Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley Disrespect KISS Fans One Last Time

On Eddie Trunk's radio show last night, original KISS guitarist Ace Frehley disclosed that Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are preventing the original four members of the band from reuniting onstage at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony to take place in New York in April.

While the Hall of Fame has been clear that they are inducting the original four members of the band, Simmons and Stanley contend that they should have the new version of KISS, which has Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer posturing as Frehley and original drummer Peter Criss.

If there is to be a live performance I think this is a slap in the face to the original lineup of KISS and especially to the legion of lifelong fans who campaigned long and hard to get the band into the Hall of Fame in the first place.

Gene and Paul have always said that the fans were number one and that the fans were "the boss" but clearly that is not the case. This is nothing but a self-serving slap in the face designed to continue to promote the new version of KISS as the only version of KISS and to disregard the legacy started by the original four members.

Reading a post by Trunk who has insight into the Hall of Fame process, this is mostly a Paul Stanley call. Paul made it very clear that he doesn't care about the Hall of Fame and he does not feel honored to be involved.

Granted the Hall of Fame took 15 years to induct KISS, but the fact of the matter is that without Peter and Ace coming back into the band for the reunion tour Paul and Gene would still be would be playing small theaters wouldn't be living in their giant mansions.

I first got into KISS in 1978 when I was 10 years old and they literally changed my world. I became a lifelong guitar player primarily because of Ace. I stuck with the band to the disco era and while I lost touch with them in the 80s, I happily reengaged with the band for the reunion tour farewell tours.

Even though I was not comfortable having Eric Singer or and Tommy Thayer take on the personas of Peter and Ace, I stuck with the band because I really wanted my children to be able to see what I saw when I was a kid and to experience whatever magic and bombast was still left in the group.

But after this move, if it's true, I am done with these guys. They will get no more of my money.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

As this blog enters its ninth year, I reflect and conclude that I was pretty negligent posting here in 2013. I can't say I'll do any better in 2014 but I am going to try to kick out the lazy bugs and share my thoughts on the ever changing world of music and turn you all on to bands that come through Portland, where I live.

Interestingly, the show that inspired me to start a blog in the first place was The Tubes in 2006 at Portland's Aladdin Theater. The band returns on January 11 and I have tickets. Maybe that will be the spark that kicks me back into the blogsphere.

Whatever happens, I wish all of you a great, prosperous 2014!

Isorski, your trusty rock and roll blogger

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Peter Gabriel Should Be Recognized by the Rock Hall of Fame

Just saw the news that KISS, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, Hall and Oats and Cat Stevens have all made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2014. That means Deep Purple and Yes did not.

Looking at the list of inductees, I was most intrigued by Peter Gabriel, because I have lately been getting back into him big time (no pun intended).

Been particularly digging the Live in Athens 1987 double live CD, which was pulled from the So tour. I saw him on this tour in the Bay Area in the mid-80s and it’s still one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

Also been doing a fair amount of writing and recording, finally getting into MIDI (welcome to 1985, Isorski), and Gabriel is really one of the first pioneers of the technology. That, and sampling.

For proof, check out this highly cool video about the making of his fourth album, Security.

Gabriel was really on the cutting edge of using samples, writing songs based around sequenced drum patterns, and also bringing world music into the world of rock. That plus his humanitarian effort outside of music. The more I think about it he’s like a prog rock, modern day George Harrison!

Anyway, glad he’s being recognized as a solo artist (he’s already in the Hall as part of Genesis). Hopefully he’ll make it to the ceremony this time!

UPDATE - Rolling Stone posted a Q&A with Gabriel, as follows:

Peter Gabriel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010, but the ceremony fell during the middle of his tour rehearsals with a large orchestra in England and he didn't have time to take a trip across the Atlantic. "There was no indication at the time I'd have a second opportunity," he says. "I'm very grateful to have gotten in again. It's a huge honor since it's for your whole body of work and not just a specific project."

Gabriel chatted with Rolling Stone in the lobby of a New York hotel not long after he learned he was being inducted as a solo artist.

Congratulations on the big news.

Thanks. It's a fantastic acknowledgment from your peers and people who work in music.

You're going to go this time, right?

Yeah, I will definitely go. The last time I got in, it was like two days before my tour started. I would have otherwise gone. I just thought, "I can't go. We've given ourselves very little rehearsal time." But it was a great honor. . . Unfortunately, my bass player, Tony Levin, is committed to a prog-rock cruise the week of the event. I have to see if I can do something about that. We want to steal him for a night. The idea is that people have to play, right?

They generally do, but not always. Genesis didn't play.

Oh. I didn't know not performing was even an option. (laughs) Generally, you can either fret about playing and worry about it all night, or you can sit back and have a glass of wine and enjoy the evening. I have to think about that, but this is just great news. . . I'll probably play, though if I do "In Your Eyes," it'll take 10 minutes and that might be all the time I have.

Nirvana are getting in, too. I've seen photos of you and Kurt Cobain talking backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.

We did talk. I expected to be dismissed as part of the old generation, but he wasn't like that at all. I didn't have long with him, but he definitely changed things, particularly in America. And it had a different sort of quality than what the Sex Pistols in the UK did. I thought that was more contrived in some ways. I was more into the Clash because despite presentation of what Johnny Rotten was doing, there was nothing new to me about the music. But with Nirvana, some of it, just in their choice of chords, there were some musical differences.

