Guest Shot

MOVIE REVIEW: Mystique – Standing on the Firing Line (Guest video review by Uncle Meat)

Thanks to Marco D’Auria for the use of three exclusive movie clips in this review.

KISS – RANKED! – All the albums in order, by Jonathan Lee #2 of 2

This was not easy at all. Some were, but most of them I had a hard time with. I had to go back and listen to quite a few to make sure I got this right. Mike and I talked about this, and we both agreed to include the four solo albums. We chose to leave out the live stuff becasue this is about the studio music. Had we chose to include those then it changes a lot because Alive! is my favorite. But on with the show.

So here we go. Worst to best.

LINK TO MIKE’S LIST:  CLICK HERE FOR GREAT EXPECTATIONS!


24 & 23.  SONIC BOOM and MONSTER (2009 and 2012)

I don’t count these two on purpose, because I don’t support them doing that.  Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer wearing Ace Frehley and Peter Criss makeup.  Because of this, I’m just not familiar with those two albums.  Next.

22.  PETER CRISS  (1978)

This one was easy as far as what my worst one would be.  What a total mess.  I don’t like one song off of it and that has to make it the worst, because even on my bottom list, I like things on every album.  But that one?  NO.

21.  (MUSIC FROM) THE ELDER (1981)

I’ve tried. It has it’s moments but it’s just not doing it for me. Kiss isn’t Pink Floyd. No one I know of wants a concept album from Kiss. I mean and (Music From) The Elder? There was no movie. This was dumb.They all looked silly in that era. Everything was a mess. And it damn near killed their career. You have to think about it that way. Moving on.

20.  GENE SIMMONS (1978)

Now here’s the problem. This is The Demon. It’s anything but that. Disney tunes. All them background girl singers. This just didn’t come off well. I like a few songs but they not even that great. I expected some “God of Thunder” type stuff and got a lot of silly shit. I do love the ballad “See You Tonite”.  It’s nice. Next.

19.  REVENGE (1992)

Yeah I know. So many of you love it and that’s just fine, but I think it’s mad overhyped. It isn’t heavy like so many say it is (minus a few songs).  I mean “Every Time I Look At You”, “I Just Wanna”, “Take It Off”, “God Gave Rock and Roll To You”, “Domino”, all stupid.
I don’t know. I mean it does have some awesome tracks like “Unholy”, “Heart of Chrome”, “Thou Shalt Not”, and “Tough Love” (them chants suck though).  Anyway I understand many love this album so enjoy it. I barely play it at all. Next.

18.  PSYCHO-CIRCUS (1998)

Not much of a reunion if you ask me. Peter and Ace are not on this album much. I think only on the title track and “Into The Void” which are both great. And Gene does one of his best songs ever with the closing track “Journey of 1000 Years”, but this album is just a mess for the most. That Peter song is horrible. It just seemed thrown together and it was brought to you by lies and deception because this was not a reunion. I mean why, after all them years, is it where you can’t have all four on every song? It’s just 10 songs. So this gets a low ranking for that alone, and it’s just not that great. It has its moments but it failed to live up o what everyone expected. I got nothing more to say about this album.

17.  LOVE GUN (1977)

Look. Imma just say it like this. I love three songs. The title track is a masterpiece. As is “Plaster Caster” and “Shock Me”. But I’m sorry, “Then She Kissed Me”, “Tomorrow and Tonight”, “Christine Sixteen” (really Gene?), “Got love For Sale”, “I Stole Your Love”, dumb songs. This is my worst Kiss album of the makeup years. I’m not wasting no more time on this one. Next.

16.  DRESSED TO KILL (1975)

Again, I like these songs better on Alive!  “Ladies In Waiting” is awesome as it gets though. Gene just kills it as does Ace on them sick leads. “Getaway” is slap awful though by Peter. It just annoys me. Ace kills it on the solo though. “Rock Bottom” maybe one of the top intros ever put down on wax. This song is just amazing in every way possible. I could listen to that acoustic intro forever. “C’mon And Love Me” is a total gem. That one is surely up there in my favorite Paul songs. “Anything For My Baby” is lame. “She” is alright but a bit overhyped to me. Sounds like something Bad Company would write. “Love Her All I can” is alright. Awful drumming by Peter on this. And “Rock And Roll All Nite”. I never need to hear this song ever again. So there you have it. Decent album. But it isn’t one I reach for much. As I said none of these going forward are bad but I have to choose. I think also if I didn’t hear a lot of these songs on Alive! these earlier albums would move up. So that does play a factor in this. Next.

15.  HOTTER THAN HELL (1974)

OK, let me be clear on this one. I love it for “Got To Choose”, “Parasite”, “Goin’ Blind”, and the title song. Here’s the problem. I like these songs better on Alive! “Goin’ Blind” is better on Unplugged. I don’t dislike this album by any means. “Got To Choose” and “Goin’ Blind” are absolute fire, even studio-wise. I never liked some of these songs though on the rest of the album. Stuff like “Let Me Go Rock N Roll” is just awful. The title alone is silly and the song is just as goofy. I know so many love “Strange Ways” but I just never got the appeal. It isn’t bad it just isn’t what so many claim it is (in my opinion).

It pains me to rank this so low because I do like this album but this is where everything gets tough for me. I hate putting this here but I just don’t play this album much.  In no means is it bad. Nothing is bad going forward but I gotta put them somewhere. This one hurt though. By the way, that is a awful album cover. Not that it played any factor in this, I’m just trying to make myself feel better for ranking this so low. I need to move on before I cry. Next.

14.  CARNIVAL OF SOULS: THE FINAL SESSIONS (1997)

Let me just say I love the songs “Master & Slave” and “It Never Goes Away”.  Paul goes in hard.  And Bruce just kills it guitar-wise on this album for the most. “Childhood’s End” is a damn nice Gene song. “I Confess” is pretty cool. I notice on this album Paul and Gene do more duets which was nice to hear since they use to do that a lot back in the day. I also find that Gene’s vocals are pretty damn top notch on a lot of this. Now I’m not saying this is a great album by any stretch but the songs that I mentioned are. I think they rushed this, and plus they had no promotion for it because the Reunion Tour with Peter and Ace came soon after this, so it was buried. It’s a shame because I think if they would have went back in the studio and worked on the bad half of this album they could have had something here. But if you want more modern heavy Kiss, this is it. Not Revenge.

13.  UNMASKED (1980)

Now this one is my biggest move up from couple years ago. I really like this album. “Shandi” is a hard NO though. But I love the rest. This album didn’t get the attention it needed because as I said earlier The Elder took them out hard for awhile. “Is That You” is a total awesome Paul song. Lot of Ace songs on this album and they all are awesome. Kiss was trying like hell to hold onto him.  Heck he had more songs on Dynasty than Gene.But he ended up leaving anyway. But Kiss did try and do the right thing. Peter you can replace but Ace…. They knew that was gonna be a problem because he sold the most of the 4 solo albums. He was the one who hated The Elder. He was the one who said this is getting way too comical. So they tried to cater to him and on the behalf of Gene and Paul what more could they do? Ace is my favorite but you can only do so much. Well Paul is really my favorite because he held Kiss together no matter what. So yeah, Ace 2nd. Anyway I find this to be a very good album and it is the one that jumped up most from my ranking a couple years ago. The songs are just good.If you were like me then I say give this a go again. It’s really good. Considering the turmoil during this era I think they pulled off a miracle. “Naked City” is one of best songs ever by Gene. And like I said, all these Paul songs are sooooo damn good (minus “Shandi”) and it climbed up 10 spots for me.I really do like this album so much now. “Easy As It Seems” I’m still touch and go on that one but it’s alright. So yeah go back and revisit Unmasked. It’s better than you probably remembered. Next.

