Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: BRETT FAVRE

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AAron Camaro I accept your challenge and will connect Brett Favre to KISS in six steps or less.



Brett Favre's name if read phonetically should clearly be pronounced either Fov-Ree or Fov-Ray but for some reason it is pronounced "FARV" as if the V and R were inverted. Brett Favre set numerous NFL records including throwing for more than 700,000 yards, more than 500 touchdowns, more than 300 interceptions, and more than 6000 completions; and also for retiring 17 times. How am I going to connect Mr. Gooder Than Grits to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. Brett Favre has a surprise cameo in the Farrelly Brothers' 1998 smash hit comedy There's Something About Mary



2. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman also appears in There's Something About Mary performing original songs throughout the film which provide a sort of interstitial narrative.



3. Jonathan Richman was originally the frontman of a legendary Boston band called The Modern Lovers along with future Talking Head Jerry Harrison.



4. The first song on Jerry Harrison's 1990 solo album Walk On Water, a song called "Flying Under Radar," was co-written and co-produced by former Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter non-albino sideman Dan Hartman.



5. The guitar player in Dan Hartman's band for his 1978 album Instant Replay was a guy named Vincent Cusano.



6. A few years after working with Dan Hartman Vincent Cusano would become Vinnie Vincent, replacing Ace Frehley in KISS.



And there you have it.



The Skrou Rock Show

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After a long (14hr) day of work on Friday July 25, 2014 I needed to get out, have a couple of beers and hear some loud rock and roll.  A co-worker had the same thoughts and I knew just the place to be, right here in my little town north of Toronto, Ontario.  I was familiar with the band Skrou, having seen them live several times at The Rockpile venues in Toronto as they set the stage for acts such as Michael Schenker among others.  While the band plays a healthy dose of awesome 80's cover material they also released their self titled debut CD back in January and slip their own tracks into the setlist as well.

Arriving around 11:30pm we entered the tiny bar in my hometown of Newmarket just in time for "A Place to Shake", the opening track on the CD and recently released video.  I always chuckle to myself as I hear this song.  A good friend of mine residing near Amsterdam, Netherlands who taught himself English uses the word "shake" to mean sex and he's always looking for a "shake".  I'm not sure if that's the meaning here, but as the song says she's looking for a place to shake......maybe I should introduce her to my Dutch friend!  The sound in the bar was great, nice and loud but the stage was so small that it barely had enough space for the quartet as they ripped through the rest of the second of three sets.  There were some member changes since I'd last caught The Skrou Rock Show with vocalist Sam Kirou and guitarist John DeFino now being joined by bassist R.C. Ricci and drummer Eric Bonatti.  We were treated to covers of The Cult's "Love Removal Machine", KISS' "Lick It Up" and Ratt's "Round and Round" for which Kirou's voice was a great match.

The third set (unfortunately we had arrived too late to catch the first) was filled with Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive", Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming", Deep Purple's "Smoke On the Water", The Cult's "Little Devil", Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way", Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys Room", Poison's "Nothing But a Good Time" and KISS' "Shout it Out Loud"
An AC/DC double encore of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" followed by "T.N.T." featuring bassist, R.C. Ricci on vocals shut down the night just prior to two am.  Mixed in amongst these excellent cover versions were the Skrou originals, and three of the best on the debut album, "No One's Home", "Cold Heart" and "Ride On".  All of which settled neatly amongst the well known songs, effectively keeping the crowd rocking while introducing the original compositions.  I dearly wished that I had gotten there for the earlier portion of the event to maybe hear my favorite track, "Dirty Little Fantasy".  All in all Skrou delivered spirited sets of rock and roll that enticed several attractive ladies into dancing up a storm in the few feet of space at the front of the platform/stage, perhaps they were looking for a place to shake!  My co-worker was also impressed with the band, in his first experience with them and we even had a few moments to chat with extremely personable front man Sam Kirou on our way out the door as he thanked us for coming to the Skrou Rock Show.

These guys are one of the hardest working bands around having over 70 shows booked for this summer already.  Trust me, get out and support great rock and roll and Skrou as they cover many towns, small and large in Southern Ontario this summer!
 
The debut CD was reviewed on Decibel Geek by my fellow writer Wallygator and you can check it out via this link (Giving Us A Place to Shake).

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

(Skrou's Website) (Skrou on Facebook) (Skrou Twitter)

PHOTO: Courtesy of Skrou's Facebook Page.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: THE BEATLES

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David Haltom I accept your challenge and will connect The Beatles to KISS in six steps or less.



The Beatles were a rock band from Liverpool who had some success in the sixties. 



