Saturday, December 23, 2017

Movie Review, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Every word of what you just said was wrong. 
The Rebellion is reborn today. 
The war is just beginning. 
And I will not be the last Jedi.

First off, let me just say that I won't be seeing 3D movies anymore. They make the movie too dark, and it can be hard to see at times. I tried to see the movie a few days ago, but I was so tired that I actually fell asleep in the theater. Not because the movie was boring, but I had been up for 24 hours straight at that point. I saw it again tonight, and I liked it. So, let's get on with the review, shall we?

Possible Spoilers

Right off the bat, let me put your mind at ease. This movie is NOT a recreation of any of the previous movies, like Episode 7 turned out to be. That being said, there are several nods to Empire and Return of the Jedi. And while one of them seems to be a recreation of the Hoth escape scene in Empire, let me ask you this...How else would you portray a situation where the resistance is camped out on a planet, and the First Order shows up, and they need to escape? There's not much more you can do with that scene, although what happened after they escaped reminded me more of Battlestar Galactica than any previous Star Wars movie. 

I have seen mixed reactions to this movie. I really don't understand how any Star Wars fan could dislike this movie. It was much better than The Force Awakens,  and is easily better than the prequels. Possibly better than ROTJ and even the original movie. I'm not ready to go there yet. It has a solid story, that isn't ruined by lazy plot devices like a map. You can easily follow this story, and everything that happens does so for a reason. However, there were things that didn't sit well with me. Not anything to do with the story as a whole, but more because this movie is over 2.5 hours long. The scenes on the island with Rey and Luke were a little long, and there is a scene where Finn and a new character go searching for a code breaker. That scene didn't need to be there in my opinion. But, it was still an entertaining sequence. It kind of reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie. 

This scene was fun, but unnecessary
The movie was basically the story of Rey's relationship with Luke, as well as Kylo Ren and Snoke's attempt to turn her to the dark side. She is brought before Snoke, and the conclusion of that scene is a real surprise. It leaves you wondering exactly will happen next, and the movie makes you wait. The movie also continues building Rey into a powerful Jedi as she sharpens her skills and power. So, its mainly about Rey, yet the other story there is the desperate last gasp of the Resistance, as they stare annihilation in the face.

At the end of The Last Jedi, I really came away liking Kylo Ren a lot more both as a character and a villain. He seems less spoiled brat, and is really growing as a dark side force user. I'm anxious to see where his character goes in the next movie. He appears to have an ability to contact Rey, and project himself to places that are light years away. This is a skill that shows up later in the movie as well, but it turns out that it isn't exactly as it seems. Kylo seems to be much better written here than in the previous movie.

We also get to see Leia in a much more important role here. There is a scene where Leia comes into contact with Kylo Ren, and he has a chance to kill her. I won't say if he does or not. My only gripe here is that we finally find out that she has force abilities. I just wish they had done it differently, because the way they did it is a little on the impossible side, even in the Star Wars universe. Still, it was nice to see her using the force. 

Poe Dameron, and Finn both have prominent roles in the story, and they really grow as characters. The showdown that we saw in the trailer between Finn and Phasma was very good, although I doubt we'll see Phasma in the next movie, which is unfortunate. Phasma is very well represented in that she towers over the rest of the stormtroopers. If you haven't read the book about her, you really need to. Its very good. You also see just how brutal the stormtroopers under Phasma really are. Poe really steps up as a leader, and Finn becomes much more dedicated to the cause.

Overall, as I said earlier, I was very happy with this movie. I think most Star Wars fans will be too. A couple random tidbits, we find out where blue milk comes from. Those little owl looking creatures are there briefly for comic relief, but they don't go overboard with them. Leia hugs Chewie. And, the new land walkers seriously dwarf the ones that we saw in Empire. We do learn Rey's origins, but we do not learn Snoke's. However, in retrospect, this is a good thing. If it was revealed to Rey, she would have no idea who he was referring to, and the scene likely would have been cut anyway. Maybe it was. Who knows. 

These new walkers are close to double the size
of the ones we saw in Empire.

I honestly don't get where all the negative reviews on this movie come from. Detractors were complaining about the lack of originality in The Force Awakens, and this movie is a fresh and original story. I never read reviews until after I've written mine, but I really do think this is one of the better Star Wars films. When I first saw The Force Awakens, I had to overlook the fact that it was basically a remake of the original film in order to give it a positive review. But, the more I watched it, the less I liked it. I deleted my positive review, and wrote this. I don't see myself doing this with episode 8. So, go see it! You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Heavy Metal Christmas! Geezer Style!

Ms J: Drums, Harvey Geezer: Vocals, Calvin Sizemore: 4 String Guitar
Leonard Geezer: Guitar and annoyed grunts, Lil Shoogie: Gangsta backup vox

Heavy Metal Christmas,
Rocking in the New Year!
Heavy Metal Christmas,
Show no doubt, show no fear!

