If the goal is to review “everything” in the collection, then we must dig deep. Sometimes you find things that you forgot you owned. Things you have not listened to in 19 years. Things you bought “for the collection” because they were cheap (staff discount). This single would have cost me about two bucks. Live were a good band once; Throwing Copper was a 90s staple. I remember giving the Birds of Pray album some store play, and I think it might have been OK but obviously I didn’t feel it enough to buy it or I’d still have it today.
Let’s check out the two track “Heaven” CD single, without remembering a single thing about it.
The opening vocals on “Heaven” are an immediate turn off. Nasal-y and annoying. The chorus is pretty good, lots of crunchy guitars, but it almost sounds like a parody of this kind of 90s rock. The production is excellent though; the drums really slam and the guitars cut through. This song gets a passing grade though it’s nothing special and the lyrics are kinda irritating.
I don’t need no one, to tell me about Heaven I look at my daughter, and I believe I don’t need no proof When it comes to God and truth I can see the sunset and I perceive, yeah
I liked when Live used to sing about living in a “Shit Towne”, but this is little too much limburger. Indeed, they did call the album Birds of Pray….
The B-side is a track called “Forever Might Not Be Long Enough”, and this is the “Egyptian Dreams Mix” of said song. Hard pass. The exotic loops that open are cool but then the dance beats kick in. No idea what the original sounded like and I have to wonder if I have ever played this CD before or if this is the first time.
While fans awaited the return of Def Leppard with another new album to follow 1999’s Euphoria, Joe Elliott and Phil Collen released some recordings from their Cybernauts side-project, a fun David Bowie cover band.
But not just any cover band.
Cybernauts were formed as a tribute to the late Mick Ronson, featuring Spiders from Mars members Trevor Bolder, Mick Woodmansey, and Dick Decent. The liner notes are a little bit contradictory when it comes to specific recordings. One page in the booklet says the disc was recorded at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, August 7 1997. On another page, Joe Elliott states that the album was “pulled together” from a five gig mini-tour. Dublin was the final date on that tour. 18 tracks, and almost 80 minutes of music comprise this live disc.
Without any preamble, we jump right into the rock and roll of “Watch that Man” from Aladdin Sane. Cybernauts are naturally a little more heavy handed but Leppard fans will love it. Things get punky with “Hang Onto Yourself”, full speed ahead, with Phil Collen whipping up some guitar magic to salute Ronson, while the original guys bang it out with bedevilling youthful energy. Massive hit “Changes” comes next, a little chunkier than the version you’re used to but still brilliant. Joe’s lead vocal has the Leppard sound, the Spiders’ backing vocals sound like Bowie. It’s a mash-up of two bands.
Acoustic guitars come out for “The Supermen”, but then Phil kicks in with the distortion. So far, an album highlight though purists might baulk at the heavier rock approach. It’s followed by an emphatic “Five Years”, with Joe doing an excellent job of the complex vocals. Bouncing from album to album, they do “Cracked Actor” next, a nice boogie. The familiar “Moonage Daydream” is welcome, and the keyboards recreate the lush backdrop authentically. Another album highlight with exceptional lead work by Phil.
A Mick Ronson solo cut called “Angel No. 9” from his second album Play Don’t Worry is rolled out next, with a wickedly tasty guitar lick. A brilliant selection, the backing vocals by the Spiders are quite sweet. “Jean Genie” is so familiar is almost skippable, but they pretty much had to play it — can’t blame them.
It’s pretty much non-stop classics from there on it. “Life on Mars” featuring Dick Decent on piano has a more delicate touch and they do a fine job of it. “The Man Who Sold the World” works well with the keyboards providing the backbone and Phil Collen doing his best Ronson. “Starman” is great fun; Joe is clearly enjoying himself.
“The Width of a Circle” is the long bomber, clocking in at almost 10 minutes. Progressive, guitar heavy and epic. After that exercise, “Ziggy Stardust” is rolled out, and always welcome. That guitar riff, the familiar melodies, they never tire. Of course, Leppard covered it a couple times but not as convincingly as this.
The Velvet Underground’s “White Light, White Heat”, which also appeared on Ronson’s second album, is a party. Backing vocals on this are awesome. Joe teases a “goodnight” at this point, but the tracklist on the back reveals three encores.
