Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Memo To Angus Young: Don't Make AXL/DC

TO: Angus Young (AC/DC founder and only remaining original member)

It has come to our attention that you are planning (according to unconfirmed rumours) on recording a new record with Axl Rose on vocals.

Don't do it. Please don't do it.

While you no doubt want to make as much money as possible before hanging up your school uniform and putting your oldest SG into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, making a record with Axl Rose would tarnish the legacy of the band you helped create.

AC/DC has amassed more than 200 million worldwide albums sales. Surely that's enough?

Right now, there really is no AC/DC - the band. There's you, Angus, along with the name AC/DC. Your brother, Malcolm, was forced to quit because of health issues and has joined Bon Scott in Heaven, Brian Johnson had to leave because of hearing problems. Cliff Williams is retired. Phil Rudd has had some issues with the law. That leaves you, Angus. No band.

What would the ghost of Bon Scott say? Was Malcolm on board before he passed away?

Let's face it, Angus, you'll soon be 62 years old. That leaves you and your wife, Ellen, plenty of good years to sit back and enjoy retirement.

As a longtime AC/DC fan and being a Gun 'n Roses fan since 1988, I don't want two of the greatest rock bands' legacies to be tarnished with a money-grabbing album.

Let's face it, Angus. If money wasn't involved, you wouldn't make a record with Axl. Or, if you did make an album with Axl, you would do it under a different name than AC/DC.

See why making For Those About To Rock... was such a burden for AC/DC.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Metallica Won't Be Reworking Any Old Albums

If you're hoping Metallica will someday remix . . . And Justice For All, don't hold your breath.

Even though the 1988 album sounds terrible, with no bass tone, guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield said the band won't revisit any of their older stuff to tweak it - even if they wanted to.

"These records are a product of a certain time in life – they’re snapshots of history and they’re part of our story," Hetfield told Red Bulletin. "There are things I would like to change on some of the records – but it gives them so much character that you can’t change them."

While many fans would love a remix of Justice with Jason Newsted's bass louder in the mix, it's unlikely.

Hetfield acknowledged that record didn't have the best production, but said it's a part of the band's days of yore.

"OK, so … And Justice for All could use a little more low end and St. Anger could use a little less tin snare drum, but those things are what make those records part of our history,” explained the 53-year-old riffmaster. "I find it a little frustrating when bands re-record classic albums with pretty much the same songs and have it replace the original. It erases that piece of history."

A perfect example is how Motley Crue redid the track "Shout At The Devil" on their 1997 Generation Swine album, turning a great, classic track into a semi-industrial piece of garbage.

Part of what makes Metallica's classic stuff so good is its inherent rawness, even St. Anger which was such a detour for the band.

A Remix of Justice from Youtube

Check out why James Hetfield wasn't a fan of Metallica's mid-90s look.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Five Most Underrated Black Sabbath Songs (Ozzy Era)

During the original incarnation of Black Sabbath during the Ozzy days, the band put out eight albums in eight years from 1970-1978. Casual fans will know many of Sabbath's more well known songs like "Paranoid", "War Pigs", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and others. But as prolific as the band was, many of their "lesser known" tracks might be even better than the "hits". So here is our look at the five most underrated Black Sabbath songs from their original lineup.

Hand of Doom (Paranoid, 1970)

You won't find "Hand of Doom" on many Sabbath greatest hit collections, but the song about strung-out heroin addicts returning from Vietnam is one the band's best, period. With a slow, dark bass intro, "Hand of Doom" builds into the heavier second verse, then the band kicks it in for the third verse with a mighty Tony Iommi riff carrying the song to another level. Ozzy's vocals are perfect, while drummer Bill Ward carries the groove with Geezer Butler and Iommi. The song's structure kind of mimics that of a junky from being super low, then getting super high, and crashing back down again, ending with death as the bass notes play out the song.

Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes (Vol. IV, 1972)

The last song on the epic Vol. IV album, "Under the Sun" has a typical Sabbath groove at the start, but it's the frantic middle part of the song that really takes it to soaring heights. Ozzy finds a great vocal harmony to accompany Iommi's powered riff. Then the "Every Day Comes and Goes" section features another stellar Iommi riff starting at 3:56, which carries the song into the outro solo/instrumental.

Looking For Today (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)

Sabbath's song about the music industry always looking for the next overnight success acts, which then quickly fade into obscurity, is a fairly accessible track that's more catchy-groovy than heavy. One of the only Sabbath songs to feature a flute, played by Iommi, "Looking For Today" isn't your typical Sabbath song, but that's what makes it so good. One Sabbath staple are plenty of "YEAHS" from Ozzy. And Iommi's outro guitar solo features some stellar fretwork as the song fades out.

The Thrill of It All (Sabotage, 1975)

A track that often goes unnoticed, "The Thrill of It All" opens side 2 of the amazing Sabotage record. It's five minutes of Sabbath at their best in a song that's broken down into three parts starting with the intro riff/solo. The second part comes in with a trademark "Yeah" from Ozzy as the verses get underway, backed by a killer Iommi riff. The last half is like a totally different song with synthesizer underlying Iommi's fretwork as the song soars to a crescendo with Ozzy laying down some powerful vocals. Despite the legal difficulties the band was going through recording Sabotage, the ending of the song conveys a sort of freedom and release that belies the stress they were feeling in the studio.

