Website Update: 1/30/16
CD Reviews: 1/30/16
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dpfinley@blastmagazine.net
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2015 Albums of the Year:
(In order of their release date)

1.) Gothard - 'Bang!'

 

6.) UFO - 'A Conspiracy Of Stars'

 

2.) Jeff Labar - 'One For The Road'

 

7.) Hinder - 'When The Smoke Clears'

 

3.) John Tagleri - 'True Believer'

 

8.) Whitesnake - 'The Purple Album'

 

4.) Thunder - 'Wonder Days'

 

9.) Every Mother's Nightmare - 'Grind'

 

5.)The Scorpions - 'Return To Forever'

 

10.) Joel Hoekstra's 13 - 'Dying To Live'



01/30/16:
MÖTLEY CRÜE's VINCE NEIL IS WORKING ON NEW SOLO CD:

    MÖTLEY CRÜE singer Vince Neil has hinted in a new interview that his solo band is working on new material, with the possibility of road testing some of those songs on his current tour.
    "I'll say that we're recording some stuff for a new record this year," Neil tells The Michigan City News-Dispatch. "You often hear some surprises at our shows. I don't want to give away some of those surprises, but let's just say you might have struck a nerve that could ring true… I think there's always room for this type of music. Some of the things we are working on will be in that same vein. The music is exciting. It's good, fun, nasty, raw energy and good songs. That's what is so important — good, fun songs. I mean, who wouldn't want to go out and not have a good time? Not me. So I'm thankful to be playing everywhere I am."
    Neil's first solo album, 'Exposed', came out in 1993, reaching No. 13 on The Billboard 200 chart. His follow-up effort, 'Carved In Stone', arrived two years later. Neil's third and latest solo album, 'Tattoos & Tequila', was released in 2010 and included two originals along with covers of classics songs from AEROSMITH, SCORPIONS and SWEET.

    "Look, I'm going to always be the guy who was in MÖTLEY CRÜE, but my first solo record, with [the song] "You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)", was over a million seller, so a lot of people enjoyed it and 'Sister Of Pain' and many of those songs," Neil tells The Michigan City News-Dispatch. "I'm looking forward to recording more stuff, but I'm really a road singer. I love giving cool, fun performances with a big look."
    'Tattoos & Tequila' sold 7,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 57 on The Billboard 200 chart.
    Neil recorded 'Tattoos & Tequila' in the winter of 2009 with his solo live backing band, which continues to consist of bassist Dana Strum and Jeff Blando (both of SLAUGHTER) and drummer Zoltan Chaney.
    According to Billboard.com, MÖTLEY CRÜE's three final shows at the Staples Center (on December 28, December 30 and December 31) were seen by 37,000 fans, generating $2.7 million in box office revenue.

    MÖTLEY CRÜE's "The Final Tour" saw the band perform across five continents (North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia) for a total of more than 164 shows in 72 markets, grossing $100 million.
    MÖTLEY CRÜE announced that a full-length concert film will be released this year. The movie will include exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of the last week of the band's five-continent tour, which began in July 2014.

 

LITA FORD TO RELEASE 'TIME CAPSULE' CD IN APRIL:

    '80s hard rock queen Lita Ford will release a new album, "Time Capsule", on April 15 via SPV/Steamhammer. The very special and unusual recording turns back the clock to a time when honest, down-to-earth rock music was still handmade and recorded without digital tricks and contraptions.
    'Time Capsule' is a "throwback" record that boasts identifiable voices and brilliant players jamming without any planning or pressure. Some of the album's highlights: Billy Sheehan (bass), Rodger Carter (drums), Dave Navarro (mandolin), Jeff Scott Soto (vocals), Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander (backing vocals) and Gene Simmons (bass).
    "There was a shitload of these 24-track analog tapes in the closet in my house [in the islands]," Ford recalls. "This is some of the best work I've ever done and it was sitting there. I grabbed two suitcases and took them back to the United States."
    Imagine Ford dragging a pair of suitcases full of analog tapes through the Caribbean dirt back to Los Angeles, so, as she recalls, "we could bake these fuckers," due to their age. "If you just put them on the reel, they would flake. I was chewing my fingernails, thinking, 'Please work!' And they did!"
    'Time Capsule' contains ten songs plus an intro and will be available as a digipak as well as an LP version and download. It's Ford's gift to fans who love the '80s, when thrilling vocal performances, raunchy riffs, and loud, growling guitars were as essential as oxygen.
'Time Capsule' track listing:
1.) "Intro"
2.) "Where Will I Find My Heart Tonight"
3.) "Killing Kind"
4.) "War Of The Angels"
5.) "Black Leather Heart"
6.) "Rotten To The Core"
7.) "Little Wing"
8.) "On The Fast Track"
9.) "King Of The Wild Wind"
10.) "Mr. Corruption"
11.) "Anything For The Thrill"
    Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has set a February 23 release date for 'Lita Ford - Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir'. In this 272-page hardcover book, which was originally expected in 2014, the former lead guitarist of The Runaways opens up about the '70s and '80s music scene, and her extraordinary life and career.

