Just when we thought our 'Secret Identity World Tour 2014' was winding down, another show so cool and awesome arrives that makes Brian and I say..."Yup. Got room for one more!"
On October 17th, 18th and 19th the city of Worcester, MA will come alive with scary stuff, incredible music and guests that represent everything we love about shows.
ROCK AND SHOCK 2014 is an event so big it takes two places in Worcester to house it; the DCU Center and the Palladium. Who will be there? How about Rowdy Roddy Piper, John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven himsef), Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace, Tom Savini, Brad Dourif and many many more.
But once the day is over...then what? How about some incredible concerts featuring the legendary King Diamond, GWAR, and a bunch of other bands that put the shock into rock!
To find out more about events and ticket info just go to www.rockandshock.com
For the past few years, Martin Popoff has not only written some of the best music bio's out there but has become the biggest influence in my own writing.
His books featuring some of my favorites including UFO, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Deep Purple (to name a few)... and RUSH, Ted Nugent, Scorpions and Dio... (ok, i'll stop) have not only taught me more about the groups, but gave me a deeper appreciation for their music. But now, Martin has just released a book that my Secret Identity partner will be freaking out about.... ready Brian?
Here is Martin to tell us all about it!
"Martin Popoff here with at 152,180 words is the fattest, heaviest, most harrowing rock biog I’ve ever done. Indeed, it’s a monster, and it’s called...
Sweating Bullets: The Deth And Rebirth Of Megadeth!"
My Darkest Hour...
Megadeth’s run of thrash classics from the mid ‘80s and up through the ‘90s continue to be celebrated in the metal community long after Dave Mustaine’s band mates have been discarded to the sands of time—save one, Dave “Jr.” Ellefson.
Along the way, there’s Mustaine’s pathology with his ex-friends in Metallica but also a helluva lot of killer metal, as the band works its way up through Peace Sells and So Far, through to the pair of superlative American metal classics, namely Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction.
Later came Cryptic Writings and Risk, which threatened to kill the band dead. And yet... the reconstitution of Megadeth after their demoralizing decline and then deflating dispersal at the destructive hand of its leader Dave Mustaine is a story not told ‘til now. But it is a tale worth telling for many reasons, perhaps starting with: a) its instructiveness on how to rebuild and maintain a career in metal and b) the revelations of so much good music to be discovered by metal fans the world over. Quite simply, the recent half of the Megadeth story, spanning the records The World Needs A Hero through Super Collider, includes some of the best and heaviest Megadeth music ever committed to shiny silver, with this author’s personal favourites arriving all over the Endgame album of 2009 and the Thirteen album of 2013.
Come celebrate Mustaine’s vision, track-by-track, as Martin applies his tried and tested methodology to a head-crunching canon of work that is truly as strong at the recent end of the spectrum as it is with the classics you all know and love.
Prices for Sweating Bullets including shipping:
US orders: $39.00 US funds
Int’l orders (all books go air): $48.00 Cdn. funds
Canadian orders: $42.00 Cdn. funds
PayPal happily accepted. Ask me if you’d like a PayPal invoice (please indicate what country you are in), or just do yer usual and direct funds to email@example.com
Sweet postage savings to be had for multiple orders (or two of pretty much anything—long story, ask me!) for overseas, or for US and Canada , any three or even four books at once.
Or mail payment (personal check in US funds, cash, or INTERNATIONAL money order), to:
P.O. Box 65208 , 358 Danforth Ave.
Toronto , Ontario , Canada M4K 2Z2
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any further questions, and see www.martinpopoff.com for descriptions, cover art and ordering info for my other available 30 or so books (and no, the Megadeth won’t be there for another week or so, BUT YES, THEY ARE IN MY OFFICE READY TO SHIP).
Like many of the bands we loved when we were younger, ASIA has created a signature sound and expectations that can hinder growth or success. Since the reformation of the classic lineup in 2006, ASIA has added to their musical legacy with their latest release, Gravitas, on Frontiers Records.
Featuring the core of John Wetton (bass/vocals), Geoff Downes (keyboards) and Carl Palmer (drums) the band is rounded out with new guitarist Sam Coulson (who replaces Steve Howe), ASIA 2014 has created a new musical path for themselves not dependent on their amazing past.
