Sunday, July 31, 2005

I Can't Believe I Didn't Post This A Month Ago

News came out last month that the pianist/lead vocalist Andrew McMahon, frontman for the band Something Corporate, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. He is in LA right now undergoing treatment. Doctors say he will make a full recovery, but the Warped Tour this year will have to go on without the band.

We're praying for you Andrew, and hope that you are well soon.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Payola Problem No Surprise

I have been reading a lot of articles about this whole payola scandal. For those unfamiliar with payola, it means that record companies are bribing radio personnel with money or gifts in return for more spins (plays) for their artist. SonyBMG has paid $10 million to NY to settle charges and now has agreed to hire an overseer of promotion practices. The executive VP of promotion has been fired as well.

This really shouldn't come as much surprise to people. Record companies sign artists for one reason- making $$. Musicians do their job, hopefully, for fun and to express themselves creatively. The $$ ain't to shabby either once you've hit big. There was without doubt, at least to me, that record execs would do anything to get artists played. And in this highly publicized case, that was what happened. Corruption lies everywhere, you just need to probe deep enough to find it. Greed can also destroy people's lives, a theme displayed here and in the movie The Village.

As for the musicians, chances are they have no idea how the record companies are promoting them. They also are not the ones paying radio personnel off with gifts, making them even less innocent in this matter. This is one instance where the whole guilt by association does not work because it is the record companies job to promote their artist.

For the record, I dislike SonyBMG because of their damn safeguards on CDs. It's because of that that I could not upload an album on iTunes.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Ozzfest Part 2

As I mentioned in the earlier post, I wanted to speak to my friend before I made any judgments. I asked him how Iron Maiden was and he said they were amazing. Then I asked him about Black Sabbath, and he told me they didn't play the night he went because Ozzy had become sick. This is one possible reason why the band didn't play on one night, but as the Post said, Black Sabbath was a main attraction and had to play at least one set. As far as some other bands, Shadows Fall and As I Lay Dying, I was told were also good in addition to Black Label Society.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

To All My Readers

I have just made a new blog, in which I'm going to post about some current stuff. The link is on the side. It was only appropriate to name it after an AC/DC album. I have one post up and I want to hear your opinion on the issue.

News From Ozzfest

At the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, probably the best metal/hard rock concert took place on Tuesday & Wednesday. The tour is the yearly Ozzfest, which although I've tried to go, I've always been unable to. Anyway, today the NY Post had an article about it- a brief review. In it he talked about Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden- the two main headliners (not to take anything away from my BLS).

He gave a comparison of both- who did better on vocals and instrumentals as well as a comment. Here's how they ranked:

Vocals: Maiden
Instrumentals: Black Sabbath
Overall: Maiden
Comments: Ozzy needs to quit off. He couldn't sing in tune, he couldn't sing, he couldn't keep in time.

I think that the Post writer is probably right about Ozzy. Black Sabbath will go down as one of the best bands of all time, but his health condition will not permit him to do more touring. The article also said that their was talk amongst many fans saying it was going to be the last show.

I will have to post a P.S./follow-up or a comment about this because I want to hear first hand stuff from my friend who I haven't spoke to yet.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Price For Music & Other Stuff

On Saturday, I went to J&R Music World in Manhattan. For most of the non-NY area readers, these guys usually have everything for the lowest price. It is at this moment, that I realized that the price for CDs has gone up during the past year or two. I usually get stuff the day it comes out so I get a bargain price. Even that is $10.58. Now the good-average price is roughly $13-14 less tax. I firmly believe that it should be a lot cheaper, but what can you do? If the record company still gets the demand, they will supply, and people will buy.

I've found that iTunes has just about everything (they don't have Zepplin, Radiohead, AC/DC, Metallica). All the stuff is usually around $10 and there is no tax on anything. Sometimes they do special stuff with a new album (ex: they did a pre-sale of the new Foo double album and gave an extra 2 previously unreleased tracks, gave a digital songbook, and bonus interview video for $18; sometimes the cost of an album in a store). I think I might just push Apple sales up, although I would still prefer to buy an album if I can because I like the artwork, however I would pay $10 over $15 and screw the art.

If I thought music prices were drawn high, real estate is worse. Reading the paper, people would pay hundreds-of-thousands or even millions just to live in Manhattan. In an apartment. I would rather buy a huge plot of land in the Midwest and build a house, like Ted Nugent and his ranch. That's how you do it.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Vermont & Rock

As most of you already know from The Beak, I took a trip for the last four days to see him in VT. It is even more rural than my NJ, which about 50 yrs ago was just like the area. Most of you have already heard about the voyage with Scooter and all that happened. Although for a the Friday I explored Burlington and Williston. I visited the local music store, which was slightly smaller in size than my local one, but didn't have the selection of mine. Their prices on the guitars and basses were pretty good though.

