Monday, May 31, 2010

Ozzy hears fans scream

While in New York recently, Ozzy pulled a fun little promo stunt at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square.

Ozzy Osbourne - Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
Times Square, NYC (May 2010)

The stunt was to promote “Let Me Hear You Scream,” the first single from Ozzy’s new record, “Scream,” in stores June 22.

Ozzy Osbourne - Let Me Hear You Scream - Single - Let Me Hear You Scream Ozzy Osbourne - Let Me Hear You Scream - Single - Let Me Hear You Scream

Ozzy Osbourne – Let Me Hear You Scream (2010)

Here's more on the new disc...

Ozzy Osbourne – Scream EPK (Electronic Press Kit) (2010)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dio Tribute (part 2)

A public memorial is being held today at Forest Lawn cemetery in Hollywood for Ronnie James Dio.

Wendy Dio, Ronnie’s wife and manager, recently announced the formation of the Ronnie James Dio “Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.” The charity is committed to the early detection and prevention of cancer through facilitating access to medical screening and educational programs. More details on how you can get involved at Dio website.

Classic Rock magazine is suggesting that two possible Dio tribute concerts are being planned for this fall, one in London and one in Los Angeles. CR says the shows will be billed as the Ronnie James Dio “Stand Up And Shout” Memorial Concerts. Further speculation includes the potential of Heaven And Hell playing with another vocalist, possibly Rob Halford…we’ll await official word for more details.

A few RJD tracks today to mark the memorial service for one of metal’s biggest voices.

Rainbow - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow - Man On the Silver Mountain Rainbow - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow - Man On the Silver Mountain

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Man On The Silver Mountain
Munich, Germany – October 20, 1977

Dio - Stand Up and Shout - The Dio Anthology (Remastered) - Rainbow In the Dark Dio - Stand Up and Shout - The Dio Anthology (Remastered) - Rainbow In the Dark

Dio – Rainbow In The Dark
Wacken Festival, Germany – 2004

Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen - This Is Metal Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen - This Is Metal

Dio & Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Dream On

Deep Purple with RJD – Smoke On The Water
With The London Symphony Orchestra
Royal Albert Hall, London, UK – September 1999

Deep Purple with RJD – Sitting In A Dream
With The London Symphony Orchestra
Royal Albert Hall, London, UK – September 1999

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dio Tribute (part 1)

Tributes to the late Ronnie James Dio continue; the music legend passed away on May 16 after a year-long struggle with stomach cancer.

This weekend, hennemusic offers up a 2-part tribute: today features Dio-related covers by others, while tomorrow will feature some cool Dio tracks.

A public memorial is being held tomorrow at Forest Lawn cemetery in Hollywood. A well-known hate group have announced their intention to picket the service, while Ronnie’s wife, Wendy, has asked for calm from fans.

Here’s a few tributes that have surfaced online recently…

Former Judas Priest vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens wowed an Akron, Ohio club with something from the "Heaven & Hell" record...

Tim “Ripper” Owens – Children Of The Sea
Tap House, Akron, OH – May 15, 2010

The Van Halen News Desk offered up a previously uncirculated version of VH doing Rainbow’s “Man On The Silver Mountain” from an undated club show in 1976.

Van Halen – Man On The Silver Mountain
Club show(undated) - 1976

Pearl Jam threw in a quick nod to Dio, with a classic Sabbath riff, during their show in Boston.

Pearl Jam – Alive
TD Garden, Boston, MA – May 17, 2010

During a surprise appearance at one of Conan O’Brien’s live shows in Michigan, Kid Rock threw in a Dio reference…

Kid Rock – If I Was President
East Lansing, MI – May 21, 2010

More tomorrow in Dio Tribute (part 2).

Friday, May 28, 2010

SRV classic reissue

News this week from Musicradar that a classic Stevie Ray Vaughan album is being given the deluxe, reissue treatment this summer, to mark the 20th Anniversary of SRV’s passing this August.

20 years. Wow.

“Couldn’t Stand The Weather,” SRV And Double Trouble’s second album, will be out July 27 as a deluxe 2-cd set. The package features 11 studio outtakes from the original sessions ( three of them are previously unreleased), as well as a 1984 concert at The Spectrum in Montreal.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Couldn't Stand the Weather - Couldn't Stand the Weather Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Couldn't Stand the Weather - Couldn't Stand the Weather

Here’s a 1989 performance of the title track, recorded for Austin City Limits.

SRV And Double Trouble – Couldn’t Stand The Weather
Austin City Limits – recorded Oct 10, 1989

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bret Michaels plays Idol finale

Bret Michaels made a surprise appearance last night on the season 9 finale of American Idol, playing a duet with Casey James.

Michaels later told the media that he withheld his appearance from doctors and his family.

Other guests on the show included Alice Cooper, Janet Jackson, Carrie Underwood and Joe Cocker.

Bret Michaels & Casey James – Every Rose Has Its Thorn
American Idol, Season 9 Finale – May 26, 2010

New Rush next week

In advance of the 2010 Time Machine Tour, Rush return next Tuesday (June 1) with 2 new tracks: “Caravan,” and “B2UB.”

The tunes will be featured on the band’s next album, “Clockwork Angels,” due out next year, and will be performed live this summer. The tracks were recorded in Nashville with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, The Deftones), who worked with Rush on 2007’s “Snakes & Arrows.”