12.  DYNASTY (1979)

Well what can I say? I like this album very much. I even like “I was Made For Loving You” and apparently a lot of fans do as well, since that song is a staple in their set list. Fine song by me. I think my favorite song on this album would be “Magic Touch”.  Now that is a great song. I always felt like that would have fit in great on Paul’s solo album, but least it is somewhere!  And I love ALL those Ace songs.  I won’t break them down because I think they are all great. I’m not a Rolling Stones fan, but Ace made that his song.  We’re talking about “2000 Man” here! I think they knew Ace was going to leave, so they seemed to try and make him happier by giving him more songs on “Dynasty” and “Unmasked”.  But it didn’t do no good, because he left anyway!  I really like the Gene songs on this album as well. “Charisma” is like a updated “God of Thunder” to my ears. And that is a good thing! The only song I do not like on here is “Dirty Living”.  Ughhhh, that song never gets no play from me. I fucking hate it. But that’s how it is with Peter sometimes. He’ll ruin a moment. So there you have it.  I’d move this album up some, but I think I like it just where it is. It is a bit better than Unmasked so that is where it will stay.

11.  HOT IN THE SHADE (1989)

Well where do we begin? OK, I love “Rise To It”, “Betrayed”, and “Hide Your Heart”.  Eric Carr is a beast on this album, as is Bruce. Paul and Gene sound top notch vocal wise. I think this one gets a lot of hate because of how long it is. But I just love this album. “Prisoner of Love” is a rocker by Gene. Bruce on fire in it! “Read My Body” is fun and full of groove! “Love’s A Slap In The Face” is fun! “Forever” is one of the best Kiss ballads ever. “Silver Spoon” kicks total ass. “King of Hearts” is another Paul gem. You all have to quit sleeping on this album! “You Love Me To Hate You” another awesome Paul song. I love that song just like I love most of this album. “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” another great Gene track.  I won’t go on about this album because I know so many don’t care for it. I’ll never understand that because I just love it beyond. And this album is much heavier than Revenge. See a pattern here. NEXT!

10.  ANIMALIZE (1984)

Only reason it isn’t lower is because of the first track. “I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)” is in my top 10 Paul songs of all time. “Thrills In The Night” and “Heaven’s on Fire” are awesome. But if those three wasn’t on this album it would be way lower. I like the heavy, but considering how great Lick It Up was/is, they went to this and it just isn’t close. All these dumb ass Gene songs. He was too busy doing dumb movies. Paul saved Kiss. Gene had one good song on this one. “While The City Sleeps”.  All I know is he better be glad Paul kept it going or Kiss would be dead. I know I’m coming off hard on this album but Gene just let me down bad after all his greatness on the Lick It Up album, where he had the most songs and they were awesome.  All of them.  Then he gives you this. Even Paul wrote in his book how Gene was just mailing it in,  and you can tell. Lacklustre as it gets, minus one song. If it comes across as me being hard on this album, well I am. I’ve always had it in for this album even if I do have it fairly up there. It angers me how Gene just left Paul to save this, but Paul being the champ he is, did just that. Moving on.

9.  ROCK AND ROLL OVER (1977)

Some awesome classics here. I love “Ladies room” so much. That groove is just sick. And one of the few Peter songs I like is on this aka “Hard Luck Woman”
The only reason this isn’t higher is because i prefer these other songs on the live albums. But I do love this one. I like the production. Just has a good feel. Like it’s the backbone of KISS at the best. It’s raw but clean. “I Want you” is a masterpiece. The way that just punches you feels good. “Take Me” is a groove fest and fun as it gets. AH AH AH AH YEAH! LOVE IT! “See You In Your Dreams” is a awesome song to roll down the windows and haul ass to. Just pedal to the floor! I don’t encourage you to do this but yanno.. So yeah a totally great KISS album. It’s a straight up classic.

8.  KISS (1974)

Well, it has all the classics we love, though much better on Alive!  So I’m not gonna spend much time on this one. It started it all, and it is one of the best to ever be put down on wax. Everything you wanted and then some is on this. “Kissing Time” is awful as fuck though. No need in going on about this album because if you love or even like KISS you are very much aware of this one, so no need for the breakdown.  It’s great.

7 & 6. ACE FREHLEY and PAUL STANLEY (1978)

Look, I can’t fit them in, so they just going here as a tie because I love them both the same. I’m not gonna go into details about either because they speak volumes as they are.  I will say I do not like “New York Groove”.  I just never have. Sorry Ace.  So if I had to edge it out I go with Paul as my favorite solo album.  And couple on there that I don’t play much, but nothing as bad as “New York Groove”.  Next.

5.  CRAZY NIGHTS (1987)

Yeah, let the hate rain down. I know it’s coming. But I think Paul has some of his best vocals on this album, as does Gene. After doing dumb stuff on Animalize like “Burn Bitch Burn” he stepped his game up and put his focus back on KISS. “Good Girl Gone Bad” and “Hell or High Water” are amazing Gene songs. My main problem with this album is the bass. It lacks. Ron Nevison just isn’t a good producer. He ruins albums. This album would sound heavier with someone like, say, Mike Clink. But, is what it is.

Now, on to where it really shines. Let me first say “I’ll Fight Like Hell To Hold You” is in my Top five Paul songs ever. I just love this song. His vocals are off the chains.  I can go on and on about this song, but gotta keep it moving. “Reason To Live” is a masterpiece ballad. That’s all you need to know about that. “My Way” is Paul just nailing it. His vocals are on fire! “Turn on the Night” is a ton of fun. Makes you just wanna go to the beach and have a good time. This album in general is that. FUN. Remember fun people? “Crazy Crazy Nights”, c’mon. You know that is fun! A couple tracks on it I don’t care for are two of the Gene tracks. “No, No, No” — that is the dumbest song title ever. And a pain in the ass to type. I can never get it right. But I don’t need to since I never bring it up (well this time I did), and “Thief in the Night” is pretty bland. You kind of see a trend here. Paul carried KISS on his back.  He had to make up for the Gene laziness.  But yeah, a solid album that I quite enjoy a lot. Next.

4.  DESTROYER (1976)

My fave of the make up years for sure. I mean this has it all. Minus that awful song “Great Expectations” just WTF Gene? And I never need to hear “Beth” again. But man I love everything else on 10. This one gets me going. “King of the Night Time World” was first KISS song I ever heard and I was like yeah these are my guys. I think I was like 7. I won’t go in much on this album because so many like it as a favorite so I feel it has been talked about more than I can do it justice. But this is the album that got me into KISS and I’ve never looked back. It blew me away then and still does. “God of Thunder” still sends chills down my spine. I also feel like this was the last real KISS album where the original members were full on. Stuff went messy after this it seems. But hey, least they went out on top. Thank you KISS for getting little boy me into you with this album. Mad love to ya!

