May 16 2013
Alison Krauss ‘s video for The Lucky One.
May 16 2013
The bulk of my music collection is by male musicians, male singers, all-male band members, male musicians. While I love the female singers & musicians in my collection, they are a small minority. I used to have this theory that since I usually sing along with the songs that I play on my stereo system, cd player and now laptop in mp3 form, the lyrics are very important to me and I usually just connect better with the male point of view in the lyrics. I’m not so sure about that anymore but I still find a vastly male dominated collection of music. However here are my favourite women singers, my top 11 in no particular order;
Notable mentions would be Alanis Morissette, Sarah Harmer, Dido, Tegan & Sara, Jewel, Katie Melua, Lisa Brokop & Regina Specktor.
May 14 2013
The very first music video from Space in the ISS! Astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield sings David Bowie’s Space Oddity.
Hadfield, commander of the ISS, rose to fame after embracing social media, from Facebook to Twitter, with a little technical help from Evan, his 27-year-old son. He sent missives from space, posted breathtaking photos and sang a duet with the Barenaked Ladies. In a video filmed aboard the station, Hadfield donned jeans and a T-shirt to cover the Bowie classic, Space Oddity.
May 3 2013
It is a sad day indeed for the metal community as news of the death of guitarist & founding member of trash metal icons Slayer comes in. Just 49 years old, Jeff died Thursday (May 2) of liver failure. Hanneman, a huge fan of punk initially and who comes from a family which has a lot of war veterans in them, and Kerry King founded the group in 1981 after King was trying out for another band. Kerry soon introduced Jeff to drummer Dave Lombardo and recruited Chilean-born bassist and vocalist Tom Araya, who had played with King before in the band Quits (previously known as Tradewinds).
Initially the band started out playing covers of Iron Maiden & Judas Priest, going for a Satanic image which featured pentagrams, make-up, spikes, and inverted crosses. Over the years since their 1983 debut, the band went on to produce 11 studio albums and toured the world many times. Jeff has won 2 Grammies and been nominated another 3 more times with Slayer in the category “Best metal performance”.
Jeff was born in Oakland, California to a German family. His father father fought in Normandy on the side of the Allied Forced during World War II and his brothers in Vietnam, making warfare a common conversation topic at the dinner table. His interest would be spurred by a love for war movies and he also collected war memorabilia and medals. Hanneman and Slayer vocalist/bassist Tom Araya were reformed cocaine and pill abusers. In early 2011, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis, which doctors say most likely originated from a spider bite. He withdrew from touring at the same time due to the debilitating skin disorder. Although he recovered from the disease in 2012, Kerry revealed continuing health problems that kept him from working with Slayer. It is not know if the skin ailment is connected to his liver failure that led to his death.
RIP Jeff Hanneman (January 31, 1964 – May 2, 2013
Apr 29 2013
I am a bad rocker. Although I was aware of this spoof band and the cult movie, I have never watched the movie This Is Spinal Tap till last night. As a lot of you will know, this is a 1984 mockumentary about a fictional English heavy metal band Spinal Tap and directed by Robb Reiner & produced by Karen Murphy. The movie satirizes the wild personal behavior and musical pretensions of hard rock and heavy metal musical bands, as well as the hagiographic tendencies of rock documentaries of the time. For a movie in which most of the dialogue by the 3 main actors – Christopher Guest, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer – ad libbed the dialogues, it’s a really funny movie. Several dozen hours of footage were filmed before Reiner edited it to the released movie. The three actors play their musical instruments and speak with mock English accents throughout the movie.
What I also didn’t know that Fran Dreschler & my 1980s Scifi crush June Chadwick (Lydia from the original V) also play supporting roles in this movie. Actors Paul Shaffer, Fred Willard, Ed Begley, Jr., Patrick Macnee, Anjelica Huston, Dana Carvey & Billy Crystal all make cameo appearances in the movie. In 2002, This Is Spinal Tap was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry. Reiner himself plays the director of the documentary, which focuses on a 1982 United States concert tour by the fictional British rock group to support their latest album Smell The Glove. We also have one-to-one or group interviews happening in between the scenes. The band was started by childhood friends, singer / guitarist David St. Hubbins and lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel, during the 1960s. They started a band and called themselves the Originals but changed it to The New Originals when they found out that there was another band with the same name. Later they settled on the name “The Thamesmen”, finding success with their skiffle/Rhythm and blues single “Gimme Some Money”. They changed their name again to “Spinal Tap” and enjoyed limited success with the flower power anthem “Listen to the Flower People”.