Geddy & Alex were on CBC’s The Hour this week to catch up on things in Rushland…

Rush – Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
The Hour, CBC – May 24, 2010 - part 1

Rush – Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
The Hour, CBC – May 24, 2010 - part 2

The summer tour kicks off June 29 in Albuquerque.

Rush – Time Machine Tour – commercial

The new documentary, “Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage” has a limited theatrical release next month, before being released on DVD June 29.

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage - trailer (2010)

Rush - Permanent Waves - The Spirit of Radio Rush - Permanent Waves - The Spirit of Radio

Rush - Snakes & Arrows (Live) - The Spirit of Radio Rush - Snakes & Arrows (Live) - The Spirit of Radio

Rush – The Spirit Of Radio
Snakes & Arrows Live (2008)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

John Fogerty meets Cooperstown

John Fogerty earns yet another notch in his rock n’ roll belt this summer when he plays his hit, “Centerfield,” as part of the 2010 Baseball Hall Of Fame inductions in Cooperstown, NY on July 25.

Fogerty is the first musician to be honored by the Hall. “Centerfield” is a regular at pro ball parks around the major leagues, and has been for the past quarter-century.

Fogerty also plans to donate his custom-made, baseball bat-shaped guitar for display at the museum.

On June 29, a 25th Anniversary of “Centerfield” (the album) will be issued, complete with two bonus tracks.

John Fogerty - Centerfield - Centerfield John Fogerty - Centerfield - Centerfield

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Craig Ferguson Rocks 5

A couple of random Craig Ferguson items to catch up on…

Geoff Peterson Bollywood Twitter Jingle (May 2010)
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Willie Nelson Gardening Tips – Burrowing Animals
The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson – May 14, 2010

Here’s Willie doing studio and live versions of a Dave Matthews song…

Willie Nelson - Moment of Forever - Gravedigger Willie Nelson - Moment of Forever - Gravedigger

Willie Nelson – Gravedigger
Moment Of Forever (2008)

Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, Tim Reynolds – Gravedigger
Farm Aid 2009 – October 4, 2009 Maryland Height, Missouri

Monday, May 24, 2010

Celebrity Apprentice Finale

FINALE time at The Celebrity Apprentice.

After 11 weeks, it’s time to crown a new CA: while others have tried, it’s down to Bret Michaels and Holly Robinson Peete for the showdown.

The winner receives $250,00 for their charity, along with the CA3 title.

Last night’s show picked up where things left off in part one of the finale: charged with creating and marketing a new Snapple flavour, both finalists had developed their drinks and were last seen working on the advertising materials.

Bret’s Diet “Trop-A-Rocka” Tea boasts a tropical blend while Holly’s “Campassionberry” Tea is more berry-based; both are now available for sale.

Early in the episode, Bret was a force of nature, rolling with the punches as they came at him while simultaneously directing a photo shoot, a tv commercial, checking print ad copy and materials for the presentation. A surprise visit from daughter Raine before the presentation really lifted Bret’s spirits and motivation.

Holly’s presentation was fine, but nothing overly special; in fact, my only observation was that her speech seemed rushed at times, but that’s strictly a nerves thing. Bret got off to a rough start, shooting some self-deprecating one-liners out that went over the audience’s head (cue the crickets). Once Michaels got past his nerves, introduced his daughter and then spoke from the heart, instead of the script, things went to another level; the TV ad delivered fun, too, as the room erupted in laughter and applause.

Donald Trump’s quick audience poll gave Bret the 'first-impression' edge.

Trump then met with the Snapple execs, who basically called things a draw: while they liked both candidates, they preferred Bret’s use of personality in his project and presentation.

Original Apprentice winner Bill Rancic and season 2 CA Joan Rivers popped in to give their 2 cents: based on a pure business decision, both leaned toward Holly, but both did suggest that the emotional decision would lean in Bret’s favour.

Last week, I mentioned the emotional thing might be a factor, and that was before the mini-stroke Bret had this week….I mean, in 5 weeks, the guy’s had an appendectomy, a brain hemorrhage and a mini-stroke, and he still made it to the show (sounds like it was against doctor’s advice, too).

I will say this: in my opinion, Michaels consistently showed greater strength as a player throughout the series than Peete, and that he should win the title based on that. In fact, dealing positively with all the health issues he’s faced recently only confirms the strength Bret showed on the program – that’s not why he should win, but it might be one reason why he would be favoured to win.

Holly and Bret then hit the boardroom/stage, both to standing O’s. Given his mini-stroke this week, Michaels’ walked slowly and with an obvious limp, his face a bit thinner, but it was great to see that his speech was still intact – one of the most common side effects of a stroke is slurred, or diminished, speech capacity, and Bret held his own just fine.

