonderful bonus, like an icing on a cake for Riverdogs’ career.

I’m still trying to process it. I’m not surprised that people like it because I think it’s good. We tried to capture what we do, the four of us and we did that. We only wrote 12 songs and those are the 12 songs that we recorded. We captured a moment in time pretty well.  Everything went so beautifully. We were all on top of our game, so in that way I think we created something that’s high quality.

You mentioned your loyal and new fans. A lot of people were there to witness your beginnings. I know that your debut album was appreciated by critics and fans back in the day. Most of those fans are still fans of Riverdogs right now. However, as you can see, a lot of people my age love the album. I wanted to ask how the audience back then differs from the one you have right now? Your album sounds very modern, fresh and I know you made it sound like the debut one but it’s still quite modern-sounding. A lot of people my age love it.

I think the reason that it maybe sounds fresh is that it’s a bit of a timeless sound, right? It’s drums, a big room, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, a little bit of keyboards, bass and vocals. If you keep the music simple and organic, then hopefully it stands the test of time. I don’t really know our young audience yet. I don’t know your perspective yet. I don’t know the new listeners’ perspective yet, I don’t know them, yet.

This is really fun for me. It really is like a dream. Just getting to play and be friends with those three guys and our manager, Paul, is almost kind of a fifth member of the band. Just to get to work with my musical brothers and then actually get to write and record, it’s such a dream come true. I really am still just. It never crossed my mind, “Oh, I hope we get some new fans with it”. It wasn’t part of what was on my radar. I wasn’t thinking about that. But I think that’s good because we weren’t second-guessing ourselves, we were just making, writing songs and recording music that made us feel amazing.  And then to finish it and then get to make what I think is a great video, I’m very proud of that video.

I have a question about the video as well. I really like the colors, the energy – it’s very dynamic, sexy if I may say. Aesthetically speaking, you look very nice, behind the desert; everyone is wearing these great outfits, it’s very appealing. So, I wanted to know how long did you shoot it, who came up with the idea. Do you have any plans of making another video?

I hope we get to make another video. Right now, we haven’t discussed it. But I have a feeling we’ll get to because it probably makes sense for the label.

I have a suggestion.

What it is?

“You’re Too Rock and Roll”

*he actually wrote that down*

Visually that could be really really interesting.

rob 1So, we had a budget to make a video. We wanted to find a director who could make a video that look like a 250,000$ video for much less than that and we found somebody – director Jamie Brown. He has directed two of the Last in Line videos; they filmed them in like two days. They look fantastic. They look beautiful. I used to make music videos. I worked in LA for a long time. I worked for a production company and we made Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”, “Livin’ on a Prayer”, “Cowboy”. We made some Poison videos. We made those big budget rock videos. So I know what a big budget looks like and I know what they cost and when I saw what Jamie’s stuff he did with Last in Line, I was like “let’s get this guy”. It just worked.

Funnily enough, the concept was actually mine.  My idea was very much – the woman in the video is very key because she’s from Guadalajara, her people have been in North America for 13,000 years. The whole idea is that she’s this really powerful figure. Her people are indigenous, they’ve been here forever. She owns that ranch. She was the one with all the power. She didn’t need the band, she didn’t need the song, she kicks ass all on her own.

Also, the song, it was a fun song to write. But I’m not a patriotic person, actually. I’m not trying to say this is what people should feel like. I’m just saying, there’s two sides to every story and in this case, there’s a woman from Mexico who owns this ranch and doesn’t need anyone’s help and has the power within herself. She doesn’t need Riverdogs, she doesn’t need the song, she’s just doing her thing, living her life and we’re just out there, you know, rocking out in the desert.

There were flags in the video originally, American flags but I was like “No, let’s not have flags”. I wanted the song to be whatever the listener wants it to be. It could be like “Yeah, I’m gonna kick ass, I just gotta work hard, I’m just gonna keep at it…” but it could also be ironic for other people who can say “Where’s the American dream?”

Every day since I first heard the album, I have a different favorite song. I have finally made my decision and picked my one favorite song and as I told you, it’s “You’re too Rock and Roll” so I would love to know if this song was written about someone? How did you come up with the idea? Who came up with the melody? Who came up with the lyrics?

