Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Silverthorne's Brian Tichy Guests on This weeks Focus on Metal


Episode 443 - Silverthorne


Lots of discussion this week as well as a chat with Brian Tichy about his new band Silverthorne. While we were at it we couldn’t resist digging back into some of the other bands he’s been involved with as well.

Here's the first single off the upcoming EP

Get the this episode from the Focus on Metal SiteThe Focus on Metal RSS feed, or subscribe on iTunes.

You can hear us every Tuesday night on Pure Rock Radio
and each Wednesday afternoon on Metal World Radio

Visit http://focusonmetal.net/ for information on all the past episodes and to find the links to all our other social media sites.

And as always
Focus On Metal…Everything Else is Insignificant.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Come On Feel The Noize- The Story Of How Rock Became Metal (Cleopatra Records)


Come On Feel the Noize: The Story of How Rock Became Metal [DVD]
 
   Tackling the story of heavy metal is nothing new, there have been countless books and documentaries on the subject. Most I've seen have needed multiple episodes from the likes of Bob Nalbandian and Sam Dunn and even they have to edit out a lot of stuff to fit the story and because of time constraints. So Thore Vollert and Jorg Soontag are attempting to tell the tale in 90 minutes, the results are mixed because of it.

   There are 3 ways to effectively represent the story: interviews with artists, old tv and concert clips and narration to flesh out the story and move it along. The big names are here from Hetfield to Page to Ozzy, the tv clips are impressive especially from German show Beat Club that I've never seen before. The coverage of the late 60s and early 70s is handled well but then it starts to lose me a little. Sometimes it loses me a lot. There is much on the influence of punk and glam yet nothing on prog rock giants Rush, Genesis and Yes. Having an interview with Blondie and a segment on Roxy Music and not mentioning Thin Lizzy had me scratching my head. There's next to nothing on Van Halen and the development of guitar gods like Yngwie, George Lynch and Randy Rhoads, the MTV era and its influence is not even mentioned. Quiet Riot had the first heavy metal album to go to number one in the US and it's not brought up yet they cover Slade. Power metal is brought up but it's the newer acts like Powerwolf and Sabaton featured at the expense of Helloween and Manowar and do we really need to hear Michael Schenker again taking all the credit for UFO and Scorpions? Nope.

   Moving on to the 90s there's nothing on Pantera when they kept the genre alive and is there a heavier album to ever go to number one? I don't think so. Nothing on Sepultura. There's a lot on Alice Cooper yet little on Kiss, how many metal musicians have you heard picked up a guitar because of Ace Frehley or saw Kiss, the answer is many. If you can't get an interview or the rights to footage it's vital the narration fills in the blanks. It doesn't. There's interviews with Steel Panther, too much on Ghost and David Draiman from Disturbed is very good. Then there's the inclusion of Life Of Agony and next to nothing on grunge, which do you think had the bigger impact on metal? A few minutes with Sixx AM, that's a no from me. Nikki Sixx on the impact of Motley Crue would have been better.

   By far the biggest exclusion is Ronnie James Dio who I believe is mentioned once in an interview with Doro. You ask any metal head to name the iconic singers in the genre and Ronnie is right up there. His influence is MASSIVE vocally, musically and visually. Don't include more footage of Running Wild and Blind Guardian at the expense of Ronnie. Would have been nice to include interviews with some magazine writers who were there at the time as well as some record industry folk to share their views. It needed more on the twin lead guitar sound of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Overall a decent and at times frustrating watch. If someone asked me to grade it out of 10 I would give it a 5.

Richie.

http://cleorecs.com/home/




Saturday, November 30, 2019

Sensitive To Light The Rainbow Story- Martin Popoff (Power Chord Press)

   sensitive-to-light-the-rainbow-story book cover.jpg

   Martin is one of the most prolific authors out there when it comes to rock and metal, he's up to over 80 books and I believe I own about 70 of them. This one is a major overhaul on his last Rainbow book English Castle Magic and brings the story right up to date with the current incarnation featuring Ronnie Romero on vocals. You get a chapter on each album including the live releases with contributions from all the main musicians involved and in Rainbow there are many, a large proportion of quotes come from interviews done with the author over the years. If you like in depth analysis of an album then this is the book for you, there's 50 pages on the Rainbow Rising album alone. Martin also throws in his two cents on each release, his favorite is the Graham Bonnet fronted Down To Earth and he is not a fan of On Stage.

