∞ Magical Musical Split? @Dethlehem & @TheBloodySeamen should do this…


Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power

Oprah Money & Dick Cheney Power – This could be the cover, because… Why not?

OK, so if I had Oprah money and Dick Cheney power, and could treat other human beings like my own personal play things…  I would commission two local Pittsburgh metal bands to do an epic cover split.  Do bands that aren’t punk bands do splits?  Well, they will if they’re my playthings.

I’d want Dethlehem to cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (with the original “Walpurgis” lyrics of course), and The Bloody Seamen to cover the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'” (which music nerds know features another Sabbath riff from “Sweet Leaf”).

Why?  Why not?  I love obscure and nonsensical covers.  I like these bands.  They would probably not want any part of this.  I mean, guys in bands LOVE it when you go up to them and spew out “You know what song you guys should cover?” then ramble off dumb ideas like this.

Witches gather at black masses
Bodies burning in red ashes
On the hill the church in ruin
Is the scene of evil doings
It’s a place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh Lord yeah

Carry banners which denounce the lord
See me rocking in my grave
See them anoint my head with dead rat’s blood
See them stick the stake through me
Oh

Don’t hold me back cause I’ve just gotta go
They’ve got a hold of my soul now
Lords got my brain instinct with blood obscene
Look in my eyes I’m there enough
Yeah

On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It’s the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ innards
I guess it’s the same wherever you may go
Oh lord yeah

Because Mutiny on the Bounty’s what we’re all about
I’m gonna board your ship and turn it on out
No soft sucker with a parrot on his shoulder
‘Cause I’m bad gettin’ bolder, cold cold gettin’ colder

Terrorizin’ suckers on the seven seas
And if you’ve got beef, you get capped in the knees
We got sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
And I shot those suckers and I’ll shoot the rest

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Shh! Snatchin’ gold chains, vikin’ pieces of eight
I got your money and your honey and the fly name plate
We got wenches on the benches and bitties with titties
Housin’ all girlies from city to city

One for all and all for one
Takin’ out MC’s with a big shotgun
All for one and one for all
Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L

Friggin’ in the riggin’, man, cuttin’ your throat
Big bitin’ suckers gettin’ thrown in the moat
We got maidens and wenches, man they’re on the ace
Captain Bligh’s gonna die when we break his face

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves
Ali Baba and the forty thieves

Torchin’ and crackin’ and rhymin’ and stealin’
Robbin’ and rapin’, bustin’ two in the ceilin’
I’m wheelin’, I’m dealin’, I’m drinkin’, not thinkin’
Never cower, never shower and I’m always stinkin’

Yo ho ho and a pint of Brass Monkey
And when my girlie shakes her hips she sure gets funky
Skirt chasin’, free basin’, killin’ every village
We drink and rob and rhyme and pillage

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

I was drinkin’ my rum, a deaf son of a gun
I fought the law and I cold won
Black Beard’s weak, Moby Dick’s on the tick
‘Cause I pull out the jammy and I squeeze off six

My pistol is loaded, I shot Betty Crocker
Deliver Colonel Sanders down to Davey Jones’ locker
Rhymin’ and stealin’ in a drunken state
And I’ll be rockin’ my rhymes all the way to hell’s gate

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
‘Cause I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most illingest b-boy, I got that feelin’
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most chillinest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’
Most killingest b-boy
I am most ill and I’m rhymin’ and stealin’

Most dustin’ out b-boy, I’m tossin’ my dust
Most finkinest b-boy, I’m doin’ that finkin’
Most rhyminest b-boy, I’m stretchin’ my shade
Most shootinest b-boy, I think you’re shit

Most rhyminest b-boy, I’ll steal your shit homeboy
Most taxinest b-boy, I’ll tax you boy
Most illingest illingest illingest b-boy
Taxin’ all y’all squares, yeah!

Maybe change “b-boy” to “pirate” or something?  Bandit?  Looter?  Outlaw?  Maybe the line “Because the Beastie Boys have gone A.W.O.L” to “‘Cause the Bloody Seamen have gone A.W.O.L”?  I’d pee my pants if I heard you all rapping.

So what would it take, guys?  Can we get a Kickstarter going, or what?

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen

Dethlehem

Dethlehem

Molly Darling


"Mollie Darling" (Will S. Hays)  Evan Williams

“Mollie Darling” (Will S. Hays) Evan Williams

So, a while ago… after we decided to name the baby Molly Mae, Bethany’s uncle had remarked to her mom that their family had an old record called “Mollie Darling” for the Victrola… which is now in our living room.  Of course we had to check it out.  We have the version by Evan Williams.

Me being me, loving song histories and “cover” songs (like the origins of “Hey Joe”)…  This one is right up my alley.  It’s got a neat somewhat convoluted history, and probably more than a few have claimed ownership of it.  Google is pretty awesome, because within a few seconds I found some sheet music from 1871 in Temple University’s digital library, and a song history from Second Hand Songs.  I even found some easy-looking guitar tab.

It looks like it’s been recorded several times by a bunch of different artists.  The first one seems to be by the Haydn Quartet, but I can’t seem to find that version anywhere online.  I can’t find the version we have by Evan Williams online either.  The earliest one that I can find seems to be by Vernon Dalhart:

But, it’s out there several times, by several artists:

(A rockabilly one!)

(bagpipes!)

Mollie Darling - Sheet Music (Cover)

Mollie Darling – Sheet Music (Cover)

Bands vs. Venues: Who promotes? Who makes money? Can everyone “win”?