When I first heard the dynamic super punk band from Miami, Geezer, I knew they were something special. I saw more energy from them (a band from a nursing home in Miami, FL where the youngest member was over 70 years old.) than I have from bands that are young enough to be their great grandchildren. I was worried yet confident that they would bounce back following the tragic death of drummer, Victor Farnsworth. The band delivered! They had an orderly fill in on the drums for a while, until they found a permanent replacement, Ms J. I can't decide if she's gorgeous or hideous, but I digress. 

Like I mentioned, the band delivers. And they continue to deliver. I've never heard of a band that takes each milestone that they achieve, or challenge that presents itself and beats them into submission with a cane, while challenging the next challenge to bring it on. But, you get used to it when you follow this band. 

Hey, Shoogie...Call me! I think Harvey has my number!

But, what milestone have they achieved now? This is impressive. This punk band has crossed over into the dark realms of heavy metal. Yep. They have released 2 Christmas songs that are available on CD Baby. A very creative punk version of Jingle Bells, that pays homage to Slayer, as well as an original song called Heavy Metal Christmas. That song blew my mind completely. Deep dark metal guitar riffs that pull influence from the young heavy metal whippersnappers in Black Sabbath. Guitarist, Leonard Geezer delivers a stunning lead guitar solo, and the song is just ominous and dark. But, while on the surface, its a classic metal masterpiece, the lyrics are just as cheerful and joyful as everything else we've come to expect from Geezer. 

Yep. That's what Heavy
Metal Christmas is.

So, go to CD baby right now, and buy these two tracks. You'll be a hit at your family Christmas party when you play these songs after a nice scrumptious dinner. When the Geezer Christmas CD comes out, it will take its place proudly in my CD rack along with Transiberian Orchestra, and A Twisted Christmas. 

Geezer has hit yet another home run in their quest to achieve rock super stardom. You gotta have a crossover song, right? Well, Heavy Metal Christmas is a punk into metal crossover, so there you go. Geezer: Doing it RIGHT!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Geezer Links:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hide Your Lawnmowers! Dead Serios is Back???

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and text


Could it be? Central Florida comedy punk metal legends, Dead Serios are going to record a new album? That would be a quadruple badass surgery on my senses. That would make my year! My favorite band of all time coming (once again) out of retirement to show everyone how its done! This needs to happen! 

No automatic alt text available.

Bear with me for a moment. Let me reminisce for a moment! I remember my long time best friend at one of their shows in the 90's, during their hit song 'Lawn Care Studs' going, and grabbing a REAL lawnmower, firing it up, and moshing around the pit with it as lead singer, DL Serios led the pit with his sacrificial Playschool lawnmower. I remember seeing 1500 people pack out the Power Station in Melbourne Florida to see the band open for a national touring act, and half the audience leaving after their set, leaving the national band wondering where half the crowd went. 

Dead Serios was the band that every local band wanted to be. They were loud, obnoxious, funny, and extremely talented, and EVERYONE loved them, and still does. You couldn't see them in concert for the first time and not love them. DL Serios is one of the greatest frontmen to ever step on the stage. Bassist, Joe Delcorvo is among the skill set of Steve Harris. Guitarist, Doug Gibson is an upper echelon shredder, who could easily match up with some of the worldwide greats. Drummer, Scooter Greenbud is one of the best drummers in Central Florida, and could fill in for any national band. So, am I excited about this possibility? You betcha!

Anyway, here's the story. Record label, Ghoul Tone Records, who released the Dead Serios tribute album in 2015 has contacted the band, asking them to record a new album. They are also re-releasing the entire Dead Serios catalog, completely remastered! SWEET! And, I was just thinking about asking DL for a bunch of the classic songs on MP3. So, I'm stoked. Now, I'll be able to get ALL of them! And, you will too. Now, we just have to convince the band to play more shows. We all need this. We need the standard setter for local bands back in action. Central Florida needs it. If the band can win enough new fans, we would have packed local shows again. 

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We NEED this!
Almost as much as we need Ozzy!

So, at this point, all we can do is hope. We'll probably get a new album, and the remastered catalog. But, in the meantime, here is the original version of the Dead Serios classic, Ranks of the Unemployed. Enjoy!

Yes, I'm a giddy little fangirl over the POSSIBILITY of a Dead Serios reunion.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Its Gerald's Tower! A Tale of 3 King Movies