“Rock and Roll Suicide”, “Suffragette City” and Mott’s “All the Young Dudes” are a pretty good three-for-three. Encores that start slowly and laid back like “Rock and Roll Suicide” does are often like a mini-set unto themselves. “Suffragette City” blasts forth with punky energy and then “All the Young Dudes” is the anthem to end the party.
But that’s not it for the Cybernauts. In 2001 they did a Japanese tour, recorded some stuff in the studio, and released it. We’ll talk about that next time!
RECORD STORE TALES #923: The Dead 90s (A Nigel Tufnel Top Ten list)
I think it was around 1995 that I really gave up into the ’90s.
What do I mean by this? It’s simple. In late 1991, there was a sea change in rock music. The old guard was suddenly unhip, while a new unkept kind of rock was surfacing in Seattle. Within three years, classic rock bands such as Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Poison, Ratt, Whitesnake, and even the once-bulletproof Guns N’ Roses were in some sort of decline, losing key band members or just breaking up completely. They were replaced on the charts with a swath of new bands, from Nirvana, to Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Rock had been on such a high in mid-91 with #1 albums by Skid Row, Metallica, Van Halen and more. It only took months for the landscape to darken. But really, the warnings were in place well back in ’89.
It was a disorienting change and it got to a point in the middle of the decade where my favourite bands were dropped, broken up, or transformed. Bon Jovi survived this period unscathed, losing only the inconsequential Alec John Such. They were one of the few exceptions. Motley Crue put out a killer record with their new singer that was criminally panned at the time by its critics and many longtime fans. Winger couldn’t catch a break. Some of the bands that did put out records in the 90s released sub-par trash. Quiet Riot: guilty with Down to the Bone. Judas Priest: Jugulator. Dokken: Shadowlife. Unless your name ended with Jovi, it seems like every old guard rock band put out albums that were crap, sold like shit, or both. Then, half of ’em broke up.
What was a metal head to do? Still buy the old bands’ records and hope for the best, yes, but when you’re buying so much shit on a wing and a prayer, you start looking for something else. I had to open my heart to some newer bands that, I felt, had something in common with the old.
Here is a list of 11 bands that made their way in.
1.OASIS. I still love those first three records, and all the B-sides that came along with the tide. My mom got me into the Beatles, and while I never bought into that “the new Beatles” crap, I did like that Oasis brought back some of what I liked about the fab four. They were the only Brit Pop band I could put my heart behind. Not metal at all, but Lars liked ’em. They had guitar solos at least.
2.GOO GOO DOLLS. Right around the time of “Slide” and “Broadway”, I let the Goo Goo Dolls into my life. They reminded me of Bon Jovi without the bombast (and the solos). They would have to do during the time when I needed a surrogate Jovi, which happened in the late part of the 90s when Jon released the stinker Destination Anywhere. Goo Goo Dolls nailed the lovestruck acoustic/electric vibe that was once a Bon Jovi strength.
3.THE BARSTOOL PROPHETS. Amazing Canadian band that could have been the next Tragically Hip. The Prophets might have been a little more hard edged, and I identified with their lyrics more than the labyrinthic words of Saint Downie. T-Trev was a fan and he recommended I give ’em a try, and I have loved them since.
4.sandbox. A band that did not win me through a friend or a music video, but through the live experience. Opening for the Barenaked Ladies, sandbox (all lower case) were a bit gloomier and heavier. But there was also something magical about their songs “Curious” and “Lustre”. They soothed my soul when I was lonely. Later on, I found out that guitarist Mike Smith was on a television show called Trailer Park Boys…
5. THE PRODIGY. Who didn’t buy Fat of the Land in ’97? It was a good album and Crispian Miller from Kula Shaker had lead vocals on one track. This new heavy brand of electronica had hooks and a rock-like vibe. It was like dance-y industrial rock. I could dig it. They even had a guitar player named — no word of a lie — Gizz Butt.
6.THE TEA PARTY. I couldn’t get into Splendor Solis; I foolishly dismissed the band as a Zep clone. I came to my senses on their third album The Edges of Twilight. The Zeppelin comparisons were obvious (and I didn’t care about the Doors), but who else was making music like this anymore? Nobody. The Tea Party would do!