I had one problem with the area- the radio stations sucked. I had found 5 country stations, 2 rap stations, 4 classical, and only 1 alternative rock station. I can understand the country music here, but not the rest. Although, some of the people listened to AC/DC, as that was the band playing throughout the bar and in a couple of cars. There should have been more rock, especially classic rock. I was just happy I brought my iPod for my music fix.

While in VT, I also reminisced about the greatest jam band of all time, Phish. These Vermonters have built a legacy. I was in Burlington last year on the weekend where Phish played their last show in Coventry. The hotel put out (for free) these 30+ page newspapers which were a tribute to the band put out by The Burlington Free Press. I also bought the 2 papers, one of the day of and one of the day after papers. I have now framed all of them, but have yet to hang them up. The radio did not play any Phish tunes, which is a little strange because they have such a mass following, and if they can have all that classical music going, why not have some jam band stuff? It baffled me.

Now back in NJ, I have my radio and TV. My adventures in VT are over now, and I am happy to say, there is no more country.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

301 Days Later

FINALLY!! There is a superior being who is looking out for me. The NHL is so close to officially ending the lockout, which had been going on for 301 days. On July, 13, the NHL and NHLPA have agreed in principle to a new 6 year collective bargaining agreement. All that's left to do is write it out and get it ratified by the NHLPA members and the NHL Board of Governors.

The new deal is set to bring changes in certain areas of the game, which rumors hold include the following:
1.) bigger goals
2.) shootout to end tie after certain amount of overtime played
3.) size of goalie equipment
4.) elimination of the 2 line pass rule

There might be more, but this is what I have heard all over FSN and ESPN. The 2 line pass rule sucked and like what they are planning on doing. I have mixed feelings about the rest, especially about the goalie changes. I am a proud New Jersey Devils fan. My goalie Martin Brodeur is arguably the best goalie of all time. He has already broken records and is about 25 shutouts away from breaking the all time record for that. Unfortunately, Brodeur during the last season, al beit getting yet another 40 win season (a record of his) he did not play like Brodeur of 2000 and 2003. The loss of this season could have easily killed his shot at the shutout record, but I am pulling for him all the way. These changes could also damage his shot at continuing other records as well.

As I have stated before, I am a proud Devils fan. Hockey is undoubtedly my favorite sport and cannot wait to see its return. Larry Robinson has just been named our head coach (again). I have no fear about making the playoffs as the Devils are about 99.9% to make it every year. I have watched miracles on the ice happen, especially in the postseason. I have stayed up for all the games in 2000 for going to extra periods; one going until 1:18 AM because they had not installed the 'no commercial break until the end of a 20 min overtime', and more than 2 until 12:30 AM. I have gone to many games in the Continental Airlines Arena and was fortunate enough to make it to the 2003 Parking Lot Parade.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Time Off From Bashing "Music"; Some New Stuff In Rock

I've decided to lay off bashing rap for now. Have no fear, there's plenty more where that came from. It has hit my attention that there have been a few albums released, one of which blows the crap out of some others.

At about 1 AM on July 3, I heard the song "Burn It Down" by Avenged Sevenfold on Headbangers Ball. It was alright, and I decided I would check out the band. Noon time I put on iTunes to preview the stuff, and I was in awe. I bought the album City Of Evil which came out 1 month ago. The first song "Beast And The Harlot" is phenomenal.

I love the album. The drumming is great. The guitars work in harmony for the instrumentals. "Beast And The Harlot" has some insanely tough guitar solos in harmony with one another. Their style is metal instrumentals, singing/harmony vocals, and even a couple of acoustic tracks

In my opinion its like Iron Maiden, with less vocal performance and more double bass. I also downloaded some old songs off Waking The Fallen. I hope I am able to go see them on the Warped Tour when it hits Jersey.


Friday, July 08, 2005

The Case Against (C)Rap: Volume III

I dedicate segment III to lyrics.

The fact of the matter is, rap doesn't have any. All they do is make up their own words and call each other n*****s. Other tracks have stuff about screwing some cheap whore and smoking crack. And their videos have no concept behind them either. These "lyrics" and electronic drum beats should not constitute a song. Warren and Annush could both vouch for this fact.

Although I am not a much of a fan, however I like it better than rap, the classic folk songs all have lyrics and most of them tell a story. My dad's favorite, Harry Chapin, did a lot of this in his brief time on this planet. There are also countless others like Simon and Garfunkel who did this also.

Then you've got rock. Some songs try to send a message, others are part of a concept album and tell a story, and others are mostly music. You've also got some songs that last 1 week-infinity. It is inevitable that some songs are going to have that timeless effect while others are going to define a career (1 hit wonders).

Green Day has had countless hits, most of them on International Superhits, one of my favorite albums. The song "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" originally on Nimrod, is one of those acoustic songs that will last forever. The sound is catchy and has a pretty timeless message, although it wasn't their intention.

The group from my home state, Thursday, has lyrics that are very deep and take some analyzing, but all portray a message.

Some groups have rhyming songs, others do it in free verse. However, they write lyrics. No making up words, no n-words. There maybe something about a whore and drug use.

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