How will I connect the Fab Four to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. The lead guitar player in The Beatles was a bloke named George Harrison.


2. George Harrison had a number one hit in 1987 with his Jeff Lynne produced single "Got My Mind Set On You."


3. Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of "Got My Mind Set On You" called "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long" for his 1988 album Even Worse.


4. Weird Al Yankovic's 1985 album Dare To Be Stupid was produced by Rick Derringer.


5. Rick Derringer contributed an uncredited guitar solo to "Exciter," the opening song from the 1983 KISS album Lick It Up.


And there you have it.




Monday, July 28, 2014

Doin' It Doggy Style Again With Neanderthal

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One of the first projects that I did after being inducted into the ranks of Decibel Geek was to go after my first interview to coincide with the podcast's weekly theme which that week was "threesomes", bands with three members.  I had recently discovered a great band that played no frills, balls to the wall, straight ahead rock and roll by the name of American Dog, who consisted of three members.  At the time they had recently issued their sixth studio offering and possibly best to date with Poison Smile in 2012.

Frontman and bassist Michael Hannon readily agreed to speak with me over the phone when I contacted him via his Facebook page.  I was nervous as hell when he called me and had already completed a couple of beverages, working on another when the phone rang.  Why was I so nervous?  This was my first interview with someone that had been producing music that I'd been listening to for many years.  You see Michael Hannon had been a part of the short lived band Salty Dog whose song, "Come Along", was a staple on every mix tape of "drivin' tunes" that I created in those days of youth.  Mr. Hannon also spent a period of time with Jason McMaster and Dangerous Toys and while I was nervous I was also extremely excited, having labored over my questions.  Hannon was also downing a few beers during our chat and we got on quite well.  I'm glad that I chose Michael Hannon and American Dog for my first interview and hopefully along the way I've set some new fans "Foamin' At the Mouth".  You can read my review of Poison Smile and our conversation through this link: This Threesome Does It Doggy Style.

Here we are two years later (almost exactly, as the original article was posted on August 8, 2012) and The Dog is back with a new full length issue this time titled Neanderthal, released in late June.

The band is comprised of founders Hannon on bass and vocals and Steve Theado on lead guitar and backing vocals.  Michael "Hazzard" Harris took over for Keith Pickens behind the kit after 2009's Mean album and now the trio has upped the ante to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Vinnie Salvatore.  Once again in true Dog fashion I stocked the fridge with some of my favorite beers and cued up the digital download (I hate that phrase) as I settled down to hear the latest offering from the dog pound.  With the volume cranked up and ice cold beer in hand, I was bludgeoned with the grinding riffs in the opener, titled "Carnivore".  The rabid, snarling canine has once again bared it's teeth, serving up a food bowl piled high with bluesy riffs and the addition of Salvatore provides many well used trade-off guitar solo experiences.  All contained behind the cover art, a painting by artist Frank Frazetta whom you may remember from early Molly Hatchet album covers.  In the early years of the dog pound sex and alcohol were major themes behind the compositions (Ex. The 2005 EP Six Pack: Songs About Drinkin' & Fuckin') but now Neanderthal is a continuation of 2012's Poison Smile seeing a little more, dare I say, maturity setting in.  Most of the compositions on this outing come in at a mid tempo style of pace and in general seem a little less blue collar working man themed than in the past.  That being said tracks like "Who's She Killing", "Dirty Fun", "Stuck in the Mud" and "Start to Bleed" all possess the elements of the standard Dog sound while the grammatically incorrect mouthful "We Ain't Gonna Not Get Drunk Tonight" is pure Dog of old.  "Sun Won't Shine" and "Devil Inside" both run near seven and a half minutes showcasing the bluesy evolution of The Dog.  Both contain plenty of slide guitar backed with a Southern Boogie feeling that displays the aforementioned maturity of American Dog.  The title track, "Neanderthal" features plenty of the dueling of tasty trade-off solos thanks to the addition of Salvatore.  Also included among the ten tracks that make up Neanderthal is a
cover of Ted Nugent's "Dog Eat Dog" that just sizzles.  All in all it's taken me a bit to really get into Neanderthal and I like it more and more with each listen.  While I do prefer 2012's Poison Smile this is still a great no frills, beer swilling, straight ahead no gimmicks rock album.  Catch American Dog on tour throughout August as they set the stage for Tesla.  Hopefully, but doubtfully they'll be trekking north to Toronto.  So, do I see another rock and roll trip in my future?