3.  ASYLUM (1985)

Now this one is where I felt they were at the heavy point. And Bruce Kulick is on FIRE. I don’t dislike one song on this, so it pains me not to have it higher but I just can’t put it over the next two.  This album is one I play lots.  I love “King of the Mountain”.  I mean what a great opening track.  Look, since I’m trying to get this done, I’m not going to go much on this one.  Just know I fucking love this album sooooooo much. This is a gem and minus the awful album cover, everything is perfect to me.  Amazing production.  Paul is on top.  Gene stepped up. Bruce is on fire.  Eric is beasting.  This is one fucking great album. I think I listen to this one more than others lately.  So there ya go.

2.  CREATURES OF THE NIGHT (1982)

Well, this barely — and I do mean barely, edged out Asylum but I give you two reasons. “I Still Love You” and “Rock And Roll Hell”.  And it’s sad that this album wasn’t appreciated for the greatness it was, but KISS kind of blew it with some albums like The Elder and people just weren’t having it.  Now this is looked upon as one of the best by many KISS fans, as it should. The drums are like cannons. Eric Carr will always be my favorite KISS drummer. This album is a fucking work of art. It just screams “amazing”. As much as I liked Unmasked and Dynasty this felt like hey man, they back!  They quit messing around with the poppy stuff like “Shandi” and such. This one is a killer from start to finish. If you don’t own this, I question your KISS fandom. Gene is on top of his game after some shaky grounds before. And Paul stays on top. If someone asked me “what KISS album should I get” and they didn’t have one, I wouldn’t be hesitant to say this one.  Yes, it’s that damn good. And you have to remember not everyone is going to like 70’s stuff so I think what they did with this album is they melded it all into one. You get the classic KISS sound, yet the heavy modern KISS. This album is sheer perfection. You should go play it now. Next.

1.  LICK IT UP (1983)

Here we are at the end. What a ride! Now, you may think I’m going to talk a lot about this one since it is my favorite album and that is where you will be wrong. I’ll tell you why it is number one though. “A Million To One” is my favorite Paul song ever, and “Not For The Innocent” is my favorite Gene song ever. I think that explains it.  And crazy Vinnie is on fire!  Eric is Godly on this. There is not one bad thing I can say about this album. The production is top notch. The songs are all great. “Young and Wasted”, man that song is so damn heavy it’s insane. This is the KISS album I go to most and will always go to the most. It is everything I love.


This has been fun.  NOW GO PLAY SOME KISS!

By Jonathan Lee

The Adventures of Tee Bone Man – Chapter Four: Tee Bone Man And The Rink Of… Doom? (By Aaron KMA)

CHAPTER FOUR:  TEE BONE MAN AND THE RINK OF… DOOM?

by Aaron

Tee Bone Man was exhausted. Going to hell will do that to a guy. Our masked hero was collapsed on a chaise lounge of rock in the basement of Deke’s Palace, drinking fine scotch with the ever-amazing hero Superdekes, his trusty partner in (repeatedly) saving the world.

Superdekes was saying something wise and interesting about Eddie Van Halen’s tapping technique on the guitar, and Tee Bone Man was trying desperately to pay attention, but he was falling asleep. Being Canadian, he naturally felt bad about being rude, but unconsciousness was very quickly gripping him despite his best intentions. What was going on? And then….

Where was he? This wasn’t Deke’s Palace. Superdekes wasn’t there. This didn’t even look like Earth… It was a vast, darkened room with a high ceiling, an echo that was only exacerbated by the cement floor. As Tee Bone Man’s eyes adjusted to the darkness of his surroundings, though, he saw a score clock, hanging from the ceiling of the room. He saw white boards with yellow dashers and thick glass around the top, with ads on them… he was standing at the hash marks of a hockey rink. In summer, clearly, because the floor was cement rather than ice.

Even though he knew he was dreaming, in that weird dream logic he also knew that this experience was completely real and his heightened super senses put his guard up immediately. His exhaustion vanished as his eyes darted around and his ears strained to pick up any noise of danger in the empty space.

Suddenly the score clock lit up, and loud music began blaring through the rink. The message on the board read Welcome To Your Doom, Tee Bone Man!, and the timer on the clock started counting down from ten minutes. Moving to the center ice circle, Tee Bone Man walked around the clock from underneath, but saw nothing of danger, no bomb, no guns, no evil henchmen. Not even a single demon to be found.  Then he heard laughter echoing around the massive space, and saw a light come on in the announcer booth above the stands at center ice. A silhouetted figure stood there, arms wide, laughing.

The music stopped and a gravelly voice came over the PA, still laughing, saying “Welcome to your demise, Tee Bone Man. You have been brought here to be decimated once and for all. There is no escape. Your time is running out, now less than nine minutes. Your end will do the world a favour!”

Facing the dark figure, Tee Bone Man struck the most awesome super hero pose ever, and said loudly “Who are you? Why are you doing this? Stop this madness at once!” The voice boomed overhead, “You know who I am, you love to hate me. I am a hero myself, but the heel of every situation. I am a friend, but also always the enemy. It is time for me to be the hero, and to do that I must end you to make way. Good bye, Tee Bone Man.” And with that the light in the announcer booth went dark, leaving Tee Bone Man alone at center ice with an inexorably ticking clock overhead.

His eyes having fully adjusted to the dark, Tee Bone Man made a quick survey of his surroundings. Nothing impeded him from free movement on the floor of the rink, so he headed towards the zamboni gate but found it locked. Quickly crossing the floor to the far side again, he headed to the team benches, hopped the boards, then climbed the shorter glass into the bleachers. Taking the stairs three at a time, he made his way up into the concourse. All the concessions were closed. Damn. A pretzel at the end of everything would’ve been nice, would’ve helped him think.

Running around the concourse to the announcer booth, Tee Bone Man was able to see the clock ticking down, now under eight minutes. As he ran, he thought about this situation. He knew it was a dream but it felt so real. Who was the figure in the announcer booth? What would he find when he got there? Rounding the last corner of the walkway, the announcer booth came into view. Tee Bone Man slowed up and started a cautious approach. No one was visible. He ducked down a few rows into the stands and approached the booth from underneath. Less than seven minutes now as he crouched and watched for any sign of movement, any booby traps or henchmen. There was nothing.

It seemed he was alone in the building. Had the figure already left? And if so, why did bad guys do this? Why construct some elaborate death trap and then leave a full ten minutes for the good guy to figure it out. And why leave, so there’s no way of confirming you’d been successful? He supposed that this was why the bad guys were always caught: they weren’t necessarily always the brightest.

Seeing no movement, he crept forward as the clock ticked past six minutes. Soon he was directly underneath the announcer booth. He carefully climbed the steps and, constantly checking his surroundings for booby traps and attack, he approached the booth. The door was locked. But now he heard a faint struggling sound behind the door. Looking around, he saw the handle of an old Sherwood hockey stick, solid wood and missing its blade, leaning against the wall. Grabbing it, with now five minutes left on the clock, he smashed the door knob with one mighty, well-aimed swing of the stick, surely a five minute major penalty so hefty was that swing. The door swung open slowly, revealing the gloomy interior of the booth.  The struggling sound got louder.