 

SOTO TO RELEASE SECOND STUDIO ALBUM ‘DIVAK’ OUT APRIL 1 VIA earMUSIC:

    SOTO, featuring vocalist Jeff Scott Soto, have completed their second studio album, Divak, out April 1 via earMUSIC.
    'Divak' (pronounced "dee-vock") comes shortly after the band's debut release 'Inside the Vertigo'. It's a mere 15 months later, partly due to singer Jeff Scott Soto's insistence on continuing to create and build a true brand for his new venture.
    Once again, the album is produced by Jeff Scott Soto and drummer Edu Cominato. It was mixed by long time JSS engineer/associate John Ellis, as well.
    The band features Soto on vocals; Cominato on drums; lead guitarist Jorge Salan; bassist David Z; and keyboardist/guitarist BJ. They are heavily featured on 'Divak', with their writing contributions together.
    The first single "FreakShow" was co-produced/written by Tony Dickinson, who also co-wrote "The Fall," which was the first single from 'Inside the Vertigo'. The track is an extension of the SOTO sound created especially for this new band.
    SOTO will debut live in February 2016 with a string of East Coast U.S. dates, leading into the annual Monsters of Rock Cruise (East), alongside Steve Vai, Extreme, Queensryche, and countless headliners.
    SOTO, formed in 2014, are the dream band created when Jeff Scott Soto realized how much he missed the "heavier side" of his career after fronting artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, and Journey, and even his own solo albums. The band hopes to continue its role as a driving force in today's current hard rock and metal scene.
'DIVAK' Track Listing:
1.) "DIVAK" (Intro)"
2.) "Weight of the World"
3.) "FreakShow"
4.) "Paranoia"
5.) "Unblame"
6.) "Cyber Masquerade"
7.) "In My Darkest Hour"
8.) "Forgotten"
9.) "SuckerPunch"
10.) "Time"
11.) "Misfired"
12.) "The Fall From Grace"
13.) "Awakened"
Bonus Tracks (All Digital Retailers):
14.) "Final Say"(live)
15.) "The Fall" (live)
16.) "Break" (live)
17.) "When I'm Older" (live)
18.) "Stand Up" (live)
Additional Bonus Tracks (iTunes/Apple Music)
19.) "My Life"
20.) "Cracking the Stone"

 



 

 

01/01/2016:
The World Of Heavy Metal Loses An Icon:

     Lemmy Kilmister, the lead singer and bassist of Motörhead and a heavy metal icon for six decades, passed away Monday after a battle with cancer. Kilmister turned 70 on Christmas Eve. The band's official Facebook confirmed Kilmister's passing, noting, "There is no easy way to say this … our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer."
    "He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made its way down the street, with his family," the statement continued. "We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren't words. We will say more in the coming days, but for now, please… play Motörhead loud, play Hawkwind loud, play Lemmy's music LOUD. Have a drink or few. Share stories. Celebrate the LIFE this lovely, wonderful man celebrated so vibrantly himself. HE WOULD WANT EXACTLY THAT."
    Many of Kilmister's heavy metal brethren and artists he inspired took to Twitter to pay tribute to the inimitable artist. "Lost one of my best friends, Lemmy, today," Ozzy Osbourne tweeted. "He will be sadly missed. He was a warrior and a legend. I will see you on the other side." Kilmister served as a co-writer on his friend Osbourne's 1991 LP 'No More Tears', including the hit "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and Grammy-winning "I Don't Want to Change the World."
    "We've lost a friend & legend," Foo Fighters wrote on their Facebook page. "My heart is broken. RIP Lemmy. Born To Lose, Lived To Win." The band attached a live version of "Stay Clean" from their 1979 album Overkill.
    Radio personality Eddie Trunk was the first to report Kilmister's passing, "Sorry to report that I have confirmed Lemmy has passed away just now at the age of 70. RIP to a true original icon of rock." Anthrax's Scott Ian wrote, "He lived a life of dreams and he went out on top. He was Motörhead and HE PLAYED ROCK & ROLL!!!" Ian added in a statement to Rolling Stone, "He was my hero and he was my friend."
    "Lemmy has passed away. Truly one of a kind. Much more to him than many knew. RIP," Kiss' Paul Stanley wrote, while Mark Lanegan tweeted, "Rip Lemmy. Seeing Motörhead at the Yakima Speedway on ace of spades tour changed my life. So sad.
"
    Kilmister had suffered from numerous health ailments in the past year, resulting in a series of postponed concerts. Lemmy was fitted with a pacemaker in 2013 and suffered from a hematoma in 2014. Despite his ailments and 40 years of heavy drinking and hard living, the "Ace of Spades" band continued to tour at a heavy volume as they supported their latest album 'Bad Magic'. This year, Motörhead cancelled shows  for reasons ranging from Lemmy's bad back to the singer suffering from altitude sickness.
    "I'm all right, you know," Kilmister told Rolling Stone in August. "I'm not dying yet."
    Born Ian Kilmister, 'Lemmy' got his start in music as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience; he shared an apartment with bassist Noel Redding. By 1972, Kilmister joined the space-rock band Hawkwind, serving as their bassist for three years, including their landmark live LP, 1973's 'Space Ritual'. However, by 1975, Kilmister was tossed out of Hawkwind and he and his distinctly gravelly voice began fronting his own project: Motörhead. The band took its name from the song "Motorhead," a Hawkwind B-side that Kilmister wrote and later refurbished for Motörhead's 1977 self-titled debut.
    "I wrote that when I was in Hawkwind," Kilmister told Rolling Stone.
    "The song was about speed and it was an issue to Hawkwind, and that's why I got fired. I never asked them what they thought of Motörhead after that. I didn't care what they thought of it. I don't think of 'Motörhead' as a defining song, though. That song's long gone for me now."
    Kilmister's distinct, pulverizing bass and unmistakable snarl were the backbone of Motörhead singles like "Killed By Death," "Bomber" and "Overkill." However, the band's biggest, most influential track was 1980's "Ace of Spades," a speed metal classic that remains the band's most enduring cut.
    "It's still very popular. When we do it onstage, everyone loves it," Kilmister told Rolling Stone. "But when we wrote it, we were just doing an album. It's just fucking another song. I thought it was pretty good, but I didn't think it was that good. So I have no special memory of writing it."
    "I'm the guy that's always been into the fucking villain musicians, from Gene Vincent to Keith Richards to Joe Perry, and I don't think any of these tough guys can hold a candle to Lemmy," Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash told Rolling Stone in 2009. "The first time I ever saw Motörhead was on the Blizzard of Ozz tour. I swear to God, it was the loudest thing I ever heard. They EQ'd it in a way to rip the top of your fucking head off. And the set they do today is the same as back then – not in terms of song choices, but the way it comes at you, barreling down the tracks like a freight train."
    Despite the breakneck pace of Motörhead's music, Kilmister himself insisted that the band wasn't a heavy metal act. "We were not heavy metal," Lemmy told The Independent in 2010. "We were a rock and roll band. Still are. Everyone always describes us as heavy metal even when I tell them otherwise. Why won't people listen?" As Kilmister told Rolling Stone in August, his chief influences were Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" and a Beatles concert he saw at Liverpool's Cavern Club when he was still a teenager.
    With Motörhead, Kilmister recorded 22 studio albums, most recently 2015's 'Bad Magic', as well as their U.K. chart-topping 1981 live LP No Sleep 'til Hammersmith (The album title later inspired the Beastie Boys heavy metal-indebted track "No Sleep till Brooklyn.") In 2005, Motörhead won their first Grammy for Best Metal Performance with their cover of Metallica's "Whiplash"; Metallica had previously covered Motörhead's "Overkill" on their 1998 covers album Garage Inc..
    In addition to the music, Kilmister's unique personality, and appearance – the muttonchops, the facial moles, the obsession with slot machines, his collection of Nazi memorabilia – endeared him to diehards and casual music fans alike. In 2010, 'Lemmy', a documentary dedicated to Kilmister and his larger-than-life personality, was released to critical acclaim.
    Kilmister boasted that he had drank a bottle of Jack Daniel's every day since he turned 30, although he admittedly gave up booze in 2013 as his health started to catch up to his hard living. "I suddenly realized I was waking up in pools of other people's vomit, and I had no recollection of them," Kilmister told Rolling Stone in January 2014. "That's a bit much. I'm not saying don't have fun, don't snort the occasional line – but don't make it your life."
    At that time, after a series of health issues threatened to take Motörhead off the road and force Lemmy into retirement, he revealed that he was worried about the future of rock and roll. "There's nobody now," he said. "There is going to be a huge hole, and nobody to step into it. I think it's important music. It's the constant music of this generation and the last one and the last one."
    In Kilmister's biography 'White Line Fever', Lemmy wrote of his own death, "People don't become better when they're dead; you just talk about them as if they are. But it's not true! People are still assholes, they're just dead assholes!"
    Kilmister's passing comes just a month after former Motörhead drummer Phil Taylor passed away at 61.

