paul shortino

REVIEW: Appice – Sinister (2017)

APPICE – Sinister (2017 Steamhammer)

Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Black Sabbath, Dio, Cactus, Blue Murder, King Kobra…those are just a handful of the bands who have boasted an Appice in their ranks. Drumming brothers Carmine and Vinny have been recognised by fans and critics alike for their rhythms and associations with amazing bands. Now they step out on their own, with a duo album called Sinister.

The musical directions are all alloys of good ol’ heavy metal.  “Sabbath gave us metal!” goes one line (more on that later).  You know what you’re getting.  There’s even a Sabbath medley called “Sabbath Mash”.  Joining the Appice brothers are familiar names such as: Craig Goldy (Dio), Tony Franklin (Blue Murder), Robin McAuley (MSG), Paul Shortino (Ruff Cutt), Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses) and Jim Crean (who regularly plays live with the brothers).

Many tracks have both drummers, with Vinny panned to the left and Carmine to the right.  It’s not immediately obvious, but if you listen, the drums sound huge!  Double drummers are not something we’re used to hearing, so pay attention and listen to the individuals and what they’re doing.  You won’t be bored, even if you’re not a drummer.

Everything rocks — no ballads.   You’ll find a sludgy Sabbath vibe on some tracks such as “Killing Floor” (lead vocals by Chas West).  Jim Crean kicks ass on “Danger” which comes from the brisk Dio end of the spectrum.  Another Crean song, “In the Night” is the most immediately memorable.  It takes a few listens to absorb Sinister.  Headphones may help, but give it a chance because it’s not an immediate listen.  Other tracks are familiar.  Blue Murder’s “Riot”, with Robin McAuley singing, is a damn fine heavy explosive.

What about drum instrumentals?  Well, of course!  You would feel ripped off if the two brothers didn’t go head to head.  “Drum Wars” is exactly what you’re looking for.  What Vinny and Carmine have done is create drum parts that compliment each other and work in unison, creating a fuller sound.  You’ll also get a kick out of “Brothers in Drums”, which tells the story of the Appice brothers.  “Is that my brother, on TV?  That’s what I wanna be!”

The album goes a little sentimental on “Monsters and Heroes”, heavy as hell, but the lyrics may bring a tear to your eye.  “Sing a song, singer, you’re the man on the mountain…”  Yes, it’s a tribute to Ronnie James Dio, with lyrics by Shortino, who worked with Dio back in 1985 on Hear N’ Aid.  Sabbath gave us metal indeed, but “Monsters and Heroes” captures a little bit of why we miss Dio so much.

Not every song brilliant, and 13 is a large number of tracks, but Sinister grows as you listen.  (Stay tuned to the end!) It’s a grower thanks in no small part to some great performances by an assortment of rock n’ roll veterans.  Any fan of heavy metal will find something to enjoy with Appice.  Serious Sabbath or Dio fans should consider adding it to their collections, as an extension of the discographies.  Bonus:  there’s a poster inside!

3.5/5 stars

 

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Richie Sambora, Bret Michaels, Robin McAuley and more! The stars rock Kitchener (11/17/2017)

Boppin heard a rumour that Bon Jovi was coming to town. Then an anonymous source informed us that a super-secret private concert was taking place Friday night right here in Kitchener Ontario.  The list of talent:

Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Foreigner’s Lou Gramm and Stephanie Calvert of Starship.
Backed by an all-star cast of legendary rockers and potential surprise guest performers:
Howard Leese
-Guitar- Heart, Bad Company, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Hugh Mc Donald
– Bass- Bon Jovi
Doug Aldrich
– Guitar- Whitesnake, Dead Daisies, Dio
Jay Schellen
– Drums- Asia, Yes
Michael Ross
– Keys- Lita Ford Band, Missing Persons
Robin McAuley
– Vocals- MSG/Survivor
Andrew Freeman
– Vocals- Offspring, Last in Line
Paul Shortino
– Vocals- Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot
Mark Boals
– Vocals- Yngwie Malsteen, Dokken

And then our sources tell us that Bret Michaels showed up!

Richie played guitar, but also sang lead vocals without one.  According to our source:

“He did both. He was out for the middle bit of the show. He did two Bon Jovi songs, “Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” and then a super extended (self serving if I’m honest) rendition of “Respect Yourself”. General consensus was that he was the low point of the night!! Even his back up singers, Robin McAuley, Mark Boals, Paul Shortino and Stephanie Calvert looked confused by the end. The night was amazing. So much energy and so much sound.”

Our source also enjoyed Robin McAuley.  “He was awesome. ”

Enjoy these photos!  Thanks to Krista Ward, our anonymous source!

 

REVIEW: Quiet Riot – QR (1988)

QUIET RIOT – QR (1988)

History lesson time!

QUIET RIOT 1978
Randy Rhoads – lead guitar (founder)
Kevin DuBrow – lead vocals
Kelli Garni – bass
Drew Forsythe – drums

QUIET RIOT 1988
Carlos Cavazo – lead guitar
Paul Shortino – lead vocals
Sean McNabb – bass
Frankie Banali – drums

Quiet Riot are a rare bird in rock history;  they actually released this album with no original members intact. Quiet Riot suffered numerous lineup changes until finally singer Kevin DuBrow was fired in ’87 after the disastrous QRIII. Bassist Chuck Wright also left the sinking ship (he joined House of Lords).

