Tag Archive | "Steve Vai"

William Shatner To Premiere ‘Ponder The Mystery’ Video On AXS TV

William Shatner To Premiere ‘Ponder The Mystery’ Video On AXS TV

An Epic Release!

An Epic Release!

To coincide with the release of his highly anticipated new CD, William Shatner’s ‘Ponder The Mystery’ video will make its debut on the AXS Network on Tuesday, October 8th at 4:00 PM PST! The video was directed by William Shatner and Kevin Layne and produced by David Zappone. The exclusive TV premier will be on the ‘AXS Live’ show, hosted by Ryan Stout, on the new national cable network AXS TV (founded by Dallas Mavericks billionaire owner Mark Cuban). From the hottest viral videos to the biggest names in music ‘AXS Live’ is your cheat sheet to the day’s biggest trends to keep you in the entertainment know.

For more information: www.axs.com

Guitar icon Steve Vai, who performs on the album’s eponymous single, declares, “It was an absolute hoot to play on Bill’s track. It’s great to see and hear that after all these years his contributions are still fresh!”

On Tuesday October 7th, William Shatner will be doing an album signing at Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. For more info, click here >

William Shatner will be performing his new record Ponder the Mystery in its entirety accompanied by the prog band CIRCA: featuring Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye, famed keyboardist also known for his work with YES.

Performance dates and locations:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013: Saint Rocke, 142 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Hermosa, CA 90254 (310-372-0035)
Thursday, October 24, 2013: The Canyon Club, 289 12 Roadside Dr., Agoura, CA 91301 (818-879-5016)
Friday, October 25, 2013: The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949-496-8930)

Purchase Ponder The Mystery CD at Amazon: http://georiot.co/3VF

Download the album at iTunes: http://georiot.co/3EUD

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!, MusicComments (0)

Ponder The Mystery: William Shatner Reveals Tracklisting For Upcoming Prog Rock Album

Ponder The Mystery: William Shatner Reveals Tracklisting For Upcoming Prog Rock Album

An Epic Release!

An Epic Release!

As word began to circulate about William Shatner’s newest musical project, the prog rock concept album Ponder The Mystery, critics and fans quickly realized it was a match made, if not in Heaven, then in the most glorious reaches of the galaxy. Shatner is after all an enormously popular and celebrated icon of science fiction fantasy, and no musical genre is as invested in, devoted to or driven by fantasy and the imaginative as progressive rock. And though Mr. Shatner is no stranger to the musical world, what sets this effort apart from previous endeavors is the fact that he co-wrote the album, penning a set of intensely personal lyrics for producer/multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood (of the prog rock institution Yes) to compose around. And now, after months of puzzled rumors, probing questions and ponderous speculation, the album is finally ready to be embraced by the general public; it will be released on CD, vinyl and digital formats October 8, 2013.

Joining the two Bill’s on this journey into the mysteries of human curiosity and consciousness is a group of virtuosos from numerous genres and fields, including guitarists Steve Vai, Al Di Meola and Zoot Horn Rollo, keyboardists Rick Wakeman and the late George Duke, saxophonists Dave Koz, Edgar Winter and Nik Turner, as well as The Doors’ own Robby Krieger and country legend Vince Gill. Many of these artists leapt at the opportunity to contribute to Mr. Shatner’s venture, such as Steve Vai who performs on the album’s eponymous single, and declares, “It was an absolute hoot to play on Bill’s track. It’s great to see and hear that after all these years his contributions are still fresh!” Longtime friend Vince Gill contributed acoustic guitars and mandolin to the album and shares this: “I’ve known William for awhile and have worked with him on one of his previous charity events. It was so cool for me to play on his new album. Overall, it really means a lot to be part of projects that William is doing at this point of his life. William is a special person and I really enjoy any chance that I get to work with him.”

Saxophonist Dave Koz offers this assessment of the project: “What I love most about this album is that it feels like all the musicians were in this big top – a sort of three-ring circus…you have all these talented people, each bringing their unique offering to the table. Then there’s Bill, the ring-leader, with a big smile on his face, inspiring us all to bring even more to the party. It was a blast, and I love the way it turned out. Unlike anything I’ve EVER done before. But then again, that’s what working with an icon will get you!”

Finally, Rick Wakeman sums things up nicely: “I’ve never adhered to the assumption that oil and water don’t mix…stir them hard enough and add a few other ingredients and they certainly will mix, and give an interesting and pretty unique result too. So I’m all for Progressive Shatner Rock and it was a pleasure to play on the album and be involved!”

Tracks include:
1. Red Shift
2. Where It’s Gone…I Don’t Know feat. Mick Jones
3. Manhunt feat. Simon House
4. Ponder The Mystery feat. Steve Vai
5. So Am I feat. Al Di Meola
6. Change feat. Rick Wakeman
7. Sunset feat. Joel Vandroogenbroeck
8. Twilight feat. Edgar Winter
9. Rhythm Of The Night feat. Nik Turner
10. Imagine Things feat. Vince Gil
11. Do You See? feat. Edgar Froese
12. Deep Down feat. Robby Krieger
13. I’m Alright, I Think feat. Dave Koz
14. Where Does Time Go? feat. George Duke
15. Alive feat. Zoot Horn Rollo

William Shatner will be performing his new record Ponder the Mystery in its entirety accompanied by the prog band CIRCA: featuring Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye, famed keyboardist also known for his work with YES.