Rick from the Fallout Shelter brought up a great discussion topic on Facebook, and it inspired me to blog about it.

That’s a private group on Facebook, so here’s what was said in case you’re not a member:

Rick D'Agostino Looking for some feedback from the music community out there. Do you think that the $5 cover charge keeps you or your friends from attending shows at the Fallout Shelter that they might otherwise attend to check out new bands? In other words, are folks only willing to pay a $5 cover to see bands that they already know? And as a band member, would you rather play to a larger crowd with a tip bucket or to just a few people and make some gas money? I am thinking of making some changes. you can reply here or message me if you want. thanks!

Rick D’Agostino is looking for some feedback from the music community out there..

Dig?  So now, you have the gist of it.  My blog may go on its own little tangent, you never really know with these things.  It’s certainly worth talking about.

First, it’s clear that I’ve never been in a band where making money is the ultimate goal.  I’m amazed over & over that venue owners let me come in, set up, and play in front of people.  Sometimes we get money from the door, sometimes we get money from tickets sold, sometimes we give it all to the touring band, sometimes it’s a charity gig, sometimes no one shows up to pay anyone, sometimes we get some gas money or a couple of bucks to dump back into merch or something.

This is how it’s worked nearly everywhere and every time I have played:  Most of the time, the cover is $3 to $5, unless we’re opening for a national act & it’s through a booker where we’re asked to sell tickets.  Some call the latter “pay to play“, and rail wholly against it.  Some people have no problem selling tickets.  Some bands like mine do, but we try anyway.  At bar gigs, the cover charge is usually $5.  Sometimes it all goes to the bands, especially if it’s a bar & if you provide your own door person.  Sometimes it pays for a sound guy (if there is one) & a cut goes to the bar, then the bands get paid.  Sometimes locals defer and let the out-of-town bands take the cash (if there is one).  Sometimes you can play for free at open stages, sometimes you pay to get in at open stages.  Sometimes no one comes out to see you, and no one gets paid.  Sometimes the band gets free or discounted drinks.  It’s generally a no pay or break even situation.  You hope to sell merchandise and/or CD‘s if you have them, and the bar hopes to sell drinks & food.  The bands should promote and the venues should promote.  Some venues think the bands should do it all, some bands think the venue should do it all.  Generally 3 or sometimes 4 bands are all on the same gig.  Sometimes, it all works out, sometimes… it doesn’t.  This is how bands who largely play their own music are forced to operate.

That’s only 1 way.  There are many other “scenes” here overlapping in the ‘Burgh.

Cover bands… or human jukebox bands, can generally charge a fee for playing a certain style, genre, or “songs that people know”.  This is to provide entertainment to drunken Yinzer patrons who want to yell out requests.  You probably usually play 3 sets, maybe 4… and you’re the only entertainment all night.  You’re probably playing pop country, classic rock, or a little mix of everything.  Professional singers/songwriters operate pretty much the same way as described above, but can get away with putting in more of their own material.

High-class…  I know a band that plays funk, and can get $5000 a gig at the least.  They put their twist on a bunch of songs, dress up, bring lights, and put on one hell of a show.  I’m pretty sure I could never command that much cash for what I do… but how is one less relevant or entertaining?  They do weddings, corporate parties, and “events”.

I’m sure there’s other stuff out there that I’m not even aware of.  I can’t really speak for any other parts of the scene than the one I’m in.

I’ve heard the argument that charging only $5 is devaluing our craft.  Bands should demand more to be heard live.  It worked for Yuengling.  They raised the price on their beer in the late 90s/early 00s and they took off ahead of the other “microbrews”.  Should we then put a higher value on ourselves & our art?  If we raise the price do we raise our expectations?  Do we raise our worth?  Do we raise the value of our music & entertainment?

I also see that a cover charge can make or break a show.  Times are changing.  People aren’t spending money on entertainment.  Music is seen like it’s all supposed to be free.  Why would someone pay for a live show?  To me, if you don’t have $5 on you for a show, maybe you shouldn’t be going to a bar in the 1st place.  $5 might get you 2 beers if you’re a butthole & don’t tip the bartender.  Then again, we hardly ever walk away with any money anyway (the Fallout Shelter is an exception here, we get paid well there, regardless of turnout), so why not let people in for free?

The tip bucket.  I’d play for one.  I have no doubt that we’re entertaining.  Why not, right?  Do all bands split the tip bucket?  Or go per performance?  That if the 1st band up gets all the cash & the “cleanup” band gets nothing simply because the patrons ran out of cash?  Are we nothing more than indoor buskers if we play for a tip jar?  Is it a better measurement of our entertainment value to work for tips?  Does it devalue our art to basically beg for donations to support the rock n’ roll cause?

I certainly don’t want to see my favorite venues close because they can’t afford to operate.  I like to play them, I like to see other bands in them… I want them to do well.  I want them to continue to host my band & other bands.  I even want them to make a buck so it’s all worth their while, and so they can do it to make a living.

I just want to play.  I don’t care where, or for how much.  I have fun doing it.  I think this is an important discussion to have, though.  What is the value of live rock n’ roll?

So…

  • Would you play for less of a cover charge?
  • Should we charge more for shows?
  • Should bands play for tips?
  • How should the tips be split?
  • How does the venue make money?
  • Who pays the sound guy?

Leave your opinions in the comments below!

Related Articles

Youfest, Youapalooza, You’d Tour, or Youstock.