After a live performance from Cyndi Lauper, Trump announced that Snapple was giving $250,000 to each finalists’ charity, which was a huge bonus. Both candidates made their case to Trump as to why they should be the CA…and, after Holly and Bret each laid out their strengths, Trump made the call:
"'re HIRED!"
- Donald Trump
Finally, Trump makes the right call…

Previous entries:

Celebrity Apprentice Wk 10

Celebrity Apprentice Wk 9
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 8
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 7
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 6
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 5
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 4
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 3

Poison - Open Up and Say...Ahh! - Every Rose Has Its Thorn Poison - Open Up and Say...Ahh! - Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn (1988)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Catching Up With David Letterman

Some really cool stuff on Letterman recently…here’s a few highlights:

Stone Temple Pilots - Between the Lines - Single - Between the Lines Stone Temple Pilots - Between the Lines - Single - Between the Lines

Stone Temple Pilots – Between The Lines
Late Show with David Letterman – May 20, 2010

Band of Horses - Infinite Arms - Laredo Band of Horses - Infinite Arms - Laredo

Band Of Horses – Laredo
Late Show with David Letterman – May 20, 2010

Court Yard Hounds - Court Yard Hounds - Ain't No Son Court Yard Hounds - Court Yard Hounds - Ain't No Son

Court Yard Hounds – Ain’t No Son
Late Show with David Letterman – May 6, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Van Halen?

“Thank you very much for reinventing the electric guitar.”

- Frank Zappa to Eddie Van Halen, 1981

Well, it’s been awfully quiet in Van Halen-land for some time, but a hint of exciting news leaked the other day.

In an interview with Glide magazine on Thursday, with excerpts posted on the Van Halen News Desk yesterday, Dweezil Zappa talked about hanging out recently with Eddie Van Halen.

I’ll cut to the chase:
“I've recently been spending some time with Eddie Van Halen after being out of touch for a while. He was playing me some new stuff from his record, and I was playing him some stuff that I had been working on for this project, you know, playing Frank's music.”
Ed playing new stuff from his record to Dweezil? Damn, that sounds like promising news: could VH have finally committed to getting some new music down on tape for a possible release?

Keep in mind, the last new tunes from VH were the three additions to the 2004 “Best Of Both Worlds” package: “It’s About Time,” “Up For Breakfast” and “Learning To See,” all featuring Sammy – Michael Anthony was excluded, as Eddie played bass on the tracks.

The last full studio album from VH was 1998’s "Van Halen III," and the last time VH had anything new with David Lee Roth on it were the two tracks added to 1996’s “Best Of, Volume One” set – “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and the amazing “Me Wise Magic.”

Van Halen - The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 - Me Wise Magic Van Halen - The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1 - Me Wise Magic

Van Halen – Me Wise Magic
Fan-created video

In the last few years, Dweezil has been the lead guitarist/bandleader’s in “Zappa Plays Zappa,” where he’s out on the road playing his father’s tunes live; Eddie recently attended the L.A. performance, where ZPZ were opening for Jeff Beck.

Dweezil and Eddie have a long, shared history: in 1981, Eddie called Frank Zappa and went over to his house to hang, and Ed became fast friends with the young Dweezil. Frank, too, was a big fan of Eddie’s, telling him: “Thank you very much for reinventing the electric guitar.”

Following that first hang session (which also involved Steve Vai), Eddie produced (along with Donn Landee) Dweezil’s first single, which was released in 1982. Production credits were listed as “The Vards,” and Eddie played the song’s intro.

Dweezil Zappa – My Mother Is A Space Cadet (1982)
Featuring Eddie Van Halen (uncredited)

Over the years, Dweezil has also talked about a project he started in the early '90s called “What The Hell Was I Thinking?” Originally scheduled for a fall 1996 release, reports indicate that more than 30 guitarists (including EVH, Steve Vai, Brian May, Malcolm and Angus Young, and more!) make appearances on one continuous 75-minute piece of music that incorporates many different musical styles.

Dweezil gave some insight into Ed’s involvement in a 1999 interview with The Wolfgang Report:
“The thing that he played on my record that I still haven’t finished, when people get to hear that, they’re going to be amused because he’s playing a host of all his best licks. Basically, licks that I requested him to play. They’re all sort of strung together in one extended solo. Anybody that knows anything about Van Halen will notice very single lick and be very amused at the way it all works.

To me, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio because you get to hear your favorite guitar player playing. You get to see it up close and you get to make requests, and it’s all being put on tape and you get to listen to it and check it out without any other backing tracks. You could do all kinds of stuff. It was amusing because he had not remembered how to play certain licks that I was requesting, and some of them I actually knew how to play. So I was like “Yo, the one that goes like this” (laughs) He’s like (Dweezil imitates Edward’s voice) ‘Well, f**k, why don’t you just play. You sound like me anyways.’”

Dweezil shares his story of first meeting Ed before tearing up “Eruption”…

Dweezil Zappa – Eruption
Dodge Theatre, Phoenix – February 26, 2009

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Rainmakers rock!

With so many things to write about, I’ve been trying to find time to post about The Rainmakers, one of my favourite bands to come out of the 80s.

The Rainmakers were a rockin’ lil’ outfit out of Kansas City, Mo, whose self-titled debut turned my head around in 1986. I was running a college radio station in Hamilton, Ontario and my music director’s enthusiasm for the band (and “roots-rock” from the U.S. Midwest) was contagious upon first listen.

Chief songwriter and vocalist Bob Walkenhorst delivered clever, catchy rockers from day one, back to the band’s formation in 1983 as “Steve, Bob & Rich” – along with guitarist/vocalist Steve Phillips and bassist Rich Ruth.