Performance dates and locations:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013:
Saint Rocke, 142 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Hermosa, CA 90254 (310-372-0035)

Thursday, October 24, 2013:
The Canyon Club, 289 12 Roadside Dr., Agoura, CA 91301 (818-879-5016)

Friday, October 25, 2013:
The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949-496-8930)

Purchase Ponder The Mystery CD at Amazon: http://georiot.co/3VF
Download the album at iTunes: http://georiot.co/3EUD

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!, MusicComments (0)

Ponder The Mystery: William Shatner To Perform His New Album With Prog Rock Group Circa

Ponder The Mystery: William Shatner To Perform His New Album With Prog Rock Group Circa

An Epic Release!

An Epic Release!

William Shatner will be performing his new record Ponder the Mystery in its entirety along with the progressive rock heroes Circa: featuring Billy Sherwood, who produced and co-wrote Ponder the Mystery with Shatner, and Tony Kaye both former members of the legendary prog rock band YES.

William Shatner is a film and TV icon with an intense passion for music which has yielded several solo records including the critically acclaimed “Seeking Major Tom.” This most recent solo record, Ponder the Mystery, which includes guest artists from the prog and fusion genres such as Rick Wakeman, Al DiMeola, Steve Vai, Robbie Krieger, Vince Gill, Edgar Winter, George Duke, Zoot Horn Rollo and Dave Koz to name a few), expands Shatner’s musical horizons due to the fact that all of the songs are original, written by Shatner and his musical partner in the project Billy Sherwood. The album will be released on both CD and vinyl on October 8, 2013.

This partnership of Shatner and Sherwood has created a vast and expansive artistic landscape for Shatner’s amazing gift of poetry while Sherwood composed the musical backdrop. The record is conceptual in nature: following a man in despair through the setting sun, twilight and finally darkness, and in the process, regains his joy of life.

Both Bills had a vision of taking the record to the stage and performing it live. When it came time to form the band for this event, Circa: was the obvious choice, Sherwood and Kaye have had a long running musical relationship playing on stage together with YES and forming Circa: in 2006. Circa: recently released a new album Live From Here There and Everywhere.

Performance dates and locations:<

• Wednesday, October 23, 2013: Saint Rocke, 142 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Hermosa, CA 90254 (310-372-0035)
• Thursday, October 24, 2013: The Canyon Club, 289 12 Roadside Dr., Agoura, CA 91301 (818-879-5016)
• Friday, October 25, 2013: The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949-496-8930)
For more information: www.WilliamShatner.com  

Posted in Blog, Movies, TV and More!, MusicComments (0)

Voodoo Rock Blues: Orianthi Discusses Her New Album ‘Heaven In This Hell’

Voodoo Rock Blues: Orianthi Discusses Her New Album ‘Heaven In This Hell’

Orianthi-2013-1

From writing her first song at the age of 6, to being discovered and playing alongside her idols Carlos Santana and Steve Vai early in her career, Orianthi has made an enduring mark on the music industry. While many were introduced to this timid guitar goddess when she played the Grammy Awards in 2009 as part of Carrie Underwood’s band, it was being selected for Michael Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It Tour” that exposed her to mainstream audiences. Since that time, she has continued to gain momentum! In 2009, Orianthi released her impressive debut album, ‘Believe’. It was an album that proved she was more than just a gifted guitarist and a pretty face. “According To You,” her first solo single, which went platinum in the U.S. and abroad, putting her serious vocal chops on to display for all to hear.

In late 2011, between legs of Alice Cooper’s world tour (where she played lead guitar), she began work on her sophomore album. Teaming with legendary musician Dave Stewart (of The Eurythmics), Orianthi recorded a majority of ‘Heaven In This Hell’ at Blackbird Studio in Nashville. Inspired by her blues heroes, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Robert Johnson, Orianthi new album takes listeners on a non-stop thrill ride of riff heavy rock and energetic blues. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with this artist on the rise to discuss the creation of her new album, teaming with producer Dave Stewart, the challenges she encountered along the way and much more!

What was the catalyst that made you know now was the time to hit the studio for a new album?

I have been writing songs for this album for a couple of years now. Dave Stewart called me when he was in Nashville doing his album. He invited me to the studio to check it out and I loved it. I knew that making a record there would be so great and it was more about capturing the live performance than it was recording a whole album. The energy there felt really organic and the way I was hoping to make this record.

Orianthi In The Studio

Orianthi In The Studio

What can fans expect from you and this album sonically?

It is definitely going towards groove heavy rock that I started playing a long time ago. It has more of that flavor to it. At the same time, there are some tracks similar to “Believe” like “Come Together” or “What’s It Going To Be” and is in that sort of vein.

When you first started to create this record, what were your expectations?

It was really about capturing the live sound. I wanted it to sound live where everyone was in the room together and it was full bore rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to capture that energy. When I originally talked to Dave about it he said the same thing. The guitar solos sound inspired. Actually, most of the songs were written on acoustic guitar.

It is so cool to see you pairing up with Dave Stewart as a producer for this record. How did you two first meet?

We actually met at Stand Up To Cancer, a benefit show. It was a great show that featured Stevie Wonder and Heart, among others. We met and started talking about blues and things we should write together, so we did! We wrote lots of songs together and have played a lot of shows as well. He is a great guitar player as well.

What can you tell us about the process of working with him and what he brought to the table for this album?

The process was really different. Sometimes I would play a guitar riff, like we did with “Fire,” and would build the song from there. We would get out the acoustic guitars and start with some melodies over chords. Dave is a great lyricist as well and would say some things along the way that would make the songs better. He brought a lot of ideas in like “Heaven In This Hell.” He has great ideas and is always thinking about performing the songs live for the audience.