Rushing into the room, expecting a fight with the mysterious figure, Tee Bone found only a different figure, tied up, lying on the floor. Flicking on the light switch, he saw Superdekes bound and gagged, lying at his feet. Quickly undoing the bindings, our two heroes got caught up. “Thanks, Tee Bone, that was a close one.” Quickly scanning his pal for injury, Tee Bone Man asked him “What happened? Who tied you up? Why are you here? Does this feel like a dream to you too?” Rubbing his wrists to return circulation after being bound, Superdekes said “I don’t know who is doing this. I was drinking scotch and then woke up here, tied, in this dark room. I’m very glad you found me. As for being a dream, yeah, it all feels unreal somehow.” Tee Bone Man recapped his own story so far, and then the two heroes talked about next moves. There was now three and a half minutes left on the clock. They left the booth to search for clues.

With two better able to cover ground than one, they pair quickly searched the main areas of the concourse and found nothing of danger. With less than two minutes on the clock, they found themselves near the exit to the rear parking lot. Behind them was the door to the dressing rooms. “C’mon, Superdekes, we need to check here as well.” Our intrepid heroes, well aware that time was running out, crept through the door and down the hall to the team dressing room. Slowly pushing open the dressing room door, they found the light on but no one in view. Relaxing slightly, Superdekes was just turning to Tee Bone Man to say this was a dead end when wham-o, he was crosschecked from behind! Tee Bone Man swung around to face the assailant and saw a short, strong man in a black hood standing over Superdekes!

“Tee Bone Man, you found me! Your time is almost up!” Looking at a watch on his wrist the figure laughed and said “Less than a minute now!” Moving faster than he’d ever moved, Tee Bone Man sprang forward, swinging the Sherwood stick handle he’d never set down, catching the villain flatfooted with a mighty blow to the chest, sending him to the floor. Superdekes was getting up, stretching out his sore back and looking for revenge as Tee Bone Man stood over the figure. Kneeling on their assailant’s chest, Tee Bone Man snatched the black hood off the figure’s head to reveal… Brad Marchand! The evil Bruins forward, notorious rat, shit disturber and face licker, now holding up his hands in self-defense, crying now that it was all a joke and he’d meant no harm. Grabbing Marchand’s wrist, Tee Bone Man saw on the watch that the time had elapsed to zero but there’d been no explosion, no consequence at all.

Grabbing Marchand by the front of his collar and yanking hard, Tee Bone Man hauled Marchand up and, with fire in his eyes that was a look that could kill if there ever was one, shouted “What happened here? The clock’s run out, what happened? Speak, you fiend!” Marchand looked pained and fearful, repeating “Nothing! Nothing! It’s never anything! I was just trying to have some fun…” Quickly binding Marchand’s hands, our dynamic duo turned around to see police officers filling the hallway and bursting into the room. The day was saved. Marchand was taken away to serve his time, and our heroes were free to go home to try to make sense of it all.

 


Tee Bone Man started awake on the chaise lounge in Deke’s Palace. There was an empty bottle of scotch on the table, and Superdekes was just coming around as well. “Man, I had the weirdest dream, just now,” said Tee Bone Man. “You were in it, and we were in the Owen Sound rink, and…” Superdekes nodded and said “I know, I was there. I remember it all too.” They looked at each other a moment. “But that was a dream, so how…” Superdekes shook his head. “I dunno, brother, but I’m nursing a pretty good headache at the moment, and the one thing that helps with that is the good ol’ hockey game, the best game you can name…” And with that he snapped on the TV and there were the Toronto Maple Leafs facing off against the Boston Bruins! And the announcer was just saying, as they tuned in, “…and the Bruins will be without their star forward Brad Marchand tonight, out with a concussion sustained in the Bruins last game against the Rangers…”

Tee Bone Man and Superdekes started laughing, and settled in to watch the game. Tee Bone Man cracked a new bottle of scotch and Superdekes passed Tee Bone Man a pretzel.

The Adventures of Tee Bone Man – Chapter Two: Hell Freezes Over (by Harrison Kopp)

CHAPTER TWO:  HELL FREEZES OVER

by Harrison Kopp

In the snowy climes of Thunder Bay, two friends sat in the basement of Deke’s Palace listening to records. The name of the establishment was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that this place was most certainly not anything resembling a palace. Those that had the dubious honour of visiting the place would often claim that the only thing holding up the walls were the cockroaches. Legend even has it that Sloan actually refused to play there.

Of course, this was all in service of a very deliberate attempt to keep prying eyes away, because underneath this dilapidated structure was the well-equipped basement these two friends operated from.

As the Scotch flowed and the needle hit wax, their discussion continued.  They had just defeated a mighty sasquatch, saving some new friends from utter doom in the process. Not usually normal conversation topics for a pair of Canadian buddies, but these were not ordinary individuals.

“You know, from a distance that sasquatch kinda looked like my brother Rugg,” said the first man, the spandex-clad superhero Tee Bone Man. A devil on the guitar, he was a champion of arena rock, fine alcohol and Canadian hospitality.

“That’s true, the resemblance was uncanny,” said the second man, the reliable gentleman and (currently) regular hero known as Superdekes who assisted Tee Bone in his heroic endeavours.  “But back to the tunes.  I don’t care what that Brainiac from Southern Ontario thinks.  5150 is killer.  Sammy Hagar was no Roth, but comparisons are silly.”

Tee Bone took a moment to think.

“True, his friend, that meaty guy, seems to agree with you though.”  He paused to sip his drink.  “Drop the needle, let’s play it again.”

Superdekes leaned over the turntable.  “Just like old times man,” he proclaimed as the needle fell.

“Hellllllllllo baby!” screamed Sammy Hagar as the record started playing.

Then came a strange noise that was definitely not the opening guitar squeal to “Good Enough”. While it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that the noise the two men were hearing was indeed Eddie Van Halen, it would have taken some interesting hand positions to pull it off.

Then a skip. And the record seemed to start again. “Hellllllo…Hell…Hell…Hell…”

“Uh oh” proclaimed Superdekes.  “That’s not a good sign.  That’s the danger vibes again!  Someone needs our help.”

Tee Bone turned to the nearest computer.  “You’re right.  Something’s wrong.  And it’s global this time.  It seems… earthquakes everywhere!”

Suddenly Superdekes had a hunch.

“My metal senses are tingling,” he said.  He placed AC/DC on the turntable.  Dropping the needle on “Highway to Hell”, the skipping was far more pronounced. The danger signs were clear.

“Australia is the epicenter,” said Superdekes.  “Looks like you’re on your own this time.  I’ll monitor from here and do what I can.  Why is it again that you’re the only one who can fly?”

Tee Bone grabbed the nearest guitar and donned his cape.  “You know the origin story as well as anyone, let’s not rehash it. You’re my roadie, remember?” he said with a wry smile, motioning towards the motorbike leaning against the wall. “Quite literally”.

“Har har,” came Superdekes’s reply. “You know that’s not how it goes”.

“I know, and I’m still looking for another one for you, but they don’t sell spares Dekes over at Canadian Tire. So where in Australia am I heading?  It’s not a small country you know.”