Just over a year ago, I tried out a blog post asking for your input.  It totally didn’t work.  No one tried it.  So I’m gonna try it myself, and you’re going to hopefully reply this time.  I think I have a few more regular readers now.  Here are the rules as I set forth before…

Okay.  You just found out that you’re secretly related to Oprah, and since she knows you’re a huge music fan… she’s letting you put together the concert of all concerts to celebrate.  Since you have Oprah money, you pretty much have no limit there, but you are limited to bands that are alive and actively together, or that you believe could be reasonably brought back together with a little grea$ing of the wheels.  Example… you’re probably not going to get Guns N’ RosesAppetite or (even the Illusions tour) lineup to get on stage together… but you probably could get Steven Tyler & Joe Perry in the same room.

Put together the whole thing…

  • The Venue: A small club?  A stadium or amphitheater?  Your living room?
  • The Run: Is it a one-night-only deal, or is this a 3-day festival?
  • The Name: Every killer show has to have a killer title.  No “w00t-stock”, please.
  • The Bands: Who’s playing & in what order?  Bonus points for linking to ‘em.
  • Added Insanity: Want a 20 minute drum solo with Neil Peart & Lars Ulrich?  Want an unplugged duet with Danzig & Shakira?  Want GWAR to disembowel you on the stage?  A guitar battle between Eric Clapton and Slash?  Want all the bands to do nothing but Black Sabbath covers?  Can’t hurt to throw the idea out there!
  • Micro-Manage: If you really want to get nuts, what do you want to see in each performer’s setlist?  Either highlights or the whole thing.

I’ll think about mine while you post yours in the comments below, and in a few days or so I’ll revisit the whole idea in another blog post.  Links to bands’ websites, videos, and music strongly encouraged!

Got it?  I’m working under that set of guidelines.

I’d have just 2 sages, going back-to back with maybe 10 minutes in between each set.  None of this bands playing at the same time crap like I’ve seen at some festivals where 2 of the 5 bands I came to see are playing at the same damn time.

I narrowed it down to 6 days with 10 bands each day.  I didn’t work out set times… and the order is more random than I’d like.  Pairing bands can be difficult.  One one hand similar stuff sometimes pairs well… on the other it sometimes gets boring.

My problem is that I like a lot of bands & they constantly go in & out of rotation.  I’m always forgetting & adding.  This list might change if I were to start it all over tomorrow.

I’d like to see all the bands in their current incarnations as per the rules.  I’ve seen some of them and they’re great live acts… I’d like to see what the others can do live.  And, of course, if I had Oprah money, I’d put my bands in there too.  Who wouldn’t?

I’d need 2 equal size stages… something like a parking lot venue where the crowd just turns around.

I’d call it AiXeLFest 3.0, because it would kind of be like Leonard Part 6.  No one would have remembered 1 or 2.  Well, some people would.

AiXeLFeSt 3.0

Band [ Stage # ] Why?

  • “Hit List”

Day 1

AiXeLsyD [Stage 1] Why not? You’d put your band on too, if you could, right?

The Legendary Hucklebucks [Stage 2] These guys are ridiculously entertaining. As for the Metallica cover, they played it live once and the crowd went NUTS.

Michale Graves [Stage 1] Dude works hard, writes some good stuff.  I’d like to hear some Graves & Gotham Road stuff… plugged in.

  • “Casket” (Graves)
  • “Creo Burn” (Gotham Road)
  • “Saturday Night” (Misfits)

Locksley [Stage 2] Killer live band that I’ve had the honor of playing with, and damn nice guys.

  • “The Whip”
  • “Darling, It’s True”
  • “Don’t Make Me Wait”

Enemy You [Stage 1] I have one of their albums and I need more.  It’s ridiculously catchy.

The Nobodys [Stage 2] These guys are hilarious potty mouths, and I bet they’d be a great show.

BARS [Stage 1] I can’t seem to find much about this band online. Did they even tour? Do they still exist?

Fist Fight in the Parking Lot [Stage 2] Prepare to have your face rocked off.  You can claim it later at the lost & found.

  • “Side Steppin’ Ninja”
  • “S&M”
  • “Something
Willie Nelson and his guitar "Trigger"

Willie Nelson and his guitar "Trigger" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Willie Nelson [Stage 1] One of the coolest concerts I’ve ever seen was Willie Nelson.  The dude is a natural entertainer & such a great songwriter.

Motörhead [Stage 2] Have you seen the movie Lemmy?  Who wouldn’t want this guy to perform?  They rock harder than most bands can even imagine rocking.

  • “Ace of Spades”
  • “Sacrifice”
  • “Enter Sandman” (Metallica Cover)
  • “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”

Day 2

Secrets Lie Within [Stage 1] These dudes are great friends that AiXeLsyD & Gasoline Dion played many shows with. I dig their sweet sugary sound.

Duncan Redmonds [Stage 2] The man is a genius. So many bands, so many songs.  His acoustic gigs look great on YouTube.  I’d like to hear stripped-down stuff from any of them.

I Voted For Kodos [Stage 1] Never had the pleasure of seeing them live.  They were a ska band, and then they weren’t, I think.  Ska is generally a fun time, and these dudes wrote some catchy songs.

Steel Panther [Stage 2] Why wouldn’t you want these guys at an almost week-long party?

The Misfits [Stage 1] At least someone is playing the songs.  I’d like to get as many of them as possible in one place and see either  a reconciliation or a brawl.

Reel Big Fish [Stage 2] One of the better bands I’ve seen live… they’re all kinds of crazy & fun.

  • “Beer”
  • “Everything Sucks”
  • “Another Day in Paradise” (Phil Collins cover)

Guns ‘n’ Wankers [Stage 1] I love the self-titled CD, it’s absolute genius.  Both versions.  I’d love to see this band live.

