Music News

Rock 'n Roll is Now (fairly) Safe

posted Jan 14, 2010, 2:40 PM by Dennis Gess   [ updated Jan 14, 2010, 5:29 PM ]

It's obvious that rock and metal are dying genres. One just has to look at the increasing global epidemic that is called by many names, usually 'rap' or 'pop'. Symptoms of 'rap' or 'pop' can include conformism, wearing hats at peculiar angles, disregarding proper enunciation when speaking, among other terrible things.

Nevertheless, rock is NOT dead. AC/DC had it right, as usual, in the lyrics of 'Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution':
Rock 'n' roll ain't noise pollution
Rock 'n' roll ain't gonna die
Rock 'n' roll ain't noise pollution
Rock 'n' roll it will survive

Unfortunately, AC/DC is aging, but that doesn't mean anything except the fact that sometime, they'll have to pass on the torch to someone. As of right now, I see two options:

1. Airbourne
2. The Answer

I've already written an article about Airbourne, they are awesome. You should know that already. The band that I haven't written about yet is called The Answer.

The Answer is a four-piece band out of Newcastle, which of course is in Northern Ireland. In terms of genre, they are classified as hard rock/blues rock. In my terms, they are classified as kickass rock 'n' roll. This is the closest band to AC/DC I have ever heard, along with Airbourne. In fact, when I first heard this band, I thought to myself, these guys must be Australian, since AC/DC and Airbourne (two of the best bands ever) are from Australia, this band must be too. When I found out they are from Newcastle, I wasn't surprised either, probably because Brian Johnson has ties to Newcastle himself.

Blues based rock 'n' roll is one of the most musically powerful genres there is. There's just something about the music that is so addicting, so intense, it grabs you and never lets go. That's what hooked me to AC/DC in the first place, the undeniable force of rock 'n' roll. Then Airbourne came along, and I got just as addicted. Now The Answer comes, and I first heard of them from the fact that they were the opening act for AC/DC's Black Ice World Tour. Now, for AC/DC to select you as their opening band is probably the highest praise anyone can give you in the world of rock, and I'd say The Answer is living it up pretty well. They're like a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan (R.I.P.) and AC/DC: blues-drenched rock 'n' roll. Take their song Memphis Water, for example. The first sound you hear is a 100% balls-to-the-wall, honest-to-god blues lick. It's like a breath of fresh air, amidst all this crappy pop and rap music. And it's a great pleasure to welcome The Answer to the world of rock 'n' roll, and we're glad that rock is making a comeback.

Ronnie James Dio has cancer!

posted Nov 27, 2009, 7:26 AM by Dennis Gess

If you're not familiar with Ronnie James Dio, you should immediately cancel your internet subscription and move into the mountains. If you haven't heard of RJD, I can't say how much full of fail you are. And in that case, I'll have to tell you who he is. He's this guy:

And he has made possibly the largest contribution to the world of metal and rock 'n' roll. You see the curious arrangement of his fingers of his left hand? You've probably seen that at concerts and pretty much everywhere there is guitar-based music. Yeah, Ronnie made it part of metal culture. It has origins in Italy, which is where you flash that symbol if you think someone's giving you the 'evil eye'. It's called many different names, but usually it's called the 'sign of the horns'. RJD has also performed with some of the biggest bands of all time: Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, his own band Dio and Heaven and Hell. If you haven't heard of at least 3 out of those 5, you fail. Ronnie is also famous for his huge and overpowering voice.

I visited the Ronnie James Dio site on November 25th, and immediately saw the latest news update:
''Ronnie James Dio has been diagnosed with stomach cancer.''

I couldn't believe it for a second. Then I got super pissed, then sad. I mean, listening to metal and rock 'n' rolll, we kind of assume that these guys have been around forever. Imagine if tomorrow the news was blazing with the headlines, 'Angus Young dies in plane crash'. If I believed in heaven, I would say 'heaven forbid', but I'll just say 'knock on wood' so that doesn't happen. Not only would an event like that be unexpected, but... it's hard to explain. For me, it would be like losing a parent. I mean, I grew up listening to this stuff, these guys are my idols. It would completely suck if something like that happens.

Fortunately, Ronnie's cancer was diagnosed very early on. The bad part is that he has stomach cancer, which is the second most deadly form of cancer, after lung cancer. But you know what, I'm not even remotely concerned in terms of fatality, because I know that Ronnie is just too badass and awesome to succumb to something like cancer. I'm 100% sure that Ronnie is going hand his cancer it's ass, and he's going to be back in no time to doing what he loves best.

Ronnie, our thoughts are with you. Slay this dragon they call cancer, we need you back on stage!!

Them Crooked Vultures

posted Oct 31, 2009, 11:08 AM by Dennis Gess   [ updated Nov 12, 2009, 4:20 PM ]

Anyone who knows anything about rock 'n' roll knows that one of the greatest bands ever died when John Bonham died on September 25th, 1980. Led Zeppelin decided not to continue without their drummer, and so the band died, until 2007 when they reunited for a one-off reunion concert with John Bonham's son, Jason.

The time before and after the reunion concert was a time when the surviving 3 members of the band messed around and dabbled in small-time albums. Guest-playing on other people's works, recording soundtracks for movies, etc. Just crumbs.

Everything kind of quieted down until July 2009, when the English music magazine NME reported that Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones had begun recording some material. It was yet unclear if this was going to be a new group formation, or if it was just another musical tumble in the hay.

As it turned it, it wasn't a one night stand. The new group was annouced by the name of Them Crooked Vultures. Josh Homme did an interview with Antiquiet, and stated that the group 'is hoping for the release of the album before the end of the year'. On September 1st, 2009, the band announced tours of the US and the UK; the UK tour sold out in under 12 minutes. And that's before they even released an album! Think about it; the group's name was just announced, then almost immediately a tour, and the UK leg sells completely in 12 minutes, and no one's even heard any of their material! That's because the reputation of the bandmates is enough to justify any reckless purchase of tickets: Dave Grohl has played in Nirvana, Josh Homme has played in Queens of the Stone Age, and John Paul Jones, of course, played in Led Zeppelin.

Since TCV decided to ease the mind of anyone that purchased tickets too early, they released their first single, entitled 'New Fang'. You can listen to it here:

New Fang

Listen to it, and you'll see that the single combines the best parts of all three members: Dave's crashing, pounding drums, Josh's smooth vocals and John's pumping bass lines. The new album comes out on November 17th, 2009, and as soon as it does, I'll write a review. I can only imagine how awesome this album is going to be.

Airbourne to tour UK

posted Oct 17, 2009, 8:58 AM by Dennis Gess

Airbourne announced on September 7th that they will tour the UK only in a tour called 'No Guts, No Glory'. Check out the tour dates and other info here:

No Guts, No Glory tour

New Airbourne album in early 2010?

posted Oct 15, 2009, 3:43 AM by Dennis Gess

Airbourne ensured that the headbanging would continue with their 2008 album, and it seems they'll be back soon with another kickass delivery of sex, booze and rock 'n' roll. The trailer for the game Madden 10 also had a preview of a new Airbourne song entitled 'Heads are Gonna Roll', which probably will be included on the next album.

Interview with Ryan and Joel O'Keefe

Preview of the song 'Heads are Gonna Roll'

Van Halen 2010 tour?

posted Oct 14, 2009, 4:34 PM by Dennis Gess   [ updated Oct 14, 2009, 4:37 PM ]

On September 9th, the Ticketmaster CEO let slip that Van Halen is planning a possible 2010 tour. Further details here:

2010 Van Halen tour

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