Superdekes listened carefully to the skipping record.  “I can’t pinpoint it,” he said in frustration.  “But you’re gonna need to find the Highway to Hell.”

Then he had an idea.

“Give me that guitar a minute. I think I can help narrow it down”

Tee Bone handed his guitar across, and Superdekes began tuning it. After a short time, he handed it back.

“I’ve put it in the same tuning as the danger vibes. It should react the closer you get,” Superdekes explained.

“Thanks, Super Roadie” Tee Bone replied with a smile, flying off into the sky with the guitar.


Tee Bone Flight 666 direct to Australia was pretty uneventful, other than the guitar occasionally humming as he approached the country, and soon enough he was hovering above the western city of Perth.

And he was sweating like never before. This place gave a new meaning to the word hot, and if Tee Bone didn’t know better, he’d have said that it was hotter than hell in this place. Heck, it was even hot in the shade! He was at least somewhat pleased, however, that the inhabitants hadn’t been literal when they said that everything here was trying to kill you.

Then the world began to shake underneath him. He knew it must have been another earthquake because he hadn’t had enough Scotch to affect his vision yet.

The tremor passed quickly, and he flew down to see if anyone needed his assistance. He was relieved to find that no one appeared to be hurt. But then something caught his attention. It was the sound of music. He didn’t recognise the baritone singer, but he knew good riffs whenever he heard them.

He followed it to its source: a house occupied by a moustache-clad young Australian. To go with his shoulder-length hair and moustache was a small tuft on his lower lip that completed the look.

Tee Bone silently remarked that the man’s facial hair was arranged in the shape of an arrow. He wasn’t really sure who needed directions to this man’s nostrils, but whoever they were, they had them.

Needless to say, the moustachioed man was taken rather aback by this sudden development. He was not in the habit of inviting spandex-clad superheroes into his backyard, not that he’d really had the chance too before.

But there was a sense of familiarity about the man hovering before him. Perhaps it was the Van Halen logo on his mask and enjoyment of the music, but the Australian felt like he was in the presence of a friend.

“Hey, uh, Mr. Van Halen. Can I…help you with anything by any chance?” He cautiously asked.

“Call me Tee Bone Man, and, actually, I think you can,” Tee Bone replied “I need to stop these earthquakes, and to do that I need a return ticket to hell. I’ve been told the only way to get that is through the Highway to Hell, which I’m going to need some directions to.”

The moustachioed man thought for a second.

“I know the place. There are a few slight wrinkles though,” he said. “One does not simply drive into hell. There’s a specific ritual that needs to be done”.

“Well, what is it?” came Tee Bone’s reply.

“That’s the other wrinkle,” the Australian sheepishly replied. “The ritual is said to be written on the vinyl sleeve for the AC/DC album Highway to Hell, and I…err…don’t own that album.”

Tee Bone smiled.

“Well lucky for you, I know someone who does,” and he pulled out his phone “Hey Deke, I need you to do something you’re not going to like.”

Superdekes most certainly did not like that suggestion.

“You want me to do what!? Submerge the sleeve for Highway to Hell in the vintage ’66 Scotch? Are you out of your mind?”

“It’s the only way to read the ritual process,” Tee Bone countered “We need it. I’m in Australia, I’ll buy a new copy”

This perked Deke up a little.

“Well now that you mention it, you are indeed in Australia. How’s about you pick up an original Aussie pressing for me.”

“That’s pretty rare you know, they don’t exactly grow on trees. Not that I see many trees around here anyway.”

Deke stood his ground like a bass player on stage.

“Alright, you win. We’ll get that LP for you.”

“Excellent” he said, with a slight grin “You’ll want the Albert Productions vinyl. Shouldn’t be too hard for a man of your abilities.”

“Not at all. We’ll get on it as soon as we finish up here.”

Mollified, Superdekes went to work grudgingly defacing the vinyl sleeve. Sure enough, bright red text appeared on it and, soon enough, he had the answer the two men needed.

“Alright, here it is: You need to drive down the Highway to Hell at 142 kilometres per hour*, in the chariot of death, to the tune of pure rock.”

“Great, that’s going to be a hassle”, Tee Bone grumbled.  “Thanks Deke, we’ll figure it out somehow.”

He hung up and turned back to his new Australian acquaintance.

“I’m guessing it’s been a while since there’s been any chariots around here, so I reckon we’ll need to find a regular old car that suits the criteria.”

It was the moustachioed man’s turn to smile.

“Well lucky for you, I know somewhere that will have what we’re after.”


The Clairemont car show was quite the spectacle. There were certainly vehicles that caught the notice of the two men. Shiny, chromed muscle cars abounded, but none of them had the presence the men required. Until one did, towards the very end of the building, tucked away in the back. The way it caught the attention of both men was ironic, given its black-on-black paint job, but they knew this was the machine they were after. It was difficult persuading the owner to lend it to them, but an unending bottle of Scotch courtesy of Tee Bone and a mobius strip of a guitar solo did the trick.

And so the two men drove their new ride to the site of the ritual: Canning Highway. When they arrived, Tee Bone noticed an immediate problem.

“It’s too crowded now. It would be too dangerous to try and reach those speeds with all these other cars around. We’ll have to wait until night-time.”

The moustachioed man agreed, and decided to kill the time with the Canadian man inside one of the legendary Bon Scott’s favourite haunts along the road, the Raffles Hotel.

Over the next couple of hours Tee Bone found himself treated to some of Australia’s finest Scotch, a revelation about the actual number of people called Bruce in the land, and a particularly amusing crowd interaction with one of the songs on the jukebox.

“No way. Get fucked. Fuck off!” came the crowd’s reply every time the singer asked a seemingly sincere question about seeing someone’s face again.

Tee Bone raised an eyebrow in the direction of the Australian beside him.

“Australian tradition since 1977. We can be an odd bunch sometimes.”

Tee Bone silently wondered if the heat might have had some sort of effect on the people living here, and then went back to his drink.

Eventually nightfall finally came, and the two men left the respectable drinking establishment, more than a little hydrated. As they returned to their new vehicle, Tee Bone put his hand on the moustachioed man’s shoulder.

“Hey, I’ve got something to help this baby hit the speeds we need.”

Resting a bottle of Scotch on the bonnet, Tee Bone played a fiery guitar solo, imbuing the alcohol with an orangey glow.

“Put this in the fuel tank to give it an extra kick” he said, handing the, now very warm, bottle of Scotch to the moustachioed man, who obliged.

Tee Bone breathed in the cool night air and casually observed the road to make sure there weren’t any cars nearby. Satisfied, he turned back to his partner.

Now having finished adding the Scotch mixture to the fuel, the moustachioed man instinctively reached for the driver’s side door, but paused, looking at the Canadian superhero next to him.

“You’d better take the wheel,” Tee Bone assured him. “You’re familiar with the road rules here, and which side of the road to drive on.”

“Right. Good point” came the Australian’s reply.

“And you haven’t just drank a tonne of Scotch,” Tee Bone continued, mounting the car, guitar in hand.

With no rear window, Tee Bone was able to situate himself atop the car, looking forward. Not only did this cut a much cooler image for anyone lucky enough to witness the coming proceedings, but it also allowed him to see any hazards as they came and react to them in time.

