Wed, 11 July 2012
After such a great response to our Lydia Criss conversation in week 1, KISSMAS in July shifts into a new gear with Chris and Aaron's favorite KISS Kover songs taking center stage. When researching covers of KISS songs, it quickly became apparent that KISS has influenced artists from just about every genre of music (we couldn't find any jazz KISS covers).
While there were, of course, plenty of examples of straight-ahead rock bands paying homage to the hottest band in the land; the covers from the worlds of disco, pop, folk, bluegrass, and death metal really surprised us.
We must give credit to the fine folks of KISSFAQ for providing such a great, deep discography of pretty much anything and everything KISS and related.
Obviously, with so many cover songs existing, it would impossible to even include a fraction of them in this episode. So, with that said, Aaron and Chris ventured to celebrate KISSMAS in July by playing their favorite covers. A lot of digging went into these picks and we hope that you are turned onto some great stuff. If so, click one of the links below to hear more of these great KISS-inspired artists. Rock on!
Wed, 4 July 2012
Welcome to KISSMAS in JULY here at Decibel Geek headquarters! We're always looking for new excuses to do KISS-themed material and doing a full month of KISS stuff in July just seemed like a logical choice.
We kick off the month-o-KISS with an in-depth conversation we recently had with Lydia Criss. Formerly the wife of original KISS catman Peter Criss, Lydia entered the KISS Army's consciousness in 1976 when she accepted the award for 'Beth' being the #1 single of 1976 at the People's Choice Awards. What was the reason for Lydia accepting the award? Listen to our discussion to find out.
A few years ago, Lydia published a coffee table memoir of her life entitled Sealed with a KISS. Jam packed with tons of photos never before seen of KISS and Peter Criss from their earliest days as a struggling band rehearsing in a frigid loft in downtown Manhattan, their apex of popularity in being named the most popular band in America according to a Gallup poll, and beyond. The book also gives a rare glimpse into Lydia's personal life as the wife to a rising star in the music world.
In this conversation, Lydia, Chris, and Aaron pick some of their favorite Peter Criss-sung songs and Lydia shares her memories of the stories behind the making of the songs including the drama that would arise between band members.
Peter Criss' 1978 KISS solo album included quite a few songs about the end of a relationship. This mirrored reality as it was around this time that Peter's marriage to Lydia was ending. Lydia recalls the experience of hearing these songs and the effect they had on her at a tumultuous time in her life.
Also in this discussion are Lydia's memories of accepting KISS' People's Choice Award and the conversation with Gene Simmons that led to her accepting the award on the band's behalf. The story of how Beth came to be has been told from numerous different angles and Lydia tells her side of the story and it's probably something you haven't heard before.
While this conversation includes some great inside information from a person that was right in the middle of the rise of the Hottest Band in the Land, you will get WAY more great stuff like this if you purchase a copy of the 2nd printing of Sealed With a KISS. Included in this new printing are over 20 new photos as well more content including a listing of tons of gigs that Peter performed before joining KISS.
If you are a KISS fan and don't own this book, you are truly missing out. It's totally worth the money and you don't have to mortgage your house to afford it. Check it out!
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Thu, 28 June 2012
Without question, one of the more popular theme shows the Decibel Geek podcast has ever produced was our Bizzaro Covers episode which featured hard rock and metal bands performing non-hard rock and metal songs.
While original material is always a joy to listen to (unless it's being produced by Nickelback), a good cover song that puts a new spin or perspective on a song provokes emotion and can trigger the listener into liking something they normally wouldn't even care about.
Before we dive right in to the music, there are a few things we need to pimp. Our Canadian correspondent Wally Norton recently scored a great interview with Coney Hatch singer Carl Dixon that was picked up by a few other web media outlets.
Also discussed are some wonderful comments from this week's Geek of the Week. To be qualify for Geek of the Week simply head over to our facebook fan page and click LIKE; simple as that.
Of course, if you want to go one step beyond and tell a friend or write a review in iTunes, your chances go up exponentially (who said payola is dead?).
To round off the news, we discuss a commentary that Decibel Geek podcast host Chris Czynszak wrote in response to the recent reveal of the price of KISS' new Monster book and the harsh reaction that has been echoed by about 99% of the KISS Army. Consider a second mortgage.
We dug deep this week to bring you some gems that you may have not heard before. While there are a number of bands you've heard of, there's a couple oddball choices as well. All of the songs are certainly not what we typically play but we think you'll agree that they all benefit from a harder production. As the cheesy Autograph tune used to say, "Things go better with rock."
