rik fox

#1001: 50 (Or, Reading a Post in Real Time)

RECORD STORE TALES #1001: 50

Well, it happened.  After two and a half years of no illnesses whatsoever, this boy finally got sick a couple days before his 50th birthday.  Not Covid, thank fuck.  Just the cold that seems to be going around “like wildfire” according to our pharmacist.  Sunday night it hit like a ton of bricks and I was in bed by 5:30.  Monday I was coughing with a sore throat and spent the entire day in bed, a couple hours here and there aside.  Tuesday I was well enough to go back to work.  Dead tired though.

And so, this 50th birthday that was supposed to be a simple movie night with the parents is now a night at home by ourselves.  Can’t bring this cold into their house.  Additionally, because I didn’t go into work on Monday, I cancelled my planned day off on Friday.  Just not enough time left in the week to get everything done.  We were supposed to do a 50th birthday celebration at the lake but that won’t be happening.

As miserable as I felt, it’s nice to get the birthday messages.  Because I can, I’ll boast a bit about the celebrity birthday wishes.  I’m always a little shellshocked when guys like this wish me a happy birthday:

  • Brent Jensen, the author and podcaster who always makes my skin vibrate
  • Mike Fraser, world-class producer and mixer extraordinaire
  • Brent Doerner, Helix guitarist
  • Greg Fraser, Brighton Rock and Storm Force axe-slinger
  • Michael Willerding, former drummer for Russian Blue and Feel
  • Rik Fox, original W.A.S.P. bassist who messaged all the way from Facebook jail

Even though I feel like I need an extended

[cut]


That is the exact moment while writing this post on a snack break that my cell phone rang.

Same old, same old, same old.  The mall called.  My beautiful wife had a seizure.  This time, she fell flat on her face and cut her lip.  She looks absolutely brutal right now.  It hurts my heart.

Had to leave work early.  I’m exhausted.  She’s pretty sore.

Let’s focus on the good.  Trying to focus on the good.

OK, the good:

  • Happy birthday wishes from all my friends and relatives
  • Surprise birthday pizza and pasta from our pharmacist, Vu
  • Surprise birthday parcel from Thor, aka Thunder Blackmore (it’s just cool getting a text message that says “You have a parcel from Thor”)
  • Jen is safe

I was going to do a big unboxing of Thor’s parcel but I am dead tired now.  I need rest.  And what says “you’re 50 years old now” better than a nap?

It can only get better from here.  Happy 50th, to me.

REVIEW: Jim Crean – The London Fog (2019)

JIM CREAN – The London Fog (2019 Visionary Noise)

Vocalist extraordinaire Jim Crean is back with two new solo albums.  Not only is there a 16 track covers album called Gotcha Covered, but also The London Fog, a new original CD.  As usual, Crean boasts a killer hitlist of special guests, including Carmine & Vinny Appice, Mike Tramp, Rudy Sarzo, Chris Holmes, Steph Honde and plenty more.  Buckle up — it’s a heavy duty trip.

The London Fog goes wide open from the start, with the two new songs Crean released on last year’s Greatest Hits:  the excellent “Scream Taker” (tribute to Ronnie James Dio) and the riffy “Conflicted”.  “Scream Taker” features Dio alumni Vinny Appice and Rudy Sarzo.  These tracks follow the traditional blueprints of classic 80s metal, particularly “Conflicted”.  (The dexterous bassist that I initially mistook for Billy Sheehan is actually A.D. Zimmer.)

Want more riffs?  Then get “Broken”!  There’s a great chorus here: Melody and power, with some tasty licks from Steph Honde.  “Aphrodisiac” takes things to a more nocturnal place, but more menacing.  Still, there’s always room for some dirty rock, and that would be “Lady Beware”.  If Dokken’s classic lineup released another song today, it would probably sound a lot like “Lady Beware”.  This is the kind of rock we all miss, and have a hard time finding today.

Jim Crean is equally at home on rockers and ballads.  “Let It Go” (with Honde on piano and keyboards) has an epic quality for a ballad.  It might be a bit Scorpions, Whitesnake (circa 1987) or Guns N’ Roses…the comparisons are up to the listener.  The keyboard solo is a cool touch.  Then heavy sounds circulate on “Loaded” (more Zimmer on bass), but yet Crean maintains a knack for melody.

A familiar voice welcomes you on “Candle”, a Mike Tramp (Freaks of Nature) cover featuring Tramp in a duet.  The song is new to these ears, and I like how the parts shift and change moods.  A riff for the ages follows, on an original track called “1981”.  Again I’m reminded of Dokken, the classic era.  It’s hard to recapture a time period with such clarity, but Jim Crean has a talent for writing that way.  Some of his originals could very well be from another time.  (Drummer Colleen Mastrocovo gives “1981” a serious kick.)

Another obscure cover:  Robin Zander’s 1993 solo track “Time Will Let You Know”, a classy ballad from an underrated album.  Jim doesn’t try to sound like Robin Zander, but does it justice.  Then it’s Rod Stewart’s dance classic “Passion”.  Very few singers have the right rasp to do Rod Stewart justice, but Jim Crean is one of them.  That’s the always slick Tony Franklin on bass.  And get this!  Franklin’s Blue Murder bandmate Carmine Appice, the same guy who played on the the original “Passion”, also plays on this cover.  He approaches both versions very differently.  Rod’s version is slick dance rock, and this is more like metal that you can dance to.  Same song; familiar but a completely different arrangement.  If John Sykes ever played with Rod Stewart, maybe this is what they could have sounded like.

“Passion” could have closed the album and you’d be completely satisfied, but there’s more.  A funky “Fool” sounds like Aerosmith, and who’s that on guitar?  Ray Tabano, the original Aerosmith guitarist before Brad Whitford joined the band!  This song is more Aerosmith than anything that band has recorded since 1993!  Then it’s another lesser-known cover and duet:  Angel’s “Don’t Take Your Love” featuring original Angel singer Frank DiMino.  Great melodic rock songs are always welcome, and this one is truly great.

Finally comes the metallic closer “Tears” featuring Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.).  The contrast between the heavy riffs and Jim’s melodic vocals is what makes this style work so well for him.  The riff has a W.A.S.P. vibe, but Crean takes it in a totally different direction.

Another fine album from Jim Crean and friends.  Fans of hard rock “the way they used to make it” will thoroughly enjoy.

4.5/5 stars

Check back for a look at Gotcha Covered, coming soon.