There's a winning formula.
Its right there, if you
just keep your eyes open
Ok, as a long time Stephen King fan (minus his idiotic jabs at our president) I've seen many of his books adapted into movies for both TV and the movie theater. Most of them have not been that good, with a few exceptions, like The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, and a couple others. As good as the original TV series, 'It' was, it was actually pretty cheesy, with the only redeeming thing being the talent of Tim Curry as Pennywise. But, this year has been a gold mine for King, with 3 movies, and several TV series. We're going to talk about the movies "It, Gerald's Game, and The Dark Tower" because they were all big budget hits. Even though Gerald's Game was a Netflix movie, it could have easily been on the screen because its production value was equal to the other two.
There are spoilers coming!
We'll start first with It because its the biggest blockbuster of the three, and rightfully so. It was brilliantly done, and while it didn't follow the book verbatim, it made its own formula that worked. The book, and the first movie takes place while the group of kids as adults looking back and remembering events that took place during their first brush with Pennywise, the evil monster who eats kids to stay alive. What the 2017 version does is make it all take place when the kids were kids. No flashbacks. The next movie will cover the events as they are adults, returning to take Pennywise down once and for all. It was a great movie, and I imagine the next installment will be equally good. So, while this movie doesn't follow the book as written, it follows the book in content, just in a different order, which is a good thing. And, sorry, Mr. Curry...Bill Skarsgard owned the character. As much as it pains me to say it. Grade: A-
Next, we're going to talk about Gerald's Game. When I first heard they were doing this movie, I was skeptical. Most of the movie is a woman cuffed to a bed, with her fears manifesting themselves in her mind. I wasn't sure how it could be interesting. Well, leave it to Netflix, because they hit a home run. This movie follows the book verbatim. And, we see her memories, and hallucinations. There were a couple scenes from the book that were left out, but nothing that effected the quality of the story, unlike Cell which was careful to leave out anything cool and interesting that happened in the book. Grade: B+ 
Say it aint so!
And finally, we come to the last of the 3. I guess you could say that I saved the worst for last.  The Dark Tower series should be done AS A SERIES by HBO or Netflix. Period. Its too complex for a movie. Even for a series of movies. For one thing, the Roland character, played by Idris Elba is not black. If you've read the books, you know that I'm not making a racist statement by saying that. Just imagine a black character calling another black character 'Honkey.' It just doesn't work. Plus, several key characters were left out, and the one that they do use, Jake is nothing but a pawn in the books. There are 2 other characters who contribute much more to the story. Also, the "Forgotton the face of his father" chants that Roland and Jake recite. If you've never read the books, that makes no sense to you, and seems kind of silly. The 'Man in Black' played by Matthew McConaughey is in a struggle with Roland, but it doesn't end the way it does in the movie. Not even close. And, honestly, when I first heard about this movie, I figured McConaughey would be playing Roland. That would have fit, honestly. And, the Dark Tower itself is not remotely represented in the movie as it is in the books. Not even close. This movie is nothing more than Stargate meets Inception. Avoid this one if you haven't seen it yet. Grade: F
So, what's this formula? Its easy, Hollywood. JUST FOLLOW THE DAMN BOOKS! Look at It and Gerald's Game. They followed the books, and are critically acclaimed blockbusters. The Dark Tower was a flop. Look at the other movies that were huge successes: Christine, Cujo, the 2 I mentioned earlier, and others. What do they have in common? They followed the books, and are considered classics. The Lawnmower Man? The Mangler? Not so much. Just follow the books, and you'll get it right! It isn't that complicated!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Tale of 2 Sci Fi Shows: Orville vs Discovery

One of these shows
truly captures the
spirit of Star Trek...
The other does not.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a huge sci fi geek. I was raised on Star Trek Original Series reruns long before Star Trek: The Next Generation came out. But, Paramount has simply not been able to get it right in a long time. These rebooted Star Trek movies are horrible, and they pulled the plug on the Enterprise series in season 4, right when the show found its stride. So, they have created an all new show, Star Trek: Discovery, set before the events of The Original Series. Yep. A prequel of all things. Now, I'm not going to sit here and gripe about how the tech of today looks different from tech created in the 60's. That's a given, and to anyone who would gripe about that, I have one word for you. "DUH!" I'm going to do you a favor, and talk about the show itself, its characters and story lines.

Discovery cast

On the other side of the coin, Family Guy creator, Seth McFarlane has created a sci fi show called The Orville. It was billed as a spoof of Star Trek, with humor and antics that you'd expect from McFarlane. Did he overdo it? Did he get it right? Read on.

Orville cast

So, let's first start talking about the 6th official Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery. Minor spoilers ahead. First off, the series takes place several years before The Original Series. Any trekkie knows that the Klingon War takes place during that time frame. However, this series obliterates any of the canon that was established during Enterprise. For example, the lead up to the Klingon war, and the elephant in the room, the forehead ridges on the Klingons. Enterprise brilliantly explained why they looked so different in the Original Series vs how they look in the rest of Trek. That story is not only gone, but the Klingons look nothing like (or act nothing like) the Klingons of the older series...which in my opinion were the most badass looking. And, it gets worse from there.

You're saying we now look like
Ahh yes.
We demand honor!
If everyone politely agrees!

The story is of a first officer who committed mutiny against her captain in a standoff with the Klingons. Her mutiny failed, but had it succeeded, Starfleet likely would not be involved in a war. The captain of her first ship is such a wuss, that you are actually wanting her to get killed off. This is a major problem with this series. You can't get attached to any of these characters. There's nothing redeeming about any of them. But, our main character, (Michael Burnham...a female) the aforementioned first officer who committed mutiny is sentenced to life in prison, but is transferred to the USS Discovery, a science vessel that is no longer a science vessel. Its now a war vessel because Starfleet is at war.

YES, my name is Michael
YES, I'm a GIRL!

