JustClik News and Blogs

Views, news and features about the Goulburn Valley. Showcasing a variety of local writers and their views.

Hendrix once lived (next to) the Spirit of a Classical Genius

During a sojourn in the streets of London, I discovered that Jimi Hendrix once lived next door to the former home of classical genius Handel.

Hendrix was so taken by the story that he started listening to Handel's music.

After discovering his long departed musical neighbour, Jimi went out to buy the full set of Handel’s work on vinyl (his favourite record shops being the One Stop Music Shop on South Molton Street, and Oxford Street’s HMV) and according to some musical experts, it is possible to spot Handel-like influences in Hendrix’s work…

One story I heard was that Hendrix's girlfriend had opened to door to knocking and was asked by the visitors "Is this the home of the famous musician." Of course, she said "Yes!" What they were really seeking was the former home of Handel.

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Prog Rock Pioneer Keith Emerson Suspected Suicide

Prog Rock Pioneer Keith Emerson Suspected Suicide

Keith Emerson, one of the founding members of progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died in what police are treating as a suspected suicide.

The keyboardist died at the age of 71 at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles on Thursday night, the band confirmed.

Sergeant Erika Aklufi said an investigation was looking in whether he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bandmate Carl Palmer said he is "deeply saddened" and paid tribute to his "brother-in-music".

"Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come," he said in a statement online.

Deep Purple bass player Glenn Hughes said he was in shock, losing "my brother of over 40 years.  This has left me numb."

Rock circles has recently seen the deaths of David Bowie, Lemmy (Motorhead), Jimmy Bain (Rainbow), Stevie Wright (Easybeats), Jon English, Chris Squire (Yes), George Martin (Beatles producer) and now Keith Emerson (ELP).  The past six month has been sad for the close-knit music industry.

"He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz. "I will always remember his warm smile, good sense of humor, compelling showmanship, and dedication to his musical craft," Palmer said.

The group, consisting of keyboardist Emerson, producer Greg Lake, and drummer Carl Palmer, formed in London in the 1970s and released seven albums together.

They parted ways in 1979 before reforming in 1991 and releasing two more albums.

Emerson is best known in popular music for his playing on the band's interpretation of "Fanfare for Common Man" which was used as the theme for theme for the 1974 Montreal Olympics.

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Jon English RIP, aged 66

Jon English RIP, aged 66

One of Australia's favourite sons died yesterday. Jon English died in hospital during a medical procedure.

English was well known for his work in music, television and on the stage, most notably his roles as Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1970s and later as Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance.

A statement from his talent representatives, Ambition Entertainment, said at the time of his passing he was surrounded by family members, including his four children, wife Carmen, sister Janet and brother Jeremy, as well as other close family members.

He was one of Australia's most enduring and popular stars. During the past decade he has focussed on developing the musical talent of young musicians through his touring "Rock Show".

Jon was known as one of the "good guys" of Australian music and performing. Ever popular with fans and theatre-goers.  He also wrote a rock musical called "Paris" which had never been funded to its potential. 

Shepparton last saw him performing his "Rock Show" with an amazing array of young talent from the Central Coast area.  It was a stunning show, showcasing rock from the 60s and 70s, with Jon performing many of his hits from the 70s and early 80s.  Included in his band that performed at EastBank, was his son and the likes of Emma Beau. "I'm sending you tones of love and well wishes Jon!," Emma had written on her Facebook page the day before surgery. 

A tragic loss and sad day for all.

 

 

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Technology Shift — Paradigm Shift

Technology Shift — Paradigm Shift

My adulthood has been full of technology shifts.  The ebb and flow of constat technology updates bulletpoints my years.  Some for the better, some not so.

This topic came to mind when some kids I know asked about record players and vinyl records.  "What are those black things ... and how do they work?"

So let's rewind to the 1970s, when I was first getting into technology.  Concorde was zooming about the world during its first proving exercises.  But on a smaller level I had just replaced my grandfather's valve radio with a transistor radio.

The radio had become smaller but it was less sensitive than it's analogue cousin.  No longer could I drag in the Sydney station that i used to tune in to on the Radiola.

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Burn — The Epic Purple Mk III Album is 43

Burn — The Epic Purple Mk III Album is 43

Deep Purple's classic Burn album is 43 years old today.  How time flies.  Although the album is by some considered second to MkII DP's Machine Head, I believe it is far superior.  Burn went to number one worldwide.  It was Purple's most successful album post Machine Head and Live in Japan.

Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore was at the height of his powers and the riffs on this album are just incredible.  Keyboardist Jon Lord complements Blackmore perfectly with classically influenced runs.

