Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Higher Resolution Revolution - MP3s Are Not The Way To Do Business With Record Reviewers

"This whole re-mastering process is a result of listening to Led Zeppelin on MP3. It almost sounds as if someone has got into the master tapes and done a really horrendous mix of it," Page said of the MP3 versions in a recent interview. "It just wasn't representative of what we'd done in the first place. So many textures were missing. The whole beauty of Led Zeppelin, the air of it, these instruments coming in here and here and over here, was just totally destroyed." ~ Jimmy Page

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I no longer have much desire to listen to mp3 files. They are a bastardization of music, and not something I wish to inflict upon myself anymore than I absolutely must.

I'm not sure where the slippery slope began, and I'm not sure that it even really matters. Somewhere along the line we all accepted a false premise and promise, and we were taken for a ride. In the desire for convenience and a deal, we lost sight of why we fell in love with music, exactly what it is supposed to sound like, and maybe more importantly, how it can make us feel. How it should make us feel.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whitesnake Set To Unleash 'The Purple Album' On May 15

David Coverdale enters the time machine, and he takes a stalwart band back in time to reimagine some of the best material from his years with rock legends Deep Purple this May, as he partners with Frontiers Records to release 'The Purple Album'.

Whitesnake is joined by guitarist Joel Hoekstra, who replaces Doug Aldrich, who left the band to spend more time with his son and other projects after a very lengthy tenure as Coverdale's right hand man. Also on board are Reb Beach (guitars), Michael Devin (bass), and Tommy Aldridge (drums) who are all returning members.

The first cut released is the video for 'Stormbringer', and it certainly makes a great impression. They stick somewhat to the script, but the guitars are a little more contemporary as they take the place of the inimitable Jon Lord's organ and synth work - but, the song retains it's original flavor, and Mr. Coverdale as always wraps up the prettiest gifts in rock. I can't imagine anyone not being over the moon about this one. Great memories with new twists in the right places - the production of this is superb.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Michael Des Barres - The Key To The Universe - Brilliant Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive And Well

Michael Des Barres
The Key To The Universe
FOD Records
April 2015

Michael Des Barres' The Key To The Universe is one of those increasingly rare records that makes you remember why we love rock 'n' roll - in fact, it forces you to remember why we love rock 'n' roll. Rock 'n' roll that reminds you that the best rock 'n' roll resides both in the head, and below the waist. This record is a blast.

Continuing his musical resurgence that began in 2011 with the excellent Carnaby Street album, and followed by 2013's incendiary Hot n Sticky Live set, Michael Des Barres has unleashed an album that is the best of his long and storied career. Written and recorded over five weeks in the stately Forum Music Village studio in Rome, the record marries Des Barres' velvety shards of broken glass vocals with a band that is absolutely smoldering on the verge of explosion, and a producer (Bob Rose) who has managed to keep it raw, but with a simple beauty that dazzles. The intensity is palpable - this foursome provides an incredible amount of ear candy that well decorates the 'heart on the sleeve' stories that are being told. The music makes you feel like you're living the song, as all great rock should. This is where the story should be at this point - this is where rock is meant to go.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Udo Dirkschneider of U.D.O. - Decadent - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Udo Dirkschneider has been leading his heavy metal battleship U.D.O. for three decades, and the band has never sounded better than they do on their new album, Decadent. It's the first album for their new guitar team of Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen, and they've delivered a marvelous update on the band's sound.

I spoke with Udo from his home in Ibiza as his band gets ready to head out for long season of touring, and for the first time they will feature Udo's twenty-one year old son Sven on the drums. One way to keep yourself sharp, and young is to tour the world and make records with a top flight bunch of rockers, and Dirkschneider is certainly doing that. He discusses all that and more in this episode of The Rock Guitar Daily Interview.

(My Review of U.D.O.'s Decadent)
U.D.O. Facebook

Brad Gillis of Night Ranger - Heading For Islington 02 - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Brad Gillis has been blowing minds for a quarter of a century with his guitar histrionics within the song based hard rock juggernaught, Night Ranger. The band is getting ready to assault the UK with their long string of hits and heavy guitars at the London 02 Academy Islington on March 12 before they hit the Hard Rock Hell Festival on the following Saturday.

I caught up with Brad at his home in Northern California as he made preparations for the UK shows which will be the first overseas jaunt for the band since they were rejoined by Keri Kelli on co-lead guitar - even though Keri has played in Night Ranger in the past, Gillis explains that it's a lot of work to break in a new band members for their stunning displays of guitar work. That, and much, much more in The Rock Guitar Daily Interview.