Steve, Bob & Rich – Big Fat Blonde
Shawnee Mission, Kansas – September 11, 1983

Walkenhorst originally started on drums/vocals, but switched to guitar and frontman with the addition of drummer Pat Tomek following the indie release of “Balls” under the SB&R handle. Signing to Polygram Records, the new lineup became The Rainmakers.

The ‘86 debut turned many heads beyond mine, including Newsweek, who named it "the most auspicious debut album of the year" and hailed The Rainmakers as “America’s Next Great Band.” The track, “Let My People Go-Go,” went Top 20 in the U.K. while the album garnered great press. Author Stephen King became such a fan that he quoted the band’s lyrics in two of his novels, "The Tommyknockers" and "Gerald’s Game."

The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go (1986)

For me, the centerpiece of the debut was “Downstream,” a classic song that I expect to never grow tired of hearing; 25 years later and it still kicks all kinds of ass. I’ve never been one for making lists, but if I ever got around to creating a ‘desert island’ song list, there’s no question “Downstream” would be on it – at least once.

The Rainmakers – Downstream (1986)

Hard to follow-up such a great debut, but The Rainmakers succeeded with the more polished “Tornado” in 1988. The Rainmakers continued to attract attention, especially in Norway, for some reason; they obviously made a connection there that stuck with fans.

‘89’s "The Good News And The Bad News" was real rockin’ affair, with absolute killer tracks like “Reckoning Day” (click here for a live version), “We Walk The Levee,” “Battle Of The Roses” and “Wild Oats.”

Following a four-year hiatus, fan interest from Norway remained high and the band regrouped for 1994’s “Flirting With The Universe.”

The Rainmakers – Width Of A Line (1994)

1997’s “Skin” was the final album for the band, another solid effort missed by many.

The Rainmakers – Hunger Moon (1997)
Lead vocals – Steve Phillips
KKFI Radio, Kansas City – live – November 14, 1997

What a great band The Rainmakers were and are: I can hit shuffle on their full library and dig every single song – I’ve done it a few times, too, clocking in at around four hours of killer tunes.

I only managed to catch the band live once, in Toronto, and they rocked my socks off. I’ve been preaching about them to anyone and everyone for the past quarter century, and that’ll continue in the years ahead.

For those who would like to play catch-up, the band has generously made a ton of live shows available for streaming and download at the Internet Archive/Live Music Archive ; I’ve already set up the Rainmakers search link here.

If, like me, you’re up for a Rainmakers fix any time, you can still hear live tunes every Wednesday night in Kansas City: Bob Walkenhorst plays 8-10p at the Molloy Brothers Irish pub at 1020 Westport Road; according the band’s website, you’re best to call in advance to confirm the performance (in case you’re there on an off-week, I guess).

If ya want a taste of what the show might be like, Bob has made a bunch of shows available for listening and download at the Live Music Archive here, with no two setlists the same.

I sure hope to find myself in ol’ KC some Wednesday night…

Bret Michaels update

Bret Michaels, on the mend from his recent brain hemorrhage, has hit yet another health hurdle.

Bret has reportedly suffered a mini-stroke after experiencing numbness on the left side of his body, and doctors have discovered a hole in his heart. The “warning stroke” is known as a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA); doctors say that they think they have diagnosed the cause of the problem and that it is both operable and treatable. Further, doctors say that they don’t believe the TIA has anything to do with Michaels’ recent hemorrhage.

The hole in the heart, or Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), will be treated; in the meantime, Bret will continue outpatient care, which includes a daily injection of Lovenox (a blood thinner to reduce the chance of blood clots) and blood tests.

From an appendectomy to brain hemorrhage to warning stroke in the space of about a month, Michaels’ just can’t get a break; fortunately, his health, positive attitude and getting prompt medical attention are contributing to his survival.

On Wednesday, Bret was on Oprah via satellite to talk about his situation – this was before the warning stroke took place.

Bret Michaels on Oprah
CelebTV report – May 19, 2010

No word on Bret’s availability for The Celebrity Apprentice finale this Sunday evening, where he was expected to compete for the top prize and $250,000 for his charity, the American Diabetes Association.

Given this recent turn of events, I can’t imagine Michaels would be cleared to fly to be in New York this weekend, so we’ll see how NBC addresses the situation; maybe Bret does the show via satellite, just like Oprah. Michaels was also planning to return to the stage on his solo concert tour next week, and it remains uncertain if he’ll be cleared by doctors for that, as well.

The Celebrity Apprentice – 3rd season finale preview

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ozzy to rerelease classic albums

Interesting news from Ozzy’s camp this week: later this year, he’ll be releasing 30th Anniversary editions of his first two solo albums, 1980’s "Blizzard Of Ozz" and "Diary Of A Madman" (1981).

What’s interesting is that the reissues will feature the albums as they were originally recorded.

Sound strange? Not if you know more of the history….

Bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake won a court case in 1986 that awarded them songwriting royalties for their work on the two records. That’s only half of the story, though: they weren’t given credits on the Diary album – in fact, no “playing” credits were listed; rather, the inner sleeve featured a picture of the Diary touring lineup (including Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge), so fans could have easily assumed the rest. Daisley and Kerslake spent years in court trying to receive performance royalties and proper credits on the release, and it hadn’t been settled by the time 2002 rolled around.