Orianthi-2013-4

How did the atmosphere of Nashville, where the studio is located, influence this record?

Every time I go to Nashville, I find it is very much all about the music. Here in L.A., it is intense but in Nashville it is all about writing songs and musicianship. It is just incredible! You go into the studio and the musicians hear only a little bit of the song and they are playing it within minutes! We had the opportunity to work with some really great players. I think this album was very much about surrounding myself with that great energy. I found it very inspiring.

What were the biggest challenges in creating this album?

There weren’t that many challenges really. We did an EP at the beginning of 2012, 11 months ago now, then I went on tour with Alice Cooper. It was very much broken up. The release of the EP was awhile ago and it has been awhile since I have released new music, three years or something. Once I got off the tour with Alice, we finished up the record via Skype from a studio here in L.A. with the guys in Nashville. I think time was definite a challenge because of all the touring I was doing. I wanted to get the album finished but, at the same time, you also don’t want to rush it. Doing the EP and then finishing off the album, I know, was a good thing.

“Heaven In This Hell” is a great album with a lot going on. Can you tell us about some of the artists who helped influence this record?

Yeah, definitely! I am a big of Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, a Carlos Santana fan. I feel this record is a little more colorful than the last record. It has a few more flavors — a bit of country, a bit of blues and rock. I call it my Voodoo Rock Blues record! I was also listening to alot of Robert Johnson, who I love. I learned a lot from him acoustically and what he does with melodies and whatnot. “Heaven In This Hell” actually started with that sort of delta blues riff at the beginning. Then there is “Frozen,” which is electric. I really think this album goes back to who I was listening to when I was younger and who I listen to now, of course. I definitely think this record is a reflection of who I am now.

Obviously, you can learn a lot from a guy like Alice Cooper. What were the highlights of the tour and what did you learn from him?

Alice is amazing! He is one of the nicest people and an incredible entertainer! I have been on tour with him for about a year now. We will be touring again at the end of this year. He is just so great. There are so many great songs and the way the songs are structured have so many different guitar parts. There are three guitar players in the band, Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen and myself. They are great players and the whole band is really top notch. They are all like brothers to me at this point! We have a great time every night and it is like a big party. Like a crazy, non-stop Rocky Horror party! Two hours non-stop, every night! Alice doesn’t talk between any of the songs, so we are literally getting guitars thrown on us for the changes. You get out there and you start songs in the dark! It is pretty crazy and the shows generally run two hours non-stop where you are dodging knives, you have to play “Feed My Frankenstein” and see Alice with the whip! [laughs] He is intense! When he gets into character, you have to watch out! One of the first nights I played with him he came over and stabbed a balloon with a giant sword that was right above my head! It was pretty intense! It has been an amazing experience working with Alice.

Orianthi-2013-2

Last time we spoke we discussed your work with Michael Jackson and now Alice Cooper. What is the biggest thing you have taken from working with these amazing performers you plan on bringing to your live show? I am assuming you will be touring in support of this awesome album?

Oh yeah, definitely! We are looking at touring really soon. We are looking at Japan, Australia and definitely here in the States, starting with some club shows here in Los Angeles. Working with all of these amazing performers, the way they present their energy and give it to the audience does make it constantly interesting. They just seem like they are loving it every night. It is not a job, they love it! I say this a lot but it is so true, Alice is quite similar to MJ in the way he is such a great entertainer. He loves his fans and he wants to make sure his show is at its best for them. We are all people who give 110% every night!

We can see a lot of growth over the course of your two albums. What has been the best part of the success you achieved so far?

The exposure on the radio and through “This Is It” has been really inspiring. I get messages on Twitter and Facebook from young girls and guys who say, “I heard one of your songs and I want to play guitar now. You’ve really inspired me.” That is really cool, it really is. I tell them to keep at it! Whether you play guitar, drums or whatever it is — express yourself artistically! Music is powerful and it has helped me through a lot. I can’t imagine doing anything else. My music is my life and I hope I can inspire others to achieve their dreams as well.

You worked with Paul Reed Smith for years. We are based just down the road from his factory. You have just done your second custom model with him. What can you tell us about that process and working with him?

Orianthi: Artist On The Rise

Orianthi: Artist On The Rise

Paul is a great artist. First and foremost, he loves playing guitars. He is so passionate about making sure the guitars he makes are all top notch from the wood to the pick-ups to the way they look with the paint. Everything! I have been to the factory a few times and it is amazing. The people who work in the factory are all guitar players and they take a lot of care in creating the instruments. Everyone is different and they all have their different personalities. One of my favorite PRS guitars is the one I used to audition for the MJ thing. It is called Pepper and it is a PRS Custom 24. It is my favorite guitar and I wanted to model the SE after that. They took that guitar and modeled the new one off of that with the contoured body and 3-way blade switch. The other model I play and love. The same is true of this model as well. They are both quality guitars and are affordable for kids. Some guitars are really expensive and this one is half the price. I am really honored to play their guitars and it is an honor because I have been playing a PRS since I was 11. Carlos Santana inspired me to play the electric guitar. I got a PRS second hand when I was 11 and I couldn’t put it down. Teaming up with Paul and having his support has been an amazing experience. I have been going to NAMM for nine years, so walking into the booth and seeing my own guitar on the stand was pretty crazy!

I know your fans always love to hear from you, Orianthi. Is there anything you would like to say to them before I let you go?