On this record, I wrote all the words and I wrote all the melodies. “You’re too Rock and Roll” was a bit of a riff that Marc had. That was an idea of his and actually. The story, what it is, is me trying to capture a mood and an experience that happened to me over and over again. So many times I felt like the man in that song. I was always finding myself in those situations. I was very attracted to, you know – what’s the biggest, craziest adventure I can have tonight. That song is very much about a liquor store called “Gil Turner’s Liquor” on “Sunset Boulevard”. I kind of lived down there a bit.

I was just trying to capture a vibe and a mood and an atmosphere and it’s not one story. It’s really kind of elements of a whole lot of stories and whole lot of crazy nights. The music is pretty trippy. It feels like there’s some tension in the music for sure. So I just went with that.

I know that you released these very beautiful acoustic videos on Youtube with the little cute doggy that was running everywhere so I’m just curious if you’re going to do something like that again or was it just a one-time thing?

That was designed to be a one-time thing. We did that because the next day we filmed “American Dream”. We got together the night before we shot the video. We didn’t rehearse the songs, we just sat there and kind of just kind played them, somehow they were in our minds. They are rough and wonderful.

Riverdogs’ California is available on CD, as well as Vinyl and based on what I saw on SNS, people keep on sharing their copies which is amazing. In general I think nowadays more and more people are coming back to buying CDs and Vinyl records. What do you think? How do you listen to music these days? What do you think about this revival of the vinyl record and CD?

It’s interesting because for me, I get so much music. I do song writing lessons through Skype. I do that with people from all over the world like these kind of songwriting workshops that I do, private lessons with people. A lot of the artist I work with, that I’m coaching whether we’re getting ready to make a recording, sometimes I’m doing vocal coaching, sometimes I’m doing performance coaching, sometimes I’m doing what’s called “song doctoring” where I’m getting an artist ready to make a record so the producer hires me to help tweak the songs, fine tune them and all of that happens with mp3s. It’s just such a convenient way to work. So I’ve been doing that for at least 10 years. I’ve gotten away from buying CDs at least in a store. Well, there’s no place to buy them in my small town for one thing. But when I’m at gigs, that’s when I love to buy a CD as one I can buy from the artist and if I like what they do then I’d love to support them by buying a CD.

You know, it’s interesting because for a while there, it seemed like vinyl was gone. No one was making it anymore. That kind of came back. I noticed it when my daughter whose like 16 and she was buying vinyl and I was like “What the heck is going on?” and then she got me a turntable for Christmas and a bunch of records. There’s nothing like that experience. There’s nothing like taking it out and putting it on a turntable. That’s how I grew up and it would be shame if that’d disappeared.

I am really thrilled that 20-year olds are buying CDs.

So many people are sharing their selfies with your CD and Vinyl. That’s so cool.

Yeah that’s amazing. Actually, I thought, I wondered, “Oh, maybe we won’t sell any; maybe it will just be people buying downloads?” I didn’t know. It’s pretty awesome to see that. I don’t know how that started – people sending us pictures of their CD and their vinyl but I love it. It’s super cool. It really is amazing.

For a while there I was very much into your “Above the Wing is Heaven” solo album. It’s a very soul-soothing album for me. I want to ask if you are thinking about releasing a new solo album?

Yeah, actually I’m 95% done with one. I’m just tweaking a couple of mixes. Originally, I announced last year that I was going to release it in June of 2017 and then when the whole Riverdogs thing happened I just thought, “Well, I’m not gonna release it at the same time”. I haven’t decided when I’m gonna release it. I don’t want to complicate things. I want to have the promotion and the marketing for the Riverdogs record be a clean “attack”. I don’t wanna confuse the listener.

I just have to figure out what I think is a reasonable time to release it but it’s really kind of done, I just added another song, a song that my daughter wanted me to add. It’s myself, my two songs and my daughter. We play all the instruments, we wrote all the songs. The record’s gonna be called “And the River Reveals Herself”. I imagine four months, six months; I don’t know what will make sense. I don’t know how long this momentum will go with Riverdogs.

rivers“California” sounds very honest and relatable and I think a lot of people much in that album, including myself. Many albums released this year were focusing on fire, passion, energy, rock&roll. Your album feels a little bit more intimate. Having said that, I think one of the strongest songs on the album is “I Don’t Know Anything”. How did you come up with the lyrics? It’s a very mysterious song.

I learned a long time ago that the more personal, the more intimate I wrote a song, the more people connected to it. I learned that a long time ago. I was in a band before Riverdogs called AirCraft. We were a local, arena-rock band back in San Diego. We wrote arena rock songs, patterned like Aerosmith, Van Halen and we wrote good songs. But when I started writing really personal songs, that’s when people really connected to me in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I was in those bands, we would open up for Cheap Trick, Joe Perry, Ronnie Montrose…every kind of big rock band that would come to our town, we’d be the opening act. We were the local kids. People loved us. Like you said – it was energy, party…but it was so different when I started writing stuff that was real. I saw the connection immediately.  People would come talk to me and tell me what they thought the song was about, what it meant to them and I’d be like “Wow I never thought of that, that’s amazing; it was totally something else in my mind but your version isn’t wrong, your version is beautiful.” So that was a long time ago. That was 30, probably more than 30 years ago and so I just carried on with that.

These songs were so much directed by the music and just the feeling in the room. A lot of it was just how did it feel in the room and right away I would start singing words cause I trust these guys. I trust Marc and Nick and Viv. I could just sing any words and they’ll go with it. They love me. They trust me, I trust them. When you have that freedom you can just let stuff out. I didn’t worry about what I was saying or did it make sense or does this tell a story. I just let the music spark something in my little brain and l let the words come out.

There’s this great saying that I saw somewhere on the Internet probably and I’ve been quoting it for years to my song writing students and it is “create without fear, edit without mercy”. I’ve really been going with that. I’ve really been practicing what I preach.

This is one of those songs actually on this record, there are a couple of them where I’ve talked about California as a State –it’s a State in America. It’s also a state of mind and that’s why I want you to go there. I hope you’ll go. I know you will. I’d love to talk to you after you go because there’s no place like it. It’s like a dreamland.

That song, “I Don’t Know Anything”, it’s very much like a love song to California. If California was a woman, it’s a love song to her.

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIGHave you thought about naming the album something else or this title immediately came up to your mind?

No, I was thinking of one of the lines that I really like – “All the Gods are Drunk Tonight”. It’s in “Golden Glow”.

By the way, you receive a lot of attention from the European audience.

Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing. My whole career, the bulk of my music career over the last 30 years had been based in Europe and based on that first Riverdogs album.

I haven’t really done ton in Canada. I’ve kind of focused on Europe because people over there appreciate what I do and what Riverdogs does and I just go with that.

rob1Music industry has changed a lot these past years. Now, social media plays a very important role in music promotion and connecting with fans, posting updates about the latest happenings in your career. That’s how me and you connected actually. How do you feel about that? Do you often use social media?

That’s a great way to end it actually. For me social media has been key in my career in the last 10-15 years. The Internet in general and that ability to connect with people around the world and again because so much of my career has been focused in Europe as far as touring and recording.

I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Now I’ve got a YouTube channel which I took over the last month. I find it’s an incredible tool. When you think, I’m 58 years old and I can connect with people all over the world.

I still don’t believe that but okay.

Yeah I am. But you know, what does it cost me for my Internet access? I can just post a picture of myself rehearsing or heading off to the farm this morning or whatever. It works, it keeps people who are interested in my music, it allows them to be aware of what I’m doing and we can talk.

The Internet is so great, social media is so great for being able to stay connected and to let people know what you’re doing. For my career – I don’t know where I’d be without it, actually.

I’ve chosen to have, like I said, kind of a quiet, simple life. Social media allows me to have this simple little life and make the kind of music that I wanna make with the people that I love and release it myself and book tours and it’s just been so invaluable for me.

It’s really fun for me, it’s great to be 58, and it’s great to have made record when they were just on vinyl. The first record I made, there was just vinyl then.  I was a teenager, I was in a choir and we made two records. When I got the record deal with the Riverdogs there were CDs but we made a vinyl version as well. Everything changed so much and I love it.

You made a cassette too.

Yes, that’s right. I forgot about that. So cassette too. I don’t know if those are gonna come back.

If there hadn’t been an Internet and social media, I don’t know where my career would be. I’m not like a road dog out touring all the time. I wanna be home, drinking my coffee and my purple smoothie that I made when I came home today. The internet lets me do that, social media just lets me make up my own rules and that is incredible.

And I see you young people, I see 20-year olds, 25-year olds that are literally just creating their own industries. I mentioned that band, Courage My Love – they just created their own music business. They don’t need the old music business, the new one. They just make up their own. I love that.   

As you know my brand is followed by a lot of rock fans on social media and so many of them loved the album and love you as well. Is there something you want to tell us as a wrap up of our conversation?