With Kiss, they were first putting on their makeup and costumes right as you were putting on a costume- and makeup-heavy show with Genesis.

[Casablanca Records founder] Neil Bogart [who signed Kiss] said that I was quoted as an example of why they should wear makeup. I don't know if that's true or not, but they did create cartoon-like figures. I saw it was very well-executed pop music. I know it was heavy-looking at the time, but I think it was smart.

There tends to be a huge jam at the end of the night between all the inductees. It's hard to imagine you playing a part in that.

I'm not a great jammer. I'm not a great musicians in terms of a player. I think of myself as a writer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dave Grohl Produces New Ghost EP - Streaming Now

Dave Grohl has produced an EP of four cover songs for Swedish "death Satan metal band" Ghost B.C., available for live streaming now.

I use the quotation marks because Ghost has not sounded like death metal, well, ever. But due to the band's devilish lyrics and KISS-like mysterious image on Devil's Advocate steroids, the band has been lumped in with other truly awful screamo bands.

But these guys have always been more Blue Oyster Cult than Graf Orlock.

Great melodies, strong musical chops, surprising arrangements, and yeah, tongue in cheek Sabbath-esque image. In an interiew it was mentioned "It's sort of like Eddie for Iron Maiden, except we have our Eddie singing." Yep, these guys put the FUN in Funeral.

While I would have a Ghost novice start with the band's first album, and then go to the second, this EP is a nice addition to the discography, and the association with Grohl will no doubt draw some attention to the group, which they need to go more mainstream.

But really, how mainstream can you go when your catchiest song's chorus is "This chapel of ritual smells of dead human sacrifices from the altar bed."

The EP, which also adds a fifth song Secular Haze (live), will be out next week.

Stream it here:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2014 Hall of Fame Nominees - KISS, Yes, Nirvana, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel

Just saw the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees and it's a doozy of a list: Nirvana, Kiss, the Replacements, Hall and Oates, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, N.W.A., Link Wray, the Meters, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Yes and the Zombies.

Yeah I know, there are plenty of acts listed that are arguably not 'rock and roll' but I set that all aside when I attended the induction ceremony for Rush (and others) this year and it was a blast. If even a few of those 'more rock than not' acts get in, it will be a hell of a show.

My faves:

Yes: - I have been down on Yes, pretty much done with them, the last few years as a live act. But if they were to really induct Yes and include most if not all of the 19 or 20 players in that band over the 40 years of its existence, it would be a hell of a thing. And this is just the kind of event that forces reunions that ought to happen - i.e. Jon Anderson rejoining the band. I might have to travel to the event again this year if Yes gets in. They deserve inclusion, no doubt. Highly influential band, lots of success in the 70s and again in the 80s but re-born. No question.

Kiss: Kiss needs to retire. I am done with these guys, Paul Stanley's voice is gone and they are just too old to pull it off. The magic of the reunion, seeing all four original guys together, has long worn off. An induction to the hall might force the original four back together one last time. If not, it would be a shame.

But at the same time, how does KISS perform at an awards show? Watching Rush sit in their seats for five hours, then get up and rock, was one thing. How do you get the makeup on? How do they set up a KISS stage? Would be interesting. And they'd have to play. You can't be KISS and not play if you get in. So, interesting to be sure. Do they deserve to get in? Hell yes. Sure they suck but they have influenced too many bands that don't, and they have sold more records than anyone but the Stones and Beatles, so enough already. They get in.

Peter Gabriel: Oh hell yeah. He'd be great. Witty speech, dry humor and then he'd rock the shit out of everyone. Shock the Monkey and Sledgehammer. That's my prediction. Maybe he doesn't get in this time, but he will eventually if not for the music then for his humanitarian work, which I think plays well with the judges.

Deep Purple: Should have been in last year. Would be interesting to see if they'd get Richie Blackmore off the bench but I doubt it. He's too busy playing lute at the Renaissance Fair. Totally deserve to be in.

Lots of great other artists. Paul Butterfield, Hall and Oats, Linda Ronstadt, the Meters, Cat Stevens. Any of them would be cool.

Oh shit and Nirvana! I almost forgot. I'd be shocked if they did not make it in their first year. Would be great to see what musicians they would put together to do Nirvana songs with Grohl and Co.

Yeah this is a pretty good year for the Hall. Better start saving my frequent flyer miles.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Black Sabbath Albums from Worst to Best - from Stereogum

A good friend of mine from work (the same guy who turned me onto Ghost), penned an insanely comprehensive overview of the history and significance of Black Sabbath, complete with an album-by-album analysis from worst to best.

I don't agree with all of his ordering choices - I think the new album, called '13,' is much better than where he ranks it - but I think in general he is right on.

Until I can get off my ass and review the new album myself, enjoy these literal weeks of work he put into it here: Black Sabbath Albums From Worst To Best.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rush Hall of Fame Induction Runs on HBO

HBO ran the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2013 induction program over the weekend but cut the intro where the Rush fans went apeshit during Jann Wenner's intro speech. But HBO did post it online. I was proud to be one of the hundreds of screaming voices. Check it out!

And here are some other 'official' HBO vids from the night: