Just Like Paradise

#325: Answer to 4-Play Quiz No. 1

Congrats to Brian Zinger for the win!

Play the tracks in order and solve the 4-Play: what is the common thread to these four song?

1. Iron Maiden – “Flight of Icarus”

2. Nirvana – “Lithium”

3. Freddie Mercury – “Mr. Bad Guy”

4. David Lee Roth – “Just Like Paradise”

Answer:

PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS!

1. IRON Maiden (Fe)

2. LITHIUM (Li)

3. Freddie MERCURY (Hg)

4. David Lee Roth aka DIAMOND Dave = CARBON (C)

FACT:  C also stands for curveball.

#325: Unreleased 4-Play Quiz No. 1 (RSTs Mk II: Getting More Tale)

FLIGHT

RECORD STORE TALES Mk II:  Getting More Tale

#325:  Unreleased 4-Play Quiz No. 1 

At the conclusion of Record Store Tales, I told the story of how I earned the nickname LeBrain.  It’s a fairly common question.  It all came down to a contest on the Craig Fee Show (on 107.5 Dave FM) called the 4 O’Clock 4-Play…which I dominated.  I was the undisputed champion.  I had more wins under my belt than anyone, including two wins on the very first song.  I also sent Craig numerous 4-Plays of my own creation, some of which still haven’t been used yet. I thought it would be fun to post one or two that I especially liked.  Here’s my favourite.

The challenge is to figure out the common thread that ties all four songs together. I had to choose songs that Dave FM would be willing to play. This one isn’t overly difficult (although I may have thrown a curveball in there), but I did enjoy constructing it.   So put yourselves in the shoes of a listener, and trying to figure out the theme one song at a time.  Also keep in mind that Craig would not tell you what song he is about to play.  A casual listener could easily mistake the Freddie Mercury track for Queen, or the David Lee Roth song for Van Halen.  This could potentially affect your guess.  But the theme could be anything: lyrical, musical, background trivia, artist…and I liked to come up with unique themes.

Play the tracks in order as a listener would, and make a guess in the comments section!

1. Iron Maiden – “Flight of Icarus”

2. Nirvana – “Lithium”

3. Freddie Mercury – “Mr. Bad Guy”

4. David Lee Roth – “Just Like Paradise”

I’ll post the answer right here later today, so check back. Good luck! Take a swing at the piñata and post a guess!

REVIEW: David Lee Roth – Greatest Hits/The Deluxe Edition (2013 CD/DVD)

NEW RELEASE – nov. 19 2013

DLRGRHITS_0001DAVID LEE ROTH  –  Greatest Hits/The Deluxe Edition (2013 Warner CD/DVD)

Dear LeBrain readers,

I’ve been here writing reviews for the better part of 21 months now.  I think we know each other well enough, you and I, that I can skip the formalities in some instances.  I don’t think I need to describe in detail classic David Lee Roth recordings such as “California Girls”, “Just a Gigolo”, or “Just Like Paradise”.  I’m willing to bet that with exception to the 1990’s material, most readers already know most of the songs on this album.  If you happened to stumble upon later albums like A Little Ain’t Enough or Your Filthy Little Mouth, then you probably know them all.

If you’re familiar with David Lee Roth but don’t own any as of yet, then your next question is likely to be, “Is this a good place to start?”  Sure, why not?  Dave’s latest “hits” compilation, simply called Greatest Hits (his last one was called The Best), does the trick in most regards.  It even includes Dave’s entire first solo EP Crazy From the Heat albeit not in the original running order.  (1. “Easy Street” 2. “Just A Gigolo” 3. “California Girls” 4. “Coconut Groove” in case you feel like re-arranging the tracks as originally released.)  “Easy Street” is an Edgar Winter Group original, and Dave has Edgar guest on his version too.

Some of the best songs are distilled from Eat ‘Em and Smile, but that’s a 5/5 star album that needs to be owned on its own regardless.   From Skyscraper is “Just Like Paradise” and “Hot Dog and a Shake”, but not the single “Stand Up” interestingly enough.   Present are the three singles from A Little Ain’t Enough: the bluesy “Tell the Truth,” the title track and the swanky “Sensible Shoes”.   Three tracks are included from Your Filthy Little Mouth, only one of which is a head-scratcher (the reggae infused “No Big ‘Ting”) but by-and-large this an acceptable slice of Warner Brothers era David Lee Roth.

What you readers are likely to be most interested in is the bonus DVD.  This “Deluxe Edition” (there’s no other edition available) includes most of Dave’s groundbreaking, genre-hopping classic music videos.  The “Dave TV” segment has uncut videos for “California Girls” and “Gigolo” interspersed with Dave’s commentary.  Continuing the fun are Dave’s first two “band” videos, “Yankee Rose” and “Goin’ Crazy!” along with Dave’s cast of characters.  These of course includes the fabulous Picasso Brothers!

As an added bonus they also included the Spanish version of “Goin’ Crazy!” (“¡Loco Del Calor!”) which appears to be an entirely unique cut, based on the same video shoot.  There are fewer costume changes and stunts, but it’s cool that Dave’s attention to detail included lip-synching an entirely separate video for another territory.

The odds and ends on this disc are pretty scarce, such as the videos for “Sensible Shoes”, “The Nightlife”, and “Tell the Truth”.  None of these videos are nearly as entertaining as the colourful classics.  Let’s face it, Dave’s great in front of a camera, but he’s at his best when it’s one hell of a party happening behind him.

In Canada, this is an import and I paid about $26.  In the US it’s under $19 which is a much more reasonable price.  For fans who don’t own anything, get this, it just makes sense to.  For fans who already have all the albums, you are now forewarned that you’re buying this solely for the DVD.  There’s nothing much else special in terms of packaging, although lyrics are included.

The CD:  3.5/5 stars

The DVD:  5/5 stars

Blended rating:  4.25/5 stars

More DAVID LEE ROTH at mikeladano.com:

Sonrisa Salvaje (Eat ‘Em and Smile 1986 – Spanish version) – Skyscraper (1988) – “Stand Up” promo remix – Your Filthy Little Mouth (1994 Japanese version) – DLR Band (1998) – Diamond Dave (2003)

REVIEW: David Lee Roth – Skyscraper (1988)

 

DAVID LEE ROTH – Skyscraper (1988 Warner Bros.)

Changes were afoot in the land of Roth after the success of Eat ‘Em and Smile.  Keyboardist Brett Tuggle was hired in as a full-time member.  Steve Vai was promoted to the rank of co-producer for the next album.  Billy Sheehan was put on a leash, his busy bass stylings reduced to typical pop rock lines on much of the new material.  One song even had a programmed bass instead of the real thing.

It seemed like a sudden about-face.  David Lee Roth had left behind the Van Halen-nouveau trappings of the last album in exchange for a much slicker and more commercial sound. What resulted was Skyscraper, a synth-heavy odd duck that nevertheless spawned a massive hit single still getting radio play today. Revisiting it, this almost (only almost!)  sounds more like a Vai album than a Dave album. That’s not a bad thing, depending on how you feel about the 6 (soon to be 7) string master. Certainly, his loopy noodling was reaching an early peak here, but his stylings are not for everyone.

My biggest complaint would be the sidelining of Billy Sheehan.  I mean, you’ve got possibly the best bass player in the universe in your band:  Exploit that!  Don’t keep him playing 1/4 notes.  In a 1988 Hit Parader interview, Sheehan said that he had to leave the band in order to express himself.  He referred to the “note police” (Roth) who ordered him to play it simpler.  After Skyscraper, he was replaced by drummer Gregg Bissonnette’s brother Matt (no slouch).

The opening rocker “Knucklebones” is a great song, but falls a little limp.  Skyscraper‘s production is cold, sterile, and digital; like in that 80’s way before the technology had really come along.  It does boast complex guitar riffing mixed in with idiosyncratic Dave lyrics. Dave has acknowledged that Vai was in the driver’s seat for this album, and its complexity is a testament to that.

Elsewhere there are some progressive moments (the title track, “Hina”), stage-ready rockers (“Perfect Timing”, “Hot Dog and a Shake”), good time ballads (“Damn Good”) and whatever-the-hell (“Three Fools A Minute”). All of this is surrounded by a fun, party-like atmosphere courtesy of Dave as the band’s hoots n’ hollers along.

I consider this album to be a brave experiment, and Dave’s highest artistic achievement. Not his best album, but his most artistic.  While not as instantly likable, rocking, or consistent as Eat ‘Em And Smile, it is endlessly ambitious, layered, and most importantly fun. Dave is the ringmaster of the greatest party in town. Skyscraper is the party where the smart dudes stop in for a beer.

Craig Fee at 107.5 Dave FM, the world’s biggest Van Halen (not Van Hagar!) fan has this to say:

I still have a soft spot for “Just Like Paradise,” “Stand Up” (the more you do it the less you fall down!) and “Hot Dog & A Shake.”  With Steve Vai on lead guitar, this album is a killer follow-up to EEAS.

I’m glad I asked Craig for his comment because our song likes and dislikes on this album are almost opposite!  My faves?  “Skyscraper”, “Hina”, “Just Like Paradise”, “Knucklebones”  My filler: “Stand Up”!  So there ya go.  Maybe this record has something for everyone?

4/5 stars

“Promo only!  Not for sale!”