I’m so honored that something that we create from our hearts is relatable to young people, that’s incredible. That gives me hope because it is something that we created from our hearts and a lot of old people *laughs*, a lot of my friends, they’re really sour about young people. They just think “Oh, kids these days, they don’t know good music, and they just have their noses in their phones all day.” I see people saying that and I disagree so much. Part of that is because I work with young people. They are wonderful. I have so much hope for this crazy, chaotic, mixed up world because of young people. Us, older people are not gonna solve the world’s problems. It’s gonna be you – you and your friends and your peers. I know that, not only is the future of music in good hands, the future of the world is in good hands and that makes me sleep a little better at night.

A beautiful response. One of the goals in my life is to guide people towards the ways in which music business should be done and this business should thrive in the future.  I think somewhere along the way there was a mistake made and a lot of people forgot how music should sound like and what it should mean, especially in the business. I think the music industry lacks people who understand and value music and I want to change that. I hope in the future I become something more.

That’s a beautiful dream. Those changes don’t happen unless somebody dreams a crazy dream. It has to start with someone doing something kind of ridiculous and doing something that can’t be done and shouldn’t be able to be done or everyone says “you can’t do that”. I can say that following what you’re passionate about is unbelievably rewarding. You can imagine it when you’re 25 but when you live it – 25, 35, 45, 55 and every day is just a beautiful adventure, it’s incredible. So please do it.

It’s a very touching and emotional moment for me. I don’t even know how to thank you enough for this wonderful talk. It means a lot for a young person to get to hear those words. I will always cherish the fact that you were the first one to give me an interview and I’m really thankful.

I’m honored to be your first interviewee and we’ll talk again!

Thank you.

 


 

This interview was conducted by Velina (me), founder and owner of “My Rock Mixtapes”. If you would like to use quotations or reference it on your website and/or blog, please make sure you first contact me at velina.rockmixtapes@gmail.com

Cheers.

Celebrating The 37th Anniversary of AC/DC’s “Back In Black”

It’s been 37 years since this album changed the name of the industry and is still going as strong as ever. There’s not a rock fan in this world who has never heard of AC/DC or haven’t yet experienced that deafening musical strength “Back in Black” carries within. 

ac dcWe all know the facts – AC/DC lost their frontman Bon Scott in the beginning of 1980. The decision on whether to continue as a band or not had to be taken (and it had to be taken quickly). Following up the tragic death of the voice and face of the band, AC/DC were facing numerous difficulties and the thought of quitting wasn’t that far actually. Newly-recruited frontman, Brian Johnson was also dealing with many obstacles as the new vocalist. Things were shaky there for a while BUT thanks to one brilliant producer, famous for his precision and obsession with achieving the perfect sound, AC/DC crafted a sound that ended up bringing “Back in Black” the “second-best selling album of all time” title (the first is, of course, MJ’s “Thriller”.) That’s right, I’m talking about the influential producer Mutt Lange who stepped in with brand new approaches and guided the birth of “Back in Black” – an album that perfectly captured the electrifying energy, astonishing technical and lyrical arrangements and a new and reborn AC/DC, ready to take over the world. The album was released in 1980 and it quickly became their most critically respected album. It spawned 4 huge singles – “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells”, “Back in Black” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, all of which redefined hard rock music and left a mark that can never be erased!

Whatever I say about this album would be totally useless. Why? Well, because if rock&roll was a kingdom, this album would be its prince. Everyone loves it, overplayed or not; everyone sings along with anthems like “Back in Black” or “Have a Drink on Me”. Here’s to 37 more years!

What is your favorite track? Personally, I gotta go with “Have a Drink on Me” or the title song. Hearing those opening riffs is a moment of epiphany for every young rock fan out there…

“Back in Black”

“Hells Bells”

“Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”

“You Shook Me All Night Long”


References:

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”

1987 was one of the strongest years of rock music and this album right here is most certainly one of the main reasons why. Today, on the 21st of July, 2017, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the biggest rock statements. To commemorate its release, I think it’s only fair to dedicate a little publication, remembering some of the timeless highlights on it – songs that defined generations of rockers and fans…

Guns n roses -In 1987, Guns N’ Roses blew up the music industry by exploding onto the national scene with their first and best album! In addition to being one of the best-selling albums of all time, “Appetite for Destruction” also happens to be the best-selling debut album in history of music! What a debut that was! Not only did it peaked at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart, but it also reached top 10 positions in Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden.

