w/ Nashville Symphony Orchestra
May 21st 2016
PLUS: An Interview With Keyboard/Vocalist
On what started out to be an unusually chilly Saturday evening in May, Nashville is still one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever seen at night and one of the greatest places to see live music. Not that the last sentence is news to anyone, I mean, Nashville is known as “The Music City”, but beyond that, there’s a vibe here like no other. That vibe was clearly contagious at the very hip Ascend Outdoor Amphitheater on this night. Whoever’s idea it was to take their “Peanut Butter” and mix it with the other guy’s “Chocolate” deserves a medal because I don’t think any of the fans in attendance had even a spec of an idea of what we were in for. THE NASHVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA W/ STYX; it even sounds too good to be true!
I guess it’s no surprise that someone who grew up on copious daily feedings of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal can still love the sound of a symphony. For years, Hard Rock and Classic Rock musicians have been adding orchestras and symphonies to their music because aside from the fact that it sounds amazing...it’s badass! You put an orchestra behind Metallica, (like they’ve already DONE)...it’s badass, or you slide one right in behind a live KISS show, (like they’ve already DONE)...it’s badass! Now, you tell me that I have a chance to see my favorite Progressive Classic Rock Band Of All-Time play with the renowned Nashville Symphony Orchestra? Please; TAKE MY MONEY AND MY CAR!!!
Speaking to SomeKindOfMedia by phone, a week prior to the show, STYX Keyboardist/Vocalist Lawrence Gowan explains the marriage of talent that we will have Descend Upon The Ascend this particular evening:
Lawrence Gowan: “You know, first of all you have to understand something to understand why this is nothing unusual for us; I’ll use me, for example. When I came into the band, back in ’98-’99, a lot of people think I came in because I could sing like Dennis. Craig, it was never a situation where they expected me to imitate someone else and not once when I auditioned for Styx did they say, ‘Oh, let’s do “Lady” and see how you can handle that”, it was literally exactly the way it was back in the 70’s when Tommy Shaw came in and joined. They just started from that point and moved forward as a new version of Styx. That is exactly what they told me to do. I was hired to come in and be Lawrence Gowan, and that’s what I’ve done all these years since joining because that’s the encouragement and support for many types of art and music that this band fosters. If you digest that, having us perform our music with the amazing talents of the Nashville Symphony is perfectly fitting!”
Showtime could not have been a fraction off the 8:03pm mark, as Nashville started to get dark and the crowd rose to their feet while Nashville Symphony Orchestra walked on, taking their seats appropriately and led by conductor Liza Grossman. And then, they proceeded to set the tone with an incredible symphonic rendition of the STYX classic “The Grand Illusion”, to which the band arrived minutes later, fully plugged-in and to thunderous applause. It all made perfect sense now!
Finishing out this nine-minute plus version of the audience favorite, the guys felt no need to waste time with small-talk, so the big screen clock started ticking and everyone knew what was next; “Too Much Time On My Hands”, complete with the added excitement of an orchestra punctuating every accent in the chorus to the synchronized light show! Again, all I can say is, it’s badass! Lawrence seems to agree:
Lawrence Gowan: “It’s funny that so many people are excited for this as if it’s a new thing we’re doing. We love the acoustic, unplugged, symphony and orchestra shows a lot. I mean, you’re right; they are awesome! This whole tour is going to be called “An Evening With Styx” and it’s going to be very cool for the fans, but as far as the Nashville show; we did three successful shows that were just amazing last year and it was with The Nashville Symphony. So, we will continue to do shows like this because audiences enjoy it. We have grown up Styx fans bringing their 11 and 12-year old children to see us, some have grandchildren...it’s just amazing how much the fans support the music!”
If the capacity crowd was any fuel to that statement, the place was on fire by the time they rolled into the fourth song of the set, “Lady”. With Gowan putting his amazingly dead-on Dennis DeYoung croon to this monster hit, the entire crowd were asked to flick their Bics or cell phones in an attempt to light the place up...we did! Then, in a true mark of a band that knows their music and their fans better than their music and fans do; STYX were about to pull two tunes out of the old, dusty catalog that many of the fans, myself included, had never heard live before...and were damn glad we were here tonight to see this! “Lorelei” and “Man In The Wilderness” were just left-of-center ideas that worked straight up the middle because everyone was literally standing up throughout at this point.