Wed, 20 June 2012
With so much going on in 1969 there was no way we were going to be able to squeeze all of it in to one episode and we're back this week to give you a second dose of the news, the music, and the personalities of the year of the rooster.
We begin things on a dark note as we discuss the Manson family murders including murder of actress Sharon Tate and Charles Manson's obsession with the Beatles song Helter Skelter and his morbid perception of the lyrics. This leads into a taste of one of the standout tracks from the Yellow Submarine album.
With the Beatles on their way out, a successor was on the rise in Led Zeppelin as Robert Plant and company released I and II in 1969. We spin one of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and segue into Jimmy Page's least favorite Zeppelin song but we dig it.
1969 saw the second and final album by the Jeff Beck Group released as Beck-Ola climbed to #15 on the charts on the strength of Jeff Beck's guitar playing and the growly pre-AOR vocals of a young Rod Stewart. Aaron picks his favorite track off the album and we give you a sample of that.
As we discussed in Part 1 of our 1969 Year in Review, Detroit was a hotbed of activity in the rock and roll world that year and it's arguably the birthplace of punk and alternative music due to the emergence of The Stooges. Fronted by Iggy Pop, The Stooges were a stripped down noise machine that perfectly encompassed the alienation of youth in the blue-collar Midwest. While not a big seller (peaking at 106 on the Billboard charts), The Stooges debut album is widely considered the foundation for a slew of punk and garage bands the world over in the years following it. We take a listen to Iggy's ballad of submission.
We return from the break to discuss an intimate little affair that included 350,000 people hanging out on a farm while musical legends entertained and promoters warned people to check the color of their acid. Woodstock was a three day history maker; with performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, CCR, and Santana among many others. Considered by many as the greatest musical festival of all time, it's a true snapshot of America in 1969 as it had ties to music, pop culture, and the ongoing conflict in Vietnam.
Also in 1969 a group led by a couple of friends from Lincoln, Nebraska released a song that was quite prophetic that warned of the dangers of future advances in electronic and medical technology and how society would be affected in a negative way. While we love where technology is these days (we wouldn't be able to provide you with this podcast if it weren't), there are signposts out there that do make you wonder if these guys were onto something. You'll get to hear these thought provoking lyrics as we feature the majority of this interesting track.
We started this episode off on a grim note with the Manson murders and we end it on one as well as we discuss the tragic events that occurred at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival. Billed by many as 'Woodstock West', the show was doomed before it even started with the Hell's Angels biker club being hired as security. With rampant drug use and a chaotic atmosphere, things spun out of control throughout the day; even causing the Grateful Dead (prime organizers of the festival) to decline to play their scheduled time slot. Things hit a boiling point while the Rolling Stones were onstage and you'll hear a clip of Mick Jagger trying to get the audience to relax. We play out on a hopeful note with a song from the Stones album Let it Bleed that tries to instill some hope in a crazy society.
1969 was not a year for the weak willed and it's certainly not one that will be easily forgotten. We hope these 2 episodes gave you a good perspective on it.
See you next week!
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Wed, 13 June 2012
After a week exploring the titans of thrash metal, we're ready to take another trip back in time to a time of hippies, war, and some amazing rock music. First though, some new business.
It's been almost a full year since the Decibel Geek podcast received a large amount of attention on the web when we put out parts 1 & 2 of the Vinnie Vincent Special which featured commentary and discussion with some notable people that had worked with/for the former KISS guitarist. The episodes had downloads well into the thousands no doubt due to the massive amount of media exposure given to Vincent when he was arrested for alleged domestic violence against his wife.
Since parts 1 & 2, we've had numerous requests for a new Vinnie Vincent special. For a long time, we had no intention of doing another special on the troubled guitarist but over the past few months have had the opportunity to speak with a few people that have also worked with Vincent and the conversations were rather enjoyable and we think the fans deserve to hear what these people have to say.
With no communication coming from Vinnie, we are hoping to satiate the curiosity of his fans as best we can. While there are always lots of stories (good and bad) with Vinnie, you can't deny that his mastery of guitar playing and songwriting. Our next Vinnie special, which will be available in July, will include stories (good and bad) from someone that worked very closely with Vincent and wanted to share his experiences with us. More on that in the future so stay tuned.
We head back in time this week to 1969 in the fourth installment of our Year in Review series. When researching this episode, Aaron and Chris realized that an absolute TON of music/news/events took place in 1969 and it became apparent while recording that this episode would have to be broken into two parts. Part 1 this week features discussion about many landmark events, albums, and concerts that took place in 1969.