The Australian, meanwhile, had taken his seat on the right side of the car and took a brief moment to gather himself for the coming task. It was not going to be easy, but that wasn’t going to stop him from giving it his all. There was no turning back now. He quickly adjusted his moustache, tuned the radio to rock and keyed the ignition. The familiar hum of an internal combustion engine filled him with some warmth.

His nerves somewhat settled, he turned his head back towards the man he might end up spending the rest of his life with, if things went south here.

“Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be” came Tee Bone’s reply. “Let’s do this”

The Australian pressed the accelerator, and with the roar of the eight-cylinder engine, the car lurched forward and began its journey towards hell. The needle climbed with every passing second, but even with the power of Tee Bone’s Scotch coursing through it, the old Ford was not what it used to be.

The Australian began to worry. They were not going fast enough, and they would run into a turn or, worse, another car soon. He threw his head back towards the direction of Tee Bone

“I don’t think we’re gonna make it!”

“Hold on!” Tee Bone yelled back. Then he began to wind his arm around a couple times, gathering air. The supercharger roared with delight. Then he hit the loudest power chord he had ever played, and the car surged forward as the world seemed to disappear in a flash of white.

For several seconds the only sound either of the men heard was the engine in front of them. Then colour returned to their vision. The colour red.

They had made it to hell. Now they just needed to find the source of these disturbances, stop them and get back to the real world without dying. Somehow.

 

 

To be continued in Chapter 3: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

 

 

* 88 miles per hour

GUEST REVIEW: Anthem – Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years (2012) by Thunder Blackmore

By Thunder Blackmore

ANTHEM – Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years (2012 King Record Co.)

In the world of metal, there is no short list of underrated bands from every corner and country of the world. Specially with long-standing bands that are still going strong to this day. Would it be bands like E-Z-O from Japan, Pretty Maids from Denmark, Thor from Canada, or Helloween from Germany, everyone regardless of nationality has a favorite band, who did well for themselves, but could’ve, would’ve and should’ve gone big. And while my choice for most underrated metal band ever would go to my fellow countrymen Pretty Maids (national bias has its moments), Japanese metal legends Anthem earns the runner-up spot, easily.

The band, led by bassist Naoto Shibata, who are perhaps more famous for his work with Loudness and Crush 40 in the 90’s, had a tough time in the 80’s with success in their homeland and even a small US tour in ’87, but also with internal struggles which prevented the band to go beyond like their fellow and more successful countrymen, Loudness. Ultimately the band would be disbanded in 1992 until they reunited in 2001 and have been going strong since then. A band considered by many to be part of the big four of Japanese Metal (with X Japan, Loudness and Flatbacker/E-Z-O) with mostly consistent excellent releases throughout the years, who just now are getting released to the west on streaming services and (hopefully) physically by Nuclear Blast. So far, there’s two options for getting into Anthem’s discography, which just so happen to be compilations. For their new era, there is Nucleus, released by the aforementioned Nuclear Blast. But as for their classic period, the import to buy is this one. Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years.

Japanese releases has a reputation of not being a very cheap options, so getting this compilation is definitely a good starter point. It collects songs from the band’s initial 80’s era, starting with the self-titled debut and ending with their final album before their hiatus, Domestic Booty (you’ll be the judge for the supposed meaning of “booty”). Given that the compilation is split into two cd’s, it also reflects the times with the singers Eizo Sakamoto and Yukio Morikawa representing disc 1 and 2, respectively. This decision, coupled with the track list being in chronological order, can be difficult at first listen. Not necessarily with the tracks themselves but more with the unevenness with the production, as the first Anthem albums sound pretty rough. Granted, that’s not a problem exclusive to the band, but that also means that you’ll have to skip to track 13, “Bound to Break”, if you are somewhat put off by the roughness.

If you can hang with it, you are in for 2 hours of kickass catchy melodic metal majesty from glorious Nippon with no noteworthy duds. Even with my nitpicky desire to swap out some tracks for others, I’m still absolutely happy with this purchase. Standouts have to be “Venom Strike”, “Shadow Walk”, “Bound to Break”, “Hunting Time”, “Night After Night” and “Show Must Go On”. The latter being their first original song with English lyrics (courtesy of the late Chris Tsangarides) and being their first to be featured in the Anime OVA, Devilman.

Until Anthem can finally release their back-catalog on physical media for a much more affordable price (CD, vinyl or otherwise), this one will do wonders in the meantime.

4.95/5 stars

Thanks to Thunder Blackmore for this awesome review.

 

 

#892 Perspective 2020: With Dr. Dave

#892: Perspective 2020: With Dr. Dave

Dr. Dave Haslam is the drummer for Max the Axe. A swell guy, but also a bit difficult to get to follow simple instructions. I asked him for a Top 11 of 2020 and he didn’t get it in on time. Dr. Dave doesn’t do deadlines.  However it’s a good list, so we’re re-framing it today as a treatise on some good things that happened in a pretty shitty year.  Perspective 2020:  with Dr. Dave.  Eleven good things that happened in 2020.  A Nigel Tufnel Top Ten!

 


  1. Blue Oyster CultThe Symbol Remains

There’s life in them yet, with enough variety and new blood to maintain interest. It compares particularly well to Ozzy and AC/DC. The former needs to just go away, while the latter has, let’s face it, become the absolute epitome of Dad Rock: safe, comfortable, predictable, and boring as FUCK. BOC still has its tongue planted firmly in cheek, though whose cheek it is remains in question.

 

  1. WayfarerA Romance With Violence

One of the best things about black metal in this century is how it can incorporate different styles, and it was only a matter of time before someone spliced it with a Morricone-spaghetti western feel. Weird heavy stuff coming from Colorado these days.

 

  1. SolstafirEndless Twilight of Codependent Love

Iceland ain’t all Bjork and Sigur Ros. Their black metal scene is led by these lads who have been dialing-up the post-rock on recent albums. Black metal at its best is (barely) controlled fury, but this is not what you’re getting here; rather, it’s like the aftermath of that: the veteran barbarian, grown wistful in retirement, drinking his mead and reflecting on past conquests.

 

  1. Paradise LostObsidian

Their late-career groove continues with another consistent slab of darkly melodic metal with well-timed nods to their earlier stylistic detours.

 

  1. Killer Be KilledReluctant Hero

Supergroups don’t always stick around long enough to make a second album, and it’s great that these guys did. Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly), Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Ben Koller (Converge) combine for an album that is both heavy and catchy. They use the three different vocalists really well, and the heaviness is a solid blend of the bands they come from. “From a Crowded Wound” might be the core of the album, but the title-track might be my song of the year; supposedly about losing a parent to Alzheimer’s, it’s reminiscent of “Hurt” (yes, that one), before Puciato takes the second half of the song by the neck to a triumphant denouement. If there is a better response to the shitshow of 2020, I don’t know of it.

 

  1. PallbearerForgotten Days

Less immediate than the one before, this album took some distracted listening in my car for it to truly sink in. Though all of the plastic in the dashboard looked and sounded like it was going to disintegrate, I found myself actually singing along to it: me, who’s all about the holy trinity of guitar, bass, and drums. When doom lets the likes of Boston and Kansas shine through, good things happen.