Yeah, definitely! Thank you all for your support through Facebook and Twitter. I can’t wait to tour this spring! I really want to thank them all for their patience because they have moved the date for the album release a few times. We just wanted to make sure that it was put out in Japan the same time it was in the United States. I just want to thank them all for their support and I can’t wait to see them all soon out on the road!

Catch up with Orianthi at her official website, www.OrianthiMusic.com. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (0)

Guitarist Orianthi To Unleash ‘Heaven In This Hell’ On March 12th!

Guitarist Orianthi To Unleash ‘Heaven In This Hell’ On March 12th!

Orianthi Is Back!

Orianthi Is Back!

Platinum selling solo artist and iconic guitarist Orianthi is gearing up for the release of her new album, Heaven In This Hell. Orianthi will captivate fans with a record that delivers a mega-dose of rock and weaves elements of modern country and swampy blues. The album, produced by Dave Stewart, will be released on Robo Records (distributed by Universal/Fontana) and is scheduled to drop on March 12, 2013. The first single, “Frozen”, will be serviced to Rock and Classic Rock radio on January 28th.

From writing her first song at the age of 6, to being discovered and playing alongside her idols Carlos Santana and Steve Vai early in her career, Orianthi has made an enduring mark on the music industry. While many were introduced to this timid guitar goddess when she played the Grammy Awards in 2009 as part of Carrie Underwood’s band, it was being selected for Michael Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It Tour” that exposed her to mainstream audiences. In the Fall of 2009, Orianthi released “According To You,” her first solo single, which went platinum in the U.S. and abroad. More than just a gifted guitarist, this success showed she had serious vocal chops as well.

In late 2011, between legs of Alice Cooper’s world tour (where she played lead guitar), she began work on her forthcoming project. “I am so proud of this album because it really showcases my style of riff heavy rock and energetic blues,” Orianthi remarks. “The success of Believe [her previous CD] helped give me credibility and afforded me the freedom to create the kind of album I have been wanting to make, with musicians I respect, playing together live in a studio, creatively exchanging ideas…the way I want all my records to be made. My friend, collaborator and producer, Dave Stewart and I just jammed and hashed out a variety of songs and sounds until we found the grooves that inspired us” she continued.

While Orianthi recorded a majority of Heaven In This Hell at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, she also recorded several songs and overdubs at Dave Stewart’s (of The Eurythmics) Hollywood Studio. “Working with Ori over the last year has been an inspiring experience for me,” said Stewart . “She is such a dedicated guitarist and focused songwriter; her enthusiasm is infectious and all the musicians who worked on the record were motivated to give her their best. When we went to Nashville, we knew we were about to embark on something exciting, something career altering,” he continued.

The time spent in Nashville left an indelible impression that can be heard in several of the tracks, which were mixed by Nashville resident John McBride. New tracks like “Rock” and “Another You” are examples of crossover country-AC songs that blend heartfelt harmonies and melodies with lyrics that showcase a more vulnerable, exposed emotional side, often veiled by her signature PRS axe. “Heaven In This Hell” the title track, is a blues-rooted rock song which features swampy guitar riffs with an edgy Zeppelin-esque vibe. Songs like “Frozen”, the first single, and “You Don’t Wanna Know” provide listeners with some insight into a couple of her primary musical influences with raw, crunchy guitar riffs reminiscent of Hendrix and Stevie Ray

Vaughn. “If You Think You Know Me” is an arousing anthem with thunderous drums, meant to inspire and empower anyone who has ever felt alone. This track, which begs to be played in a large arena, asks listeners: “Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?/Like there’s somebody else inside your skin?/ Well you’re not alone/We all came here for something.”

“To say that we are excited about this record is a complete understatement” said Rob Christie, founder of Robo Records. “Not only is Orianthi one of the most gifted musicians I’ve heard, but she also has a heart of gold. She is extremely passionate about music, animals, family and her fans. She truly is an inspiration to adults and children, literally around the globe.”

“I’m so excited to share Heaven In This Hell with the fans! It’s been a long time coming for me,” says Orianthi.

Check out a sneak peek of the making of the album below, along with the tracklisting!

Track listing:
Heaven in this Hell 4:32
You Don’t Wanna Know 3:40
Fire 2:54
If You Think You Know Me 3:35
How Do You Sleep? 4:15
Frozen 3:41
Rock 4:34
Another You 3:43
How Does That Feel? 3:09
Filthy Blues 3:17
If You Were Here With Me 4:11

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (1)

Music Review: Ozzy Osbourne Reissues Get It Right!

Music Review: Ozzy Osbourne Reissues Get It Right!

It may be a completely overworked cliché to compare things to Mount Rushmore (thanks ESPN!) but needless to say, if you’re coming up with a Mount Rushmore of heavy metal, Ozzy Osbourne is no doubt on it.

The Ozzy story is of course legend by now, and most metal fans can recite the greatest hits by heart: misfit kid from working class Birmingham ends up becoming frontman for heavy metal’s first significant band, is fired from said band after drug and alcohol habit spirals out of control, meets Sharon, hooks up with guitarist Randy Rhoads and forms the Blizzard of Ozz band, solo career takes off, bites the head off a dove, Rhoads dies in plane crash, peed on the Alamo, legendary booze and coke habit resurfaces, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

You can count on one hand the number of singers fired by their original band that then goes on to surpass the original band in sales. But that is what Ozzy did, starting with his first two releases, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman.