In March, Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested after allegedly exposing himself at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium and also charged with attempting to start a riot after lashing out at the audience. This leads us into a track from The Doors' 1969 album The Soft Parade that could possibly be considered autobiographical of Morrison.
What does Judas Priest have to do with an episode discussing 1969? Listen and find out.
Chris shares a story about his mother, who had actually married Chris' father in 1969, seeing an unknown group in Florida playing a bar. The group was then called The Allmon Joys. They'd later go on to be a little more well-known and we spin a track off of their debut album that will leave you feeling pretty whipped.
Aaron spins a Neil Young & Crazy Horse tune that was actually written about Paul McCartney's touring guitar player. What flavor is she?
1969 was the year that we landed on the moon and David Bowie communicated with Ground Control. We discuss the cultural impact of a billion people watching us go one step beyond before segueing into some noisy, gritty hard rock from a Detroit band that was probably too anti-establishment for their own good.
One band from San Francisco, CA ruled the year of 1969 with 3 albums hitting the Top 10 with their unique brand of swamp rock that later influenced The Dude in all of us.
Before becoming the living cliche that would ultimately cause his demise, Elvis Presley had a momentous 1969 with the launch of his longstanding residency in Las Vegas and charting highly with Suspicious Minds and In the Ghetto. We discuss the year of the King of Rock.
One curve ball thrown in 1969 was from the Beach Boys who released the 20/20 album to a confused public. With Brian Wilson slipping more out of the picture due to mental distress, the brothers Carl & Dennis Wilson took on a more hands on approach and the results definitely reflect that. Aaron spins a track that you would definitely never guess was produced by the Beach Boys. This one needs to be heard to be believed.
There's tons more in store for next week with Part 2 including some massive festivals, war, murder, and plenty of great tunes for your listening pleasure.
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Thu, 7 June 2012
While we don't typically delve deep into thrash territory on the Decibel Geek podcast, 2 bands that came out of California in the early to mid 1980's (one formed out of necessity to battle it out with the other), are truly a part of rock royalty and are the subject of our interview/discussion this week.
Metallica's 1981 lineup that included James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton, and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine was a true force to be reckoned with but politics and substance abuse caused it to be short-lived with the band unceremoniously canning Mustaine while on the road. Determined to exact revenge, Mustaine formed Megadeth in Los Angeles in 1983 with bassist Dave Ellefson.
With both bands releasing platinum albums and performing for sold out audiences across the globe, the rivalry remained pretty evenly matched between the groups until Metallica saw mainstream success with 1991's Metallica (aka The Black Album) shooting the band into a new strata for metal music. One could argue, though, that Megadeth have put out material that rivals, and in some cases exceeds, Metallica's output throughout the 1990's and 2000's.
This week we take a hard look and listen to the early days of both bands as we chat with rock photographer Bill Hale. Hale was a photographer for Metal Rendezvous magazine in the early 1980's and shot photos of rock legends including KISS, Riot, UFO, and Black Sabbath. He was witness to the ascent of Metallica, as is recounted in his excellent photo book Metallica: Club Dayz 1982-1984 and thus, was in good company to witness the formation and launch of Megadeth which is chronicled in his new book Megadeth: Another Time, A Different Place.
In our conversation you will hear Bill share his stories of what it was like knowing Lars Ulrich when he was just a struggling drummer trying to make contacts in the Los Angeles area. Hear about James Hetfield's early stage fright which caused Dave Mustaine to be the voice between songs for many of Metallica's early shows.
Hale also shares his opinion of what took place when Mustaine was fired from Metallica and the politics that seemed to surround the situation. Interesting stuff here!
With a thirst for blood, Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth and Bill shares his memories of the earliest days of the band and the rivalry that exists to this day. We also get his thoughts on the sad losses of both Cliff Burton and Gar Samuelson (of whom the new Megadeth book is dedicated).
Aaron, Chris, and Bill also spin some of their favorite tracks from Metallica & Megadeth's first three albums throughout the conversation.
It's a fun long-form discussion with a person that caught music history through the lens of his camera and forged friendships with highly diverse personalities that still captivate rock and metal fans to this day. It's time for some Metal up your......ears.
Wed, 30 May 2012
We're back this week with more ear candy for your head holes. Plus, it's Aaron Camaro's birthday this week so be sure to wish him a happy 37th birthday. 37?!? Chris will be 36 in November so we're right on schedule for our midlife crises.