 

  1. Hum – Inlets 

Even more surprising than the BOC album was this. Like Failure five years ago, another promising band from the 90s that didn’t take off like they should have released new stuff. Shoegazy with thick, stonerish-riffage and sharp hooks. STILL waiting for the goddamn cd, though. Grrrrr.

 

  1. WinterfyllethThe Reckoning Dawn

Still some of the catchiest black metal out there. After an entirely acoustic album, this sees them roaring back with some of their thrashiest riffage.

 

  1. DeftonesOhms

Everything likeable about them is represented on this album. Plenty of atmosphere, groove, and riffs. A flat-out masterpiece of sonic craftsmanship from start to finish, and one of the best-produced albums I’ve heard in a long time.

 

  1. The OceanPhanerozoic II: Mesozoic/Cenozoic

Germany’s heaviest nerds complete two-album concept about the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammalian life on Earth. With one foot in the ISIS/Cult of Luna school of post-metal and the other in the hypnotic prog-metal of Tool, this is like catnip for me. A baked-up headphone album for sure.

 

  1. Elder – Omens

It’s not enough that Reflections of a Floating World is a top-ten 21st century album for me, but they had to go and do this, too. Fuckers. “Halcyon” rides a similar vibe as the krautrocky “Sonntag” from the previous album, but does so better, with more depth and commitment. It’s fitting that the weakest part of the previous album becomes the nucleus for maybe the strongest song this time out (and it’s weird that they again hit me hardest with the fourth song of the album). My top 3 this year are more-or-less interchangeable, depending on my mood, but I don’t think I’m ever not in the mood for these guys. It just doesn’t happen.

 

What’s on the teevee?

Lots of television was consumed this year, and I’ll admit it – The Mandalorian was better than I thought it would be. But it’s still just popcorn, compared to which The Expanse is prime rib, with all the fixins, with a side of even more prime rib. Star Trek: Discovery was somewhere in the middle, though I found season 3 uneven: my emotional g-spot likes more subtle manipulation, and season 3 all-too-often went straight for the aggressive fisting. Ouchie! Also of note was Britannia, which was both dark and goofy while still being committed to the overall vision. Definitely a British thing. The Boys was simply The Boys, and that’s what we all want, of course. Lovecraft Country was a very interesting spin on the Cthulu mythos in a Jim Crow-era America. Cursed was okay but pretty forgettable, and The Witcher was fun enough, I guess. The biggest single disappointment was learning that there will only be one more season of The Expanse after this, the fifth. They haven’t caught up with the books yet, and I highly doubt there will be a Game of Thrones shitting of the bed, but I just can’t accept that we’re nearing the home-stretch.

Dr. Dave

 

Best of 2020 Part 6: Iron Tom Delivers the Lists

Iron Tom returns with his 2020 list of awesome, a little bit of commentary, and plenty of Youtube videos for you to check out!


  • Elder Omens

 

  • King Buffalo Dead Star

 

  • Drive-By Truckers The New OK

 

  • The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

 

  • King Gorm King Gorm

 

  • Five Alarm Funk Big Smoke

Let the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ take you on a tight funky ride…

 

  • Jerry Joseph The Beautiful Madness

 

  • Drive-By Truckers The Unraveling

Great album for the shit-storm that was the last four years. However, I’m not sure I’ll be partying to some of it four years from now….

 

  • Brant Bjork Brant Bjork

The coolest dude on the planet being a one-cool-man-band….

 

  • Steve Earle Ghosts of West Virginia

Emphasizing the humanity over politics plays well….

 

  • Deep Purple Whoosh!

After the quality of the last few albums, I don’t know why I was surprised by how much I liked this one… Keep going boys….

 

  • Testament Titans of Creation

This band has been pretty consistent over the decade and have produced another great thrash album that is as catchy as it is heavy….

 

  • Neil Young Homegrown

1974-recorded and 2020-released and enjoyed…I read that Young thinks that the album is ‘the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes A Time’ and he’s right….

 

  • Armored Saint Punch the Sky

A pleasant surprise…no gimmicks just solid consistent heavy metal.

 

  • Blue Öyster Cult The Symbol Remains

A little uneven but the highs more than outweigh the lows… The videos may be unintentionally hilarious but the rock fire remains….

 

  • Wishbone Ash Coat of Arms

Fans of well crafted rock with tasty twin guitar will enjoy….

 

  • Annihilator Ballistic, Sadistic

A heavy riffy old-school thrashfest that does not let up….

 

  • Jason Isbell, Reunions

It doesn’t quite match the strength of his last two, but that’s only because Isbell has set the bar so damn high for himself… This is an excellent album in its own right….

 

  • Mr. Bungle The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

Ian’s and Lombardo’s presence help Mr. Bungle deliver little on the experimentation, but some great straight-up thrash….

 

  • Brimstone Coven The Woes Of A Mortal Earth

Riffy modern occult rock with excellent vocal harmonies….

 

  • Lowrider Refractions

Who knew there were deserts in Sweden? These Kyuss-wannabies make a good case that there are….

 

  • Wytch Hazel III: Pentecost

Wishbone Ash fans will have lots here to enjoy….

 

  • King Weed – Riffs Of The Dead
  • King Weed The Seven Sins Of Doomsday

Instrumental Stoner from France… Groovy cool shit… And there are two more 2020 releases I haven’t checked out yet….

 

  • Diamond Head Lightning to the Nations 2020

A fresh coat of paint on some metal masterpieces and some pretty cool covers….

 

  • Wobbler Dwellers of the Deep

Yes, Crimson and Gentle Giant fans will find much to like here….

 

  • Freeways True Bearings

Vintage 70’s guitar rock for 2020 and they are from Brampton….

 

  • Bonehawk Iron Mountain

 

  • Shuffle Demons Crazy Time

 

 

 

Best of 2020 Part 4: Guest Lists from Frankie and Michael

FRANKIE THE MAN OF MYSTERY

Here’s my list, for what it’s worth. Turns out I didn’t go watch many movies in theatre, but did stream a lot of content. It also seems I like watching cartoons and anime, but that’s not really a surprise. – Frank

Film and Streaming

Blood of Zeus, Netflix
Castlevania Season 3, Netflix
Dragon’s Dogma, Netflix
The Mandalorian, Disney+
1917
The Boys season 2, Prime
Bill and Ted Face the Music
Altered Carbon Season 2 Netflix
October Faction, Netflix
Bosch, Prime

Music

Testament, Titans of Creation, track “Night of the Witch”
Static-X, Project Regeneration Vol 1., track “Hollow”
Sepultura, Quadra, track “Raging Void”
Trivium, What the Dead Men Say
Five Finger Death Punch, F8, track “Scar Tissue”


MICHAEL, MAX THE AXE’S STUNT DOUBLE

Gorillaz – Song Machine
Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow
Lamb of God – Lamb of God
Run the Jewels – RTJ4
Poppy – I Disagree
The Chats – High Risk Behaviour
Oliver Tree – Ugly is Beautiful
King Gizzard – K.G.
Testament – Titans of Creation
Atomic Bitchwax – Scorpio

Runners Up

Flaming Lips – American Lips
Midnight – Rebirth by Blasphemy
Deep Purple – Whoosh!
Jeff Rosenstock – No Dream
Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains

 

GUEST REVIEW – Roky Erickson and the Aliens – The Evil One – The Meat Challenge

The Meat Challenge:  Listen to an album we’ve never heard before, and write about it while listening for the first time on headphones.  Meat was given Roky Erikson by LeBrain.