Cheers,
The Meister

(The Meister on Facebook) (Meister on Twitter)

(American Dog Website) (American Dog Facebook) (American Dog Twitter)

MICHAEL HANNON PHOTO: Supplied by Michael Hannon for the original article in August 2012.

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: NED'S ATOMIC DUSTBIN

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Timmy K. Kramp I accept your challenge and will connect Ned's Atomic Dustbin to KISS in six steps or less.



Ned's Atomic Dustbin were a British alternative rock band with two bass players. Their 1991 debut album God Fodder is well worth seeking out.


But how am I going to connect them to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:


1. Ned's Atomic Dustbin's second album Are You Normal from 1992 was produced by Andy Wallace.



2. Andy Wallace also produced the 1992 breakthrough album for Henry Rollins' post-Black Flag combo Rollins Band called The End of Silence.



3. For a 1987 EP the Rollins Band covered the song "Do It" from the 1971 album Never Never Land by British heavy rock band Pink Fairies.



4. Twink, the drummer in Pink Fairies, had previously been in a psychedelic rock band called Tomorrow with future Yes guitarist Steve Howe.



5. After leaving Yes Steve Howe helped form the band Asia, whose first three albums were produced by Mike Stone.



6. Mike Stone engineered Peter Criss' KISS solo album, mixed Paul Stanley's KISS solo album, and also co-produced the 1979 debut album by New England with Paul Stanley.



And there you have it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

KISS Grab Bag - Ep147

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KISSMAS in July is now drawing to a close for 2014 and there were so many things we wanted to cover we figured, why not cover them all?

This week Aaron and Chris open up a KISS Grab Bag of topics to discuss. Listeners of the show submitted KISS-related subjects and your hosts give their take on those topics this week. Everything from discussion of KISS' merchandising reaching into things like Hello Kitty and arena football to favorite/least favorite albums, stages, costumes, songs, and much much more is covered in this free-form discussion. We also give an update on Vinnie Vincent, plans for more KISS-related shows later in the year and a track by track discussion of the Ace Frehley album 'Space Invader.'

A whole lot to cover to round out KISSMAS in JULY so take it all in and enjoy our talk on the Hottest Band in the Land!







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SIX DEGREES OF KISS: TOM JONES

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David Lawrence I accept your challenge and will connect Tom Jones to KISS in six steps or less.



Tom Jones is an iconic Welshman who had guest spots on Fantasy Island and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and cameos in The Jerky Boys: The Movie and Mars Attacks. He is currently one of the four "coaches" on the UK version of The Voice. How am I going to connect this singing legend to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. In 2005 Tom Jones undertook a ten city tour of Australia with Aussie superstar John Farnham which resulted in a CD/DVD release called John Farnham and Tom Jones - Together In Concert.



2. The soundtrack to the 1984 B-movie Savage Streets (which starred The Exorcist alum Linda Blair) was never officially released but some promotional copies did make their way into circulation. The soundtrack included five songs performed by John Farnham, one of which was called "Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way."



3. That same song "Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way" (which was written by Randy Bishop, Wayne Nelson, and Farnham) was recorded by a band called Spectre General for the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack in 1986. Spectre General was actually Canadian metal band Kick Axe going by a more family friendly name for the purposes of the soundtrack.



4. The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack also included two songs by Florida AOR legend Stan Bush, "The Touch" and "Dare."



5. Not only was Stan Bush's recording of "The Touch" for that soundtrack produced by Richie Wise, who co-produced the first two KISS albums, but Stan Bush has also co-written two songs with Paul Stanley, "If We Ever" and "I Was Wrong" which appeared on his albums The Child Within and Higher Than Angels.



6. Paul Stanley currently portrays the character of "The Starchild" in KISS.



And there you have it.





Saturday, July 26, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: TINY TIM

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Patrick Johnson I accept your challenge and will connect Tiny Tim to KISS in six steps or less.



Herbert Khaury aka Tiny Tim somehow became a sixties icon and in December of 1969 an astonishing 40 million people watched him marry "Miss Vicki" on The Tonight Show. They divorced eight years later. How am I going to connect this famous weirdo to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. Tiny Tim's 1968 debut album God Bless Tiny Tim includes a ukelele version of a song called "Livin in the Sunlight, Lovin In The Moonlight" which was written by Al Sherman and Al Lewis.



2. Al Sherman and Al Lewis also wrote the song "He's So Unusual" which was covered by Cyndi Lauper and inspired the title of her 1983 debut solo album She's So Unusual.



3. Before going solo Cyndi Lauper was the singer in an NYC band called Blue Angel. 



4. Blue Angel were signed to Polydor Records and released a self-titled album in 1980 which included a song called "I'm Gonna Be Strong." 