The whole premise is flawed. This series mentions that they have had contact with the Klingons for a while, but there is little known about them. Any Trekkie knows that this is total bullshit. Paramount and CBS are trying to show the Klingon war. And, there is nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that the writers seem to have never seen an older Trek episode in their lives. It really shows.

Personally, I liked Enterprise alot, but many critics said that it was dark and morbid...which it was, but with the exception of season 3, it really was Star Trek. Discovery seems to be just a war story with lots of over bearing CGI, lens flare, and explosions. It seems ironic that a show called "Discovery" is turning out to be yet another dystonian sci fi series where everything is WAR!

I mentioned the Klingons, and how they look nothing like the badass Klingons of previous series. I also mentioned overkill of CGI. Remember how the ships of the previous Trek series looked elegant and big? Well throw that out the window. Star Trek: Discovery has taken tips from the Transformers movies, and shown you so much CGI that you can't even tell what you're looking at. Take a look at this pic. Can you see anything???

Me either.

So, now that we have that out of the way, let's move on, shall we? The Orville.

Right off the bat, if you've watched ONE episode each of both these shows, you know that The Orville is a much brighter, and upbeat show. Its sci fi, but with fun, and honestly, its a realistic look at how Star Trek would be in real life. It has a chain of command, but its officers are allowed to be themselves. For example, in one episode, the captain calls for one of the bridge crew, who is in his quarters. The announcing officer says (paraphrasing) "Hey, Bortis, the captain says to get your ass up here." There are comedy breaks, but the feel of the show is exploration and...discovery. Hmmm!

Seth Mcfarlane takes jabs at everyone. And, speaking as a conservative, its refreshing to see that he is really giving his all to make this a great sci fi series. He could easily use this show to advance his liberal beliefs. But, he doesn't. In fact, there's an episode where he actually takes a view that opposes the liberal template. The storylines are very much Star Trek. This isn't a show (so far) that takes on an arc, like STD. Yes, I went there. Its an episodic roller coaster ride, with a fresh new story each week, with the crew learning something new after a white knuckle, brush with disaster. Sound familiar? The Orville is Star Trek!

The Orville uses a model.
Trek hasn't done that in years.
Models look SO much better than CGI.
What's not to love? Aliens, mistakes by the crew, practical jokes, and the wisdom that Gene Roddenberry made famous before his death. He would be proud of this series, and less of Star Trek: Discovery. For simply obvious reasons, the character development is MUCH better. I know more about every character of Orville in 6 episodes than I do of Discovery after the same amount of episodes.

So, while CBS is charging people to watch a crappy Star Trek series, Fox is giving you a real one for free. So, if you're unable to process the data handed out in this post, there is a new Star Trek series, however, a show that was intended as a Trek spoof is more Star Trek than an actual Star Trek series.

It pains me to say that, but its the truth. I'm still going to watch STD, but honestly, I look forward to The Orville more. Hands down, its a better show.

Live long, and prosper.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Album Review: Insatia, Phoenix Aflame

Better late than never...

I've had a very busy year, and I've been neglecting my blog lately. But, I had to review this album. Singer, Zoe Marie Federoff sent me this album to review over 3 months ago. She is not only one of my favorite guests of the radio show, she is one of my favorite people period. She's a sweetheart, and she's extremely talented, both as a singer and songwriter, and a good friend. She's also the only person who has taken me up on my offer to guest write on this blog. So, here's the review, better late than never.

Insatia is a power/symphonic metal band from Arizona, fronted by the lovely, aforementioned, Zoe Marie Federoff. Their latest album, Phoenix Aflame starts off with an intro, called Land of the Living. It has the feel of a metal opera presentation that hooks you pretty much right off the bat. Although, it doesn't really sound like anything else on the album. I thought that was a pretty cool little trick. Track 2, Act of Mercy is a heavy and driving number that showcases the ability of guitarist, Kaelen Sarakinis. He's a badass. Memory of a Sapphire is another power driven tune that has some beautiful harmony backing vocals. Sacred is a deep and powerful song with gritty guitar, and the harsh false harmonics on the guitar, made popular by Zakk Wylde. We Are The Grey has an anthem feel to it. The title track, Phoenix Aflame? Buckle up. This song is fast and heavy. A nice clinic on speed metal. Not My God is a sweet duet between Zoe and Spiritual Beggars vocalist Apollo Papathanasio. I'd love a chance to sing a duet with Zoe. Velvet Road is kind of a departure from the heavy aspect of the album. Its a ballad with acoustic guitar and keyboards, and creates visions of the Scottish highlands. 

Every track on this album is great. No fillers here, and its honestly hard to pick a favorite. Although, Act of Mercy, Not My God, Phoenix Aflame, Captor and Captive, Velvet Road, and Healer of Hatred are in the running. See what I did there? The musicianship on this album is top notch, and the musicians seem to gel together very well. This is a stellar lineup. 