Mighty Mighty Bosstones [Stage 2] These guys are high-energy awesomeness live.  Must be that dude that just dances.

NOFX [Stage 1] I’d love to see them again.  They have an insane back-catalog of songs and I like most all of ‘em.

  • “Mattersville”
  • Woah on the Woahs”
  • “We Threw Gasoline On The Fire And Now We Have Stumps For Arms And No Eyebrows”
Flogging Molly performing live at Rams Head Li...

Flogging Molly performing live at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, MD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flogging Molly [Stage 2] Ridiculously awesome live show.  Ridiculously catchy easily accessible songs.  Ridiculous ability to get the crowd pumped.  I’d go see them any time I can.

Day 3

Gasoline Dion [Stage 1] Again, if you were doing it & had a band, you’d put yourself on too.  Or maybe I just have a big rockstar ego.

  • “Cold”
  • “Bitch Pants Opera”
  • “She Shits in Stereo”

Screeching Weasel [Stage 2] They’re the “hey those aren’t the Ramones?” of my generation.  I know they don’t play much.  I’d make them.

  • “Celena”
  • “Cool Kids”
  • “My Right”
  • “I Wanna Be Naked”

Ann Beretta [Stage 1] One of my favorite bands.  There was some kind of split, but Rob & Russ soldiered on to make more killer music.

  • “Bottlecaps”
  • “Love’s Easy Tears”
  • “Russ’ Song”
  • “Efforts Wasted”

800 Octane [Stage 2] Don’t know much about them other than I found them online many years ago & totally dug all their stuff.

Tom Green [Stage 1] Listen to this. This dude is a great rapper, and bound to be wildly entertaining and unpredictable. His Prepare for Impact album is incredible.

Dropkick Murphys [Stage 2] Great live show.  Catchy songs.  Celtic.  What more do you need?

  • “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”
  • “Amazing Grace” (Traditional)
  • “Dirty Glass”

ALL [Stage 1] ALL!  Oddly, I like ALL better than that other band that they’re almost all in.

Band of Skulls [Stage 2] I bought this album recently and couldn’t get it out of the CD player.  I kept letting it play.

The Offspring performing lite in Fortaleza, Br...

The Offspring performing lite in Fortaleza, Brazil, November 15th 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Offspring [Stage 1] Another memorable live show.  These guys are pros all the way, and quite memorable.  I saw this tour where they had this “intermission” with bubble machines and inflatable furniture… it was hilarious.

  • “Total Immortal” (AFI Cover)
  • “Self Esteem”
  • “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
  • “Bad Habit”

Avenged Sevenfold [Stage 2] I liked this band the instant I heard them on a Hopeless Records comp.  Then, they blew up.  Good for them!

Day 4

Sing the Evens, Play the Odds [Stage 1] Fun fact: I named this band. They’d do it if I asked nicely. They were a killer live show & great friends.  I feel like they had another album in them somewhere.

The Bloody Seamen [Stage 2] You need to see this band.  Everyone needs to see this band.  What are you waiting for? Go!

The Eyeliners [Stage 1] Beautiful girls playing poppy punk rock songs with mad skills?  I’m in. Gel is one of my favorite guitarists!

  • “Destroy” (an appearance by Joan Jett would be killer!)
  • “Think of Me”
  • “Do The Zombie”

Transplants [Stage 2] I liked the first album, and I’d love to see how they do it live.

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg [Stage 1] This has to be a great show.  I wanna hear all these Ramones Songs.  Marky is a space cadet.

  • “When We Were Angels”
  • “Pet Sematary” (Ramones)
  • “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” (Motörhead Cover)
  • “Bop ‘Til You Drop” (Ramones)

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes [Stage 2] They’ve got to be a great time.  They were booed at PNC Park once because Yinzers are dumb.  They need to come back to an appreciative audience.

  • “Country Roads” (John Denver cover)
  • “One Tin Soilder” (Original Caste cover)
  • “Goodbye Earl” (The Dixie Chicks cover)
  • “Hello” (Lionel Richie cover)

Poison [Stage 1] Balk or scoff if you want, but I’ve seen them a few times, and they’re a great light-hearted rock n’ roll show.  Brett Michaels & CC DeVille are great entertainers.

Beastie Boys [Stage 2] I’ve never seen them live, but I’d love to.  They are incredible at defining what they do, and then doing it.

Velvet Revolver [Stage 1] Their records are over-produced, but they’re a great dirty live rock band.  I don’t care if it’s Wieland or whoever the new guy will be.

  • “Set Me Free”
  • “Slither”
  • “Negative Creep” (Nirvana cover)
  • “Mr. Brownstone” (Guns N’ Roses)
Prince playing at Coachella 2008.

Prince playing at Coachella 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prince [Stage 2] Absolute genius.  Incredibly insane.  I’d love to see this in action.  Ever see Purple Rain?  If he brought out Morris Day & the Time for a few, it would also be incredible.

Day 5

Exclusion Principle|45 min.|1|My favorite local band ever?  Probably.  These dudes gigged with AiXeLsyD all the time, and were awesome.  For Oprah money, I want a recording too.

Bastard Bearded Irishmen [Stage 2] If you live in the burgh, are at all of fan of Celtic stuff, and haven’t seen them… please kick your own ass now.