24 HOUR BOX OFFICE: 08440 249 01000

Michael Schenker - Spirit On A Mission - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Michael Schenker has enjoyed a career that has now been going on long enough to indicate that he's with us for the long haul, and that's great news for any lover of the electric guitar. The legendary hard rocker has spent time with Scorpions, flown in a UFO, his own Michael Schenker Groups, the McAuley/Schenker Group, a solid solo career, and now his incipient Temple Of Rock.

This interview is special because it is supplied with queries directly from his fan base - most particularly the Michael Schenker Facebook group that was set up by myself several years ago to serve as a clearing house for all things Schenker social media. The one thing the group demanded was that this interview steer clear of the run of the mill, usual 'we have a new album, and here's the script' message that so often plagues a press junket, and we certainly succeeded on that mission.

Michael talks about his long and satisfying relationship with Dean Guitars, the effect of having all of his gear and the computers that contained three quarters of a completed album stolen midstream, his desire to perhaps have a signature line of guitar amps to call his own, how being a major influence on a generation of guitarists is not that big a deal, and why the much ballyhooed Schenker Brothers album is probably an idea whose time will now not come.

Michael Schenker/Temple Of Rock Official Facebook page

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Danko Jones - Fire Music - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Danko Jones is on the steady incline - he's been driving his self titled rock 'n' roll roadshow for nearly twenty years, and he appears to be reaching new heights with his band's latest release, Fire Music. This band is a direct link to the lineage of great groups such as The Ramones and Motorhead - they keep things simple with great riffs and a good story, but they manage to continually improve the delivery of the message that rock ain't dead. Overwhelmingly positive reviews for Fire Music indicate that this album stands proudly next to anything in the band's catalog, and should prove to be the next step in the band's ongoing success.

I had a chance to catch up with Danko in the midst of his just finishing up some dates in his homeland of Canada, the release of the new album, and preparations for an extensive spring and summer touring season. If you get a chance, check out Danko's excellent podcasts - he's a fascinating guy who does a great job chatting with some of the most fascinating rockers on the planet. Fire Music is an album that should find a way into your collection if you a fan of hard rock with great riffs, songs, and you need a reminder that Rock Ain't Near Dead.

You can find Fire Music at the links below:

CD (Amazon):
LP (Amazon):

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nightwish - Élan (new single) - More Brilliant Symphonic Melodic Metal For The Masses

Élan - new single
Nuclear Blast Records
Endless Forms Most Beautiful - new album due March 27, 2015

Nightwish are back, and this is no surprise as the almost three quarters of a million viewers of their new video single 'Élan' can certainly testify, and it would appear that the assimilation of singer Floor Jansen into the band has been a resounding success. The band's new album Endless Forms Most Beautiful is due March 27, and they've just released the first single and video from the record.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Nita Strauss - Alice Cooper, Ibanez Guitars, Hired Gun Doc, Solo Albums, and More - The Rock Guitar Daily Interview

Nita Strauss had the type of year in 2014 of which dreams are made. She parlayed years of hard work with such acts as The Iron Maidens, Femme Fatale, Critical Hit, and Jermaine Jackson into a job with one of the most prominent and prestigious touring bands in the world, Alice Cooper.

She took to it like baby to breast, and it seems to be the most natural fit in the world, as she emerges in photo after photo mugging with the king of shock rock and flying her Ibanez guitars like flags of victory, and never once taking the smile off of her face - and who could blame her, right? 2015 appears to be promising more of the same, and now there's even talk of a Nita Strauss solo album, which will certainly sweeten the pot. I caught up with Nita on a rare day off in the Hollywood hills of her hometown, Los Angeles.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

PONO Music Player - High Res Is Real - Me and Neil Walking Down A Lonely Street

"It's the difference between just hearing music, and feeling music."

PONO is righteous - the music side of things is just great. And that's what matters the most. High resolution audio files must be at least a part of the future, if we are to have a decent future for quality audio. When I heard Zeppelin in high resolution on this device it removed any doubt - PONO is like having a fantastic stereo system in your hand for 400 bucks. It does what they said it would do.

Blindsided? No, I saw it coming. Was it a dream? No, it feels entirely too real. Was it my imagination? No, my imagination's not that good. I saw what I saw, but what I'm seeing is something I hadn't expected. I'm naive that way. But, what I hear is exactly what I had hoped I would hear.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Graham Bonnet - private i (The Archives: Vol.1) - Outrageously Gorgeous Psyche Pop Nuggets From 1975

Graham Bonnet
private i (The Archives: Vol. 1)
Out now

Who'd of thunk it? Rock powerhouse vocalist Graham Bonnet had a serious past before he flew over the Rainbow with Ritchie Blackmore to become many great guitarists' voice in the remaining years of the twentieth century, and he's just now released a tremendously cool archive of some previously unreleased earlier efforts.