Kicking off the album is the first single 'Valkrye', an incredible song that prepares the listener for the next almost hour of escape. Right away you hear how Coulson's riffs and soaring solo add a new layer to ASIA's wall of sound, not unlike Mandy Mayer did in 1986. The next song is the epic title track complete with beautiful melodies and trademark ASIA backing vocals.
As you dive in deeper and listen to the entire disc (and then go back for another listen) you won't hear that blazing song or hard crunching tune you may be expecting, but you will get ear candy like 'Nyctophobia', 'Russian Dolls' and the dusted off 'I Would Die For You' that are charming and at times quirky and show where ASIA is today.
'Gravitas' is an album that takes a few listens to get fully into. Musically, ASIA is on top of their game thanks in big part to the tapestry woven by Geoff Downs. Although Carl Palmer doesn't let loose like I would want or hope, the songs are solid, the production is top notch and John Wetton is singing and playing better than he ever has.
For a frame of reference I compare 'Gravitas' to the Dire Straits 'Brother In Arms' as far as its tone and musical pacing. This album doesn't overpower you for the sake of showing off, it just entertains on a nice human level.
Matman Rating: 4 out of 5 dragons
To find out more about ASIA go to their official site at www.originalasia.com
To check out the amazing stable of artists on Frontier Records click here
In the late 1970's, Ted Nugent was on top of the hard rock world. With screaming songs like 'Cat Scratch Fever', 'Stormtroopin' and 'Great White Buffalo', Ted certainly earned his nickname 'The Motor City Madman!'
Thanks to writer Martin Popoff, 'Epic Ted Nugent' tells the story of the man behind the music and the tale behind the legend. From his humble beginnings with the Amboy Dukes to his legendary solo career Martin covers it all from beginning to now in an easy to read and very entertaining book.
For almost 300 pages we not only hear from the man himself (as only Ted can deliver), but we hear from the 'other side of the coins' like old managers, producers as well as Ted's original partner in crime Derek St. Holmes where the former vocalist lights up Ted and gives a view that only a few saw it from.
As a young music fan I was introduced to the Nugent sound by my friends Kevin, Mark and Tommy Cianfarani who were huge fans of the Nuge! When I read this book by Martin, I could hear the scratchy sounds coming from their stereo with the album jackets scattered all over the floor of the orange room. I remember the brothers telling me the stories behind the songs as well as all things they knew that was Ted Nugent. Here, Martin confirms those stories and gives the reader a million more.
Once again Martin has put together an amazing book and given me insite and history on one of my favorite musicians / personalities! The best compliment I can give 'Epic Ted Nugent' is that after I was done reading it, I had to dust off the vinyl and crank it up loud. But since I'm old, I put on a CD and just took a nap.
Matman Rating - 4.5 out of 5 Wango Tangos!
by Brian LeTendre
I came to know about The Reigning Monarchs through the Walking the Room podcast. comedian Greg Behrendt is the guitar player of the surf/ska/punk band that he co-founded with Michael Eisenstein (Letters to Cleo) back in 2007. A little while back, the group released their long-awaited second full album, Black Sweater Massacre.
The album is comprised of twelve instrumentals that range from mellow rockabilly to traditional surf to what I would describe as punk swing. They’re a hard band to characterize, which is one of the things I love about the Reigning Monarchs--there’s just nothing else out there like them.
Behrendt and Eisenstein's guitars drive the band's sound, and they’re accompanied by some stellar horns. The bass and drums are the only forces keeping the songs on the rails at points, which gives the whole album the feel of a roller coaster ride.
Black Sweater Massacre is a blast of a record that you’ll find yourself revisiting again and again. It’s been one of my writing soundtracks since I picked it up, and it makes for a fine workout soundtrack as well.
You can grab Black Sweater Massacre for $7, and it’s well worth the money. You can check out a video promo for the album below that will give you a taste of the band's sound.
by Brian LeTendre
As a diehard music fan, one of the most satisfying trends of the past several years is that the bands I grew up listening to are enjoying a renaissance, and many of the albums we are getting from them are among the best they've ever made.
