Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rudolf Schenker - Unplugged But Still Electrifying - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Rudolf Schenker is finding out that the world is not quite ready for Scorpions, his long running juggernaught of peace and friendship, to come to a halt. The band has just released their latest opus, MTV Unplugged, a DVD/CD set that takes a long and leisurely look at the German metal frontrunners' history.

I caught up with Rudolf on an early Monday morning, and at 64 he's still running circles around the rest of the planet - we used telephones, but I'm not sure they were necessary. Had Schenker stuck his head out of his German window, I'm thinking I could well have heard him from my California back door. His energy and passion crash down like mighty waves, and you can either join in, or get out of his way. I dove in.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Adrian Belew - On Crimson ProjeKCt, The Crimson Legacy, And Flux - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

The Crimson ProjeKCt - the Fripp approved roadshow put together by King Crimson veterans Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Pat Mostelotto and including Markus Reuter, Julie Slick, and Tobias Ralph are hitting the boards again in 2014, and they'll be bringing their troupe to the 02 Sheperds Bush Empire on March 12th for a special one off in the UK.

I spoke with the always affable and elucidating Adrian Belew at his home near Nashville, Tennessee about the tour and his other plans for 2014 - as always, he's a busy guy, but he also ended out talk with the announcement of something even he has never done, and that is truly saying something.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lance Lopez Rocks The Baked Potato - Don't Bogart That Bogert, My Friend!

There were moments tonight, when things just took off - now, that was fun." ~ Tim Bogert
"Goodness gracious, 'lil Susie sho likes to roll...."

To say the least there were moments last night at the world famous Baked Potato last night in Los Angeles in which it seemed the small club itself might just take flight as Texas guitar star Lance Lopez raised the roof again and again with incendiary singing and molten lava blues rock.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jason Bonham Reveals New Band With Glenn Hughes, Andrew Watt

It would appear that the cat is safely out of the bag. After months of steely secrecy, this morning Jason Bonham came out and said it:

Jason Bonham ~ "Good Morning. Grabbing my Starbucks while listening in the car to the mixes for me new band with Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt . Will tease you with a few bars of it later !!!!!! Sound Bad Ass . Cheers."

I've been sitting on this since I heard the demos back in September - and yes, they sound amazing. There will be few people mourning the death of Black Country Communion when this project is heard, it is simply amazing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock - Bridging The Gap Live in Corona

Photo by Anthony Crawford
He's calling it Bridge The Gap, but I'm thinking it's just as much phoenix rising these days with our old friend, Michael Schenker. He's had more lives than most cats, and we are currently in the midst of a beautiful resurgence.

Coming fast on the heels of his best album in decades, the German guitar legend is playing with his well known fire and precision, but he's now added fun and enjoyment to his repertoire, along with the best sidekick he's rode with in ages - Doogie White brings a lot to the party, and perennial sergeant-at-arms Wayne Findlay is steadfast in his role. Bolstered by the rock steady Pete Holmes on the drums and the whirlwind that is Rev Jones on a fine collection of Dean basses, the band absolutely thrilled the capacity crowd at the rock 'n' roll oasis that is the M15 club in Corona, California.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ethan Brosh - Live The Dream - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Ethan Brosh is a guitarist known for making things happen. He's gone from an eleven year old guitar student in Israel to opening for Jake E. Lee's triumphant return to his hometown of San Diego, and this Spring he'll be releasing his second full length CD, Live The Dream, on Carmine Appice's new Rocker Records label. You don't pull off things like this without a full tilt effort, and it's a steely determination that seems to keep Brosh in focus and on point.

Coming off an impressive summer tour opening shows for Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Ethan is primed to enter 2014 with a full head of steam, and heading for the next level. He's decreasing the number of acts he's been playing with to focus on his solo career, and from the sound of the new record, that's a great idea. I had a chance to spend some quality time with Brosh in San Diego before the Red Dragon Cartel show, and we had a great talk about how he sees things, and where he'd like to go.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

68-75 - Stay On The Ride - Atlanta Vets, Or Rookies Of The Year?

68-75 comes out of the gate with no governor on the engine, and with the pedal fully to the metal. After getting a good round of attention towards the end of 2013 via a highly prized slot on one of Classic Rock Magazine's great compilation discs, and sworn testimonials from some of America's underground experts, the band is set to unleash their first long player, Stay On The Ride, on the masses, and the masses would do well to hold on tight.

Led by longtime Atlanta rockers Suzanne Sledge on vocals, and Andrew Cylar on wicked guitar, 68-75 are braced for well-deserved rock stardom. With a disc this good in your repertoire it's surely time to load up the van and seek a place on stages and headline bills.

What's on tap here is edgy straight ahead rock with little filler - acknowledging their unabashed love of the power rock of the seventies, 68-75 would have fit quite well on the stage at Woodstock, and they'll fit just as well on festival stages in 2014 if they keep playing their cards like they have been. This is a handmade project - the band has done everything on their own, and through shrewd use of social media, they stand very ready to go to the next level - one that will engage labels, publicists, and management. Sledge and Cylar have solid star power, and they are bigger than can be grown in a small pot for long.

Camel's Back starts things off, and it's taut, distorted guitar line will stick to your bones like a mother's meal, and Sledge's well worn shout will put you in mind of such ghosts of rock's past like Marriott, Rodgers, and Reid. The rhythm section is nicely tight, but loose - they've definitely heard a Zeppelin record, or two. The lyrics tell the tale of broken love, and they're appropriately defiant, then along comes Cylar with what I lovingly call a 'Leslie West moment.' A long, bent fill that's just fat, and filled with tone - economy of language is the key, and while he says little, it speaks large. The solo is a joy, filled with sharp shards of solid rock. One of the thrills of a home brewed project is that this sounds real, like a band stood in a room and ripped this one of in one take.