Guitars: Kaelen Sarakinis, Bass: Dave Ablaze, Vocals:
Zoe Marie Federoff, Drums: Daniel Ted Milan
But, on top of the heavy metal greatness on this album, Insatia is joined by several more heavy hitters. The guest list includes Chris Amott (Armageddon, Ex-Arch Enemy), Apollo Papathanesio (Spiritual Beggars, Ex-Firewind), Erica James Foster (The Erica James Band), Christian Hermsdörfer (Serenity, Beyond The Black, Ex-Visions Of Atlantis), and many others. Produced by Fabio D'Amore (Serenity) and his partner Ivan Moni Bidin (Pathosray), as well as Staffan Karlsson.

If you want an album that will assault your senses, yet soothe your soul, then Insatia's Phoenix Aflame is for you. Zoe's vocals are haunting, sensual,  powerful, and sweet all at the same time. She's a great singer, and the band is all on the same level with each other. You'll swear this lineup has been together for years, but its only been a couple. 

So, what else can I say? Buy this album, and turn it up to 11!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bill Parcells is the Most Over Rated HC of All Time!

Ever smelled old tuna?

This will be a rather short post, more of a rant really. I know many Giants fans worship Bill Parcells, but I'm going on record, saying that he is the most OVERRATED head coach of all time. Sure, he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame for his time with the Giants, but that's about it. Hear me out, please.
Parcells won 2 Super Bowls with the Giants in the 80's. He also took the Patriots to the Super Bowl, only to be beaten soundly by the Packers. But, ever since, there have been people who swear that he's one of the greatest of all time. I beg to differ. He isn't even the greatest Giants coach of all time. That honor should go to Tom Coughlin.
So, why am I dissing the Tuna? Well, after he left the Giants, he decided to take on the AFC East, coaching the Patriots, Jets, and being a GM for the Dolphins. He also coached the Cowboys for a while, all on the scraps of what was left of his NY Giants coaching staff. He did take the Patriots to the Super Bowl, and the Jets to the AFC Championship. But, with each of his new jobs, his available staff of 'Parcells Guys' was getting thinner and thinner. And, it wasn't just coaches. It was players too. After the Patriots ditched Drew Bledsoe for Tom Brady, he brought Bledsoe to Dallas, only for him to lose his starting job to Tony Romo. In Miami, rather than bring in some fresh talent, he brought in his offensive line coach from Dallas as the head coach, Tony Sparano. And, when Chad Pennington got released from the Jets, guess who he called to be Miami's QB? And, he got hurt.
Meanwhile, the only head coach to come from Parcell's camp to ever come close to Parcell's accomplishments was none other than the GOAT, Bill Belichick. And, no it wasn't due to what he learned under Parcells. It was because of what Belichick had in his brain. There's no comparison to the coaching style between the two. Belichick would cut Tom Brady if he felt it necessary. Parcells would reassemble his Super Bowl teams if it was possible. Remember when I said that Coughlin is the best Giant's coach? Its because he won 2 Super Bowls against the Patriots, the GOAT team, with the GOAT coach, and the GOAT quarterback.
I didn't know this, but in doing some research, I learned that Parcells is in the front office of the Cleveland Browns currently. That explains a lot.
All that needs to be said of 'Parcells Guys' is simply this: Look at last year's Super Bowl. The Falcons blew their 28-3 lead, and lost to (Bill Belichick's) New England Patriots. The Falcons only blitzed Tom Brady FIVE TIMES in the second half, and when it came down to the last play of regulation, the Falcon's defense had to stop the EASIEST play in football. A 2 point conversion. They stop that, and the game doesn't go to overtime, and the Falcons hold on to win. But, they didn't, and the rest is history. So, I rest my case. Bill Parcells is the most overrated head coach of all time. What does Atlanta's performance in the Super Bowl have to do with anything? The Falcons defensive coordinator is none other than Romeo Crenell, a "Parcells guy."
Mic drop.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Album Review: Lipstick II

"Not everyone in Nashville listens
to country music."

Lipstick is a hard rock glam band from Nashville, TN. Fronted by the enigmatic Greg Troyan, the band delivers a classic sounding groove that will take you back to the days when real men wore tights and makeup...and Lipstick. Their shows are high energy, with quality entertainment, frequently joined by various characters, including a giant cool cat, wearing sunglasses. 

Greg Troyan

The band's second album, Lipstick II literally has something for everyone. It starts off with a Zeppelinesque intro, called On the Eve of the Attack which gets the ball rolling, and it goes into Fight Back. A tune that will bring back memories of the classic songs of another makeup wearing band, Kiss. The song, Stop is another one. The band has influences that are on display, but they definitely have their own sound. For example, Love of Some Kind has a Beatles ballad feel to it, while Stop Drop and Rock and Roll  has a 60's rock feel. Troyan has a powerful voice with a nasty sneer that fits perfectly with the classic vibe of the music. Guitarist, Casey Horn can hang with any guitarist of the era. Eric Penticoff plays guitar as well. All the songs are accompanied by blistering leads. 

