VHS Archives #91: It’s 1998. Are you ready for DVD? (MuchMusic FAX)

Ah, 1998, a simpler age for simpler folks.  We had just finished upgrading all our cassettes to CDs.  Those old LPs that were gathering dust in the garage finally hit the curb and the landfill where they belonged.  The digital age had arrived!  Time for another new format to sweep away the old.

Are you ready for Digital Versatile Disc?

This segment was from the MuchMusic news program FAX, during a period when they used “videographers” carrying cameras on their shoulders at all times, to catch those always-breaking stories. Oh, the late 1990s.

Sunday Chuckle: Snoop-a-loop!

 

VHS Archives #90: Aldo Nova – “Modern World” unplugged live performance and interview! (1991)

By request of the mighty JOHN T. SNOW of 2loud2oldmusic.com 

Canadian rock sensation Aldo Nova made his very first visit to the MuchMusic studios in July of 1991, on the Pepsi Power Hour hosted by Michael Williams.  Getting down to business, Aldo plays an unplugged “Modern World” from his brand new album Blood on the Bricks!

This nearly 20 minute segment is Williams and MuchMusic at their finest.  Aldo is engaging and frequently demonstrates songs on acoustic.  Subjects covered:

  • Signing a deal / starting out with “Fantasy”
  • Producing early Celine Dion recordings
  • “Runaway”
  • “Blaze of Glory”
  • His band and working with a singer instead of singing himself

 

REVIEW: Bon Jovi – Bounce (2002, 2010 special edition)

BON JOVI – Bounce (2002 Universal, 2010 special edition)

Wrote off Bon Jovi after Keep the Faith?  Not so fast!

It was a post-911 world, which in strange hindsight was a more optimistic time than today.  Bon Jovi, always patriotic, had to respond.  While only a few songs relate to the tragedy, Bounce is easily the strongest Bon Jovi platter from the last 20 years.

That was my brother lost in the rubble,
That was my sister lost in the crush,
That was our mothers, those were our children,
That was our fathers, that was each one of us.

“Undivided” makes no bones about its subject.  It’s also one of the heaviest songs the band have ever laid down.  Much of this, according to the band, came down to a new guitar that Richie Sambora was using.  His tone is certainly aggressive and modern.

“Where we once were divided, now we stand united.”

If only temporarily.  It was certainly more inspiring in its time.  At least nothing can be taken away from the music, and Sambora’s always sublime soloing.

Lead single “Everyday” is less successful, leaning on modern production values instead of rock and roll.  At least it rocks hard and chunky for the most part.  The samples and effects could have been ejected without hurting the song.  But Bon Jovi’s biggest weakness after Keep the Faith was a dependence on ballads.  At least most of the Bounce ballads stand strong.  The first of these is one of the strongest, “The Distance”.  It utilizes Sambora’s crushing guitar effectively to create a rock/ballad hybrid.  You can headbang to the riff while crooning to the verses.  It’s topped with strings courtesy of David Campbell, making the whole thing so overblown…and so Bon Jovi.  That’s their style.  You either like it or you don’t.

“Joey” is less successful as a ballad.  It’s one of those “growing up in New Jersey” songs that Jon is good at writing.  “Blood on Blood” is the best example of that kind of song.  “Joey”, not so much.  The arrangement is generic and the words, well:  “I never cared that Joey Keys was slow, he couldn’t read or write too well but we’d talk all night long.”  I’m sure there are more lyrical ways of telling this story.

Midtempo “Misunderstood” is an album highlight (and second single).  The chorus is the selling point.  Vintage Bon Jovi melody and charisma.  Unfortunately single #3, “All About Loving You” is profoundly putrid, with drum machines and tinkling acoustic guitars aplenty.  A heavy rocker called “Hook Me Up” is also less than inspiring, although you can at least rock heavy to it in dumb fashion.

A pleasant ballad, “Right Side of Wrong” is similar to “Joey” but without the awkward lyrics.  What does it sound like?  Bon Jovi, with all the references he loves:  James Cagney, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Next, Sambora’s wah-wah guitar on “Love Me Back to Life” brings some heavy to another ballad, which is good, because there are three in a row.  It’s all about Sambora and the strings by David Campbell, which add some needed punch.

Most of the ballads to this point have featured piano with strings, but “You Had My From Hello” is a sweet acoustic number.  Pleasant is the word.  But the second last track “Bounce” is an ass-kicker and best track on the album.  “Call it karma, call it luck, me I just don’t give a f…f…f…”  OK, that sounds pretty cheesey.  Jon refusing to drop the F-bomb is funny when you think about it, but “Bounce” was a single, so it’s not like he’s going to swear all over it.  Richie’s solo is 2000s-era perfect, as good as mainstream music got back then.  “Bounce” rocks.  Unfortunately the album concludes on another cookie-cutter ballad, “Open All Night”.  It was written about an Ally McBeal episode that Jon guested in.  Hard pass.

The 2010 special edition includes a cool backstage pass and four live bonus tracks:  “The Distance”, “Joey”, “Hook Me Up” and “Bounce”.  The added value makes the upgrade worthwhile.

This album “bounces” back between rockers and ballads a bit much, but when the songs are solid, it fires on all cylinders.  Let’s say you trimmed two songs from the album to make it an even 10, like Slippery When Wet.  Then Bounce would be a more consistent listen, and perhaps considered a bit of a latter day classic.  It’s still probably the last “good” album they’ve released.