"Made my deal with the devil, nobody rides for free.' So says the first line of Deal With The Devil, and it's now clear that as Sledge sets sail with her 'soul's wide open' prose, Cylar throws out memorable guitar hooks like candy off a float. Again, the guitarist sounds as pissed as the singer when he unfurls his in your face solos. Great rhythm guys are rare as anything, and Andrew Cylar is first rate. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Bleak, dark guitar, and a mournful organ announce Detroit, and again Sledge is on the edge of town with no ticket out. The riff sounds rainy and cold, and the dirge of the bass and drums march on soldierly, as Cylar's wicked vibrato shakes out the notes, leading into an overdubbed twin guitar solo section that suggests interesting possibilities for the future.

Dog Tooth recalls the best moments of seventies swagger, bringing to mind Robin Trower's best, and the whisky soaked soul of Humble Pie. Solid snare work keeps this from being just another rocker, and the riffing has a sultry smack. More great tone and fill from Cylar, who seems to know just how much spice to add toy a recipe.

Things get downright Stonesy on It's Only Tuesday with chord suspensions and a rocking acoustic track laying up next to the electrics, and a more open snare sound that lightens up things nicely. Reminds me of why I loved Mick Taylor in the Stones, as the stinging leads mix with the pumping rhythms. I hear Atlanta all over this one with fond memories of all the great guitar work that came out of Georgia in the nineties. Sledge is one point again, shouting out her melodic take on the blues.

An insistant bass drum jousts nicely with Cylar's riffing on the intro of Kicking Down The Stalls, and Sledge tells it like it is. She may be beat down, but she's never beaten. This is a voice that's lived the lyrics, I don't get any sense of fiction coming from this record. Classic blues rock belting from someone who's felt it, experienced it, and lived to write about it. More great and memorable guttering, and it's over all too soon.

If The Faces were to reunite, I'd hope it would sound half as great as Nowhere. Not that this band doesn't sound great as the classic power trio with a singer lineup, but I have to think a full time Hammondist (that's me making up words again), and another guitar could open this up even more. Cylar's riffs are so compelling and interesting that they suggest further orchestration - again, not any criticism, just me hearing possibilities that he's often laid down upon this disc.

NSC features one of those stately, and gorgeous intros that always sounded so good when they came jumping of the FM airwaves, and then it graduates to more swinging, swaggering rock. Sledge and Cylar sound like they've been doing this for eons, and they have. The pair has been working together for over a decade, and I'm damned glad they never gave up. Rock this vital is necessary to keep the ship afloat in these days of corporate destitution in the mainstream. I hope they keep their act together and see this through - this is one of those combinations I want to hear five albums from now, four world tours later - it can only get better, richer, and more valuable over time.

This is a band I want to play with - strap on an axe and hit the road. You will to when you get trampled underfoot by a riff like Send My Body Home. It takes great guitars to not completely get lost in a voice like Sledge's, and Cylar delivers again, and again - and I know how hard, and rare riff writing like that is to find. He's the best rhythm writer I've heard in a long while, and there's even some howling harp on this one that keeps the gutters fresh. This one swings, swings, and swings.

Stay On The Ride is straight up solid blues rock ripping, complete with muted chuck-a-chuck guitar mashing and psychedelic strangling that gives Sledge yet another color to weave her vocal magic across. She's a lower pitched plant than some of the raging Brits of days past, suggesting more of a Dewars and water kid of tone, and it fits perfectly with Cylar's Les Pauls.

I'm guessing that this one can't miss my top 14 for 2014, even at this early date. Hell, it's a band I want to play in, manage, produce, and take home with me - but great rock 'n' roll is like that, right. You want to own it, make it yours, and make sure it doesn't ever go away. Hell no, Rock Ain't Near Dead....

My special thanks to Suzanne Sledge and Andrew Cylar.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brian Tichy - This Week On Rock Ain't Near Dead Saturday, January 11th!

Brian Tichy will be joining us on Rock Ain't Near Dead on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. PST on LA Talk Radio ( - January 11, 2014. How he's found the time I have no idea, because he might just be the busiest guy in rock 'n' roll. When he's not busy behind the drum kit with the like of Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Billy Idol, or Geoff Tate's Queensryche, he might be found playing killer guitar in S.U.N., his incredible new band with supersinger Sass Jordan, but this month he's outdone himself.

Check out this link for details:

On January 2nd, his Led Zeppelin tribute band, The Moby Dicks (Tichy, Stephen LeBlanc, Brent Woods, James Lomenzo, Chas West) recreated Zep's first ever LA show at the Whisky a Go Go, 45 years to the day! Same date, same venue, same setlist!

Next, on Thursday, January 23rd Tichy is hosting the fourth annual Bonzo Bash NAMM Jamm 2014 - the greatest collection of great rock 'n' roll drummers to ever be assembled in one room. Besides the list of all these great stickmen (see poster below), special guests will include Billy Sheehan, Bernard Fowler, Robert DeLeo, Oni Logan, and many more!

As if this weren't enough, it gets even crazier with the first ever Randy Rhoads Remembered show on Friday, January 24th at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tichy will be joined by an amazing list of A-list guitarists (Brad Gillis (ex-Ozzy), Nuno Bettencourt, Gus G., Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, Marty Friedman, and many others, including perhaps even the once reclusive Jake E. Lee!) to celebrate the life and music of one of the most legendary and missed guitarists to ever pick up an axe. This one will be beyond belief.

Indeed, Brian Tichy is one rocker who seems to have the golden touch. How does he do it all? Heaven knows, but we'll be asking him how this Saturday at 8 p.m. PST on Rock Ain't Near Dead on LA Talk Radio ( He may well even play some guitar for us, as well. Another show you won't want to miss!