Casey Horn

The bass and drums are played by equally talented musicians. Bassist, Steve Smith is as solid a bass player as anyone. He is accompanied by Greg Loyacano on drums. The band has several songs with rapid pauses in them, and this rhythm section keeps them tight, like the appropriately titled, and aforementioned Stop. But their power is on display on You Can't Stop the Rock. The song starts with a barrage of bass and drums.

Steve Smith
What impresses me the most about this band is not only their perfect tribute to the classic rock of the 70's and 80's, its the fact that these guys are all under 30. They have a serious grip on their style, and I think that even that 70 year old guy who is at every Skynyrd show, who swears by them would even enjoy Lipstick immensely. Sure, the band writes lyrics about millennial age problems, like Girl Dressed as Sailor Moon, a song about meeting your dream girl at a comic con, only to find out that she lives in another state, and the heartbreak associated with such events. But, the lyrics are funny. The music is good, the lyrics are funny, and it makes you feel good hearing it. I'm not even sure what a Rock and Roll Anime Girl is, but I dig the tune! And, I think my favorite tune on the album is Gotta Eat When You Can. That song will have you 'chomp chomp chomping' at the bit to raid the frige!

The band also pays homage to the sleazy rock of the 80's in Electric Pussycat. And, what 80's style album wouldn't be complete without an ode to teenage girls? Teenage Girlfriend is respectful to the young ladies. Although, the band seems to like their nerdy girls to be real and not a Fake Nerd Girl. 

Mr Cool, the Electric Pussycat?

I think the most unique song idea I've heard is the Lipstick Public Service Announcement, Lipstick Encourages You To Have Fun At Our Shows But Not At The Expense Of Other Concert Goers. Yes, that is the title! Its a punk rock song in which there are certain parts where a mosh pit could actually form. But, Lipstick wants you to have fun and dance, and not hurt anyone. And, the album concludes with an original punk rock Christmas song, Christmas Time Machine. 

This is one of my favorite albums that I've had the pleasure of reviewing. Its fun, and it puts a smile on my face. It will for you as well. There's so much going on in the world that will make you frown, so wny not turn it upside down? Order a CD, or download it from their website:

And follow them on social media:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Headscratcher Moments In Star Wars: The Force Awakens

"Let's blow it up!"

Better late than never, I guess. I was talking with a friend, and I was saying how while I like The Force Awakens, there were a few things in the movie that really rub me the wrong way. I love all things Star Wars. I've seen all the movies in their original theatrical releases, and I've seen every episode of BOTH Clone Wars TV shows, as well as Star Wars: Rebels. Now that my nerd credentials are out of the way, lets begin. (My friends inspire lots of blog posts, don't they?)

Obviously, my main issue is the fact that Luke Skywalker had just a minute of screen time, and no lines. I had gotten my hopes up about seeing him in the film. But, that's everyone's main gripe about it. My others are a little more subtle. 

Mark Hamill: The highest paid extra
in the history of the world
For the rest of them, we'll start from the beginning. I've never liked the idea of a missing piece of a map. Its too cliche. It almost seems lazy. Especially, when the piece that Poe recovered was the surrounding area that had the missing piece section it. The Empire found the Rebel Base in The Empire Strikes Back using thousands of probe droids. The First Order could have easily done the same thing to find Luke. Just send a ship to the edge where the map ends, and dispatch the droids! Not to mention the question of why was there even a map in the first place??

Ok, so I had that backwards.
Still, the missing piece has Luke's exact location!
But, I hate maps in movies!
Next up are several scenes from Finn. I'm not going into how he knew how to bring down Starkiller Base after being a janitor. Although, they could have made him something more believable. No, there are a couple scenes that were poorly written. I don't blame this on the actor at all. And, both scenes are at the Maz's Bar scene. First, when the Resistance comes in, and starts blasting every Storm Trooper around, Finn stops to look up, and admire the pilot's handy work. And, he happily stands up, and says "That's one hell of a pilot!" Now, I know people who have been in combat, and when air support arrived, and started mowing down the enemy, they ran for cover. They didn't stop to admire the pilot's skill. I know, I've asked them. 

The next scene from Finn comes shortly after Rey is taken by Kylo Ren. He's depressed, and tells Maz that he doesn't have a weapon. She tells him that he does, and refers to Luke's lightsaber, which he has no idea how to use. Meanwhile, there are dead storm troopers all over the place, with their weapons in their hands, or next to them. 

How in the hell do I use this damn thing?
Next, we're going to talk about the Millennium Falcon. No, I'm not going to talk about how Rey just mysteriously knew how to fly the ship as well as Han Solo. I have an answer for that. The Force Awaken(ed) in her. That's how. My problem is when they discover that Starkiller Base has a shield that can withstand anything traveling under light speed. So, they penetrate the shield at light speed, then throw on the brakes? Not likely. How long would it take to throw on the brakes? Much longer than the amount of time they would have had to stop the ship. They would have made a crater on the planet that would have literally destroyed the planet. That's what they should have done. Had a ship travel at light speed on remote control. Nobody onboard. Aim it directly at the weapon. Don't even bother slowing down. The planet and the weapon are history. And, Han Solo would still be with us, as well as all the Resistance fighters who died in the assault. But, Kylo Ren and General Hux also would have been killed. Without them, we don't have Episode 8.