3.5/5 stars

VHS Archives #89: Doug! Ty! Jerry! It’s King’s X with some Faith Hope Love! (1991)

The late, amicable Dan Gallagher was always enthusiastic about every band he interviewed.  He drew a good interview out of King’s X, and asked some deeper questions that got the band thinking.  You’ll also see some live footage from the Faith Hope Love tour.

Subjects covered:

  • What is King’s X?
  • What does Faith Hope Love mean?
  • How much does Ty hate making music videos?
  • Spirituality in music — does it belong?

I really love Jerry’s answer on that question.

 

 

 

Thanks for hanging this week for a whole lot of old VHS clips.  Winter is the perfect time to work on projects like this!

VHS Archives #88: Motley Crue’s Vince Neil – Back in Vancouver again with TDM (1990)

It’s a clean, sober and healthy looking Vince Neil!  Once again, MuchMusic had Terry David Mulligan with all the hot questions.  This chat includes a surprise announcement of Motley’s next album Decade of Decadence.

TDM raises the following subjects:

  • What does Bob Rock bring to the Crue?
  • How will the Crue celebrate its 10th anniversary?
  • Thoughts on the next 10 years
  • Music of the 80s
  • “In 18 months there won’t be 20 teenagers left in America that would be caught dead listening to Motley Crue.” – Creem magazine
  • French women

Check it out!

VHS Archives #87: Damn Yankees! Tommy Shaw & Jack Blades (1990)

“If you coulda gotten a camera up in a tree, you mighta been able to talk to Ted.” – Tommy Shaw

Who doesn’t love a bromance?  Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades formed a lasting one with Damn Yankees and it’s obvious in this summer 1990 interview.  They finish each others’ sentences and talk over each other like excited kids.   MuchMusic’s Michael Williams hosts this excellent interview as they discuss:

  • Getting signed to a label
  • Working with Ron Nevison
  • Terrible Ted and the “wimp police”
  • Tommy’s “critically acclaimed” solo career.  Haha!

You’ll even see Michael’s Ted impression.  Check out why live Much interviews were always best.

VHS Archives #86: Kim Mitchell asks fans for video footage of their “Wild Party” (1990)

In the summer of 1990, Kim Mitchell and video director Don Allan stopped to visit with MuchMusic’s Dan Gallagher to ask fans for help. Kim’s first solo live album, I Am A Wild Party, was burning up the charts and tape decks nation wide!  All he needed was a music video.

Mitchell is always a card and this segment is no exception.

Kim and Don Allan wanted footage of your “wild party” or your “air bands”; anything really to go with that “Rah! Rah! Olé!” chorus.  I also included a few snips of my own footage that I filmed specifically with a rented camera for the video!  Ultimately though, Mitchell and Allan abandoned the fan video concept, and made a straight live/studio clip for “I Am A Wild Party”.

This is historically interesting to Kim fans since the video as originally conceived never came to be.*

Enjoy some goofy Kim on Much!

*EDIT:  Mike from Facebook was the winner chosen for the “I Am A Wild Party” video and says this!

I was the one that won that contest, and in MM’s defence they made a “limited edition play version” with about 10 seconds from our submission video that was cut off in the final version. But thanks for finding this… Rah Rah Ole!

VHS Archives #85: Steve Vai’s passion for Whitesnake, Warfare & Wanking (1990)

MuchMusic’s Terry David Mulligan was always one of their best interviewers, and here he has a nice informal chat with (then) Whitesnake’s Steve Vai!  TDM asks a loaded question about leaving Whitesnake and going solo.

Vai is always forthcoming and in this entertaining interview you’ll hear about the Passion & Warfare concept, lucid dreaming, the tuba, David Lee Roth, and of course wanking.

 

Check out a second Much interview with Vai by Denise Donlon by clicking here.

Just Listening to…Storm Force – Age of Fear (2020)

The first great album of 2020 is upon us.  Brighton Rock guitarist extraordinaire Greg Fraser has returned to the recording studio and emerged with Storm Force, a hot new band born out of the roots of the 80s.

I am hesitant to do a full-on “review” of Storm Force just yet.  Why?  It’s simple really.  Some albums sound as if purposesly concocted for certain environments.  I sense that Storm Force is going to sound bloody perfect this summer in the car with the windows down.  In fact, I cannot wait to do it that way.  I think this album demands it.  Just like certain hard rock classics of the past just sound better on a warm afternoon on the highway.

Though the band has no weak links, it’s important to single out the strength of vocalist Patrick Gagliardi.  (Check out Superdekes’ interview with Patrick by clicking here.)   His power and range is reminiscent of singers such as Jack Russell and Axl Rose.  There’s grit, soul and there are vocal acrobatics aplenty.  Whether he’s singing a ballad or screaming a road-burner, Patrick is on point!

It cannot go unsaid that Greg Fraser has pulled some killer riffs out of the bag.  These are classic hard rock riffs, and would have been at home on any Brighton Rock record from 1987-1991.  Not to mention his lead work is still fantastic.  Frase has a recognizable style and you can hear it on Age of Fear.

You won’t find a weak track inside, and they run the entire range that a hard rock album should.  Closer “Ringside” is burning hot metal, but “Marshall Law” has a vibe akin to Lizzy’s “Jailbreak”.  For a commercial “rock single”, check out “Because of You” which pushes all the buttons.  “Different Roads” features piano like a classic Aeroballad from 1987.  Hard to pick a favourite among these great tunes.

Full review to come summer 2020.  Check out the official Storm Force Facebook to get the CD (signed or unsigned).