   After reading the book Blackmore comes across as a complex individual. A gifted guitarist who doesn't like the studio. Someone more comfortable on the live stage yet refuses to do encores. A spiritual man who likes to perform childish pranks on fellow band members . Someone who craves commercial success yet denies chasing it. His disregard for the press is legendary and I've spoken to many writers who were at the wrong end in an interview. If you were good at football you got the gig but if you were a keyboard player don't rent your property for too long, he really was a bully with some of them. What did surprise me was the mostly positive relationship he had with all the vocalists especially in the studio and many have great things to say about him, that's if you accepted your role in HIS band. He's a guitar hero, they are all complicated.

   This really is a superb read and if you are a Rainbow fan, think you know it all think again and if you are looking for an introduction to the band this is the definitive book for you. It made me listen to the whole catalogue and some I appreciated more knowing the when, where, how and why of each. Martin self-publishes these so once they are gone they are gone. You can pick one up from his website and he does great deals if you order a couple at a time so what are you waiting for.

Richie.

http://www.martinpopoff.com/html/bookslist.html

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Kip Winger Live and Acoustic, Tupelo Music Hall, Derry, New Hampshire 11/24/2019

Image result for kip winger tupelo 

   It didn't start off well. Just after 7pm Kip and percussionist Ben Hans walked on stage and the monitors weren't working which he made light off, "thanks for coming tonight, goodnight". Then we were off with Cross from his solo album Songs From The Ocean Floor followed by Who's The One from Pull. What makes his acoustic shows truly great is how involved he gets the audience in it. There is much storytelling, he takes requests (someone asked for Battlestations and he played Lucky One from Pull), brought someone up to duet on Miles Away and acknowledged military members for their service before Blue Suede Shoes. He takes his music very seriously yet his shows are a lot of fun. Highlight of the night was Kip playing two solo songs on the venue's grand piano, something he said he doesn't get to do often. We got Ever Wonder from Better Days Comin' , Without The Night, Down Incognito and hits from the debut to close. He said to me after the show he wants the next Winger album to be the definitive one and done as a five piece with Paul Taylor. He also told me he has nothing left to prove to anyone musically. He's been in bands, writes Grammy nominated classical music and just released the musical Get Jack. He's very comfortable where he is and we reap the benefits, long may it continue. If he plays near you just go.

Richie.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

We hear from Jonny Z and a throwback talk with Cliff and Kirk from 1985 on this weeks Focus on Metal


Episode 442 - Heavy Tales


What can I say about this weeks show? It’s definitely got a Metallica theme, that’s for sure. First up we talk with Jonny Z, the founder of Megaforce Records. And unless you’ve been under a rock you know this guy was pivotal in the evolution of metal. Jon just put out his autobiography “Heavy Tales” and we’ll hear all about it. We follow that up with an amazing bit of metal history as we air an interview done with Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett at the 1985 Metal Hammer Festival.This incredible interview was provided by listener Raf Ahrayeph who is also the guy who conducted the interview at the Sept 14th 1985 stop on the Ride The Lightning tour.

Here's "Ride The Lightning" from that festival


Get the this episode from the Focus on Metal SiteThe Focus on Metal RSS feed, or subscribe on iTunes.

You can hear us every Tuesday night on Pure Rock Radio
and each Wednesday afternoon on Metal World Radio

Visit http://focusonmetal.net/ for information on all the past episodes and to find the links to all our other social media sites.

And as always
Focus On Metal…Everything Else is Insignificant.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dean Roberts From Leatherwolf on This Weeks Focus on Metal


Episode 441 - Leatherwolf

This week we welcome Dean “Drum Machine” Roberts from Huntington Beaches own Leatherwolf to the show. The band has a new vocalist and new music in the works plus it’s the 30th anniversary of their classic 1989 release “Street Ready”. So plenty to talk to Dean about this week.

Here's a clip of the first single of "Street Ready"



Just a quick heads up you only have a few more days to take part in A Sound of Thunders latest Kickstarter campaign for the 10th anniversary album "Parallel Eternity" Head over to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/asoundofthunder/parallel-eternity-the-10th-anniversary-album









Get the this episode from the Focus on Metal SiteThe Focus on Metal RSS feed, or subscribe on iTunes.

You can hear us every Tuesday night on Pure Rock Radio
and each Wednesday afternoon on Metal World Radio

Visit http://focusonmetal.net/ for information on all the past episodes and to find the links to all our other social media sites.