Banali and Cavazo made the questionable decision to carry on with a new singer, and that singer was Paul Shortino of Ruff Cutt. My only exposure to Shortino at that time was his excellent contribution to the song “Stars” by Hear N’ Aid. I loved his raspy voice and I was intrigued.  Replacing Chuck Wright was bassist Sean McNabb…who, a few years later, again replaced Chuck Wright, this time in House of Lords.  Since then he’s also been in Great White.

The album itself was a bit of a letdown at first, and only through many determined listens did it finally grow on me. The problem was that Quiet Riot are (or were) primarily a party band. I mean, this is the band who had songs called “Party All Night” and “Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet”. Now, they had changed to a moodier blues-based glam rock band. The first single “Stay With Me Tonight” was darker, slower, bluesy and anchored by a howling Hammond B3 organ. Nothing like anything Quiet Riot had ever done before. Obviously, Banali and Cavazo had decided to trade party hooks in for integrity and possible critical acclaim. Unfortunately that never happened, but the result is that QR remains a hidden hard rock semi-gem.  The lack of success led to Quiet Riot disbanding in 1989 after a short tour.  Sounding very little like Quiet Riot, and playing unrecognizable renditions of the hits, the band clearly should have changed their name to something else.  Clamorous Calm, perhaps?

The album did finally grow on me. Perhaps similarly to a band like House of Lords (who debuted at the same time), the tracks here were a bit darker.  The ballads a bit more sad.  The rockers a tad more threatening.  The fact that this sounds absolutely nothing like Quiet Riot (except for the musicianship of Banali and Cavazo) doesn’t make it a bad album.

My favourite songs:

  • “Stay With Me Tonight”, the afformentioned first single.
  • “Run To You”, a guitar-based ballad with a touch of keyboards and great melodies from Shortino.
  • “I’m Fallin'”, one of the few party rock songs included.
  • “Don’t Wanna Be Your Fool”, another great darker ballad.
  • “Callin’ The Shots” which has a pretty solid, bluesy riff.

The sound, by long-time QR producer Spencer Proffer was not up to par. I didn’t expect Quiet Riot to go so bluesy either. These were sounds I was somewhat unfamiliar with at the time.  Carlos did have a chance to shine on guitar more than ever before, and Frankie’s drums are loud and powerful as always. As a testament to the man’s talents, he ended up in W.A.S.P. after this on the brilliant Headless Children CD.

In 1993 DuBrow called Cavazo up, made amends, and formed a band called Heat. With the addition of Banali and bassist Kenny Hilary (R.I.P.), Heat morphed back into Quiet Riot. They released the pretty good Terrified CD which was a welcome return to vintage form.

This CD may not be a very good “Quiet Riot album”, but it is actually a pretty good album.  If you give it time, you may find something to enjoy herein.

3.25/5 stars

REVIEW: Hear N’ Aid – Stars (1986)

HEAR N’ AID – Stars (1986 LP, Japanese CD)

It is hard to believe that this monumental album, a piece of rock history, was only issued on CD in Japan! Finding a domestic LP or cassette isn’t hard (I’ve owned it on all three formats including CD) so hunt your record shops.  I know Wendy Dio has a CD/DVD reissue lined up, hopefully including the full album, single edit, and the video and interviews.  If you’re reading this Wendy…

At the time, all funds went to starving people in Africa, hence the name Hear N’ Aid.  The inspiration was something fairly obvious:  No heavy metal people outside of Geddy Lee was involved in the numerous famine relief projects of the time!  (Geddy sang a lead on the excellent “Tears Are Not Enough” (1985) by Northern Lights, but nobody metal could be seen in “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or “We Are the World”.)

“Oh, you knoooow that we’ll be there!”

Showing the world that heavy metal bands and fans aren’t a bunch of assholes, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell of Dio came up with the concept for Hear N’ Aid.

The main track, “Stars”, by Hear N’ Aid is a tour-de-force. Written by Bain, Campbell and Dio, this is essentially an epic extended track with a soft intro and heavy verses, and tons of guests. They assembled virtually every major metal singer who was willing and available to take part. That means you will hear Quiet Riot singers Kevin DuBrow and Paul Shortino (still with Ruff Cutt at the time) singing together for the first and only time in history! Rob Halford, Don Dokken, Eric Bloom, Geoff Tate, Dave Meniketti, and Dio himself all take lead vocal slots too.

When the guitar solo kicks in, prepared to be blown away. With Iron Maiden guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith playing backing harmonies, you will hear the monstrous talents of George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Vivian Campbell, Craig Goldy, Neal Schon, Buck Dharma, Carloz Cavazo, Brad Gillis and Eddie Ojeda all taking a few bars. No charity track had ever attempted to assemble not just singers, but guitar players, on one track before.

All this is backed by drummers, bassists and keyboard players from Dio and Quiet Riot. There are more backing singers than I can name, but most notably, Derek Smalls and David St. Hubbins from Spinal Tap. Of course.

The rest of the album is filled out by songs donated by bands who couldn’t take part in the song, but still wanted to help the starvation situation in Africa. Therefore you will get a live “Heaven’s On Fire” from Kiss, from their Animalize Live Uncensored home video. This is the only place that the audio track was released on. There is an unreleased live “Distant Early Warning” by Rush, and rare ones by Scorpions and Accept as well.

Tracklist:
1.Hear ‘n Aid – “Stars”
2.Accept – “Up to the Limit” (live)
3.Motörhead – “On the Road” (live)
4.Rush – “Distant Early Warning” (live)
5.Kiss – “Heaven’s on Fire” (live)
6.Jimi Hendrix – “Can You See Me”
7.Dio – “Hungry for Heaven” (live)
8.Y&T – “Go for the Throat”
9.Scorpions – “The Zoo” (live)

5/5 stars