The band added the touch of paying a huge tribute to one of the biggest influences on the art of music production; Sir George Martin. Tearing through The Beatles’ classic, “I Am The Walrus” with Gowan doing the most perfect job of handling John Lennon’s voice you’ve ever heard, the band erupted across the stage in a frenzy I can only liken to that stirring that happens on dry ground before a really bad windstorm. The symphony was just pounding away during all the right moments and this song ended in a sheer scream of approval from the crowd, most of those in the good seats, knowing nothing about the man it was intended to praise. It was the perfect time for the band to take a short intermission as the noise died down.
I remember asking Lawrence why he thought the band had continued to be successful in America, of all places since we’re so fickle, after 40-plus years. It was rather interesting the way he tackled that question much differently than some of the more current bands that I talk to when I ask how they continued to survive just a decade. Usually, I get the typical; “Well, it’s just good music and good music can’t be denied!” Now, while that is very true, the additive that I think most of the “newer” bands are forgetting is that, you also have to be able to PLAY IT WELL! Lawrence was very quick to note that it was the band’s constant bar or level that has been set by the predecessors like Dennis DeYoung, the late John Panozza and original STYX bassist Chuck Panozza (whom was, cheerfully, on stage for a couple numbers during the set!) that make the band what it is. In saying this, Lawrence makes mention of his personal friend and STYX drummer Todd Sucherman, who filled the vacant drummer spot left by John in ’95.
Lawrence Gowan: “It’s funny, I have been on stage with Todd Sucherman more than an other human being! He played with me in my solo band in Canada before I joined Styx and now that I tour with them as much as I do, there is no one else I have played with onstage more. You know what? He’s still fun to watch and play with. I’ve gone to clinics where he’s teaching to a lot of people and I’ve been thoroughly entertained. He is a very entertaining, funny, and of course, knowledgable drummer. Now that he’s getting recognition for that, I think it’s great because he’s always been amazing. That’s why Styx chose him to play. They know the level of player they have to bring through the door in order to even meet the bar that has been set before them and I think that not only keeps things exciting, but it goes a long way to completing that legacy that the other band members before us worked so hard to build!”
With barely enough time for a bathroom break, the whole gang; symphony and band, were back at it for Round #2. Like before, the dramatic symphony orchestra kicked it off with a cool into to what would become the infamous “Suite Madame Blue”. Obviously a sing-a-long highlight for the entire crowd, lights were dancing all around the Nashville sky behind the stage as the entire entourage took us through probably the best version I’ve ever heard of that song! Equally impressive was the follow up song, my LEAST favorite STYX tune, “Miss America”. It actually sounded amazing, even as a song that I’ve hated for so long. I was impressed, however, not-so-much with the next choice, the weird Cornerstone album B-Side, “Lights”. Totally, the only low point of the show and easily excused when you consider that they ended the night, in loving tribute, to Mr. David Bowie with the most, sincerely, amazing rendition of “Space Oddity” you’ll ever experience. I’m sure Bowie had to have seen them do that before he passed because it was just incredible and way too good to have not shared with him! I could not think of a more perfect ending to one of the coolest shows Nashville has rolled out this year! A very easy 9 Out Of 10 Stars from this scribe!
Check out this incredible “Making Of...STYX’s stellar The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight World Tour”:
Special thanks to STYX’s Lawrence Gowan and Tour Manager George Packer for the after show hospitality, a huge shout-out to Amanda Cagan at ABC Publicity as well as The Nashville Symphony Publicity Director David Felipe and his colleague Jonathan Marx. Also, my astute photographer for the evening, Karen Stegall, many thanks and you are also welcome from me that you got to see Tommy Shaw that close! This was a great kickoff to Ascend Amphitheater’s Summer Concert Season. For more information on The Ascend Outdoor Amphitheater, head over to: http:// www.ascendamphitheater.com. Check out The Nashville Symphony Orchestra: https://www.nashvillesymphony.org, and keep in tune with everything Styx: http:// styxworld.com or http://www.facebook.com/styxtheband
and Lawrence Gowan at: https://www.facebook.com/officialgowan.
DUFF MCKAGAN'S Autobiographical Documentary "IT'S SO EASY AND OTHER LIES: LIVE AT THE MOORE" To Be Screened In 50 Cities Beginning May 26th
Long-running, Austin-based superboogie trio, HONKY - which features long time Butthole Surfer/part time Melvins bassist JD Pinkus, guitarist Bobby Ed Landgraf (Down, Skrew, ...), and drummer Trinidad Leal (Dixie Witch) -- will drop the rump-shaking wares of their anticipated Corduroy full-length later this month via Housecore Records!