His hardcore fans may be perplexed by this release, but its real audience should be the fans of bands like The Beatles, The Kinks, Big Star, early Bee Gees, and other purveyors of gorgeous pop nuggets. Great melodies, the expected fantastic vocal range and dynamics, big keys, strings, and most surprisingly some stunningly adventurous songwriting. This is a lost treasure of time, and I guess better late than never applies. This album goes a long way towards explaining why Bonnet was once offered the lead vocalist position in Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra. private i (The Archives: Vol. 1) is an iTunes release at this point, and I'd recommend you buy it. Now.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

U.D.O. - Decadent - The Good Reverend Dirkschneider Delivers The Good Word Once Again

AFM Records
February 3, 2015

Udo Dirkschneider is the Woody Guthrie of metal. He put your 'Balls To The Wall' back in 1984 with Accept, and he never came back - ever since, it's been Udo against evil, and it's only a shame that most aren't paying more attention.

If they were, they'd notice that the guy can't put out a bad record. His albums are heavy, they're musically nutritious, his rhythm section is never less powerful than a carrier, and the man himself is still perfecting his guttural, yet beautiful sound. It's the sound of righteous indignation. Metal Heart, indeed.

Decadent is U.D.O.'s fifteenth studio album, and it's a strong one. The band is writing the music as a team, and the lyrical content is being handled by Udo and his longtime right hand man, Fitty Wienhold, who also provides some of the tastiest and best toned bass work around to the festivities. But, this is metal, and it's down to the riff isn't it? Well, Dirkschneider did a brilliant bit of recruiting and he came up with two winners in the writing, riffing, and solo departments in Andrey Smirnov, and Kasperi Heikkinen for his guitar team. You could even throw any track on Decadent onto a classic Accept album, and not much would seem tremendously off kilter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Neil Young Dies For The Sins Of Others - F**k A Bunch Of Manipulators, Here's The Rest Of What The Man Said

"It's a niche, and it's a great niche and it's a wonderful thing and I hope people continue to enjoy vinyl and it continues to grow, because it's a good thing." A portion of the rest of Neil's statement on vinyl that you're not being shown on most sites.
Neil Young is getting it from all sides. He's being castigated, and all but crucified for speaking his truth. And it's all the sins of others. That's right - the actions of others have all but put him on the cross, whether they know it, or care to admit it. They've've made so many so rich for doing so little that now they must assassinate the character of one of our greatest artists to protect what they now see as theirs. The Empire of the mp3 is striking out at Young like nothing I've seen in my lifetime.

I'm reading attack piece after attack piece coming from the mainstream (both tech sites and entertainment sources like Billboard) relating to PONO, Young's new high resolution audio player and service. I've not heard a PONO yet, but I am about to change that. I'll have a unit in my hands tomorrow, then I'll test it myself and among friends, and only then I will form an opinion. I understand that no one in the mainstream has a reason to see Pono succeed - but then, when was the last time you saw the mainstream contribute to making anything of higher quality? I'll trust my own test, thanks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guitar Center Is Fine (For Today) - Eric Gardner's Presumptive Obituary

Eric Garland has been a harsh critic of the policies and management of Guitar Center, Inc. for some time. He posted this presumptive story about the possibility of the end of the world's largest musical instrument retailer, and shortly thereafter his story and site went down. You can be assured that nothing has happened at Guitar Center that would indicate its death - these are only Eric's opinions and speculations, but they make for a fascinating read. This is the copy from Eric Garland's web site (Eric's site is now back up and running -



This is an obituary for Guitar Center, a chain of big box musical instrument stores that was captured and infected by private equity during a national trend of greed and reckless expansionism in the late-1990s and early-2000s. The company started as a Los Angeles organ store, became a successful purveyor of guitars after the Beatles arrived in the United States, evolved into a national competitor over a period of decades, and shall finish, with sad poetry, as the symbol of everything dysfunctional about American corporate finance, management, and retail in the modern age. Its demise is really the end of a generation of business managers, illustrating how they lost their moral compass as well as any ability to lead individual companies or national economies into a stable, rational, prosperous future. This story will focus on the final days of this one company, but it is really about our painful transition to an economic system that obeys objective reality and serves people in a durable, holistic manner.