5. "I'm Gonna Be Strong" was written by the very successful husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.



6. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil also wrote the song "Too Many Mondays" which was recorded by the band Wicked Lester featuring Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons later of KISS.



And there you have it.


Friday, July 25, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: LENA

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Derek Francis I accept your challenge and will connect Lena to KISS in six steps or less.




Lena (full name Lena Meyer-Landrut) is a German pop star who set an all time chart record in Germany by debuting with three songs in the top five in the singles chart. How am I going to connect her to KISS in six steps or less? Like this: 


1. Lena won the Eurovision song contest for Germany in 2010 with the song "Satellite" which was written by American songwriter Julie Frost.



2. Julie Frost is one of nine YES NINE co-writers on the Beyonce single "Countdown" which "dropped" in October of 2011.




3. One of the I SHIT YOU NOT 22 producers YES THAT'S TWENTY-TWO PRODUCERS credited on Beyonce's 2008 album I Am Sasha Fierce is Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins.




4. Rodney Jerkins produced the Britney Spears version of "I Love Rock n' Roll" which appeared on her 2001 album Britney (Rodney was one of ONLY 10 yes only ten producers credited on that album).


When asked by Rolling Stone why she chose (yeah sure, she chose) to cover "I Love Rock n' Roll" Britney had this to say:

"I just love the song. I love Pat Benatar, and I just think she's amazing. It's like she's a rock 'n' roll chick and she's just having a good time and it's a very empowering song."

5. Of course "I Love Rock n' Roll" was never a Pat Benatar song. It was originally written and recorded in 1975 by the glam rock band Arrows. Only two people wrote it, Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker, and they were actually in the band, in other words they wrote and performed their own material. Imagine that.




Joan Jett had a number one hit with the song in the US in 1982 and before going solo Joan Jett was in an L.A. band called The Runaways who were managed by an "eccentric" named Kim Fowley.



6. Kim Fowley has co-writing credits on the songs "King of the Night Time World" and "Do You Love Me" from the KISS album Destroyer.



And there you have it.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: GENESIS

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Chris Leatherman I accept your challenge and will connect Genesis to KISS in six steps or less.



Genesis were at one time an innovative progressive rock band. They sure evolved over time! It's just a shame, that's all. How am I going to connect these non-dancing invisible touchers to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:


1. Peter and Phil sure were huge in the eighties but Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford managed to ferret out some chart success for himself with his side project Mike + The Mechanics.



2. One member of Mike + The Mechanics was journeyman singer and musician Paul Carrack. Paul had a top ten hit in 1974 with his band Ace with a song called "How Long" and he also sang lead on the Squeeze hit "Tempted" in 1981. 



It has always annoyed the hell out of me that Squeeze's best known song in the US was the only Squeeze song Carrack sang (he was only in the band for that one album). Here are a couple far superior Squeeze songs:


3. In between having hits with Ace and Squeeze Paul Carrack played with legendary Scottish rocker Frankie Miller.


4. Frankie Miller's 1978 album Double Trouble, (from which Carrack co-wrote half the songs) was produced by THE Jack Douglas.



5. Jack Douglas produced the first two albums by a kick-ass New Jersey rock band called Starz.



6. In the seventies Starz were managed by Bill Aucoin, who also happened to be managing a band called KISS.



And there you have it.






Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SIX DEGREES OF KISS: THE DOORS

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Ken Mills I accept your challenge and will connect The Doors to KISS in six steps or less.



The Doors are, in my opinion, one of the most overrated bands in history. How will I connect them to KISS in six steps or less? Like this: 

1. After The Doors Ray Manzarek was in a band called Nite City. Nite City released two albums, Nite City in 1977 and Golden Days Diamond Nights in 1978.



2. The guitar player and singer in Nite City was a dude named Paul Warren.



3. After Nite City broke up Paul Warren formed a power pop band he called Paul Warren & Explorer. They were quite popular on the sunset strip and released an album on RSO Records in 1980 called One of the Kids which was produced by Peter Coleman.



Now here's the thing, Peter Coleman also produced records for Pat Benatar and Holly Knight's band Spider, both of which I have already used as links. So let's see where else Peter Coleman might take us.

4. In 1984 Peter Coleman produced the self-titled album by a Baltimore band called The Ravyns.


5. The Ravyns are best known for the song "Raised on the Radio" which appeared on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. That soundtrack also included a song called "The Look In Your Eyes" by Gerard McMahon.



6. Gerard McMahon wrote "Is That You," the first song on the 1980 KISS album Unmasked.



And there you have it.



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