Soon they found their heavy metal sound and Derek Smalls joined them on bass, keyboardist Viv Savage (David Kaff) and a series of drummers, each of whom mysteriously died in odd circumstances, including spontaneous human combustion, a “bizarre gardening accident” and, in at least one case, choking to death on the vomit of person(s) unknown. The band members are shown to be excellent musicians & composers (some of the songs are really good, the actors play their own instruments and McKean sings very well) but are dimwitted and almost naive. Despite their success, the band find that some of their shows in the US are getting cancelled due to low ticket sales and they fall into a sales slumps as some of the major retailers refuse to display their album because of an offensive album cover. There is growing resentment shown towards the group’s manager Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) and things turn a bit more craxy when St. Hubbins controlling & interfering girlfriend Jeanine arrives and offers to co-manage the group. Tufnel gets angrier as Jeanine injects herself in band meetings and influencing decisions, while the band’s distributor, Polymer Records, opts to release Smell the Glove with an entirely black cover without consulting the band. A signing session sees no one turning up and a stage show which is supposed to have a Stonehenge megalith for the show during the song “Stonehenge” – but rushing it sees a tiny model displayed on stage, making them laughing stocks. he group accuses Faith of mismanagement, and when St. Hubbins suggests Jeanine should co-manage the group, Faith quits in disgust.
The band continues in smaller venues and and at a USAF base, Tufnel gets upset with malfunctioning equipment and storms off the stage. The band continues without him, adjusting their material to compensate. However at the last show Tufnel comes to tell them that Faith would like to arrange a new tour in Japan as they are hugely popular there. At the concert David beckons Nigel on to join them and he grabs his guitar and plays with them onstage. Tufnel rejoins the band and they hire Faith back as manager. Despite losing their drummer Mick Shrimpton (R.J. Parnell) as he inexplicably explodes onstage, the film ends with Spinal Tap playing a series of sold-out arena shows for enthusiastic fans on their Japanese tour.
Hilarious and mocking the big stage shows – malfunctioning cocoons and getting lost backstage – and the lifestyle. It’s something that all rockers have loved over the years. 8 outta 10!
Apr 22 2013
A look back at the first Alice Cooper album I ever bought. I’m not a huge fan but I love this guy and I rock this song. Feed My Frankenstein is from the 1991 album Hey Stoopid and was also on the Wayne’s World movie & soundtrack.
Mar 29 2013
Robert Zildjian (14 July 1923 – 27 March 2013) was the founder of Sabian Cymbals, the 2nd largest manufacturer of cymbals in the world. Zildjian was born in Boston, Massachusetts and belonged to the Zildjian family, which brought the technology of cymbal making from their ancestral homeland in the capital city of modern Turkey to the United States by Armenian Avedis Zildjian, and then passed it on to future generations of family members. The company was founded in 1981 in Meductic, New Brunswick, Canada, by Robert Zildjian, son of Avedis Zildjian III, the head of the Avedis Zildjian Company located in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Family tradition had it that the head of the company would pass its secrets down only to the oldest son, but Avedis III gave the information to both his sons, Armand and Robert. A family feud resulted in Robert leaving Zildjian to form the rival Sabian Cymbals company. The companies continue to be rivals, and are both among the world’s most popular cymbal brands. Sabian cymbals have been used by many famous drummers in the world, including Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Peart of Rush, and drumming legend Mike Portnoy, formerly of progressive metal giants Dream Theater. Zildjian remained active in management until recently, spending most of the summer in a cottage in Meductic, New Brunswick near the main production facility. Sabian is an acronym based on the combination of his three children’s names, Sally, Bill, and Andy.
Robert Zildjian (14 July 1923 – 27 March 2013)