And as always
Focus On Metal…Everything Else is Insignificant.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Original Testament Bassist Greg Christian on This Weeks Focus on Metal


Episode 440 - Dark Roots of Testament


“The Legacy”, “The New Order”, “Practice What You Preach”, “Souls of Black”, “The Ritual”, and “Low”. Original Testament bassist Greg Christian played on all six of these foundational records during his first tenure with the band. He also appears on “The Formation of Damnation” and “Dark Roots of The Earth”. This week Greg appears on a thrash filled Focus on Metal to talk all about the first six albums he did with Testament as well as what he’s up to these days with Trauma and everything else he’s involved with now.

Here's some Trauma for ya off their "As The World Dies" release

Greg kicking off the classic "Souls of Black"

Get the this episode from the Focus on Metal SiteThe Focus on Metal RSS feed, or subscribe on iTunes.

You can hear us every Tuesday night on Pure Rock Radio
and each Wednesday afternoon on Metal World Radio

Visit http://focusonmetal.net/ for information on all the past episodes and to find the links to all our other social media sites.

And as always
Focus On Metal…Everything Else is Insignificant.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Alter Bridge- Walk The Sky (Napalm Records)

Walk The Sky

   It's 2004 and I've flown from Dublin to Birmingham to finally see Rush, my favorite band. In the hotel room a friend hands me his headphones and asks me to listen to something. That something was Alter Bridge's debut album One Day Remains, I pulled the headphones off before a minute passed and said "who the fuck is the singer". It was of course Myles Kennedy. Bought it, bought Blackbird day one, bought AB 3 day one and caught the tour. Thought that one was their best.

   Then Fortress came out and I liked it but found it similar sounding to the first 3, maybe it was my ears, maybe it was the continued presence of Michael Baskette in the mix and surprisingly I found myself getting more from the Tremonti albums because they had a more old school metal sound. Mark too had a great voice. They were also shorter with each Alter Bridge album having a couple songs too many. 

   Now we have Walk The Sky and this one I prefer to the last couple for two reasons:it's a little darker like AB3 and even though it has 14 songs it's a little shorter and to my ears doesn't overstay its welcome. The first song One Life is more a short intro piece (inspired by the death of Myles dog) and only two others pass the five minute mark, I don't feel like turning this one off before the end. Super heavy on Native Son, dark on Indoctrination, personal on Godspeed written about a friend of the band who died from cancer and ends strong with my favorite songs on the back end. Great album.

Richie.

Dark Black And Blue: The Soundgarden Story by Greg Prato

Image result for dark black and blue greg prato

   There's much to admire about this book. At over 400 pages it's incredibly detailed and filled with quotes from band members, management, fellow musicians and people from the music industry and I for one learned a lot about the band. Where it fell down for me was the author's constant need to add his own opinions and experiences to the narrative (something he did a lot less of in his great book on Kings X earlier this year), the more I read the more this took away from my enjoyment of the story. They say a picture says a thousand words, the author has four separate pictures in the book with each band member, it could have done without the thousand words and more from him talking about how big a fan of the band he is, the gigs he saw, the gigs he missed, what singles they should have picked, or his opinions on other music genres and singers. There's a chapter pre- King Animal where the author stops expanding on Cornell's solo career because it's a book about Soundgarden, I actually wanted more on Chris and less Greg. In closing he places Chris as a vocalist, songwriter and lyricist on the same pedestal with Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury and John Lennon. I will leave you guys ponder that one.

Richie.

 https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Black-Blue-Soundgarden-Story/dp/1691086134/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=greg+prato&qid=1573413046&s=books&sr=1-2


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Great Talk with Mark Slaughter on This Weeks Focus on Metal


Episode 439 - Slaughter

Looks like we are on a two week run of classic 80’s vocalist/ guitarists as this week we talk with Mark Slaughter (Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Slaughter). Mark will take us through what the band is up to these days and also do a bit of throwback as he talks about the early days of the band and we also touch a bit on his solo efforts. 
Get all your Slaughter links and info at: MarkSlaughter.com



Track of the week comes to us from Steel Panther off their latest “Heavy Metal Rules”


Get the this episode from the Focus on Metal SiteThe Focus on Metal RSS feed, or subscribe on iTunes.

You can hear us first every Tuesday night on Pure Rock Radio
and each Wednesday afternoon on Metal World Radio

Visit http://focusonmetal.net/ for information on all the past episodes and to find the links to all our other social media sites.

And as always
Focus On Metal…Everything Else is Insignificant.