Needless to say, the album was an absolute turning point for the hard rock/metal genre and its direction. Ferocious rock anthems such as “Paradise City”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Nightrain” have been clogging the airwaves ever since the release of this rock tornado. Guns N’ Roses crafted something extremely dangerous, raw and quite nasty that actually brought nothing but fun and great time to the public. The sound is rough, the lyrics are vulgar and fierce but it’s the 80s we’re talking about – the ultimate time to be as outrageous as you want to and enjoy it to the max! The success of the album was somehow contributed to its hedonistic “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” theme which greatly appealed to the mass. The band incorporated elements of punk rock, glam metal, hard rock and metal music to come up with this primal sound that reached the absolute level of breakthrough. I personally don’t think the band will ever reach such highs, such speed or such level of musicianship. Bottom line is, “Appetite for Destruction” is the record that proved that people can’t really escape from themselves but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

guns

The album makes its clear statement right from the beginning. The first track, “Welcome to the Jungle” is a symbolic door through the brutal, nasty, drug-infested and dark world of L.A. The track sends us on a journey to the city’s most awful secrets. The story, told by Axl and his exceptional but rather ghostly howls, quickly brings out to the surface our deepest fears. This song has to be one of the most powerful intros in rock music! The MV is also a classic.

“Paradise City” is probably the single track they owe their success to. With an exceptional mixture of blues, punk and hard rock motives, the song is everything but your ordinary 80s rock tune. “Paradise City” captivates right from the beginning with its unique rhythm, escalating guitar riffs and Axl’s aggressive, quite forceful but energetic vocal delivery. The theme of the song is similar to that of “Welcome to the Jungle” – they knew how to convey a message using the proper tools and words!

This is my personal favorite song from the album and I’m particularly fond of the music video! Can we please go back and attend such concerts??

In the power ballad “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, Axl, Slash and company prove that they can be vulnerable and deliver something romantic and atmospheric with no efforts. This song perfectly demonstrates the outstanding guitar abilities of Slash and surprises us with a very catchy hard-rock beat and beautiful lyrics.

“Nightrain” is another song I would like to focus your attention at. Yet again, we are transferred to the sinful, alcohol and drug-fueled world of L.A. Axl’s vocal delivery, in combination with metallic hard rock guitar riffs give us a little bit of an AC/DC vibe.

“Think about You” is in my opinion a very underrated track. By including it in this publication, I only wish more people would realize and experience its true value. It’s a sweet love song that creates the perfect mood! The rhythm and the lyrics absolutely do it for me!

Last but not least, let’s remember “Rocket Queen” which seems to be everyone’s favorite track! I’m absolutely inlove with the riffs and the lyrics on this one…

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My Copy of the CD…

What is your favorite track?

 


References:

Album cover retrieved from http://smartlifeos.blogspot.bg/2015/06/music-everybody-loves-80s-tutti-amano.html

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Recommendations: TRIXTER – “Hear!” (1992)

“Damn Good”

Hooked yet? You should be. I do really hope you clicked “play” and listened to that throat-grabbing glam metal track from the early ’90s. By the end of this publication I sincerely hope that you will get off the chair, go find your CD of “Hear!” and play it for old time’s sake. Even better if this is the first time you hear about this album and the band – what a way to get to know them, really!

I will try to be brief and let the music speak.

trixter

Most fans know the New Jersey band Trixter because of that smashing debut album, featuring the fan-favorites “One in a Million”, “Line of Fire”, “Give it to me Good” and “Surrender”. The guys created quite a fuss around themselves at the end of the ’80s and finally hit the record stands with their 1990 self-titled album. It was all great – MTV, endless tours, sharing a stage with the biggest names of the industry…what a kick-off! But hey, they totally deserved it.

In 1992 (yes, that incredible year of rock music), Trixer released their sophomore album, titled “Hear!”. The album is just as good and their debut but…it was impossible for a new-coming band to survive the Seattle “wrath”, or as we know it – the grunge movement. MCA records dropped them (unbelievable…) after the release of “Hear!”. MTV stopped caring as well…and BAM – all hopes and dreams got crushed as quickly as they arrived. I hate it.

Let’s go back to the album…

Hard and heavy. Everything is a killer and there’s not even a single filler!

Personal favorites – “Power of Love” and “Damn Good”. You had the chance to listen to “Damn Good” so check out this other energizing track. I am absolutely inlove with the drums on this one. Mark “Gus” Scott is damn good!