Junior's Eyes (Never Say Die, 1978)

Looking at the last album from the Ozzy years in the 1970s, "Junior's Eyes" is one of the most poignant tracks Black Sabbath ever wrote. Lyrically, it deals with the death of Ozzy's father, who died shortly before recording the album. The song was actually written by the band after Ozzy temporarily quit for three months. Sabbath hired Dave Walker as his replacement and "Junior's Eyes" was one of the tracks they wrote. The band rewrote it when Ozzy joined the fold again because he refused to sing any of the Walker material. "Junior's Eyes" is made that much better knowing the lyrics come from the heart as Ozzy belts out the chorus: "You're coming home again tomorrow. I'm sorry it won't be for long." Definitely one of Sabbath's most underrated songs from the Ozzy era.

Check out how a mighty Tony Iommi riff helped save Black Sabbath as they struggled to record Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Angus Young Punks Guns N' Roses in Australia

Trust a guy who dresses in a school-boy uniform to pull a prank on Gun N' Roses.

As the band landed in Sydney, Australia, ahead of their concerts at ANZ Stadium there on Friday and Saturday (their first time in Sydney in 24 years), they were held up on the plane and not allowed to get off because of a "security check".

Turns out the real reason Gun N' Roses got held up was because of AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, who was sporting the orange vest of an airport employee.

Gunners' bassist Duff Mckagan tweeted about the incident:

Apparently Angus is in Sydney to visit his ailing brother, Malcolm, who is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and the rumour-mill is now buzzing that Angus may play with the Gunners for a couple of songs, most likely "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Riff Raff".

Last year at Coachella, Angus joined Guns N' Roses onstage as they ripped through those two classic AC/DC tracks.

And Axl Rose made some extra cash last year filling in for former AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, who stepped away from the Aussie rockers because of hearing issues, for their live Rock Or Bust shows.

The future of AC/DC is up in the air after the departures of Johnson and bassist Cliff Williams – although Angus has said he feels “obligated” to keep the band going.

Hopefully Angus sees the light and shuts AC/DC down. As much as he is the face of AC/DC, a reinvented version of the band would simply come off as cheesy and insincere.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How Pete Willis Was Fired From Def Leppard

For many Def Leppard fans, their best work included original guitarist Pete Willis.

Sadly though, the last fans heard of his guitar playing were the rhythm tracks on Leppard's blockbuster Pyromania album, as he was fired while the band was recording it with producer Mutt Lange.

Willis was an integral member who co-wrote many songs on On Through the Night, High 'n Dry and several off Pyromania ("Photograph", "Too Late For Love", "Comin' Under Fire" and "Billy's Got A Gun").

It was Willis who brought singer Joe Elliott into the fold, as well as the late Steve Clark.

Naturally, as a bunch of 20-something's from Sheffield, England, the band enjoyed partying as much as the next rock star, but Willis had more of a problem with alcohol than the other members.

Even before he was fired, there was trouble with Willis as they were touring in support of High 'n Dry. His eventual replacement, Phil Collen, told musicradar.com that Elliott actually called him and told him to learn the songs.

"What happened was, Pete Willis was having some problems with the band - things were just not going well - and one day, during the High 'n' Dry tour, I got a phone call from Joe Elliot, who was in the States at the time. 'Can you learn 16 songs in two days?' he asked me. 'Uhh, yeah,' I said. 'Why is that?' And then he told me that things weren't great with Pete, that it wasn't working out," said Collen. "Funny thing is, Joe called me two days later and told me that things were OK again.

That would have been in the late summer/fall of 1981.

Things with Willis would come to a head during the recording sessions for Pyromania less than a year later in England. After a long night of partying, Willis showed up at the studio in rough, rough shape.

The band were working on "Stagefright" and Willis basically could not play the guitar, so Lange told him to go home and dry out.

It was then that Leppard decided to fire Willis, and Elliott was tasked with breaking the news to his bandmate. Incidentally, the band wanted then-manager Peter Mensch to tell Willis, but he refused, reportedly saying "No, it's your band. You're big boys."

So Elliott broke the news to Willis over the phone on July 10, 1982.

"He was nice about it," Willis said of Elliott's phone call. "He said 'I'm really sorry, Pete, I didn't want to have to be the one to tell you this, but I got the job anyway.' After he said that, I knew what was coming next, I said I wanted to come down and talk about it. I didn't want to change their minds as much as to ask why - although deep down, I knew why."

The next day, Willis met with the rest of Leppard at Mensch's London home and was told again he was no longer a member of the band.

Elliott recalls Willis offered to get psychiatric help, but the singer responded that it was too late for that. "I had to be adamant because I knew nobody else would stand up. I said 'It's finished, there's nothing to discuss.' After that, he went 'Well, to be honest with you, I'm slightly relieved about it.' And that was it."

With that, the band brought in Collen to finish the Pyromania sessions where he laid down some solos and added backing vocals, then became a permanent member in the band.

Sadly though, alcohol addiction cost Def Leppard another member when Steve Clark died in 1991.

After Willis left, Def Leppard lost some of their hard rock edge as Hysteria, the follow-up to Pyromania, boasted more of a radio-pop feel to it.

To their credit, Willis still gets all of his song-writing royalties and he's never had any hard feelings towards his former band.

Check out our look at how late Leppard guitarist Steve Clark died due to alcohol consumption