Sharon Osbourne issued a press release in April, 2002, announcing the rerelease of the two records that spring, but with the bass and drums parts rerecorded by Ozzy’s (then) current band members, Robert Trujillo (now with Metallica) and drummer Mike Bordin.

WHA?! Yup, that’s how nasty things got between the parties. Sharon was quoted as saying "Because of Daisley and Kerslake's abusive and unjust behavior, Ozzy wanted to remove them from these recordings. We turned a negative into a positive by adding a fresh sound to the original albums."

It’s hard to imagine how things got this far, and fan and media reports on the ‘02 reissues were not favourable – beyond the tampering issue, reviewers referenced sub-par performances by Trujillo and Bordin and sloppy remixes compared to the original production. Several reviewers advised fans not to buy the “inferior” reissues, and, according to Daisley, the original versions were recalled and pulled out of stores at the time of the change.

Messing with any original masterpiece in any art form is frowned upon, and this took the battle between the two parties to a new low…and there was a tough precedent to beat.

When Ozzy’s 1997 best of, “The Ozzman Cometh,” was released, songwriting/bass credits were given to “Bob Daisy” – that’s not MY typo, that’s how it was issued – check it out yourself if it’s in your collection….and there’s others: Rudy Sarzo is listed as “Trudy Sarzo” and Phil Soussan is listed as “Bill Susan.” Daisley, in fact, wrote all the lyrics to Ozzy’s solo catalog in the 80s, something Ozzy has even confirmed in interviews.

In his recent autobiography, “I Am Ozzy,” Ozzy refers briefly to how he and Sharon initially fell out with Bob and Lee (check pg 209 for starters). According to Ozzy, Bob had started trouble when they first hooked up (via auditions) by suggesting that the lineup should be billed under a band name and not Ozzy as a solo performer. After the way Sabbath ended, Ozzy wouldn’t even consider the thought of being in another band, and you know Sharon had his back the whole way. After a UK tour but before a US one for Blizzard, the group recorded the Diary album. Once the US Blizzard dates started selling out, Ozzy says Bob and Lee would always be hounding Sharon and him for more money here and there, and it drove them both nuts. Bob and Lee were both shown the door after the Diary sessions, replaced by Sarzo and Aldridge. Ozzy: “So that was the end of Bob and Lee, although I worked with Bob a few times over the years, until he started suing me every other day of the week” (pg 210).

While there’s no mention of the 2002 reissues, Ozzy does reconcile things: “I’ve never believed in feuds. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been angry with people. Very angry – with people like…Bob Daisley. But I don’t hate them. And I don’t wish them any harm. I reckon hating someone is just a tota waste of time and effort. What do you get out of it in the end? Nothing” (page 362).

Bob Daisley offered his take on things in a 2002 interview with Cosmik Debris magazine:
“What an insult to Randy and what an insult to the record buying public. You know they put all these little stickers on the front of those records saying "Ozzy's blistering first recording of his solo career" without saying "Hey, if you're going to buy this record, know it's not the original recording, and it's not the original band." That's what they should have said, and they didn't.

The band was called The Blizzard Of Ozz, and if you look at all the contracts that were drawn up, and all the letters of intent, all the accounting in the office of expenses, it's all down to something called The Blizzard Of Ozz, and that was not the album. The album was to be called The Blizzard Of Ozz just like Led Zeppelin's first album was called Led Zeppelin and Bad Company's first was called Bad Company. We said "We don't mind having Ozzy Osbourne's name featuring on it, like 'The Blizzard Of Ozz,' then in smaller writing, 'featuring Ozzy Osbourne.'" We said we were fine with that. We can drop the Ozzy bit when we're more established. But what they did was they brought the art with bigger writing saying Ozzy Osbourne, then in smaller writing, The Blizzard Of Ozz, which makes it look like it's an Ozzy Osbourne album called The Blizzard Of Ozz.

We started the lawsuit in 1981 against Jet Records and Don Arden, who is Sharon's father, and back then Ozzy and Sharon were helping us in our case against them because she'd had a major falling out with her father. Back then she was still Sharon Arden. Unbeknownst to us, in 1983 they made a deal to buy Ozzy from Jet Records and her father and own all the rights. We didn't know that. We carried on suing Jet and Don, went to court in 1986, had a settlement, a payout from him and Jet that we didn't get until 1987, but then we thought "Okay, that's taken care of that, so now maybe they'll change the credits and now maybe we'll get our money." And we were getting some money, because we'd get publishing money from Blizzard Music.

We haven't had any artist royalties. Performance royalties. We got songwriting royalties, but we weren't sure at the time what we were getting and what we weren't. We found out what they were later. We also found out later they didn't change the credits on Diary, which they were supposed to. And while I was working with them, I actually said to Sharon "This means a lot to me, can we get this changed?" "Yes, I promise you. We're re-releasing it in '95. We're doing a remastered version, we'll do it then." Then it came out, I looked in the shops and it wasn't changed. I confronted her about it. I said "Sharon, you didn't change it! You said you would!" She said "Oh, well that was just their mistake on the first issues. The next batch will have your names..." They never did, it was just bs.