“Power of Love”

This song right here should give you a clear idea of why this band is featured on my blog and why they are worthy of checking out. There’s just something more there, you know. The mere definition of “underrated” – Trixter and this explosive heavy metal tornado of a track – “Rockin’ House”. Don’t you even get me started on Peter Loran – what a voice of steel!

“Rockin’ House”

Some more song for you to check out:

“Road of a Thousand Dream”

“Runaway Train”

“What it Takes”

Tell me what you think and what memories you have with this album?

Or if this is the first time you are checking these songs out, what do you think? Feel like this might be just for you? Comment below and subscribe to my blog to keep great music alive!


References:

Band photo, retrieved from http://www.theglamnationnetwork.com/trixter.html

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Album Review] RIVERDOGS Won My Heart with “CALIFORNIA”

Intro:

Funny how all good things in my life are somehow linked to Def Leppard; seems like discovering them back in the day was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. Becoming a fan of Def Leppard led to many different roads. Guess how I got to know some of my favorite rock acts, like Helix, Billy Squier or Tesla? Same way I discovered and became a fan of Roadhouse, Shadow King, Last in Line and of course Riverdogs – they are all somehow related with my beloved members of Def Leppard.

riverdogs debutWhen I got to know and completely fell for Vivian Cambell’s guitar playing with Def Leppard it was only a matter of time before I traced back his career to Riverdogs and that brilliant debut album of theirs. The rest is …well history.

Ultimately, it all led to this moment right here, the moment I’ve been waiting for so long! That’s right – Riverdogs, featuring original members Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitars), Nick Brophy (bass, vocals) and Vivian Campbell (lead guitar), together with drummer Marc Danzeisen are back with a brand new album, titled “California” and I can barely hold my excitement. Many of you are quite familiar with Vivian and his work with Dio and Def Leppard but in case the other three guys are currently not on your musical radar, now is the time to dig a little deeper and add them to your book of great rock artists.

I knew that this was going to be a rock solid year for Frontiers Records but this release right here completely changed the face of the game. I had a feeling that the album will be quite good but you know what – “California” exceeded every expectation I had in terms of sound, lyrics and influence. It was only natural to dedicate a publication on the new album and share a few of my observations and the reasons why this album might as well just top my playlist for 2017 releases. Let’s dive in…

Riverdogs

RIVERDOGS

Coming from Los Angeles, Riverdogs formed back in 1989 – an interesting, quite dynamic time for rock music if you ask me. Still, the band managed to stand out with an exceptional 1990 debut album, conquering fans and critics with an original ‘70s blues rock style, entirely different from the glam metal sound and image that was popular at that time. Songs like “America”, “I Believe” and “Toy Soldier” are just a few of the reasons why their debut achieved recognition and found its place in the hearts of many fans (including mine, of course).

Unfortunately, as I already mentioned, the times were quite turbulent and in this period of transition, many bands couldn’t really secure a stable position on the music scene. Riverdogs re-assembled with new members and released two more albums in the ‘90s before they called it quits. The original line-up got back together in the early 2000s, which eventually led to a new album in 2011, titled “World Gone Mad”.

Now, six years later, “California” is a fact and honestly, nothing else really matters. Whether you are a die-hard fan and lived through those glory old days of rock or you’re just seeing the name Riverdogs for the very first time, “California” most certainly will grab your attention and bring you that much needed summer boost. Melodic rock fans, fans of quality music, fans of the old-school ways of making good music – this is the album for you!

Now, let’s talk more about the songs…

“California”

RIVERDOGS CALIFORNIA BIG

“California” is as soothing as night winds on a warm July evening. You just simply can’t get enough of this blissful feeling the album brings to you. Song after song, emotion after emotion – it’s all there. I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not; “California” is a stunning set of sing-alongs, rock anthems, bluesy soul-touching tracks, all brilliantly decorated with thoughtful lyrics and memorable melodies.