We've got a jam-packed show today filled with tons of tunes from different eras of rock and metal including some new stuff in our Fresh Blood segment.
Things kick off with a strong, very non-disco cover tune from KISS' 1979 Dynasty album which leads us to discuss our anticipation for the forthcoming Monster release and the ever-changing rumored release dates. We also give a deserving plug to Mitch Lafon's great 5 part feature on the 20th Anniversary of the Revenge album on Bravewords.com which includes interviews with Tommy Thayer, friend of Decibel Geek Dick Wagner, Bruce Kulick, Kevin Valentine, and this week's interview with Eric Singer. If you are a KISS fan, you will be highly entertained by these features. Good job Mitch!
We transition into some talk about the recent news that Van Halen cancelled and handful of shows and announced they are taking a break to avoid burnout. Is that the real reason or are the boys dishing out a Different Kind of Truth? We give our thoughts on that before diving into a deep cut from the 1978 self-titled debut.
Aaron gave Chris a hard time during the last Radio Sucks show for playing a "soft" Enuff Z'Nuff tune and counters this week by playing a track that proves that the band had some musical muscle when they wanted to get away from day-glo costumes and dancing video rainbows.
We come back from the break with a "shot and a half" of Fresh Blood featuring a killer band from Spain known as Angelus Apatrida. Chris was turned on to this group by Victor Ruiz on the great Mars Attacks podcast and couldn't help but share a little taste of this great rising band that just straight-up kicks your teeth in (in a good way). We segue from Angelus Apatrida straight into a hard-nosed rocking track by West Memphis Suicide. These guys are based out of Canada (thanks Wally for turning us on) but they've got all the aggression of a group of Cowboys from Hell that we are sorely lacking today. We really think you'll dig this band.
Speaking of Pantera, we pontificate (that's a big word like "gymnasium") about the recent rumors of a possible reunion tour with Zakk Wylde filling Dimebag Darrell's shoes. Can you Vinnie Paul and Phil Anselmo make amends and is it right for the band to charge forward without its dearly departed heart and soul? We discuss it before Aaron breaks our streak of not playing any Black Label Society with a track that is pretty brutal but satisfying.
The rock/metal world on the internet lost a true friend and funny voice on May 21st, 2012 with the death A.j. Confessore; better known as C.C. Banana. We pay tribute to the memory of C.C. with a track off of an album that he helped produce; Kiss My Ankh: A Tribute to Vinnie Vincent which features Banana 7 performing a parody of KISS' Unholy about the unlikeliest of subjects and the Kisstoric story behind it. R.I.P CC.
June 5th marks the return of Ugly Kid Joe with their new E.P. Stairway to Hell. The first single has been released and we dug it so much we thought you'd like to hear it as well. Crank this one up!
We finish things out with a short discussion of the recently (almost) reunited RATT performing together with bassist Jaun Croucier for the first time in years at the recent M3 Festival. Is Juan a permanent member of RATT again? Will the band follow up the well-received Infestation album with one of their principal songwriters from back in the day? We give our thoughts on all of that as we delve into a classic track from the Out of the Cellar album.
Putting a bow on this Aaron Camaro birthday episode is his pick of the greatest song that a guy ever wrote about his own genitalia. You certainly won't hear this one on the radio. Be sure to check us out on facebook and twitter and please keep those reviews coming in iTunes. It makes a world of difference in getting more ears to enjoy this show. We thank you all so much for your support and have many more cool things in the pipeline. See ya next week!
Wed, 23 May 2012
Jack Russel of Great White joins us this week to discuss a career that has spanned the highs, lows, and everything in-between.
Last week was a busy week in the press for Russell between dodging drunk boaters and having to clarify remarks about former manager Alan Niven. He takes a few minutes to discuss these stories, as well as where the current legal case with the rest of the band stands, with us before we launch into career-talk.
And what a career it's been. From their early days in 1978 as Dante Fox, Jack tells us how the name Great White came about and how it relates to albino guitar players.
We get Jack's recollections of the Sunset Strip in the days before it exploded which included flyer wars with Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue as well as his thoughts on how the internet has pretty much squashed the chances of a regional thing on that level happening again.
We discuss the reversal of touring to sell albums shifting to recording an album as an excuse to tour and Jack's thoughts on what downloading has done to deplete potential income and the presence of record stores.
Chris asks Jack to explain why the first two Great White albums sound so distinctly different from everything that followed and we find out why all of those keyboards appeared on the Shot in the Dark album. You'll hear Jacks memories of touring with Whitesnake in the U.K. for Great White's first european tour as well as a story about the members of Judas Priest playing volleyball in Biloxi, MS while on the Defenders of the Faith tour.