  • “In Heaven There Is No Beer” (Ernst Neubach & Ralph Maria Siegel cover)
  • “Drinkem’, Drankem, Drunkem’ “
  • “Black Velvet Band” (traditional)
  • “Float” (Flogging Molly cover)

Dethlehem [Stage 1] If any orcs show up to this gig, these guys will have it covered.  They also slay eardrums with magical sweeping.

The Unseen [Stage 2] These guys are a great live show.  I’m not sure who’s even in the band any more.  High energy songs, high energy show.

Omegalord [Stage 1] “Not. Gonna. Die.  …With bullets in my gun!”  Badass biker metal like Motörhead meets Black Sabbath, cool live show.  Oprah money may convince them to reunite.

Nerf Herder [Stage 2] Hilarious songs, great hooks, and goofy premises…  I wish this band churned out more albums & toured more.

Tenacious D [Stage 1] These guys are awesome.  With Dave Grohl on Drums and or additional guitar it would rock that much harder.

Dr. Dre [Stage 2] Musical genius.  Lyrical genius.  Production genius. Marketing genius. Hasn’t made kid movies.  I’d like to see Ice Cube, Eminem, MC Ren, DJ Yella, & Snoop do some guest spots.

  • “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”
  • “Natural Born Killaz” (Dr. Dre & Ice Cube)
  • “Keep Their Heads Ringin'”
  • “Straight Outta Compton” (N.W.A.)
Slash playing a show with Velvet Revolver

Slash playing a show with Velvet Revolver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slash, Miles Kennedy, & the Conspirators [Stage 1] Slash & Miles Kennedy go well together.  They ought to keep doing it.  Slash digs his touring band.  They ought to keep doing it.  I need to see this band if/when they come through the ‘Burgh.  Slash has a great body of songs to pull from.

  • “Back & Forth Again” (Slash’s Snakepit)
  • “Starlight”
  • “Rocket Queen” (Guns N’ Roses)
  • “Ghost”

Aerosmith [Stage 2] I’ve never seen them, I’d like to before someone dies or they hate each other forever (again).  I bet it’s a hell of a show.

  • “Mama Kin”
  • “Walk This Way”
  • “Big Ten Inch Record”
  • “Love in an Elevator”
  • “Train Kept A-Rollin'” (Tiny Bradshaw cover)

Day 6

Ernie and the Berts [Stage 1] Yup.  I was in too many bands, and I self-promote way too much.

Peelander-Z playing at the Asian Heritage cele...

Peelander-Z playing at the Asian Heritage celebration in New York at LaGuardia Community College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peelander-Z [Stage 2] These guys are pretty much inexplicable as a live act.  It’s an experience.  It’s like you’re on another planet.  There’s so much interaction & participation, it’s hardly like watching a band… it’s like being in one.

The Bloodhound Gang [Stage 1] Such a fun live show.  It’s like a dirty dirty potty-humor filled  circus.

  • “It’s Tricky”
  • “Mope”
  • “Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss”

The Sword [Stage 2] These guys are so heavy, they might cause the stage to collapse.  These are the coolest riffs you’ll get outside of a Sabbath album.

AFI [Stage 1] So many different sounds, and I like them all.  I caught the very end of their set once at a Warped Tour.  I’d like to see a full set.

  • “I Wanna Get A Mohawk (But Mom Won’t Let Me Get One)”
  • “Totalimmortal”
  • “Kill Caustic”
  • “Days of the Phoenix”
The Drummer is the main vocals. Can't think of...

SNUFF: The Drummer is the main vocals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Snuff [Stage 2] Such a great band.  So many albums, so many songs, so many related projects, and I love them all.  They need to come to the US so I can see them!

Rancid [Stage 1] So catchy, great live band, and all kinds of fun.  Rancid is a great gateway into ska & punk rock.

Danzig [Stage 2] Badassery abounds from the great tiny one.  If only Danzig could learn to not take himself so seriously.  Great live show though!

Green Day [Stage 1] I’ve never seen them live.  I’d love to.  I enjoy many of their albums & have for quite some time. They’ve become incredibly successful just doing what they do.

  • “2,000 Light Years Away”
  • “She”
  • “F.O.D.”
  • “Church on Sunday”

Metallica [Stage 2] METALLICA!  Even without Jason Newsted, and even after a few blah albums… I’d like to see them again.  They’re still THE metal band.


Son of Sam would be cool too if Davey Havok were to sing… or a Samhain reunion, or even the Teen Idols or The Donnas.  Then there’s, Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards, The Foo Fighters, Psychostick, Green Jellÿ, The Aquabats, The Phenomenauts, Head Cat, Sixer, Warp 11, The Distillers, Weird Al, Electric Eel Shock, and so many others..  I could easily add another day & lots more locals like The Cheats, Undercover Saints, Scratch ‘n Sniffs, Trash Magnet, Black Casket, maybe even Anti-Flag.  Maybe we could reunite the Satanic Bat?

I wonder how much money or money to a charity it would take to get Ozzy Osborne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward all to get on stage together?  Think I could get Dave back into Sum 41?  Then there’s Duff McKagan’s Loaded or Izzy Stradlin (& maybe even the Ju Ju Hounds).  Could I pay enough to bring Bobby Steele and The Undead out of retirement or for Danzig to play with John Christ, Chuck Biscuits, & Eerie Von?  Maybe a Pinhead Gunpowder or The Network appearance could happen?  I like the weird/quirky stuff.

I’d like to see all the bands in their current incarnations as per the rules.  I’ve seen some of them and they’re great live acts… I’d like to see what the others can do live.  And, of course, if I had Oprah money, I’d put my bands in there too.  Who wouldn’t?