ROKY ERICKSON & THE ALIENS – The Evil One (1981)

How did we get to where we are now?  Let’s have a very quick nutshell synopsis of a pretty incredible story (a story which is captured in much more detail in a very good 2005 documentary titled You’re Gonna Miss Me.  Have you seen it? It’s a beauty.)

Roky Erickson was born in 1947 in Dallas, Texas.  He co-founded an influential psychedelic rock band called The 13th Floor Elevators, who had some chart success in the late 60s. In 1969, Roky Erickson got arrested for smoking a joint and to avoid jail, pled guilty and was sent to the nuthouse until his release in 1974.  Roky Erickson & the Aliens were born and released their debut album in 1980.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have not heard the debut album.  Nor have I heard any other Roky Erickson album going into this.  I was not sure what to expect and what I got was different and frankly more than I expected.  The Evil One was produced by ex-CCR bassist Stu Cook, and together he and Roky definitely came out with a great sounding record…that talks about Lucifer a lot…and the devil …and ghosts….  Basically, you could look at this album a collection of crazy stories.  More specifically, I now look at The Evil One as a collection of 15 short B-movies expressed through exceptional Pop-Rock songwriting.  Imagine if Hall and Oates got a bit of Rock balls and started worshipping Satan.  Here are some thoughts I had while listening to each song/movie on The Evil One.

  1. “Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)” –  The first track is the only song I had actually heard before on this album.  LeBrain picked this for a tribute back in the days when Sausagefest was doing them.  Hearing this again, I enjoy it like I did when I first heard it.  Great rock song with guitar licks that kinda surprised me.  Roky Erickson possesses a great voice with a naturally high register, which allows him to belt out the hearty Rock.
  1. “I Think of Demons” –  Another solid rock song bringing to mind everything from the Ramones to Thin Lizzy to “insert 70s melodic rock band here”.  A lot of poppy goodness here.  Perhaps the happiest song ever with “Demons” in the title?  You’d be right if you guessed there is more of this kinda thing to come.
  1. “Creature With The Atom Brain” –  Nicholas Cage would have been the star of this movie.  I really like the twin guitar parts in this track.  Bit of a hillbilly rock song.  Some conspiracy-minded strange banter in the middle which leads to even stranger banter at the end.
  1. “The Wind and More” –  This is probably my favorite track on the album.  I really got a Max Webster meets Wishbone Ash vibe from this song.  Erickson seems to have a great way of finding his way melodically through rock and roll riffs.  Of course Lucifer is mentioned again.   Speaking of…could this be what Pye Dubois would have sounded like if he made music? Hmmmm.
  1. “Don’t Shake Me Lucifer” –  Yes, this time the one of the Prince of Darkness’ given names makes the title.  Roky really channels his inner Mick Jagger in this track.  Very Rolling Stones-esque all around really.  A bit more of an aggressive punk thing going on here.  Perhaps Teenage Head would be a better comparison.   Not one of my favorite tracks on the album to be honest.
  1. “Bloody Hammer” –  This is another stand out track on the album.  Bit of a cock-out rock song that probably just cooks live.  Some epic ranting in this too.  For some reason I was thinking about Budgie during this song.  As for lyrically?  I am really not sure if I really wanna know what the actual bloody hammer was that inspired this song.
  1. “Stand For the Fire Demon” –  I don’t know what to make of this one.  While I admire the passion poured out in this track, there is a bit of a drag to it.  Another Nicholas Cager here.  You know…the crazed, bug-eyed Cage where he makes no sense but is really adamant about it?  I think this might be a prayer to Satan.
  1. “Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play” –  Fun Thin Lizzy twin-guitar licks in this.  Other than that nothing especially stands out about this track.
  1. “If You Have Ghosts” –  …You have everything.  This is a hell of a song.  The middle musical part in this song starting with the solo is a fun piece of music.  Very good slightly-off-road rock song.
  1. “I Walked With a Zombie” –  Imagine if you were watching an episode of Happy Days, and instead of a jukebox they had a really fucking high Tom Petty playing music for the acid-tripping kids at Arnold’s.  I think Ralph Malph lost his virginity to this song.   Just another sock-hop with the devil.
  1. “Night of the Vampire” –  This song is very Alice Cooper.  This would be the Rob Zombie directed movie set in the 70s.  By the way, I’ve given up trying to analyse these lyrics.
  1. “It’s a Cold Night for Alligators” –  An average silly mid tempo rock song.  Actually it’s better than that.  I’m getting a Max Webster vibe again, and some fun twin leads once more.
  1. “Mine Mine Mind” –  Starting off with a tribal Alex Harvey rock feel, this is pretty much everything I like about 70s pop-rock.  This is basically what Trooper and Streetheart were doing around this time, but in this case, instead of singing about cars and girls, Roky Erickson chooses to sing about the Devil.  To each his/her own I guess.
  1. “Sputnik” –  The second this song started, I was thinking about Ace Frehley.  Even the lyrics seem cosmos and NASA inspired.  This is the KISS song of the album.  I really like this track, and it could right now be one of those songs everyone is sick of hearing on FM radio.  Why isn’t it?  Well… the science fiction lyrics.  Oh…and Satan.
  1. “White Faces” –  The album ends with more driving rock and roll.  The first verse of this song is:

Friends with a beast,
Because of sharp teeth,
The devil so red,
The fiery evil blieb.
 

WHAT!?!?!?!?!??!

 Once again we have melodic and poppy mid tempo rock referring to Satan.  This man is just too happy about demons.

Overall I would call this a better than average rock record.  Perhaps with multiple listens some of the melodic hooks would sink into me deeper, but as of now better than average is pretty much what I feel about this record.  Anyone who loves 70s rock would really love this album.  The devil is in the details.  No…I’m serious…The devil is truly within the details of this album.  I think the title speaks for itself.  This is an album about The Evil One.

3.75/5 demons

 BY MEAT

Guest Sunday Chuckle: The WTF edition

Guest Sunday Chuckle: The WTF Edition

 

Thussy here again with another Sunday Chuckle.  Being a veteran contributor for the WTF column, this one came naturally.


 

Are these fart panties?  Do they freshen the scent or muffle the sound?  If the top right of the picture didn’t exist I would just think ok these are maybe some sort of padded biking shorts.  Admittedly they looks like they would make long distance bike riding more comfortable.  Is the top right of it just to show that they are breathable because it just looks like a fart?

 

This just looks messed.  Is this some sort of medieval torture device that just eventually rips your nail off?  The two side arms look like they would rip right through the nail making whatever problem these are supposed to solve so much worse.

 

$8 for what mouldy bread or cheese or maybe fruitcake?  I swear this is some joke item someone trys to sell on eBay.  I can just see the write-up now.  “I found this wrapped up in the back of my fridge.  Don’t remember what it is, eat at your own risk or make your own penicillin from it.”

 

Russian nesting knives?  I’m an amateur cook and have a good set of knives and the one thing I know is you need a strong comfortable knife that are well balanced for weight.  These look like they fulfill none of those categories.