The credits that they up on Diary were... We got our songwriting credit, but they didn't credit us with playing on that album and they didn't credit us as co-producing that album. If you look at the first album, it says "Produced by Osbourne, Daisley, Rhoads and Kerslake. Engineer: Max Norman." We used the same engineer for the second album, and we thought "We'll produce this one as well." We didn't have a producer. We produced it. We thought "Max Norman is the engineer again, so let's give him a credit as co-producing," so we all agreed on that. But then when they got rid of me and Kerslake, it's got production of Diary Of A Madman as "Produced by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads and Max Norman." And they left us off there. Max Norman was really just the engineer. We were being nice by saying "Give him a credit as co-producer," and then we got left off it.

Sharon was the one who phoned me up. She said "You and Lee are out of the band. It's over." I couldn't believe it, because three days before that we were at Ridge Farm finishing Diary Of A Madman. They must have gone to America the next day, or that night, and then I got a phone call three or four days later saying I'm out of the band. I couldn't believe it. I said "Wait a minute, what about our royalties? These contracts have been drawn up and we're supposed to have everything sorted out, and that's why we kept working. What about that?" And she says "End of story!" I said "Yeah, we'll see about that."
More background here:

Bob Daisley interview – 2002
Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman 2002 reissues

Lee Kerslake, in a 2002 interview with The Fuze:
"I haven't heard the reissues. I've been told how bad it is. I think it's so sad. The audacity! Whatever we've done to deserve that, I have no idea. It doesn't make me look bad, or Bob look bad. It makes Ozzy and Sharon look terrible for doing such a destructive thing. Those first two albums have stood the test of time - twenty years - because of us (Ozzy, Randy, Lee & Bob) writing and playing them. You don't just suddenly decide after millions of copies sold "We're gonna take them off, because we don't like them." They must have their reasons. I don't know why. It's so silly. The kickback is that so many people say to me "How dare she?!"

It's like taking a Harley-Davidson and making it sound like a Yamaha. I don't know what's got into her mind - saying that we were harassing her. How can we harass her and Ozzy? We don't even know them now, except through the lawyers. We have no connection with them whatsoever. It is senseless, because at the end of the day all the fans are gonna realize...that's why suddenly I'm getting inundated with interviews.”

The court case eventually wrapped up in Ozzy’s favour in May, 2004 – the appeals court determined he and Sharon owed nothing to the two former bandmates.

Who knows how things progressed in recent years between the parties, but it’ll be interesting to see if the new Diary reissue features any changes, including the addition of performer credits.

So, it’s good news that these classic albums are being re-released, but offer a good ‘heads up’ to anyone who’s considering buying these before the 30th Anniversary editions are out later this year – you may not get what you thought you were paying for…

Ozzy Osbourne – I Don’t Know
After Hours – Rochester, NY - April 28, 1981
(note: Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge perform here)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Live Lynyrd Skynyrd on the way

Lynyrd Skynyrd recently announced the upcoming release of a new live package, available as a CD/DVD package and as a stand-alone DVD.

In stores June 22, “Live From Freedom Hall” features the band on their 30th Anniversary Tour in Louisville, Kentucky, and captures one of the last shows to be recorded with longtime members Billy Powell (piano) and Ean Evans (bass), both of whom passed away last year.

Here’s the set list:
“Travelin’ Man”
“What's Your Name?”
“That Smell”
“Simple Man”
“Down South Jukin’”
“The Needle and the Spoon”
“Ballad Of Curtis Loew”
“Gimme Back My Bullets”
“Tuesday’s Gone”
“Red White and Blue”
“Gimme Three Steps”
“Call Me The Breeze”
“Sweet Home Alabama”
“Free Bird”
This concert has been featured regularly on HDNet, so I’ve actually seen it a few times in the past year.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd - Tuesday's Gone Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd - Tuesday's Gone

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone
Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky – 2007

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Twenty - Travellin' Man Lynyrd Skynyrd - Twenty - Travelin' Man

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Edge of Forever - Workin' Lynyrd Skynyrd - Edge of Forever - Workin'

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Travelin’ Man / Workin’
Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky – 2007

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Def Leppard update

Rumours have been flying around for a while about the status of Def Leppard.

Break-up talk started last October, after Leppard cancelled 23 dates on their North American tour due to “unforeseen personal matters.” Joe Elliott put that speculation to rest recently, reporting that he was needed at home while his wife was pregnant with their soon-to-be-born child; the two became proud parents to a son earlier this year.

In addition to being a new dad, Elliott has also been busy with his side project, Down’N Outz; the band was formed specifically to open a series of reunion shows for Mott The Hoople last year at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Down’N Outz is Elliott and members of The Quireboys, and they play only Mott-related tunes – songs by Mott, Ian Hunter and British Lions.

Down’N Outz debut, “My Regeneration,” is out this July, but fans of Classic Rock magazine can get a 10-track advance sampler free with the June issue.

Here’s Joe talking about the new project, as well as some of Leppard’s plans this year:

High Voltage - Joe Elliott Interview on

Rock On Def Leppard - Rock On video

Def Leppard – Rock On (2006)

In other Def action, it’s just been announced that guitarist Vivan Campbell will be joining the 2011 lineup of Thin Lizzy.

Thin Lizzy 2011 is led by alumni Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and Darren Wharton (all of whom played in THIN LIZZY with Phil Lynott), DEF LEPPARD's Vivian Campbell (guitar), bassist Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake, Ted Nugent) and THE ALMIGHTY's Ricky Warwick on vocals and guitar.

