All posts by Brian

Are You Effin’ Serious Lars Ul-RICH????

So I am sure many of you know the new Metallica album Death Magnetic was leaked on the internet.  It is almost impossible these days for a release to not be leaked.  Someone somewhere out there gets the glory of having an advance copy of something…and promptly uploads it on the internet for millions of filesharing people to obtain.

Metallica with members of Foo Fighters
Metallica with members of Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl & Taylor Hawkins)

I am sure everyone remembers what Napster used to be.  If not, get your head out of the clouds…  Napster was one of the first publicly recognized music sharing program sites out there that helped music fans get what tunes they wanted for free all while violating copyright law.  In time it was shut down and then bought out and molded into what it is now but I know I remember Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica, not being too happy about the situation.  After all their demo of a song for the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack called “I Disappear” was found circulating on Napster by Metallica before it was even released.

In fact they along with a few other musicians stood up together around 2000 to try and stop digital music sharing (piracy). They might have had better luck saving rain forests.  Lawsuits, bogus charges, and many years later they changed their mind and allowed digital downloads of their albums and then finally in 2006 their catalog appeared on iTunes.

Anyways, I came across a quote from Lars today on www.punknews.org and I almost lost it.

Here is his quote:

If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. It’s 2008 and it’s part of how it is these days.

Seriously Lars?  Happy days?  I am glad you finally have come to terms with it.  Me thinks Rick Rubin put some sense into you guys, thankfully.

The CD is good.  Not that I have heard it from a recently downloaded copy (cough*cough).

Dead Kennedys Announce Indefinite Touring Hiatus

I really missed out on the 80’s punk rock movement.  I was just a kid.  I still wish I was a little bit older at the time so I could have attended some of the most memorable punk acts of that time.  One of the acts specifically would be the Dead Kennedys.  How I wish I could have seen them in their prime.

Dead Kennedys
Dead Kennedys

The hardcore punk act seemed to e a little too extreme for many therefore they never tasted success.  With their over the edge look on America and witty humor they were handed ridiculous lawsuits for various situations including distributing harmful matter to minors.  The band eventually split up, and not in good terms with one another.  For more info on their ups and downs check out their Wikipedia page.

By the time I started to appreciate the Dead Kennedys it was too late for me to see them live as they disbanded in 1986.  Regrouping in 2001 did not mean anything to be because Jello Biafra was not a part.  To me “regrouping” is when the entire band decides to get together and play out (unless of course in the case of a band like Alice In Chains where one member passed away).

Last March some of the members of Dead Kennedys announced that they would be touring in support of Milking The Sacred Cow, a greatest hits compilation originally released in October of 2007.  After touring overseas at select venues and starting in California the band had to call it quits.  Not because they felt bad going on without Jello Biafra but because of health.

Original bassist Klaus Flouride has been having health issues, unknown at this time, that has prevented him from touring as planned.  Announced in late August, the Dead Kennedys will no longer tour.  Klaus will still collaborate with other members of the band, but only locally.  It’s sad to hear when age prevents musicians from going forward with their talent.  I am glad to hear he has not completely hung up his bass.  I’ll be looking for side projects with him in the near future.  Looks as it this time Dead Kennedys is done…

The good thing though is that the band was finally recognized.

In May of 2008 Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death was certified gold in the US and UK.  In addition In God We Trust, Inc., was certified gold in the UK.

They may not be a band anymore but I still love putting on a classic Dead Kennedys albums and enjoying their left-wing satire and humor.

Hawthorne Heights – Fragile Future – CD Review

Hawthorne Heights
Hawthorne Heights

A lot has been going on for Ohio’s screamo act Hawthorne Heights since their last release.  Having said goodbye to a friend and band mate as well as dropping a lawsuit with Victory Records, the band continues to cope and mature throughout.  Not letting the past affect them in a downward way, the band proves they refuse to stop with Fragile Future, their third release on Victory Records.

On November 27, 2007 Hawthorne Heights guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert was found dead on the band’s tour bus just prior to their sound check at a Washington D.C. music club.  The cause of death was determined to be a possible drug interaction but according to the band’s drummer Eron Bucciarelli it was not a result of hardcore partying but an accident as Casey Calvert was taking other medicines from a recent root canal.

With the death of a loved one the band stated they would continue to go on and never add another guitarist/screamer to their band.  After taking some time to themselves and writing new material the band hopes to once again achieve success with Fragile Future even though this time they are one man down.

Of course, the first thing that stands out on this release is the omitted vicious screaming.  It would appear that Hawthorne Heights did not even wish to replicate their lost friend’s talent and that, to me, is respectable.  Also dropping the lawsuit with Victory Records and patching up past decisions proved the band is on the rise.

When “The Business Of Paper Stars” started I was waiting for the well known screaming backing up lead singer J.T. Woodruff but instead imagined it in my head.  There is plenty of opportunity in the song for screaming but the band strays away from that and is now more emo. 