As far as the “hits”, I tried to include rare stuff or stuff that I’d go just nuts without hearing.

So that’s my list.  Today.  Obviously, I find it hard to narrow down.  Now, make your own!  You don’t have to get as detailed as me.  You can list your favorites in the comments below.  You could post it on your own blog or as a Facebook note & keep it going.

Would you come to my show?

Ernie and the Berts


So, I’m in a band again.  We’ve only been jamming for a short while now, but the chaos is already well underway.  We decided to play an open stage night before we were ready, just because we could.  I dig this momentum/vibe.  Plus, I got to break out the FlipOut guitar for its first show!  I didn’t realize how much I miss gigging out.  It’s addictive.

As far as a style, it’s still taking shape… but right now it’s stripped down punk/rock/pop, and it’s sloppy.  We’ll have some covers, some originals, whatever we feel like as time goes on, I guess.  Most importantly, we’re having fun.  If you’ve seen a handful of local ‘Burgh bands in the past 10 years, chances are you’ll recognize all the players here.

For more about E&tB in the future, keep watching…

To see what you missed, here’s almost our entire 3-song set thanks to Bethany.  Watch your speakers… her camera didn’t like our volume, I guess.

Ernie and the Berts “Suffragette City” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHX_H9bg4uA

Ernie and the Berts “Radio, Radio”/”Hot N Cold” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzbwYG0Sa0I

And, there are a few photos (thanks again to Bethany)…

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

I also have to say that I also learned that the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville is awesome.  It’s a great room, it has a menu devoid of shellfish, and the crowd was a nice mellow mix form all walks of life.  While I’m at it, host band Craig King & CBG Connection were awesome dudes.  They were very welcoming, and they rocked the place out with some funk/blues/rock/jazz insanity.

If for some reason you want both videos, you can get a zip of both of them in mp4 format here:  http://drop.io/EatB_06282010_TBC

Don’t tell me it’s too late… Slash solo album review.


Slash“Don’t tell me it’s too late” is a line from my favorite song on the album, I’m reviewing this well after it came out, and it seems like a running theme lyrically through more than a few songs on the album… so I felt that it was appropriate to work into the title of this post.

If you know my musical tastes at all, you know that Guns N’ Roses is near the top of my list in all-time favorites.  So, with some warning, this may be a little biased.  The basic idea for this record was for Slash to pull in session musicians and do the record he wanted to do that wouldn’t necessarily fit into any other mold.  He’s done session & guest work with everyone from ICP to Rihanna, it’s about time to turn it around.  (I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that Velvet Revolver is on “hiatus” and Slash’s Snakepit seems dissolve after each album.)

Since it’s such a diverse record (with and endless number of releases), I’m going to try to throw out my opinions track-by-track, and then wrap it all up.