In advance of its release, today Decibel Magazine is streaming "Double Fine," with the Melvins' Dale Crover on the drum stool, for communal inebriation. Says Pinkus of the track, "Only when the Mighty Dale Crover is jammin' with HONKY, ya gotta decide whether to listen to the background harmonies or triangle solo. He is a monster on the triangle."
Get down with "Double Fine" at THIS LOCATION.
For preorders go to THIS LOCATION.
HONKY was founded in 1996 and proudly carries the torch held by the likes of Bloodrock, Pantera, ZZ Top and the red-headed stranger himself, Mr. Willie Nelson. Over the course of two decades, the band has released some of the best stripped down, butt-shakin', rock ever cut to wax, tape, or CD. The band's newest release (and eighth overall!), Corduroy, is another feast of down and dirty rock, rollin' across the finish line on May 27th via on Philip Anselmo's Housecore Records. Boasting nine tracks thick enough to eat with a fork but you'll wanna keep a spoon handy so ya don't miss out on that gravy, Corduroy was produced by JD Pinkus and mastered by Paul Leary with artwork and layout by Ryan Everett. Drum duties were handled by a more-than-qualified group of drummers, including Leal, Michael "Night Train" Brueggen (Blackula, Syrup, Supagroup), Dale Crover (Melvins), and even original HONKY drummer, Lance Farley, all makin' the grooves proper. Guest appearances include Mark "Speedy" Gonzales and the Fantasma Horns, as well as the band's favorite Honkette, Rae Comeau. Boasts Sea Of Tranquility in an advance review of the record, "..with songs like 'Outta Season,' 'Baby Down Slow Down, 'and the title track so full of addictive grooves, raunchy guitar work, occasional horns, strong lead and backing vocals, and just a warm vibe, it's hard to imagine these guys falling as far under the radar as they have."
HONKY will bring their Lone Star grooves to the stage on their upcoming Texas and UK dates with additional live performances to be announced soon.
6/11/2016 R.O.T. Rally @ Cowboy Harley-Davidson - Austin, TX
7/08/2016 Boneshakers - Corpus Cristi, TX
7/09/2016 White Oak Music Hall - Houston, TX
7/26/2016 Portland Arms - Cambridge, UK
7/27/2016 The Cavern - Exeter, UK
7/28/2016 The Underworld - London, UK
7/29/2016 The Bullingdon - Oxford, UK
7/30/2016 Red Sun Festival - Cardiff, UK
7/31/2016 Craufurd Arms - Milton Keynes, UK
8/01/2016 Exchange - Bristol, UK
8/02/2016 The Iron Road - Evesham, UK
8/03/2016 Arches Venue - Coventry, UK
8/04/2016 The Anvil - Bournemouth, UK
VALIENT THORR are the baddest band on the planet (from another planet). They have been rocking their adopted home of Earth since arriving here from Venus over fifteen years ago. With six albums under their belt Napalm Records will release their seventh album later this year! This MC5/James Brown inspired quintuplet have stood the test of time morphing in and out of what Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister calls simply- Rock N'Roll.
In support of the new album VALIENT THORR will be hitting the road in North American on the "15 Years on Earth Tourr". Joining them on the road will be Pears, Black Wizard and label-mates Hammer Fight. The tour kicks off May 25th in Asheville, NC and runs through July 13th in Baltimore, MD.
"Alahoyus true believers! We are super psyched to be coming back after SO long. In this specific time period of savage psychic political and media warfare, and with the loss of so many true artistic voices- we need all Thorriors to slap their big bare foot on the nearest log like that lil rabbit in Bambi, and let them all know WE ARE COMING."