Where do I begin? I don’t know, the songs are all so good! After I played the entire album for the very first time, “The Heart is a Mindless Bird” stood out to me the most. I’m a softie and this is the perfect song for me. The lyrics, along with the deep, affecting vocals of the criminally underrated vocalist Rob Lamothe conquered me right from the start. Next one of my list is “I Don’t Know Anything” which has a similar vibe and I guess that’s the reason why those two songs are my top ones.  Rob singing “I don’t know anything…That doesn’t stop me now…”, followed by those mellow riffs is one of the best moments on “California”. The opening track, “American Dream” is your well-known pounding rocker, aimed at grabbing you by the throat from the very beginning. The breezy second track, “The Revolution Starts Tonight”, should’ve been the opener, at least in my humble opinion. We go full blues mode with the third track, “Something Inside” which brings you back to the good years of Bad Company. “You’re too Rock and Roll” is my new favorite Friday night song. It just begs you to crank it up while having a couple of beers with your favorite people.

Viv is brilliant – we don’t really have to comment on that, just listen to the entire album. To me, though, the biggest strength of the album lies within the gentle but powerful vocals of Rob Lamothe. He truly shines on this album and not only with his powerful singing but also with his songwriting skills.

It’s quite obvious that I’m a devoted fan and I might be biased but at the end of the day, this is how I feel. What I truly pray for is that other people will recognize their talent and ability to write the kind of rock music we truly need nowadays, so that Riverdogs will keep on releasing new albums in the future and make every fan, old or new, feel as proud as I do right now.


“I Don’t Know Anything”

“Welcome to the New Disaster”

“American Dream”

“Something Inside”

Riverdogs “Welcome To The New Disaster” (Live Acoustic Version)


References:

Album art retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5390
Band photo retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZKFAm6S3Do

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

For My Love for Sophomore Albums: MR.BIG’s Lean Into It (1991)

Me, Mr. Big and Lean Into It

mr big lean into itThere we go again with the well-established trend I observe in me with most of the rock bands out there. The thing is that somehow I always fall for the sophomore releases; Not entirely sure why but I guess that’s when a band showcases growth and it is so appealing to witness and experience how musicians evolve into a better version of themselves. By the way, since we are talking about sophomore releases, I wrote an entire blog publication about it which you can check at My Top 10 Sophomore (Rock) Releases

Obviously, what I’m trying to get to is that once again, this time with Mr.Big, I fell for the sophomore release. You see the thing is that I didn’t even know. First two songs I heard from them back in the day were “To Be With You” and “Just Take My Heart” and I was hooked immediately. Got the album and the rest is history. Don’t get me wrong, their self-titled debut is pretty solid but I just love this one a little bit more. Let’s talk more about it and play some tunes!

mr big 1

What you need to know about this release is that basically it was Mr.Big‘s golden ticket to stardom. Things changed drastically for them after one of the songs, that “little” tune called “To Be With You” topped the charts. Single #2, “Just Take My Heart” left its mark as well. 

If I have to introduce Mr.Big to someone who has never heard of them, this is where I will start it. Why? Well, I will be brief. First of all, the most thrilling thing about “Lean Into It” is that it offers a mixture of pop rock, blues & hard rock (but not that hard), all wrapped up under a cozy, charming and familiar atmosphere. Second of all, this album is overflowing with talent. Vocalist Eric Martin was at his top game; oh, how much i love his soothing vocals! Paul Gilbert is an excellent shredder guitarist who maybe couldn’t spread his wings in entirely on this album, but still – tons of mind-spinning riffs. Ultimately, there’s no way in hell you wouldn’t appreciate this album’s artistry after just one listen.

The Songs

mr big to be with youWe gotta start our discussion with the ultimate sing-along anthem, “To Be With You”. One listen, that’s it! That’s all it takes for you to get hooked and sing it for the rest of your day. What truly impressed me were the lyrics – “Hold on, little girl
Show me what he’s done to you. Stand up, little girl. A broken heart can’t be that bad.” I’m sure you know what follows…

“Just Take My Heart” is the moment you realize that there’s a lot going on on this album and purchasing it was most certainly the smartest decision of your life! I included a few more songs on the playlist below, including “Green-Tinted Sixties Mind” and my personal favorite, “Never Say Never”

Comment below and tell me what’s your favorite song from “Lean Into It” and what do you think about it? Before you do that, crank up some Mr.Big!

“To Be With You”

“Just Take My Heart”

“Green-Tinted Sixties Mind”

“Never Say Never”

buy-from-amazon


References:
Album Artwork, retrieved from: https://www.amazon.com/Lean-Into-MR-BIG/dp/B000002IQS
Band Photo, retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/adidjohari/what-i-ve-been-listen-since-elementary-till-now/
“To Be With You” Cover Photo, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Be_with_You
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.