Unless its a different movie.
This is a more accurate description of
coming out of light speed than
what was depicted in The Force Awakens.

So, these are just a few. There are a few more, but I can't think of them right off the bat. Once again, I love all things Star Wars. But, I've seen The Force Awakens about 5 times. I've seen Rogue One twice, and I'm afraid to watch it again because I don't want to start ripping it apart. That being said, I'm very excited about the upcoming movies. I have high hopes that the next movies will all be better than The Force Awakens. Most of the gripes that people have about this movie could have been avoided if they had just taken a little more time on the script!!!

So, until my next post, live long and prosper. May the force be with you! 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Who Dat? The Replacement Singers

Who Dat?

As the legendary bands age, members come and go. Some die, some get fired, some quit. But just because an original member isn't in the band anymore, is it still the same band? Should the band call it quits because the original bass player quit? Hell, should the band hang it up if the singer or guitarist quits? Gets fired? Dies? I got into a discussion with a good friend of mine a couple days ago, and we disagreed on the subject. He was saying that if the original lineup wasn't there, it was nothing more than a cover band. I maintained that it depends on the situation. Bands like Molly Hatchet, who have a lineup that features not one single original member are cover bands. Or, Bobby Blotzer, formerly of Ratt suing the original lineup for the name, where  he would be the only original  member. However, a band like Queensryche is still the band. 3/5 of the original lineup are still there. We're going to talk about several bands in this piece, and explore the fan's reaction to the new members. Since I've already mentioned Queensryhe, we'll start with them.

Queensryche's original lineup released their first 6 albums together. The first member to depart was guitarist, Chris DeGarmo, who left the band to pursue a career as an airline pilot. Many people considered the band to be dead when he left. Since his departure, they had 2 replacement guitarists, neither of who captured the essence of DeGarmo's playing. However, the third time is the charm in this case. Current guitarist, Parker Lundgren does the best job out of the three of them at matching the style of DeGarmo. And, he's been on more Queensryche albums than the other two guitarists, including the 2 released with replacement singer, Todd LaTorre. (Both albums charted in the top 30, which had not happened in a long time) LaTorre who replaced singer, Geoff Tate after his firing as mostly accepted by the fans, although you'd never know it if you look at social media, where supporters of Geoff Tate rattle off the same tired dribble like "No Tate, no Queensryche!" over and over again. Although they never seem to dispute the counter arguments that say that Tate can't even sing the songs anymore for some reason. The song writing is back to the style that the fans wanted, which is the classic power metal that made the band famous in the first place.

Todd LaTorre of Queensryche

Next, we'll take a look at a replacement singer who was hated by the fans. Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden. And, before you start sending me messages and comments, Yes, I know that Bruce Dickinson was also a replacement singer. We aren't talking about Bruce. Not to mention, he's back in the band, and has been for a long time, so its a non issue. Blaze had a rough time as Maiden's singer. All that really needs to be said is that the fans hated him, and they hated the 2 albums that he sang on. But, finally, Bruce came back on 2000's Brave New World, and the fans rejoiced.

Blaze Bayley with Iron Maiden

Next, we're going to talk about another group of metal gods, who are none other than the Metal Gods themselves. Judas Priest. When Rob Halford left the band to pursue a solo career, the fans were angry. But, a few years later, the band found Tim 'Ripper' Owens, who sounded just like Halford.  His first album with Priest, Jugulator was released with a mix of criticism and praise. Most fans liked the album, but there were some detractors who complained that it was too heavy. I've always maintained that if you read the album credits in Jugulator, you will see Halford's name listed in about half the songs. Jugulator was going to be the next Priest album with or without Halford. But, the next album, Demolition, a lot the praise for Ripper had gone away. Although it was a great metal album, it didn't sound like Priest, and many fans believed that it was time for Ripper to go. And, he did, and has had a pretty successful career. 

Tim 'Ripper' Owens with Judas Priest

And last, but not least, we're going to talk about the most successful replacement singer of all time...well, recent time, anyway, since Brian Johnson of AC/DC, who is the most successful replacement singer of all time is not with them anymore. Plus, he's a lot like Bruce Dickinson. He is a replacement singer, but the band got gi-normous once he came in. No, we're going to talk about Arnel Pineda of Journey. You all know his story. Guitarist, Neal Schon found him on YouTube, a singer in the Philippines, playing in cover bands, in crappy bars. They had tried to bring other singers, but were unsuccessful. But, once Pineda came in, Journey found themselves selling out arenas and stadiums once again. Having a singer who launches himself through the air like a young David Lee Roth certainly doesn't hurt. But, while there are detractors and purists for all of these singers, Pineda, I would say has had the most success. Sure, there are people who would rather have Steve Perry back in Journey, but I'm not one of them...And, neither is Steve Perry!

Perry and Pineda. Respect.