- Valient Himself-
15 Years on Earth Tourr
w/ Pears, Black Wizard, and Hammer Fight
5/25 - Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
5/26 - West Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
5/27 - Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic
5/28- Satellite Beach, FL @ Sports Page
5/29 - Lake Worth, FL @ Propaganda
5/31 - Mobile, AL @ The Blind Mule
6/01 - Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
6/02 - Birmingham, AL @ Syndicate Lounge
6/03 - Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone Café
6/04 - Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern
6/05 - Houston, TX @ Rudyards
6/06 - San Antonio, TX @ Jacks Bar
6/08 - Austin, TX @ The Lost Well
6/09 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links
6/10 - Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Note
6/11 - Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre
6/12 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar
6/15 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
6/16 - Glendale, CA @ Complex
6/17 - Reno, NV @ Shea's Tavern
6/18 - Sacramento, CA @ Starlight Lounge
6/19 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
6/20 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
6/22 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon Lounge
6/23 - Vancouver, BC @ SBC
6/24 - Edmonton, AB @ Starlight Room
6/25 - Calgary, AB @ Palomino Smokehouse
6/27 - Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret
6/30 - Fort Wayne, IN @ Brass Rail
7/01 - Louisville, KY @ Haymarket Whiskey Bar
7/02 - Columbus, OH @ Shrunken Head
7/03 - Ferndale, MI @ Zeke's
7/05 - Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck
7/06 - Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
7/08 - Buffalo, NY @ The Studio at Waiting Room
7/09 - Providence, RI @ Firehouse 13
7/10 - New Haven, CT @ Café Nine
7/11 - Brooklyn, NY @ Black Bear Bar
7/12 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
7/13 - Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage
Following a weekend of record breaking attendance in Florida—including more than 50,000 at a sold out Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville in Jacksonville and over 23,000 at Monster Energy Fort Rock in Fort Myers--Danny Wimmer Presents has announced the first annual Houston Open Air music, whiskey, craft beer and Gourmet Man Food festival debuting Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25 at NRG Park, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Houston Open Air is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, a producer of some of the biggest rock festivals in America, including LOUDER THAN LIFE, Chicago Open Air, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Fort Rock, Monster Energy AFTERSHOCK, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, Rock On The Range and more.
Given the devastation caused by the recent flooding, Houston Open Air festival organizers are in talks with the Houston Mayor’s Office to highlight local disaster relief efforts and fundraising. Details of this program will be announced along with the lineups. In the meantime, we encourage people to donate to http://www.houstonrecovers.org/.
Houston Open Air includes:
ALICE IN CHAINS
PIERCE THE VEIL
OF MICE & MEN
THE AMITY AFFLICTION
MAX & IGOR CAVALERA: RETURN TO ROOTS
JIM BREUER AND THE LOUD & ROWDY
TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION
SONS OF TEXAS
TWELVE FOOT NINJA
THE WORD ALIVE
DINOSAUR PILE UP
THROTTLEROD has always had a knack for surprising, and their fourth album, Turncoat, is no exception. After making the transition from four-piece to trio, the outfit offered up their third full-length, Pig Charmer, in 2009, and took a left turn from their earlier, riffier vibes to blistering and aggressive noise rock. Like all their prior work, it was produced by Andrew Schneider, and had a sharpness in its chug that, while it still grooved, was clearly looking to accomplish something apart from the band's earlier three LPs: 2000's Eastbound And Down, 2003's Hell And High Water, and 2006's Nail, as well their quiet, semi-unplugged 2004 EP, Starve The Dead.
While the biggest change that Pig Charmer brought about was in lineup, Turncoat goes even further. Instead of going back to record as they always had, the band hooked up with J. Robbins (Clutch, Coliseum, Against Me!) to lay down Turncoat's twelve tracks, and the result of the new collaboration is that the album not only follows-up on the aggro promise of Pig Charmer, but builds it outward, in a way that's more melodically resonant and as much about emotional expression as sonic impact.
Dedicated to the memory of Puny Human vocalist Jim Starace, who passed away in 2012, and who had guested on Nail, Turncoat is an important step forward for the band, but much more, it's a killer rock album, and whatever THROTTLEROD go through from one record to the next, and whoever happens to be sitting at the helm, that's the underlying thread. It just wouldn't be THROTTLEROD if it didn't kick ass... and offer a surprise or two along the way.
Turncoat was engineered and mixed by J. Robbins at Magpie Cage in Baltimore, Maryland, mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio in Cornwall, New York and will see release on CD and digitally June 24th, 2016 through Small Stone Recordings.
In the meantime, sample opening track, "Bait Shop," at the official Small Stone BandCamp page HERE where you'll also find preorder options.