The real story of these rereleases is that Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have restored the original bass and drum tracks as recorded by Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. When the albums were reissued in 2002, Ozzy and Sharon had Daisley and Kerslake’s tracks removed and their parts played by Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin, Ozzy’s rhythm section at the time.

It was a petty move from the Osbournes, an unnecessary grudge being held by two people who have all the money, respect and fame one could ask for. Granted Daisley and Kerslake had sued Ozzy for songwriting credits, but hadn’t Ozzy and Sharon already conquered the world by then? Would anybody listening to these records care who got songwriting credits?

Thankfully, the Osbournes have restored the albums to their original status, although none of the album photos show Daisley and Kerslake, all the shots are of Ozzy and Rhoads. That’s OK though, since the highlight of these albums has always been the unique chemistry and all-too-brief partnership of Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

The late guitarist has long been celebrated for his technical virtuosity, witness the shredding on the bonus track “RR,” but listening to these rereleases, it’s easy to lose sight of how good a riff writer Rhoads was.

Blizzard of Ozz is still Ozzy’s best-selling album and contains his most iconic songs. Track after track has pretty much become a staple on hard rock radio since the album’s release.
You have “Crazy Train,” Ozzy’s signature song, a track that is known to just about anybody who listens to music. The iconic “Crazy Train” has been heard everywhere from TV commercials to being sampled by hip-hop artists to sports arenas. But check out the chunky power chords on “Suicide Solution,” and the ominous riff on “Mr. Crowley,” where Rhoads out-Tony Iommi’s Tony Iommi. There’s also the blues-rock strut of “No Bone Movies,” a song where the Blizzard of Ozz band is clearly having a lot of fun.
While Rhoads’ reputation has only grown since his untimely death, what people who listen to these records lose sight of the fact that Ozzy was a hell of a singer in those days. While Ozzy’s last album “Scream” is actually pretty good, the ravages of time have required producers to process and auto-tune the hell out of his vocals.

But here, Ozzy’s voice was very versatile instrument, able to carry the hard-driving “I Don’t Know,” morph into The Prince of Darkness for the eerie “Suicide Solution” (a song about alcoholism that, of course, the straights thought had subliminal messages urging the audience to kill themselves) and the fiendish “Mr. Crowley” (about black magic practitioner Aleister Crowley) but also show an emotional side on the ballads “Goodbye To Romance” and “Revelation (Mother Earth).”

The reissue of Blizzard of Ozz has three bonus tracks; “You Looking At Me, Looking At You,” the B-side to “Crazy Train;” a different mix of “Goodbye To Romance;” and a Rhoads guitar solo outtake, “RR.”

The remastered sound gives the album a fresh sheen. The album doesn’t feel dated at all, although the keyboard section on “Goodbye To Romance” seems very 80s. Tracks like “I Don’t Know,” “Crazy Train,” “Suicide Solution,” “Mr. Crowley” and “Steal Away (The Night)” rock as hard as they ever have. Of the bonus tracks, I almost prefer the guitar and vocal mix of “Goodbye To Romance” better than the album version. The minimalist style fits better the tender ballad better than the full band version.

After the success of Blizzard of Ozz, Ozzy and the band quickly followed up with Diary Of A Madman, a more progressive outing.

The album gets off to an energetic start with the double shot of “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again,” the latter of which features a tremendous Rhoads solo. The progressive aspects of the album show up on the album’s two epic tracks, “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” and the title track.

While Rhoads and Ozzy are obviously the stars, Daisley and Kerslake’s contributions are more noticeable on Diary Of A Madman, particularly on “Believer” and “Little Dolls,” which rock out with a real swagger. “Tonight” is the album’s big power ballad, while “S.A.T.O” features an acoustic intro before the band kicks in with propulsive momentum. The title track throws everything together: acoustic guitars, church choirs, you name it.

The Deluxe Edition of “Diary” comes with a bonus live disc from 1982 that gives a good example of what the Blizzard of Ozz band sounded like. At the time the disc was recorded, the band was on its second incarnation, with Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge having replaced Daisley and Kerslake. Despite the changes, the band rips through “I Don’t Know,” “Crazy Train,” “Believer” and “Mr. Crowley” with fierce precision. The final three songs are Black Sabbath covers, a shortened version of “Iron Man,” a good rendition of “Children Of The Grave” and finally, ”Paranoid,” a riff that was tailor-made for Rhoads’ guitar style.

Each band member gets a moment to shine: Sarzo on the bass intro to “Believer,” Aldridge’s drum solo on “Steal Away (The Night)” and Rhoads’ guitar spot on “Suicide Solution.” Of course, the star of an Ozzy show is Ozzy himself and the live disc is peppered with lots of “Let me see your hands!” and “I love you all!” There’s no DVD, so we don’t get to see Ozzy’s goofy stage jumps. Again, what’s striking is how good Ozzy’s vocals sound here. He really can hit the high notes on “Crazy Train.”

My only quibbles with the live disc are: 1) the version of “Flying High Again,” one of my favorite Ozzy songs, was a bit disappointing and 2) some of the crowd noise sounds like it has been added in post-production. The music is quality enough; did the Osbournes really need to pipe in crowd noise?

Ozzy has called Diary Of A Madman his personal favorite album. While I think Blizzard of Ozz is better, Diary Of A Madman is more advanced as Rhoads and Ozzy were really pushing the boundaries here. The shame is we never got to find out what they would do next.