So, in conclusion, you simply aren't going to be able to please everyone. I don't think that just because an original singer goes away for whatever reason that the band simply becomes a cover band, or a 'Fake-Ryche' or 'Mock Up Priest,' or 'Iron Rip-Off' or whatever creative name that the detractors came up with. The band members want to continue to tour, and make albums, and the fans still want to see them. So, why should they quit? If you ask me, they shouldn't.
Arnel Pineda with journey

However, Bobby Blotzer needs to give it up! 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Song Lyric Dissection: Scorpions, Rock You Like A Hurricane

This is the first of a number of Scorpions songs that will find their way to my dissection table...but there won't be any more Scorps songs until sometime after the second Nickelback song makes its appearance here. When will that be? Some day, some how, I'll dissect it but not now. I know you're wondering when.


Verse: It's early morning
The sun comes out
Last night was shaking
And pretty loud

The sun usually does come out in the morning, regardless of what happened the night before. But, how can a night shake? A hurricane could make things shake, but how can a night itself shake? Or be loud for that matter?

Verse: My cat is purring
And scratches my skin

So what is wrong

With another sin

Kitty scratched me. Now I'll go break
some laws and sinnin' and stuff!

Ok, just what kind of sin are you talking about here? Bestiality? I know what kind of cat you were talking about, but if that kind of cat scratched me, I think I would run like hell!

Verse: The bitch is hungry
She needs to tell
So give her inches
And feed her well

So, now you're talking about dogs? You FREAK you! Sure, I know what you're talking about here, but you can't go from talking about a cat to a dog while talking about sex. She needs to tell? What does she need to tell who? Tell all her friends about sex with you? And depending on just how many inches she is telling about could have disastrous repercussions on your sex life. You know, kind of like a hurricane would cause to a town? And, what if you CAN'T feed her well? ...wait for it...wait for it..ANSWER NEXT LINE!

verse: More days to come
New places to go
I've got to leave
It's time for a show

BINGO!!! Doesn't matter how bad the sex with you is, you'll just hop on the bus and go to the next town!!! That's the only thing I can think of that would even remotely tie into what you were talking about in your previous lines!

Chorus: Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

Didn't you just say you were leaving? But seriously, I get the metaphor you are shooting for here with the hurricane. You're the man. You're slamming the meat whistle like there's no tomorrow. But, wouldn't an earthquake make more sense? Have you ever been through a hurricane? Its nothing like knocking the bed frame into the wall. A hurricane would simply level the house. Earthquakes on the other hand DO make things rock. We'll try it next chorus because I'm getting 'long winded' here. (Pun intended)

Verse: My body is burning
It starts to shout
Desire is coming
It breaks out loud

She's got you hot hot so hot sticky sweet from your head head head head to your feet? Oh wait...wrong song. Although that song may find its way onto my dissection table. How does your body shout? I mean the only things on my body that make noise are my mouth and my ass. And, I'm sure there would be NO desire coming if sound was coming from your ass, which is what you sound like you're talking about. It BREAKS OUT LOUD? Come on..That's a FART!

Verse: Lust is in cages
Till storm breaks loose
Just have to make it
With someone I choose

Lust in cages? What does that mean?? I can't even come up with a witty retort to that. Oh wait...Unless you're in a women's prison. But the second line there is the worst line in the song. Its an incomplete sentence, and has nothing to do with anything, except for maybe a hurricane. And unless that woman chooses to make it with you, its called rape! That would give a whole new meaning of lust in cages for you!

Verse: The night is calling
I have to go
The wolf is hungry
He runs the show

Wait a minute...Just a few lines ago, you were saying that you had to leave because you had to get to a show, now you have to leave because it's night? You know, most rock stars nail their groupies AFTER a show. But what really gets me here is that you have switched from talking in first person to second person...and referring to yourself as a wolf. I'm no zoologist, but I am a thinker. I don't think you find wolves in areas prone to hurricanes. And if you're leaving her, how can you run that show? Sounds to me like you're running AWAY from the show!

Verse: He's licking his lips
He's ready to win
On the hunt tonight
For love at first sting
Wait...You're the wolf, and you're licking your lips and ready to win, and you're on the hunt...Didn't you just leave? And while we're at it why not make the wolf a scorpion since you went that 'Love at first sting' route??? That would make more sense. But then again, nothing in this song makes any sense. Oh wait...Maybe we're talking about some of those wolves in the Twilight films. If vampires can freaking sparkle, why couldn't wolves have stingers in their tails? Huh? What? This song was written long before those crappy movies? Oh. My bad. Well, Scorps, sorry...I tried to stick up for you.

An Inconvenient Set of Lyrics 

Chorus: Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane 

Ok, lets try it with my earthquake suggestion:
Come on now, sing it with me.

Chorus: Here I am, Rock you like an earthquake!
Ah Ya Na na naaaaa!
Here I am, Rock you like an earthquake!

Ok, so its short a syllable. Lets add a word.
Sing along!

Chorus: Here I am, Rock you like a bad earthquake!
Ah Ya Na na naaaaaa!
Here I am, Rock you like a bad earthquake!

Works for me, and it would make sense (the chorus would anyway)

Doesn't flow as well as hurricane, but at least it would make sense