  1. “Ghost” – Featuring the vocal talents of Ian Astbury and the only other guitarist to appear anywhere on the album, the venerated and underrated Izzy Stradlin.  The song starts the album with a really nice melodic riff and Izzy’s guitar fills in just like it did back in the Appetite days.  Their work back & forth is unmistakable… and I’d love to hear more of it in the future.  While I like the guitar play in Velvet Revolver with Dave Kushner, Izzy and Slash are like a left hand & a right hand when playing guitar… they’re aware of what the other is doing without thinking about it.  Ian Astbury sounds awesome, and really fit well with this song.  I laugh every time I hear him though, as I once spent the better part of a day convincing a former co-worker that Ian Astbury & Glenn Danzig weren’t the same person.  I’ll never forget when The Cult’s “Fire Woman” was on the radio… he was all “You can’t tell me that this isn’t the guy who sings ‘Mother’.  It’s the same guy!”  At any rate… I hope this is picked up as a single, I’d love to see some live performances of this with Ian, or even a video.  It’s a nice unapologetic 80’s-ish rocker of a tune that doesn’t sound ridiculously dated.  Already you can tell that Eric Valentine‘s production on this album blows any Velvet Revolver stuff out of the water, because you can actually hear the guitar.
  2. “Crucify the Dead” – With Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, and somewhat inexplicably Taylor Hawkins on background vocals., this one starts out somewhat somber and ends up rocking.  It could have easily been on any Ozzy album from No More Tears on.  It’s somewhat odd to hear Slash doing the palm-muted power-chord chugging… and just the way that the guitars are layered.  I think that’s the point of this album though, to hear Slash doing stuff that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else.  It sets that right away with this song.  It would have been cool to have Zakk Wylde on this track too.  The one thing that makes it stand out as an Ozzy song is the lack of Zakk’s style of pinch n’ squeal harmonics.  I really love the melodic guitar lines here though.  I can imagine that Taylor was in the studio hanging out with Chris Chaney who plays bass on most tracks of the album (whom with he currently plays in Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders & they both played with Alanis Morissette once upon a time) and/or Dave Grohl and they just needed someone to do Ozzy backing vocals because he was too tired or didn’t know where he was.  This is the first of many incestuous rock n’ roll band relationships that are all over this album.
  3. “Beautiful Dangerous” – This is the song with Fergie.  Yeah, that Fergie.  Slash has done a bunch of live gigs with her, and she slays on some GN’R songs. In the first few seconds, I get an “oh no” because it starts off like a Rob Zombie song… but that’s quickly eaten by the guitars, bass, & drums.  It’s hard to hear a woman sing a rock song and not compare her to a small list of other rock singers…  This song has a Heart vibe.  I can imagine Fergie wouldn’t mind being compared vocally to Ann Wilson.  She’s got a strong beautiful clear voice… and I can totally hear an Axl influence.  You knew the A-word was coming eventually.  It’s not in the sound of her voice, but in the cadence and delivery of some of the lines… I challenge any GN’R fan to not hear it.  There’s a certain way they Axl holds on to & twists notes… Fergie does this also here… not sure if it was prompted or just came naturally with the style of riffs if she’s a GN’R fan at all.  This song is full of some nice solid riffs, and is one of my favorites off of the album.  My wife likes this one too, and she’s not the world’s biggest guitar-rock fan.
  4. “Back From Cali” Myles Kennedy takes up vocal duties on this song.  The feel of this song reminds me of It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere, and is definitely a Slash composition out and out.  It’s a pretty straight-up blues rocker, and Axl is again channeled at a mere 30 seconds into the song.  Myles will take vocal duties in Slash’s touring band, he’s probably as notable for being the guy rumored to sing for the Led Zeppelin reunion tour as much as his last band, Alter Bridge.  This guy has the pipes & range to hold it down well, no doubt.
  5. “Promise” – This one starts out a little strange, although this riff could have been on either  of the Illusions albums in a different context.  It really reminds me of Audioslave… maybe that’s why Slash called in Chris Cornell in the first place.  This is the first mellow one… and while it’s not a bad song, I think I have to be in the mood to listen to it.  It’s quite a haunting melody & riff, perhaps it’ll grow on me as time goes on.
  6. “By the Sword” – This is the album’s first US single, I think the video has been shot it’s just waiting for production, and they’ve been doing the lateshow circuit with performances.  Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother takes the vocal helm on this blues rocker.  This could have also easily been another Snakepit song… but I feel Stockdale does it real justice with his oddly whiny vocals.  Slash’s solo here (starting at 2:45 into the song) reminds me of George Harrison on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for some reason.  At first, I wondered why on Earth this was the first single as it wasn’t a straight-up rocker, but the more I hear it, the more I really like the song.
  7. “Gotten” – Having Adam Levine of Maroon 5 on the album is probably as shocking as having Fergie, if not more so.  I have to say, I really dig this track too.  The guitar is surprisingly nice & clean for the most part, a very gentle riff… this could be on top 40 radio if there is such a thing left.  It builds in a “Don’t Cry”-like crescendo, although the strings mayJudgement Day.) be a little much.  (Sorry, Again, you most likely have to be in a mellow mood for this one, but it stands as a good track.)
  8. “Doctor Alibi” – Old school metal fans are going to love this one… or at least I do.  Lemmy takes vocal and “distorted bass” (according to the liner notes) duties on this un-apologetically obnoxious rocking beast.  The opening riff jingles with bad-ass and descends into chaos with Lemmy’s story telling of visiting various doctors until he gets the answer that he wants to hear.  I vote for Lemmy as the next frontman to Velvet Revolver, ha ha ha.  This song is full of rock clichés and that’s OK with me.  This solo rips through you, reminiscent of the rambling in “Nightrain”.  It even breaks down to just vocals and drums before the rest of the bands comes back in.  This one is a keeper.
  9. “Watch This Dave” – I have to admit that I couldn’t wait.  I had to jump to this one the first time I popped the album into the CD player.  (Yeah, I bought the CD that came with the T-shirt from Best Buy on the day that it came out.) Why did I jump here?  Because it features Dave Grohl on drums and Duff McKagan on bass.  On some track listings, it’s simply titled “Watch This”… but my CD adds the “Dave”, so I added that here.  This is a timeless instrumental groove that just smacks you in the eardrums.  I miss Duff’s bass playing on the rest of the album.  No offense to Chris Chaney, but Duff has a definite signature that just fits with Slash’s guitar work like hot fudge on vanilla ice cream or ketchup on fries.  You don’t need it, but it’s always a perfect combo.  Dave pounds the drums like a madman, and they seamlessly string together patches of riffs & guitar wanking that swell an undulate into a heart-pounding mess of a ride that ends by just slamming you into a wall.  Parts of it remind me of the feel of Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu” or “Orion”.  Slash does some shredding work here, something you don’t usually think of when you hear his name.  I for one would love to hear a whole album of stuff like this.
  10. “I Hold On” – This track has Kid Rock on vocals.  It could have just as easily been Myles Kennedy… and may have been better if it was.  It plays out like a mellow country/gospel inspired Kid Rock ballad.  I don’t know, I guess I just don’t feel it.  It’s by no means a bad, song, it just doesn’t make me say “wow” or anything.  Slash’s solo is great, but could have gone over anything with these same chord changes.  I would imagine that this would clean up on country radio.
  11. “Nothing to Say”M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold was a surprise guest to me… but I was also really anxious to hear this track.  I must say that i wasn’t disappointed!  I’m an A7X fan, and I remember thinking that they went form a Metallica influence on Sounding the Seventh TrumpetWaking the Fallen to a Guns N’ Roses influence on City of Evil and Avenged Sevenfold.  At first, I didn’t like it, but as time went on, it made sense.  I love both of those bands, why wouldn’t they?  Only AC/DC fans like the same album over & over again.  This was an excellent paring, as the riff is just more evil and menacing than anything  else I’ve ever heard Slash play… and I can’t imagine anyone vocally pulling this off any better. (For reference,  see “Chains and Shackles”.)  I really would have a hard time telling that this wasn’t a straight-up A7X song, and I can typically pick out Slash’s guitar work in just a few notes.  There’s more shredding here, within the blues context that Slash likes to stay in, and within the confines of the song… but again, I would love a whole album of songs like this form Slash.  It’s odd to hear him playing Metallica-styled palm-muted chugging even though I know he’s a big fan of theirs.  Speaking of Metallica… why wasn’t Lars or James on this thing?
  12. “Starlight” Myles Kennedy is the only one to feature twice vocally on the proper US album release.  This is another bluesy/gospel sort of ballad that could have easily went on either Snakepit
  13. “Saint is a Sinner Too” – Yeah.  I’m wholly unfamiliar with Rocco DeLucca who sings for this one… and really, I think I’m glad.  I mean, the guitar work is beautiful and quiet here… and shows great range… but I really can’t regard the vocals as anything more than annoying.  I’m sorry if it offends you, but I hate this kind of crap, and the crap  thatit reminds me of… like Dave Matthews and Coldplay.
  14. “Were All Gonna Die” – Slash dusts off Iggy Pop for this one which acts as the closer to the regular US release.  Iggy sounds bored, and the song is a little slow.  I’d actually love to hear Duff sing this one… and for the tempo to be upped a little bit.  Duff has a great punk sensibility, and like I said Iggy just sounds bored.  You’d think a song that stars out with the line “Gee I really like your tits” would be a little more raucous.  Maybe I just expected more from this pairing?  “Home” off of Iggy’s Brick by Brick album features Slash & Duff, and it hits a little harder than this one.  Still, it’s not a ad tune, and gets better with every listen.