Any metal fan worth their salt would do well to pick up these rereleases to hear one of metal’s icons at the peak of his ability. — Ryan Mavity

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

Ozzy To Release Remastered Versions of ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’

Ozzy To Release Remastered Versions of ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’

On May 31, music fans will have their first taste of re-issues from rock icon OZZY OSBOURNE’s catalog of work with the releases of two albums which form the cornerstone of Ozzy Osbourne’s career as a solo artist:   Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman (Epic Records/Legacy Recordings).  Long revered by rock fans around the world, these two albums created a template for hard rock in the 1980’s and beyond as they were marked by the ground-breaking and  historic union of Ozzy and the late guitar hero Randy Rhoads.  These definitive versions of 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz (with previously unreleased bonus tracks) and 1981’s Diary of a Madman are available individually on vinyl or CD, or together in a deluxe collector’s box.  All versions were restored and remastered from the original analog sources by George Marino.

The 30th Anniversary Edition of Blizzard of Ozz CD includes the original album in its entirety, restored and remastered for this edition, with bonus tracks, while the new Legacy Edition of Diary of a Madman includes the original album in its entirety, restored and remastered for this edition, with a bonus second CD of previously unreleased live performances featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads with rhythm section Rudy Sarzo (bass) and Tommy Aldridge (drums).  A single disc version of the remastered Diary of a Madman will also be available.

For serious fans and collectors, the limited edition 30th Anniversary deluxe boxed set houses the restored and remastered vinyl and CD editions of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, the “Ozzy Live” compact disc.  Beyond the music, the box set is highlighted by a variety of exclusives including an expansive 100-page coffee table book, a two-sided wall-size poster, a precise and detailed full-size replica of Ozzy’s iconic gold cross that he has worn for 30 years, and “Thirty Years After The Blizzard” DVD.

This new “Thirty Years After The Blizzard” DVD chronicles Ozzy‘s years with Randy Rhoads features previously unseen footage ofOzzy and Randy filmed in 1981 & 1982; it incorporates rare archival photos and films; along with new and revelatory interviews with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Lemmy (Motörhead), Steve Vai, Nikki Sixx, Rob Halford, Zakk Wylde, Bill Ward and more. The DVD also contains over 70 minutes of additional rare live performances and interviews; included is the premiere of more than 30 minutes of newly-discovered never-bootlegged footage of Ozzy and Randy from the Blizzard of Ozz tour shot from the front of the stage at New York’s fabled Palladium on May 2, 1981.  This new feature is a must-see for aficionados of Ozzy‘s epic release, Blizzard of Ozz and its pivotal effect on rock & roll history.

A trailer for the upcoming reissues can be seen here: http://vevo.ly/f0jD43

Blizzard Of Ozz (30th Anniversary Expanded Edition)

1. I Don’t Know (5:13)

2. Crazy Train (4:51)

3. Goodbye To Romance (5:33)

4. Dee (0:49)

5. Suicide Solution (4:17)

6. Mr. Crowley (5:02)

7. No Bone Movies (3:52)

8. Revelation (Mother Earth) (6:08)

9. Steal Away (The Night) (3:28)

BONUS TRACKS

10. You Looking At Me, Looking At You (Non-LP B-Side, Previously Unreleased in the U.S.) (4:15)

11. Goodbye To Romance (2010 Guitar & Vocal Mix, Previously Unreleased) (5:42)

12. RR (Previously Unreleased – Randy Rhoads guitar solo) (1:13)

 

Diary Of A Madman (Legacy Edition)

DISC 1

1. Over The Mountain (4:31)

2. Flying High Again (4:44)

3. You Can’t Kill Rock And Roll (6:59)

4. Believer (5:15)

5. Little Dolls (5:39)

6. Tonight (5:50)

7. S.A.T.O. (4:07)

8. Diary Of A Madman (6:14)

 

DISC 2 –

Ozzy Live (recorded on the Blizzard of Ozz tour)

1. I Don’t Know

2. Crazy Train

3. Believer

4. Mr. Crowley

5. Flying High Again

6. Revelation (Mother Earth)

7. Steal Away (The Night)

8. Suicide Solution

9. Iron Man

10. Children Of The Grave

11. Paranoid

Diary of a Madman/Blizzard of Ozz 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set

Box Set Includes:

Blizzard Of Ozz (30th Anniversary Expanded Edition)

Diary Of A Madman (Legacy Edition)

Blizzard Of Ozz (180-gram LP – original album only)

Diary Of A Madman (180-gram LP – original album only)

DVD–contains “Thirty Years After The Blizzard” documentary–and additional rare and unreleased performances and interviews.

 

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

On the Courage Video Shoot with Orianthi and Lacey from Flyleaf

On the Courage Video Shoot with Orianthi and Lacey from Flyleaf

Take a look at the making of “Courage,” the new video from Orianthi and Flyleaf’s Lacey Mosley.  “The idea for the music video was to really bring the lyrics to life by interspersing my and Lacey’s performance with images that we think project courage,” said Orianthi.

The singer also let fans in on a secret – she’s not a very good driver.  “We had lots of different scenes; the first one was set in an RV, driving around… thank god [Lacey] was driving, otherwise we’d probably end up in the closest tree!”  Luckily for Orianthi she has her guitar to fall back on – “I love her playing guitar – I’ve never seen a girl play like her, she’s really strong and powerful,” Lacey shared.

“Courage” can be found on Orianthi’s album Believe (II).  Visit Orianthi.com for additional information.

Visit Orianthi.com and follow her on Twitter for the latest updates.

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

Orianthi Unleashes Video For “Courage” Featuring Lacey Mosley of Flyeaf

Orianthi Unleashes Video For “Courage” Featuring Lacey Mosley of Flyeaf

Australian singer/songwriter Orianthi has released a new music video for the song “Courage,” from her recent release Believe (II). “Courage is one of my favorite songs to sing live… It’s very spiritual and it takes you to a colorful place,” she says of the track, which showcases the rocker’s softer side and features friend Lacey of the band Flyleaf. “I had a great time making the video with Lacey. I love the setting and the colors that were used in this clip – very earthy and exactly the way I envisioned the video for this tune to be.”

Believe (II) also features Orianthi’s hits “According to You” and “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” and is available in store and on iTunes.

Visit Orianthi.com and follow her on Twitter for the latest updates.

Posted in Blog, MusicComments (0)

Rock Legend Meat Loaf Discusses ‘Hang Cool Teddy Bear’

Rock Legend Meat Loaf Discusses ‘Hang Cool Teddy Bear’

Meat Loaf is a man who needs little introduction. With more than three decades in the limelight, no one embodies the spirit of rock n’ roll quite like him. This jack-of-all-trades has run the gamut from iconic rocker, to Hollywood actor, to television gameshow host and back again. He exploded onto the music scene 1977 with his legendary album Bat out of Hell, an epic album that captured the hearts a generation and went on to sell more than 40 million copies. Outlasting most of his peers and continuing to expand his musical legacy, Meat Loaf shows no signs of slowing down. Paired with producer Rob Cavallo, who has produced artists such as Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls and My Chemical Romance, this rock legend has just unleashed a powerful new album and stands ready to take the world by storm. At it’s core, Hang Cool Teddy Bear (a title taken from a line in Russ Meyer’s cult classic Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls) is a concept album that brings all the elements of the classic Meat Loaf sound that we know and love into the 21st century. The album features cameos from House star Hugh Laurie, Queen guitarist Brian May, actor/singer Jack Black and American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Meat Loaf to discuss his longevity, how he almost walked away from his music career after ‘Bat Out of Hell III, what made him change his mind and the process of creating his personal masterpiece!

You have been in the music game for well over three decades now. You have made some incredible albums and impacted so many people along the way. To what do you attribute your longevity?

I didn’t want to do anything else! [laughs] It really doesn’t seem like it has been that long. I just keep doing different things. I think truly it is the fact that I started out as an actor, way back, in high school. I decided that I wanted to go into acting class when I was in high school. Because I played football and I was in Texas, I was put down. I was teased and you can imagine in 1965 in Texas and being a football player in acting class, I don’t even need to tell you what they said! [laughs] And being in the musicals! Oh boy, oh boy! That was even worse! Then I went to college and started doing radio and was a DJ in college radio for a while. It was all about doing different things and wanting to vary. I definitely didn’t want to be just one thing. I love experimenting! For example, I hosted those Direct 101 game shows or I went on WWE recently. I absolutely love the experimentation. I don’t want to say that anything is ever to weird! [laughs] I just go! I don’t think of myself as a celebrity, so I don’t play that game. I think that is the other thing that has kept me around. I don’t play the game, it doesn’t interest me.

After you released ‘Bat Out of Hell III’ you almost walked away from music. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what changed your mind.

I am a fighter. ‘Bat Out of Hell III’, when I was promoting it, was something that I had to go out and talk about in a positive way but it was really difficult to talk about that record in a positive way. I will give you a good example and I guarantee you it happens all the time. You go out and start trying to promote a record and talk about it in a positive way, but in the back of your mind you sit here and you are saying “Ok, I have to forget about that song or this song and just deal with this particular group of songs…” and people can tell that your heart isn’t in it. That was a tough sell. It was even tougher on the road. The band wanted to play a particular song and I hated it! I eventually had to take it out of the show. I didn’t want it on the record and I didn’t want any part of it. They just pushed me to far and I eventually got a cyst on my vocal chords. The whole thing was negative and I was ready to call it a day but I couldn’t go out on that record. If I have to go out and I go out with the new album, ‘Hang Cool Teddy Bear’, then so be it. This record is phenomenal! If you were going to call something ‘Bat Out of Hell IV’, this would be it. I wouldn’t do it but if this was “it”, this would be it. There is not a single moment on this record that I don’t cherish.

For those who may not yet be familiar with ‘Hang Cool Teddy Bear’, what can you tell us about the concept of the record?

The concept came from a screenplay from Killian Kerwin. It was originally about a guy who was dying and his life was flashing forward. It was that simple. It’s not that far removed from the TV show ‘Fringe’, ya know, what this guys life could be. So, we adapted it to be a solider in a non-specific war because of the time structure element. He is 24 years old in the short story and we know that nine years before that he had left home to see Elvis, so obviously you do the math and realize that there wasn’t a whole lot going on then, so it is a non-specific war. He sees the same girl everywhere he goes but she is really ten different women with the same face. Really, it is what keeps him alive. Every song is sung from that characters perspective, Patrick, who is 24. That was a really different exercise in character development than I would say most actors have ever had to go through. When you play younger, it is more difficult than playing your same age or even older. I was playing younger and I didn’t want to give it away that anything involved me, because I just don’t do that.

Meat Loaf

So, was that the biggest challenge in making this record?