Recently, Queensryche returned with a fantastic self-titled album, Motorhead just put put the killer Afterschock, and today, Stryper releases their latest effort, No More Hell to Pay. After listenting throigh it a few times since its midnight relase, I can confidently say this album fits right alongside The Yellow and Black Attack, Soldiers Under Command and To Hell With the Devil.
There is no filler on this album, only huge riffs, screaming solos and Michael Sweet's amazing vocals. The band sounds tight, with Oz Fox, Tim Gaines and Robert Sweet all in top form. This is Stryper at its best, and it's worth your money.
Check out the video for Sympathy below, then go grab this album from your favorite music shop, or over at www.stryper.com.
Are you sick of all the podcasts and books that Brian and I keep doing? No? Good!
I just posted the inaugural episode of my music show 'The Radio Eclectic'! Each month, I will spotlight a favorite band or artist and counting down my ten favorite songs by them. But it's not just me stringing music together, I'll be telling stories about the bands and songs and sharing some personal memories. To me it's like radio used to be. And of course...the show is all ages!
This episode is dedicated to the Beatles! For me music has always begun and ended with the Beatles. Their songs have been the soundtrack to my life more than any other and I look at this show as a celebration.
Not to mention the impossible chore of narrowing down the Beatles catalog to the ten best songs...then putting them in order!
I hope you enjoy the show and get ready for next month when I count down my 10 favorite songs from Deep Purple!
I have no idea how I missed this before, but as I was perusing Funny or Die this morning, I came across this little ditty that's an ode to G.I. Joe. It's a start-studded music video featuring Zack Galifianakis, Tony Hale, Julianne Moore and a bunch of other well-known faces. Thought I'd share it--Brian
by Brian LeTendre
I’m glad I waited several days before completing this review, as my knee-jerk reaction to hearing Megadeth’s new album Super Collider was not a good one.
Megadeth is by far my favorite band of all time. I’ve seen them in concert on almost every album since 1990's Rust in Peace. I have listened to Megadeth for more hours than I’ve listened to any other band (and as a metalhead since my middle school days, I’ve listened to a ridiculous amount of music). I was the kid who boycotted Metallica because they kicked Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine out of the band.
So it truly pains me to say that while Megadeth’s new album Super Collider is a decent, maybe even good rock album, it is not a good Megadeth album.
It’s not just that this album is less heavy and speedy than most of their catalog--although it is. It’s the fact it’s so vanilla. Megadeth has always been a band that consisted of amazing musicians, and Dave Mustaine is known for writing complex rhythms and iconic riffs. This album has little of of either of those things. Even the album’s best songs “Kingmaker” and “Dance in the Rain” show only flashes of brilliance before descending into cliched fills and flat solos that drag the overall songs down. The rest of the songs are just a grab bag of rehashed riffs, bad lyrics and phoned-in solos.
I might sound harsh here, punishing my favorite band for daring to experiment and try something new. But that’s just the thing--there is no new ground being broken here.
And that’s the real difference between Super Collider and the band’s previously most controversial album, Risk. While there was one real clunker on Risk ("Crush ‘Em") and the album was a tonal shift from their previous ones, Risk was full of creative and musically complex songs that still contained elements of Megadeth’s signature sound. Super Collider almost sounds like Dave Mustaine singing on someone else’s hard rock album. Risk is a better album than this one from top to bottom.
After several listens through the record, I can’t help but think that the music on Super Collider is beneath these guys. They are so much better than this.
Now, after 30 years of being one of the best bands on the planet, Dave Mustaine and company can do whatever they want. I can’t thank them enough for the thousands of hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten for their music. Megadeth’s catalog is full of amazing albums that I will be listening to for the rest of my life.
But Super Collider won’t be among them.
2.5 out of 5 Not for Me’s
P.S. If you want to hear an amazing Megadeth album, you need only go back as far as their 2009 masterpiece, Endgame. Twenty years after Rust in Peace, Megadeth proved they were still a force to be reckoned with. Yet another reason Super Collider is so disappointing.