Their healed sound continues in “Until The Judgment Day” with memorable lyrics of being “battered and broken” as well as “don’t look back, don’t you ever look back until the judgment day”.  Looks as if the band put down the boom box to win the girl attitude and started to see there are more things in life out there.

“Four Became One” was the track I was looking for on this CD, knowing how they lost Casey Calvert.  The song really is about the band’s closure with the difficult situation they were subject to.  It’s an ode to their friend for the entire world to hear.  Having lost friends in my past, I felt their pain in this song.

“321” is the closest song on the CD that shows aggression with a mild screaming dwelling behind the singing.  The guitar playing is likable and heavier than the other tracks making for one of my choice cuts.  “Come Back Home (Reprise)” was another track that held on to the the old style, especially with borrowed lyrics from “This Is Who We Are” off their sophomore album If Only You Were Lonely.

Fans of Hawthorne Heights will be happy the band continued on and with their change of style and I can see some new folk becoming fans.  It is a change, especially if you put this CD in hoping to hear the screamo. This is not their strongest album to date but the fact that they did not let the past hold them back makes them a tough band now.  Hawthorn Heights defines the emo genre now that they have experienced true sorrow.  Mature and structured, I expect much more from this band in years to come.

Check out their lastest video for the song “Rescue Me”:

Beat Union Almost Forced To Cancel Tour Thanks To Crackheads

UK’s Beat Union had the unexpected happen to them earlier this week while touring in Canada.  Their tour van and trailer, full of their equipment, were stolen from outside a hotel the band was staying at.  It looked as if the band was going to have to call it quits until they could get back on their feet.  Luckily for them (unlike Iggy Pop‘s incident at the beginning of August) the Edmonton police were able to recover the vehicle and badly damaged trailer.

Beat Union meeting with authorities after their trailer was stolen.  <br>(Photo by Anne-Marie Jackson/ Edmonton Journal)
Beat Union meeting with authorities after their trailer was stolen. (Photo by Anne-Marie Jackson/ Edmonton Journal)

The van sustained minimal damage but due to a high speed chase the trailer was not in the best of shape.  With the back wheels missing from the high pursuit and damage to the frame it needed serious attention before it would be used again.

It took all but moments for the van to be stolen.  One of the band members slept in the van as security while the others were in the hotel.  Lead singer David Warsop decided to leave the van for 20 minutes to take a shower.  While the van was unoccupied someone decided to steal it and the attached trailer.

At first the band did not think they would recover any of the $28,000 worth of equipment and personal belongings.  Upon recovery only minimal items were discovered taken such as a scooter, a white Gibson firebird guitar, a couple of cameras, clothing,  and passports.  Crack pipes and condom wrappers were found in the van and trailer as a replacement for the stolen items.  The band was more upset based upon the fact that some shows had to be canceled as they waited for repairs to be completed on the trailer.

Thanks to the Edmonton police crew and most notably their police dog Knight, who took down one of the suspects at the end of the chase, the band will play on.  Already involved in their nice sized North American tour and just having wrapped up their Warped Tour stint, this was the last thing the band needed.

Look for the band on the road once again touring in support of their debut release Disconnected with select dates along side Flogging Molly, The Loved Ones, and the Horrorpops.

For more information check out The Edmonton Sun or The Province.

Scott Weiland To Release Second Solo Album

Looks like Scott Weiland is going to try things on his own once again. It’s been about 10 years since he released his first solo attempt 12 Bar Blues under Atlantic. This time around the on-again off-again Stone Temple Pilots (STP) lead front (and once Velvet Revolver front) is releasing Happy under his own label Softdrive.

Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots

The CD is scheduled for release on November 18th and will be featuring guest appearances by members of No Doubt (bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young). Happy was produced by Weiland and co-produced by Doug Grean (STP, Velvet Revolver, Sheryl Crow, The Crystal Method).

I am very curious to hear this CD as I was a huge fan of Weiland’s first solo commercial failure. In fact I even was so lucky to catch the solo tour for 12 Bar Blues that was canceled shortly after due to Weiland going to the slammer for buying heroin in Manhattan.  It was at the Odeon in Cleveland and I was glad I saw him support his debut just before the tour was canceled.  I found it funny that he got busted for drugs but at the same time I felt bad for him.

Many know the success that Weiland has held with STP and Velvet Revolver but many also know his troubles with substance abuse.  Earlier this year he departed from Velvet Revolver without much notice and reunited with STP.  He is a rock star after all…he can do what he wants.

With song titles like “Missing Cleveland” and “Paralysis” I really am excited to see what Happy will sound like. Currently Weiland continues to tour with Stone Temple Pilots until the end of October. Weiland will then embark on his own tour in support of Happy starting in November.

Let’s see if he can make it through the whole scheduled tour this time.  I missed my chance at seeing STP at the 2008 Virgin Fest last month as I chose to view Bob Dylan (big mistake) and really would like to see Scott Weiland before the year’s end.