Yes. That was definitely the biggest challenge. Finding that character who is 24 and not knowing anything that I know. I had to go back to that place where I was that age and didn’t know anything else. The other challenge was projecting him into those scenarios and situations. His character is a bit of a scoundrel. Not nesscarily a “Natural Born Killer”, like the Woody Harrelson film, but they will steal Twinkies from the 7-Eleven! [laughs] And he will do it with his pretty girlfriend! That type of scoundrel! They would steal more than Twinkies but he isn’t a bank robber or a killer. They are outlaws or gypsies, more or less. That is where he came from. Now, the next hardest thing was creating this story without telling anyone what the story was about. That is exactly what we did. Everyone that we got together was part of the “Rob Cavallo/Meatloaf Camp’. It was our equivalent of summer camp! There was basketball and food. In fact, the only thing that we didn’t do was roast marshmallows! [laughs]

Where is the “Hang Cool Teddy Bear” title come from?

Well, the title came to me in an interesting way. Each day in the studio, they put movies on as wallpaper and the closed captioning is on. Jamie Muhoberac [Keyboardist] has the most unique movie collection, to say the least. One day he had Russ Meyers’ Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ playing, which I’ve never seen in my life. Actually, I still don’t know what it’s about! At one point, I looked up and there’s a party scene. All of a sudden the girl gets mad and starts to leave the room. A guy grabs her, starts to spin her around and says, “Just hang cool teddy bear.” Immediately I said, “That’s it! That’s the name of the record!”

You worked with producer Rob Cavallo on the album. What sets him apart from the big name producers that you worked with in the past?

The other producers all want to put their ego in! I am not talking about Jim Steinman. Steinman and I, that was a collaboration. If we every work together again, that is what it would be. There is give and take, it is a relationship. The great thing about when I work with Steinman is that we basically agree, I would say, 90 percent of the time artistically. It is that 10 percent, where someone has to give and take. So, I am not referring to him because that is the dynamic of that relationship. Every other producer always says “My name is on this record too.” To me, Rob Cavallo is the best because he says “I’m not making a Rob Cavallo record. I’m making a Meat Loaf record!” I have heard from all kinds of people that Dave Matthews and the guys from Green Day have said the same thing about Rob. The artists that he has worked with all say the same thing. He makes the record for that artist. There is a Rob Cavallo trademark to it. He is a rock n’ roll producer but that is it. It’s not like Phil Spector, who had that Spector sound where it was interjecting his ego. The only other producer that I have worked with that I didn’t see interject his ego was George Martin, who worked with the Beatles. For me, George Martin and Rob Cavallo are the two best producers that ever lived.

In addition to the great production. The album features some stellar guest appearances such as Brian May and Steve Vai…

Yeah, but they are my friends! [laughs] Brian May called up one day and wanted to see what we were doing and he wanted to bring his daughter out. It is that simple. We don’t call up people’s agents and say “We want to know if so and so can do this.” These people are friends. We send them emails and say “Jack (Black), I’ve got this song that I think you and I will sound great on. I’ll send it to you and you can tell me what you think.” I will get an email back that says “Yeah! I am doing a movie right now but we can do it when I get back.” And then you wait. It is all emails between acquaintances and friends. It’s that easy! It goes back to what I said earlier. Celebrity, I don’t play that game. It’s not about a celebrity. If you know me and review my history, you will see that on “Anything For Love”, we used a complete unknown out of New Castle, England of all places, when the record company was screaming at us “We have this person to do it. We have this person lined up. We need these names on here!” Meanwhile, I am going “No! No, no, no, no no! This girl is the definitive one! This is who we are going to use, so everyone just back off!” So again, I don’t play that game.

You have referred to this album as “your most important”. Can you tell us about that and what does this album mean to you?

Why I say that is because like Rob Cavallo said “I am making a Meat Loaf record.” No one has ever said that before. What you see is how I think. Anyone that might write that the songs aren’t there — they haven’t listened to the album and they know nothing about character development. If you went to real writers and said to Bruce Springsteen, Sting or Don Henley “break these songs down”. They are going to comeback and say “Yeah, we get it! These are very well crafted pieces.” I am emotionally tied to this record, more than any other record. That is what makes it the most important to me.

It is exciting to see that your fire and passion for music has been renewed.

Thank you! First of all, I think that it is an important record for the time period. It is a real album, it had a lot of thought go into it, it is well crafted, it is well played, it is unbelievably produced and it is unbelievably mixed by Chris Lord-Alge. Every word on this album was scrutinized as far as “Is it the right way to make the character talk or speak?” The lines of the songs are so precise. Ya know what? If some of these “critic darling” bands had done this record, it would have been the second coming!

What do you have in store for your fans when you hit the road on the upcoming tour?

You’re not going to ask me that! [laughs] What, I ‘m going to tell ya that we live camels and I’m going to do a disappearing act and I will be eaten by a lion?! [laughs] Anybody that knows the Meat Loaf knows that you are going to get an energetic, fast-paced, high energy performance by some of the best musicians ever to walk on the stage! I am not kidding! We put in a twenty six year old piano player named Justin Avery and have never seen anything like him. He has left musicians of incredible caliber with their mouths hanging open. He is going to leave people in awe of what he does. So you can expect a full show and we won’t be coming out doing a mellow ballad acoustic set, I can tell ya that! [laughs]

It seems safe to say that you won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon and we can even expect more music from you in the future. Anything that you would like to tell your fans before we let you go?

Yes. There isn’t a single thing that I would change on ‘Hang Cool Teddy Bear’. If you are a rock n’ roll fan, you owe yourself a listen to this record!

Thanks for your time. We love the album and will be spreading the word!

Thank You!

– –

For all the latest news and tour dates for Meat Loaf, be sure to swing by his official website located at www.meatloaf.net.

Posted in Blog, Featured Stories, Interviews, MusicComments (7)