Russell tells us how he had to fight to get Save Your Love included on the Once Bitten album after the producer and record company went cold on the song; a gamble that paid off for Russell and the band as the song received widespread radio airplay.
Following the breakthrough success of the Once Bitten & Twice Shy albums, the tide started shifting in popular music with "party" rock bands beginning to multiply to the general public's disgust causing the overnight change of pace with grunge music taking over the airwaves. Jack gives us his memories of this period of time and how it hit the hard rock scene like a freight train and did much damage to the prospects of success for their then-new album Psycho City. He also tells us about Great White's experience opening for KISS during 1992's Revenge tour and getting a front row seat to the media machinations of one Gene Simmons.
After venturing into solo territory, Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall began performing again as Jack Russell's Great White with Kendall leaving the band again. With new guitarist Ty Longley, the band played The Station nightclub in Warwick, Rhode Island where pyrotechnics caused a fire that killed one hundred people including Longley. Jack Russell tells why he's decided to no longer comment on the incident.
We wrap up the conversation with some talk about the band's amazing cover of Led Zeppelin's Babe I'm Gonna Leave You and why they decided to record an entire album of Zeppelin covers songs as well as the upcoming America Rocks 2012 tour that Jack and co. are undertaking this summer along with Faster Pussycat, Bulletboys, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Lillian Axe. Jack also makes it a point to thank his legion of very supportive fans that helped to bring him back from a horrific physical state to rocking stages all over the world again.
Special thanks to Dave Hardin and Valerie Ince for helping arrange this interview.
Check out Jack Russell's website for tour dates, news, and messages from Jack himself.
Wed, 16 May 2012
In the short year that the Decibel Geek podcast has existed, some of our more popular episodes have been our Year in Review shows. We have received some great feedback from all over the world about our 1975 and 1983 episodes and this week we head to the 90's as we focus on a truly transitional year in rock music in 1991.
Chris and Aaron are spinning a plethora of their favorite songs from 1991 and you're sure to hear lots of stuff you may have missed while radio stations were shoving Bryan Adams and Amy Grant down your throat. While the glam to grunge overnight transition took place in September with the release of Nirvana's landmark Nevermind album, you'll hear plenty of examples of the wide variety of great music that was being released even before anarchist cheerleaders picked up black pompoms and the janitor got his groove back.
1991 was a crazy year for cannibalism, true and fictional, with Jeffrey Dahmer proving that Aaron Camaro is not the only lunatic from Wisconsin and Anthony Hopkins' strange appetite in Silence of the Lambs.
We also learned in 1991 that Pee Wee Herman likes himself. He...really....really....likes himself. Of course, he went to jail and was ridiculed for something that 99% of the population does and that 1% dude sure is frustrated.
Michael Jordan got us to eat our Wheaties, Madonna pissed of parents of teenage boys everywhere with a "racy" video that is tame by today's standards and there was a TON of great music produced in 1991. You'll hear us yack about all of it this week on the Decibel Geek podcast.
Thu, 10 May 2012
While America is our home base and largest listener area, our friends up to the north have been accumulating like a blizzard lately. We've had quite a few new Canadian listeners over the past year. There are a few reasons, we think, for this.
2. Our interview with Killer Dwarfs singer Russ Dwarf helped us attain more audience members. KD is a great band and Russ still waves the flag up in Canada.
3. The addition of Wally Norton to the Decibel Geek staff. Wally's regular feature, Hoser Heavy Metal has helped shed some light on Canadian rock bands you should check out. His recent interview with Helix's Brian Vollmer also received acclaim throughout the internet and brought more folks from the Great White North our way.
So, with that said, it's only natural that we'd decide to shine a spotlight firmly on Canada. This week we're cranking tunes by bands/artists from Canada that are considered legends, some that could be considered diamonds in the rough, and some that we're pretty sure you've never heard before.
We debut the new Fresh Blood feature in this episode that gives you a listen to something brand spanking new that actually sounds good; a rare feat on the radio these days.
Chris shares his thoughts on the music documentary 'Mayor of the Sunset Strip' and why it's appropriate to the Radio Sucks subject. He also tries to explain the Decibel Geek habit of hating Nickelback and why they will never, ever be played on the show (unless it's for parody's sake).
It's a full hour+ jam packed with rock and metal from our neighbors to the north. So, grab a brew and open your ears for a party in your head. We love you hosers!