Turncoat Track Listing:
1. Bait Shop
2. Lazy Susan
3. Never Was A Farmer
6. You Kicked My Ass At Losing
8. Every Giant
9. Cops And Robbers
10. Breadwinner 1
13. I Know A Ship
12. The Guard
Matt Whitehead - guitar, vocals
Kevin White - drums
Jeremy Plaugher - bass
The Dead Deads
10 Out Of 10
Review by: Bam Bam Stegall
Seriously, forget all you’ve ever hated about that classless and overused “Girl Power” bullshit you hear thrown around every time there’s a band that pops up with more than one chick in the group. THIS, my rabid music peeps, has nothing to do with Y- chromosomes, estrogen or equal rights convention; this, is pure, unadulterated and naturally occurring Rock-N-Roll “MAGIC”.
Are The Dead Deads made up of five equally gorgeous women? Yessir, they are! Are The Dead Deads awesome musicians regardless of their sexy femininity? You bet your ass! Are The Dead Deads some kind of female marketing gimmick to sell a male-dominated rock-n- roll style with females hacking away at it with minimal talent to be forgiven, or course, because “after all, they are girls!” (not that anyone would ever do such a thing... BabyMetal....yuck!)? FUCK NO!!!!
This is the REAL DEAL, gang, and here’s the secret: It Works BECAUSE They’re Females!!!! Here’s the formula, Love plus Passion plus Divine Mother-Nature equals The Dead Deads! The album being reviewed here is two years old! Why am I even choosing to make something out of this when there’s so much new stuff to talk about? Because the new stuff can’t even poke its shitty head in the door and begin to compete with nary a single track on this album! Just the
opening notes of the lead-off track, “The Lonely Sound”, complete with drummer Billy Dead, the baddest bitch behind a drum kit since Sheila E., Mod Squad’s the hell out of her snare rim to ring in a funky Police-meets-The Ramones trip that the ladies just use as a one-way drag strip to paint so many different colors and styles throughout this amazing breed of ‘Whatever-The-Fuck-The Dead Deads-Are”. Add every single song thereafter, highlights indeed for “Pyre Rats”, “Organ P”, “Nope”, “Weedo” and the cannabis-glow of “Lemonade”, and you won’t find another album this good until their next one. PERIOD (exclamation point)!
As I meandered into that club on the outskirts of Nashville, the Music City, this past weekend, I finally realized where my love of doing this exact same thing in the 80’s had been lost over the past 25-years. Now, in less than half the opening chords to their crowd- favorite, “Organ P”, as it blasted through an amazingly awesome sound system at Clarksville, Tennessee’s The Warehouse Night Club & Lounge, I found THAT energy again, that drive to play what music represents to you, and that immediate connection through just naturally occurring, organic talent that attracts such an amalgam of musical dichotomy with fans that would do anything to keep it going. I finally found musical nirvana! Not since October of 1985 when I walked my 19-year old, punk ass into that club in Frederick, Maryland and saw, a then 18-year old, Shannon Larkin, pre-Godsmack, making history with his band Wrathchild, had I been so moved by music! I was reenergized by this seemingly innocent band of carefree, young women.
Now, for the truth; there’s NOTHING that hasn’t been perfectly calculated with these rocking, titty-packin’ Godzillas! They have PERFECT music, PERFECT stage presence, PERFECT fan interaction, PERFECT moves, PERFECT chops and a PERFECT producer in Page Hamilton (of Helmet fame) who is currently handling the production duties for the ladies’ new E.P. which has already been recorded at Nashville’s famed NRG Studios and will see a proper release this Summer 2016.
I’ve literally not stared at success in the music industry so perfectly in the eyes as I did this past Saturday night. I hope you’ll take a moment to make sure your future musical endeavors are not absent the sensational lab experiment gone completely right in The Dead Deads. You truly need to pick up this 2014 gem and acquaint yourself more before we all become owned in their World Takeover this summer as they hit the road in support of the soon-to-be-release Hamilton produced E.P., which will contain one of my favorite tracks they do, “Super Tiny”!
Seriously, this isn’t my normal fire drill here, gang. I’m not asking you, I’m literally screaming in your fucking ears right now; “GO BUY THIS RECORD AND SUPPORT THIS INSANELY TALENTED AND AMAZING BAND!” Oh, and they’re sexy as hell....especially YOU, Hella Dead! (wink!)
The Dead Deads online:
Here’s a quick video teaser of Page with the gals in the studio. You’ll easily see why they’re so damn charming and you just WANT to make them your favorite band for life!
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Photos by: Jay Beadnell
Photos by: Jay Beadnell