Lizzy have announced a UK Tour in January, kicking off with a special show in Dublin on January 4, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Phil Lynott’s passing; details on guest stars and additional performers are to be announced.

Thin Lizzy - Chinatown - Killer On the Loose Thin Lizzy - Chinatown - Killer On the Loose

Thin Lizzy – Killer On The Loose (1980)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio, R.I.P.

Sad news from the music world confirms the passing of Ronnie James Dio yesterday at the age of 67, following a year-long battle with stomach cancer.

From Dio’s official website:
Message from Wendy Dio

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.
- Wendy Dio

You can leave your condolences on Facebook
Ronnie James Dio will always be known in rock circles as the little guy with the huge heart and huge voice: between his time in Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band (Dio), that voice was rich, deep and instantly recognizable to fans in the know.

My first Dio experience came in the summer of 1980 when I saw Black Sabbath on a festival bill in Hawaii on the “Black & Blue” tour (with Blue Oyster Cult). The August 31, 1980 gig was notable for it being the first show with new drummer Vinny Appice, following Bill Ward’s departure two weeks earlier. The first post-Ozzy Sabbath record, “Heaven and Hell,” was out and Dio and the guys ripped through an 11-song set leaning heavily on the classics, with three of the new tracks thrown in. H&H is a solid record and still holds up today.

Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell - Neon KnightsBlack Sabbath - Heaven and Hell - Neon Knights

Black Sabbath – Neon Knights (1980)

I’d see Dio live a few more times, between his solo band and, more recently, with the post-Sabbath outfit (featuring Sabbath members), "Heaven And Hell."

But my personal experience with Dio was outstanding. While running a small college radio station in Hamilton, Ontario in the ‘80s, I co-hosted a metal show (“Mohawk Metal”) and worked hard to get artist interviews for the program. In 1986, my co-host and I snagged a session in Toronto with RJD, and I have to say the guy was beyond nice in person, a real class act. Dio spoke openly and passionately about his craft and his love of music, and really came across as a confident and soft-spoken man.

On stage, Dio was many times his size, with a commanding presence and that huge, huge voice. One of his stage moves has become rock legend, and you’ve no doubt seen it – and probably used it – yourself. It’s become known as the “devil's horns” sign, created when you extend your index and fifth fingers, and hold them high. Almost every rocker, and certainly every metal musician, has probably flashed this sign at one time or another, and there’s an interesting story on its origins – dating back to Dio’s superstitious Italian grandmother.

RJD has told the story countless times - here he does it in the excellent documentary, “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”…

Ronnie James Dio – “The Devil's Horns”
Metal: A The Headbangers Journey (2005)

RJD was part of very select group of musicians in rock history: one who came in to fill the shoes of a departed original (and beloved) lead singer and help a band successfully continue its legendary career, sometimes taking sales and profile to new heights. That small list includes the lineups of Van Halen, AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Deep Purple.

Following Ozzy’s firing, most people wrote Black Sabbath off for dead, as the band seemed tired while getting blown off the stage nightly on the ’78 tour by openers, and newcomers, Van Halen. But, Dio breathed new life into the band, inspiring guitarist Tony Iommi to new heights with his vocal abilities, creating the great "Heaven & Hell" release. After “Mob Rules” in 81, legend has it that Dio and Appice left Sabbath during the mixing of the ’82 release, “Live Evil.”

Dio’s solo career kicked off with a bang, as ‘83’s “Holy Diver” and ‘84’s “Last In Line” hit platinum. Inspired by Live Aid, Dio organized a heavy metal version of Band Aid/USA For Africa called Hear N’ Aid, writing the song “Stars” and donating all the funds from the single and album to fighting starvation in Africa.

Hear N’ Aid – We’re Stars (1986)

Dio would reunite with Sabbath for a short time in the early 90s, before returning to his solo career, eventually teaming up with Sabbath members in recent years as Heaven & Hell, touring and releasing a studio and live album.

Tribute message from other musicians are pouring in from all over the world, confirming Dio’s place in metal history. London’s Download Festival announced that it is renaming its second stage the Ronnie James Dio Stage at next month’s event.

Tenacious D – Heaven & Hell
Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny (2006)

Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell - Heaven and HellBlack Sabbath - Heaven and Hell - Heaven and Hell

Black Sabbath – Heaven & Hell (1980)

Celebrity Apprentice Week 10

An intense show this week on The Celebrity Apprentice.

The program started out with five contestants – Bret, Holly, Maria, Curtis and Sharon – and they headed directly back into the boardroom after Cyndi’s departure from the last episode. The five were told that someone was to be fired right away, there would be an interview process and two more would be tossed that evening, leaving two finalists remaining for the showdown.

Maria was quickly sent packing, and the interviews began: handling them was the second Celebrity Apprentice, Joan Rivers (Piers Morgan won the first one), and Bill Rancic, the first Apprentice winner. Each contestant spent face time with Joan and Bill separately, answering questions about their skills, history and desire to win. For some reason, Bill seemed especially aggressive to them all in the sessions, and he and Joan reported back to Donald Trump.

In the boardroom, Trump quizzed everyone once again, considered the input of his interviewers and Curtis was let go first, with an overly emotional Sharon close behind….leaving a Bret/Holly finale.