Well, that’s all the normal tracks.  I’ve managed to hear all of the bonus tracks form the various albums, and I’ll give my run-down here…

  • “Sahara” – This one’s from the Japanese release and the iTunes release.  It features Japanese rocker Koshi Inaba of the Japaneze rock band/duo B’z.  This sounds like a Winger or Poison song.  It’s the closest Slash has ever sounded to that… and I love some Poison… but this is super-cheese.  This was the first single overall, released only in Japan.  I bet they loved this one… it’s #4 on the Japan charts according to Wikipedia.  This one can be found with both English and Japanese lyrics.
  • “Chains and Shackles” – I mentioned this before during the “Nothing to Say” review… basically it’s the the same base, with some slightly different ingredients… provided by Nick Oliveri,  of Kyuss/Mondo Generator/Queens of the Stone Age.  Had I not heard the other first, I may dig this one a little more.  This is a heavy hard-hitting song with some killer structures & vocals… but I just liked what Slash & M. Shadows did with it in “I Hold On” more.  Slash also talked about giving this one to Dave Mustane… I’d love to hear that.  This is on the Australian iTunes edition.
  • “Paradise City” – This is an odd collection:  Cypress Hill, Fergie, and Slash covering Guns N’ Roses.  This was a B0side to the “Sahara” single as well as being on the Australian iTunes, Best Buy Exclusive, Napster, and Brazilian versions.  (This is according to Wikipedia… I bought mine at Best Buy, and this isn’t on it.)  This wasn’t really a surprise, as I’ve seen  Slash, Duff, Dave Kushner & Matt Sorum do this with Cypress Hill before.  Fergie rounds out the vocals nicely imitating Axl.  This is Campy and fun, and really shouldn’t be taken beyond that.  I enjoy it.
  • “Mother Maria” – On this song, Slash teamed up with Beth Hart to help Linkin Park’s Music for Relief charity.  I have no idea who Beth Hart is, but she sure can sing.  This is a country-tinged blues song with a real nice groove.  It rides the mellow/rocking line… and feels like it could spill over in either direction any minute.  This track is available on the iTunes version of the album.
  • “Baby Can’t Drive” – This is apparently what happens when Slash, Alice Cooper, Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls), Steven Adler (classic GN’R drummer & VH1 reality show train-wreck), and Flea all get together.  I know Alice has always been theatrical… but this seems like a Meatloaf song with all the love & sex taken out.  I can see why this wasn’t included on the album.  Flea is known for being a wild/crazy bass player… and there’s no way you can even tell it’s him here.  It’s good to see that Adler can still play drums.  You can get this on the Best Buy Exclusive, Napster, Brazillian, and “Classic Rock Slashpack” editions.

Well, that’s it track-by-track.  Hope it made you more interested in the album if you’re a Slash fan, and certainly I hope I didn’t deter anyone from listening to a track or two.  I didn’t get to mention that Josh Freese is on drums for most of this album… I think he’s the only guy that does more session work than Slash or maybe Dave Grohl.  If you have a band, check and see if Josh Freese is a member.  I bet you he is, and you just don’t know it yet.  Josh holds it down nice & solid.  Oddly enough, he was also in Guns N’ Roses for a while, and played the title track on Chinese DemocracyTeddy Andreadis was on it playing the clavient & wurlitzer too.  So that makes 6 past members of GN’R on one album, 4 of them from the classic lineup?  Can we please, someday get our shit together, guys?  Before someone dies?

Conspicuously absent were Slash’s VR band mates Matt Sorum & Dave Kushner, but maybe that’s calculated and why it’s a “solo” project… although you know Duff  had to make it in.  Also, didn’t Sebastian Bach tweet about being in the studio & on this album?  I wonder if he ever recorded a track, or if he went all “Savage Animal” in the studio?  Also… what ever happened to Gilby Clarke?  I would have thought that Nikki Sixx or Tommy Lee would have popped up here too.  I’d also like to have seen some more guitarists.. but this is Slash’s solo record, not mine.

Here’s the album trailer from Slash’s website

I’m anxious to hear if anyone agrees or disagrees with me on the song analysis… please, let me know what you think!

Nick Oliveri