7.SLOAN. It was not until their fourth album Navy Blues that Sloan scratched the itch. Yes, I was a late comer. Yes, I got into them during their commercial peak. But the truth is it was really their double live 4 Nights at the Palais Royale that really nailed it. One of the best live albums since the mighty Kiss Alive. The comparisons don’t end there, as both bands feature four lead singers — a configuration I always enjoy. (Hello, Goodbye, Beatles!)
8. RANCID. Incredible band, two lead singers, and one great album that just slayed me. Many of the rock bands I liked, such as Guns and Motley, extolled the merits of their punk rock backgrounds. Just as Zeppelin and ZZ Top encouraged me to check out Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, Nikki Sixx pushed the Pistols on me. Rancid were much better than the Pistols, but they had the same snot in their noses. Rancid brought with them the ska and reggae side, which appealed to me immediately.
9. OUR LADY PEACE. For one album, anyway. Maybe it was Arnold Lanni that made this band buzz for me, but they were really a single album group. Naveed is a monster. Jeremy Taggart was a good enough drummer for Geddy Lee! It had some things in common with hard rock, like loud guitars. I could build them a bridge into my heart.
10. LIVE. I maintain that everybody bought Throwing Copper in 1995. This band just had tremendously broad appeal. Unusually, every song was up to the same lofty level of quality; no duds, all keepers. A number of strong singles led to massive radio and video play, but no followup album of the same stature ever emerged.
11.NINE INCH NAILS. I was just starting to get into Nine Inch Nails. The Downward Spiral is my album when it comes to this band. They took such a long break after it that I lost interest. What I liked were the riffs built from noise, the layered approach, the angst, the self-loathing, and the anger. The album is still is trip to play, but I have never liked “Piggy” or “Closer” and think them a bit contrived. Admirable though that the video for “March of the Pigs” is 100% live, music included.
Although there were many good albums made by metal bands in the 1990s that I have not mentioned, it was not enough for a music addict. I needed to expand my horizons or remain stuck in the past. There were more — Ben Folds Five, Steve Earle, Robbie Williams, Mel C. (yes that Mel C.) and Tonic to name a few. Anything that had some kind of integrity of connection to the rock music I loved. Ben Folds didn’t even have a guitar player, but his music rocked nonetheless. These were all great picks to sample some of the best of the 90s. Have a listen.
You can always trust a Sausagefester to recommend good music. Today I bring you two lists, from Frank the Tank and from Max the Axe’s Stunt Double (also known as “Michael”). Frank listens to more new music than I do, and MTASD sees way more concerts. Enjoy these lists!
FRANK THE TANK
FRANK THE TANK’S FAVOURITE SONGS OF 2019
“Sorry Mike! Not sure what happened to the list of songs I was keeping. I tried to recreate it, but it is a sad attempt at this point.”
HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES – Rise (2019 Edel Japanese edition) – Discs 2 & 3 Live
How do you do a Japanese edition up right? How about including 21 bonus tracks in the form of a double live album? Get your credit cards out, folks.
Hollywood Vampires Live unfortunately lacks any English documentation, but Japanese readers might know when and where this show was recorded. It focuses on the covers with a handful of originals, the basis of the first Hollywood Vampires album. Unfortunately a few more fallen heroes have been added to the list of rock casualties, and so Lemmy and Bowie are among the stars honoured.
The original tune “Raise the Dead” (featuring an intro by the late Sir Christopher Lee) opens the show, but it’s just preamble for the better known covers. “I Got A Line On You” is the first track where you realize you’re listening to Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, The Cult) on drums. He’s unmistakable. The big surprise is that the bassist is Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots)! Alice first covered this tune back in ’88 and it sounds like it’s one of his own songs now. “20th Century Boy” has bite, a little more than the studio cut.
Alice pauses to explain the concept of the band. “We are the Hollywood Vampires,” he asserts. “We pay homage to all of our dead drunk friends. And here comes one now.” It’s Keith Moon and “Pinball Wizard”, a Who cover that was not on the Hollywood Vampires’ debut album. “My Generation” was however, and here it’s injected with the live fire of the sweaty concert stage. Jimi Hendrix is honoured next with “Manic Depression”. Joe Perry playing Jimi Hendrix. Cool. Alice Cooper has no problem jumping from style to style, expert performer that he is.
“This one’s for John,” states Alice. That would be John Lennon, with both “Cold Turkey” and “Come Together”. Joe Perry, of course, is no stranger to “Come Together” which Aerosmith scored a hit with themselves. “Come Together” is another nice bonus because it wasn’t on the Vampires album. It has a different feel from Aerosmith’s take even though it’s the same guitar player.
“Seven and Seven Is” (by Arthur Lee and Love) goes next, which is a late addition to the canon. The Vampires recorded it as an iTunes bonus track for the debut album where it remains an exclusive. The live version is a blitz; Matt Sorum’s sticks must have caught fire. Contrasting that is the band’s interpretation of “Whole Lotta Love”, with Alice and Tommy Henriksen singing lead instead of Brian Johnson.
“I met these guys in 1968. They were my best friends. And I drank a little bit with Jim Morrison…” The Doors are next to be saluted. “Five to One” and “Break On Through” kick ass; Alice really gives ‘er. David Bowie gets the nod on “Rebel Rebel” and “Suffragette City”. It all sounds natural to the Hollywood Vampires.
“As Bad As I Am” is an original song about Johnny Depp, and another track that was only on the iTunes version of Hollywood Vampires. It sounds a bit like “Reckless Life” by Guns N’ Roses. Joe Perry takes the next lead vocal on “Stop Messin’ Around”, the old Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac blues number. It’s an obvious choice since Aerosmith covered it on their 2004 blues album Honkin’ on Bobo. This one is an extended jam, far beyond what Aerosmith did with it.
“My Dead Drunk Friends” is a Vampires original, sort of their raison d’etre, that being paying tribute to Alice’s deceased drinking buddies. It pales in comparison to “Ace of Spades” (lead vocals by Henriksen), easily the heaviest song that Joe Perry’s ever played on. Possibly Alice too. Check out DeLeo on bass, doing his best Lemmy. It’s sad that Lemmy Kilmister joined the list of Rainbow regulars who didn’t make it, but holy shit, what a version!
Only now, at the end of the concert, do the Vampires roll out their own past hits. “I’m Eighteen”, “Sweet Emotion”, “Train Kept A Rollin'” and “School’s Out” sound brilliant. In particular, to hear “I’m Eighteen” with Joe Fucking Perry playing guitar? “Sweet Emotion” with Alice Cooper singing? Sweet Jesus Murphy, is this a fever dream? As usual, Alice melds “Another Brick in the Wall” to “School’s Out” pretty much making it the definitive “school” song.
Closing the show, Alice reminds us: “And remember, give blood! To us!”
If the Vampires keep putting out quality releases, then that’s a distinct possibility.
This review is for reader Juan, from Spain — thank you for reading!
KISS – Monster (Japan Tour Edition, 2013 Universal Japan)
In my 32 years of collecting music, I have learned a number of immutable laws of the hobby. The Three Laws of Collecting are:
The First Law: Japan shall always get the best stuff. The Second Law: Anything worth releasing is worth re-releasing. The Third Law: Kiss fans shall buy anything, often more than once.
The Three Laws of Collecting are why I now have purchased my fifth copy of Kiss Monster. The album came out in 2012, meaning I have bought more than one copy per year since its release: Original CD, vinyl, iTunes, Japanese CD, and now this 2 CD Japan Tour Edition, which has all the tracks from all the versions, and then some.
This is not a review of Monster; we have reviewed that album twice now (once by Mike Ladano and once by Tommy Morais). Rather this is a review of the Tour Edition’s second disc, which is a pretty cool “best of” collection covering a very nice chunk of Kisstory. What can another greatest hits possibly offer? Believe it or not, the Monster Tour Edition has a slightly different slant that might be interesting to die-hards.
This is the first time “Psycho Circus” has opened a Kiss compilation. It was their tour opener in 1998-99 and so naturally fits this slot. It was one of the stronger tracks from Psycho-Circus itself, which was otherwise a pretty disappointing reunion album. Mainly because Peter and Ace barely played on it. Indeed, on this track you will get Kevin Valentine on drums and Tommy Thayer on guitar, uncredited. That said, the track still kicks ass and has proven to be the only song from that album that still gets played now and then.
I’m always happy to hear oldies like “Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll” on a hits CD. The same goes for “Black Diamond”, one of the more epic Kiss tracks. These old album cuts might not be as well known to casual fans and might surprise even Kiss haters. However, no casual fan or Kiss hater is going to be hearing the Monster Tour Edition. So the die-hards again will be hearing “Shout it Out Loud”, “Rock and Roll all Nite”, “Detroit Rock City”, “God of Thunder”, “Love Gun” and “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” for the umpteenth time. Mixed in among these are some of the second-tier hits from the 80’s: “I Love it Loud”, “Lick It Up”, “Heaven’s On Fire”. The exact mixture of ingredients is different, but these songs have been on best-of CDs by Kiss before.
The one unique inclusion is “Say Yeah” from 2009’s Sonic Boom, its first appearance on a hits disc. Its place here is deserved. Sonic Boom represented a strong return to the studio for Kiss after a decade long absence. “Say Yeah” was one of three songs played live in concert, and sounds the most like a timeless Kiss anthem. (Sonic Boom was represented on the last greatest hits compilation, Kiss 40, by “Modern Day Delilah”.)
Finally there is the riffy “Right Here Right Now” which was previously the iTunes bonus track for Monster. A physical copy is always better, and a Japanese high quality HMCD is even better than that. And don’t worry — the original Japanese bonus track, a live version of “King of the Night Time World” from the Rock the Nation tour, is still intact on disc one. (More on that in the video below.)
This version of Monster is finally the definitive one with all the tracks in one place. The bonus hits disc is some pretty awesome icing. When you have as many hits discs as Kiss do, you may just wonder “what’s the difference”? Each one is different in its own often minor ways, and fans who appreciate this stuff will enjoy hearing a couple unique tunes for a change.
The only flaw with this HMCD reissue is that it lacks the original 3D lenticular cover. That is a bummer. I simply kept my original cover (it is a separate piece you can take out) from a prior version of Monster which I later gifted to a friend. In fact that friend reviewed the single disc Japanese Monster!
I must add another law to my Three Laws of Collecting:
The Zeroth Law*: You shall always have some buyer’s regret.
It is true. I had all these songs before. The only one I didn’t have physically was the iTunes download “Right Here Right Now”. But I “had” to have it. I could question that. “You could have put that money towards some new tires”. The CD could have paid for a week of lunches at Harvey’s. A fool and their money?
20 years ago. It seems like such a long time, but it’s true: There was an era when the top of the charts were dominated by the likes of Hootie, and Live. Kids today might not know Live, but many of these songs are still radio staples today: “I Alone”, “Lightning Crashes”, “All Over Me” among others. 8 million copies sold, and although you can find it used quite easily today, a lot of people hung onto their copies of Throwing Copper. I am one.
I began working at the record store in 1994, and I used to tell my customers, “You’ll probably know all these songs.” I said that for a few albums back then, such as Purple by Stone Temple Pilots and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. Not only did Throwing Copper have five hit singles, but virtually every album track was getting played somewhere. That’s how strong this record is.
The legacy of this album is its influence. I will maintain that without Throwing Copper, there would be no Matchbox 20, and certainly no Daughtry. Unfortunately all those bands learned from Live was bombast, and they turned it up to 11. They learned nothing about song craft, nothing about expression, nothing about restraint.
Throwing Copper has bombast in spades. It’s there in Ed’s vocals, but it’s also there in the rhythm guitar parts and the noisy Neil Young-esque solos. It’s there in the rolling bass lines and the thundering drums. But Ed Kowalczyk also knew how to use his voice quietly (“Lightning Crashes”), which amazingly was still as expressive. He names Michael Stipe as a huge influence, and you can hear R.E.M. and even U2 between the grooves.
Personal fave song: “Shit Towne”.
Production by Jerry Harrison is stunning. The drums are some of the best, most natural sounding drums recorded in the 90’s and the bass is strong without dominating. This CD is in no need of a remastering, it sounds just fine as it is.