Bret and Holly raised the most money for their charities - $140,00 (Bret) and $350,00 (Holly), so maybe this duel makes the most sense in the big picture; however, I still believe Holly should have been fired previously and I did predict a Bret/Sharon showdown, so I slightly missed that mark.

The final task is for each party to create a new flavour of Snapple and design its packaging and marketing, including a tv commercial and a 3-page print ad, while working their charity’s mission and message into the brand. The winner receives $250,00 for their charity, along with the CA3 title.

As usual, each finalist was supplied with extra hands, in the form of contestants from this season: Bret was joined by Summer and Daryl, while Maria and Curtis joined Holly’s team.

Bret came out with guns ablazing, full of confidence and energy, and worked together with his teammates to develop a flavour before holding a public taste test session. Summer was a real surprise, looking organized, focused and competent – completely the opposite of how she looked the rest of the season. Wow, what a difference: maybe Summer is better when the pressure is off her personally, who knows?

Holly got down to work right away, but had to reel Maria in when she kept getting off task. Holly’s approach was the polar opposite of Bret’s – while he was collaborative, she was dictatorial, which really isn’t a surprise if you’ve seen any of the previous episodes; hell, Holly was that way even when she wasn’t the Project Manager.

After negotiating over flavours and ingredients, the teams held a public taste-testing session to help nail down their final concept and flavour. Bret’s working on a tropical- themed blend while Holly’s is more fruit and berry-based.

The episode ended with both finalists working on the advertising materials, which should be where things pick up at the start of next week’s finale. The presentation of the new brands will be made to company executives and hardcore fans of the beverage, before Trump brings Bret and Holly out for the live portion of the finale and makes his decision.

So, who comes out the winner? I’m picking Bret to take the title, because he’s been the most consistent of the two over the season; I’ve said it before, but he’s got a solid combination of creativity and business smarts.

Even though his recent health issues have no bearing on the job Bret did on the series, I can’t help but think it contributes, in some way, to him being the sentimental favourite to win. However, Trump has a history of making goofy decisions: there’s a bunch from this season alone, and there’s no way Joan Rivers should have beaten Annie Duke as the CA last season – Joan’s just too evil, but sometimes evil prevails, which could mean that Holly gets the win.

We’ll see……

Previous entries:

Celebrity Apprentice Wk 9
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 8
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 7
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 6
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 5
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 4
Celebrity Apprentice Wk 3

Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged In (20th Anniversary Edition) - I Won't Forget You Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged In (20th Anniversary Edition) - I Won't Forget You

Poison – I Won’t Forget You
Live, Raw & Uncut (2007)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Catching Up With Jimmy Kimmel

A couple of live things from Jimmy Kimmel recently…

Godsmack - The Oracle (Deluxe Edition) - Cryin' Like a Bitch!! Godsmack - The Oracle (Deluxe Edition) - Cryin' Like a Bitch!!

Godsmack – Cryin’ Like A Bitch!!
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – May 5, 2010

Godsmack - IV - Speak Godsmack - IV - Speak

Godsmack – Speak
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – May 5, 2010

Crash Kings - Crash Kings - Mountain Man Crash Kings - Crash Kings - Mountain Man

Crash Kings – Mountain Man
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – May 10, 2010

Crash Kings - Crash Kings - You Got Me Crash Kings - Crash Kings - You Got Me

Crash Kings – You Got Me
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – May 10, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fallon Stones night 5

Night 5 of Stones week on Jimmy Fallon last night, as the show wrapped up it’s celebration of the Exile reissue.

The show featured some of the “Stones In Exile” documentary with Mick Jagger on hand to do the introduction.

Stones In Exile – Mick Jagger introduction
“Rolling Stones Week”
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – May 14, 2010

The documentary shows some pretty interesting and revealing footage about The Stones’ Exile period, when the band left their native UK to live in the south of France while they worked out some tax issues with their homeland.

A lot of Exile was recorded at a mansion where Keith Richards was staying, with all kinds of guests and friends hanging out, and there’s some great footage of the band recording in the basement and in various rooms around the place.

Sax player Bobby Keys has some of the best lines in the footage shown; keep in mind that Fallon couldn’t play the whole doc in the 45 mins or so available, so we’ll get a look at the full deal when it’s out on June 22.


Told you a few months ago that the reunited Stone Temple Pilots were due for the first album in nine years this spring…and it’s out May 25.

Tube watch: STP will be on Letterman on May 19 and Jimmy Kimmel on May 25.

If ya haven’t heard it yet, the lead track is “Between the Lines”…

Stone Temple Pilots - Between the Lines - Single - Between the Lines Stone Temple Pilots - Between the Lines - Single - Between the Lines

Stone Temple Pilots – Between The Lines (2010)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fallon Stones night 4

Night 4 of Stones week on Jimmy Fallon last night, as the show celebrates the Exile reissue.

Unbilled guest appearance by the iconic Keith Richards, who joined Jimmy for an extended (and hilarious) conversation about all kinds of things, from Stones stuff to gardening!

Keith Richards interview
“Rolling Stones Week”
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – May 13, 2010

Phish wrapped up the live performances of Exile covers this week...

Phish – Loving Cup
“Rolling Stones Week”
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – May 13, 2010

Tonight’s show will feature some of the “Stones In Exile” documentary (with limited commercial interruption, according to the advance promo), with Mick Jagger expected to do the introduction.