 

MÖTLEY CRÜE To Release Full-Length Live Concert Film Of Final Performance:

    Iconic, veteran rockers MÖTLEY CRÜE will play their final two shows of their thirty-four-year-long-career tonight and tomorrow at Staples Center in their hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate their mark in rock music's history and in honor of their devoted fans, the band has announced a full-length concert film of the final performance that will also include exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of the last week of the tour.  The DVD is for a 2016 release. 
    After thirty-four years performing together, "The Final Tour" has seen the M
ötley perform all across the globe, visiting an impressive five continents since July 2014 (North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia) for a total of more than 164 shows. Fans alike will be able to enjoy and/or relive the spectacular and cutting-edge production elements of "The Final Tour", such as Tommy Lee's "Crüecifly" drum roller coaster, Nikki Sixx's fire-spitting bass performance, along with all the fan-favorite hits.
    Scheduled to direct the concert portion of the film is Christian Lamb, while Jeff Tremaine, creator of the "Jackass" series, confirmed to direct the documentary segment. Produced and distributed by Live Alliance, the film will premier in theaters worldwide, as well as via pay per view in all cable, satellite, and digital formats.
    M
ötley Crüe first announced plans for their two-year "Final Tour" by signing a Cessation Of Touring Agreement at a press conference in Los Angeles in January 2014, solidifying the end of their touring career with their last show ever on New Year's Eve at Staples Center in their hometown of Los Angeles. Since the announcement, the band has been touring tirelessly to say goodbye to fans around the world.
    The 2014 leg of "The Final Tour" was one of last year's top-grossing tours, selling close to a million tickets across 72 cities and grossing more than $45 million.

 

Autograph To Release New Five-Song EP 'Louder':

    After releasing three digital singles of new music this year, reactivated '80s rockers Autograph will issue a very special five-song EP on January 7, 2016.
    'Louder' marks the first physical release featuring the new Autoraph lineup: Simon Daniels, Steve Lynch, Randy Rand and Marc Wieland.
    Initially, 'Louder' will only be available exclusively on AutographBand.com, and at the band's live shows.

    On January 7, Autograph will host a CD-release party at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. A meet-and-greet will follow the band's performance, where the group will sign copies of its new release.
    Autograph will continue to tour throughout 2016, with copies of 'Louder' available at all dates.

'Louder' track listing:
1.) "You Are Us, We Are You"
2.) "I Lost My Mind in America"
3.) "Every Generation"
4.) "Watch It Now"
5.) "Turn Up The Radio" (live)

    The platinum-selling Southern California hard rock juggernauts gave the world the ubiquitous hit "Turn Up the Radio", seminal albums such as 1984's 'Sign In Please', 1985's "That's The Stuff" and 1987's "Loud And Clear", as well as unforgettable sold-out shows alongside everybody from Mötley Crüe and Dio to Van Halen and Aerosmith. Given those accolades, when they disbanded in 1989, they never left the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the globe. Simply put, a reunion was both inevitable and essential.
    In 2011, founding guitarist Steve Lynch and bassist Randy Rand decided to meet up at the NAMM show in Anaheim. They rekindled their friendship first, opening up the lines of communication and bonding more than ever before. With the relationship rebuilt, they made a collective decision to jam again.
    "We approached our original singer Steve Plunkett about a reunion," recalls Lynch. "Unfortunately, he didn't have the time to join the band again due to how busy his business is. He did give us his blessing to move forward though, and that was important. There are so many eighties bands out there touring and having fun with it. We were one of the few that hadn't been out there. We missed our fans. This is for them."
    Fully embracing the future, the remaining members caught some videos of singer Simon Daniels of Jailhouse on YouTube. Instantly, they sensed a connection and knew that he was meant for the open spot at center stage.

    "He has big shoes to fill," smiles Rand. "Nevertheless, he was born to front Autograph. His hard-edged, bluesy voice and massive riffing sharpen our edge. He's given us a new energy, and he impressed us immediately."
    "We all had a euphoric feeling after the first rehearsal," Lynch adds. "These songs hadn't been played in 25 years, and it was indescribable. It was great to be making music with my friends again."
    With the lineup solidified, Autograph stand poised to shake rock 'n' roll up yet again. It seems to have enhanced every element from the guitars and drums to the bass and vocals.
    Lynch puts it best: "We're much heavier than before. We're not using keyboards and we're tuning down for a much fatter sound. That strengthens everything. At the same time, the melodic vocals and catchy hooks are still an integral part of our sound."


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