It’s kind of a shame that Live never did anything this good again, or with this kind of impact. While I have listened to every Live album since, I never bought any of them. This is the only one I bothered buying, and I liked it so much I bought some of the singles when I could find them. The domestic single for “White, Discussion” has a great acoustic version of “I Alone”.
If you need some 90’s nostalgia, and don’t have this album, you absolutely need it. If you’re too young to remember the 90’s but love bands like Theory of a NickelCreed, then you need to find out what real music sounds like. Throw out your Daughtry discs and pick up Throwing Copper.
There is also an unlisted track after “White, Discussion” known as “Horse”.
RECORD STORE TALES Part 278: The Return of Dan Dan the Box Set Man
Astute LeBrain readers may recall that one of my customers, Dan aka “Box Set Man”, always had cool stuff in his collection. It was he that gave me an original Ritchie Blackmore photo from a private collection in Part 168: The Constipated Ritchie Blackmore. In January 2005 he appeared at my door once again to sell me some goodies. While I did not record everything Dan sold to me that day, I did take note of the five that I was going to add to my personal collection!
Please excuse me if I sounded a little over excited. I always tried to journal honestly!
Date: 2005/01/11 21:43
Oh God oh God oh God!
YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THE AMAZING ITEMS THAT CAME INTO WORK TODAY. I am going to have an expensive January. I am going to MISS this part of my job. [I had applied to several jobs.]
Here’s the complete list of cool shit that I need to buy:
1. DVD – Harold & Kumar. We got in two used copies already! [It was only released the week before, on Jan 4.]
2. CDs – Deep Purple 25th Annivesary box set–JAPANESE IMPORT BABY! Not much on there that I “need” but it does have all three edits of “Burn”, in fact it looks to have every single edit from every 7″. Also has two mono mixes. Must have.
3. CD – Jethro Tull – Bursting Out-Live (remastered)
4. CD – Jethro Tull – Jethro Tull Christmas Album
5. CD – Queen – On Fire: Live At The Hollywood Bowl
One cool thing is that I still have all five of these items, all still in the same condition that I found them in! Thanks Dan, wherever you may be….
I never forgot this one, but I’ll let my journal tell the story from the perspective of “then”…
Date: 2004/08/12 21:36
Today sucked ass.
First of all, they installed this router at work, so we can’t use anything but the 10 sites they prescribe. Everything else is off limits. So, no more Google at work. Fuckers.
OH! By the way, I’m in a real bad mood.
This girl comes in. Friend of Matt’s. She’s a totally unpleasant human being. She wanted to exchange a Deftones import she bought a month ago. [The CD was Deftones Live (1998) which was pretty rare.] Our exchange policy is seven days, it says so on the receipt. We’ll stretch it to 14 without a hassle, but not over a month, even if you’re the friggin’ Pope.
She gave me a real hard time about this. I’m thinking, “what, you live in Asia? You can’t get here, or even call here, within seven days? You bought a CD you didn’t like, so suck it up. You even previewed it before you bought it (don’t think I forgot that tried it out, at length, in the store beforehand), and you still bought it. THEN you decided you didn’t like it. Fuck you.” That’s what I’m thinking. What I’m saying is something completely different, about how I can’t really accept a return after this length of time under these circumstances.
She said, “Do you treat everyone this way?”
Yes, I treat everyone the same: by the fucking rules. I don’t give anyone special treatment, especially when they try to push me around, like you are doing.
You know, I’m getting so pissed, I can’t even finish.
I can finish now, though. I remember the very next thing she said was, “When is Matt working?” In other words, I’ll return this CD when my friend is working, not you. I explained to her that Matt wouldn’t exchange the CD, because I was Matt’s boss. She was with her mom, and even her mom told her to drop it and accept the situation.
I also remember that she never came in again, which in my view was a good thing. She rarely bought anything that she didn’t return, and she made us run around like chickens with our heads cut off, serving her Royal Majesty. Yeah, I didn’t miss her at all. In fact I even pre-emptively went to my bosses and said, “If you get a phone call complaining about me, this is what happened.” I explained what I did and why I did it and for once, they actually took my side.
Her Royal Majesty was just reason #10,137 for me to move on from retail.