The newly recruited lead vocalist David Coverdale lends a new powerful sound and blends amazing harmonies with bassist Glenn Hughes.  Hughes too performs some lead vocals on this album.

Original member Ian Paice provides the drumming.

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Australian Mashup Wizard Nailing it on YouTube

Australian Mashup Wizard Nailing it on YouTube

My mate, Dave Miller, put me on to Wax Audio — MashupsTom Compagnoni, who I've figured  out is a talented video producer during his day job at The Huffington Post.  At night he makes audio mashups that have massive followings as Wax Audio on YouTube.  He has produced a number of clubbing albums since 2004.  If you listen to the lyrics of some of his early material it is highly political.  But most recently he has become notorious for creating amazing mashaps that attract millions of views on YouTube.

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Do Yourselves a Favour ... Watch Molly!

Do Yourselves a Favour ... Watch Molly!

The legend that is Ian “Molly” Meldrum and Count Down has been immortalised by Channel 7.  The irony is not lost on me, given the iconic Count Down program which shaped Australia’s embryonic music industry during the 1970s and 80s was born at the ABC (our taxpayer funded national broadcaster).

The drama which showed on Channel 7 last night, starring Samuel Johnson as Molly, was outstanding.  His depiction of the crazy, talented visionary that was Meldrum, is simply outstanding.  Johnson looks and sounds like Molly and carries the role with great gravitas.

Molly is based on Meldrum’s hit book The Never, Um ... Ever Ending Story, released last October, which was written with acclaimed journalist Jeff Jenkins.

For those of us who grew up with Count Down and Molly’s regular review segment can vividly remember the randomness of the one hour long live television every Sunday night.  From its beginnings it had become part of youth culture’s essential diet.  Rock, pop, disco ... you name it almost any professional act that wanted to “make it” in Australia needed Molly’s blessing to do so.

The show touched on Molly’s troubled childhood and even mentions him seeing the Queen as a child in Shepparton.  He also spent some time growing up in Kyabram, where his father had a hardware store.

The show starts with Molly preparing his outdoor Christmas decorations, leading to a near fatal fall from his badly placed ladder.  Rushed to emergency he lapses in and out of consciousness remebering his tumultuous rollercoaster ride to fame.

For me it was a wonderful trip down memory lane.  Seeing the “behind the scenes” storyline about stars like John Paul Young, Russell Morris, Sherbert, Split Enz and so many more was uplifting.  Was it really 30 to 40 years ago?  Indeed, it was.

And it became apparent that many of the acts that became household names would never have reached the giddy heights they did without Molly’s nod.  Those big names he influenced include ABBA, Kiss, Olivia Newton John, Little River Band, Madonna, Leo Sayer, Renee Gayer, Marcia Hines, Hush, The Ferrets, Supernaut ... the list is semingly endless.

The drama defines itself around Molly’s antics and confused sexuality and the ABC’s battle with its own standards.  Poor old Aunty ABC found herself with this crazy genius who held the highest ratings of any show on any network in their midst.  Tough for the men in brown suits trying to adhere to standards dictated to them by an Act of Government.

The second installment looks likely to be just as brilliant and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the story.  They say that the gap between insanity and genius is, in fact, very narrow.  Molly absolutely fills that void.

Part Two is on Network 7, Sunday 14th from 8.30pm.

 

 

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Tommy Bolin — Rock's Forgotten Prodigy

Tommy Bolin — Rock's Forgotten Prodigy

In rock circles, there are those who are considered the musician's-musician.  A long-forgotten guitar hero whose meteoric career took place during a decade of extremes in creativity and self-destruction, is Tommy Bolin.

Self-taught, Bolin had the uncanny ability to listen to something once or twice and be able to play it — this made him his early financial stakes by being a virtuoso session musician.  No need for sheet music.  In fact, he couldn't read it ... just listen and play.

Guitarists such as Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Steve Vai, Doug Aldridge and Steve Stevens all say they were heavily influenced by at least one of the styles Bolin had mastered before dying from a heroin overdose, aged 25.

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Rock's Ultimate Chameleon Dies of Cancer

Rock's Ultimate Chameleon Dies of Cancer

Ziggy Stardust died on Sunday!

Someone I know once said "Everything was better in the 70s!".  One person, one era I believe to support that theory was David Bowie and his ever-changing persona.  He, indeed, was pivotal to the making of the 1970s.  In fact some said Bowie had left the planet without the aid or need of a space ship.

Like many I grew up with Bowie and followed the rollercoaster of musical genres in which he experimented.  He was the master chameleon long before the likes of Madonna, Pink and Katy Perry.  The art of reinvention was a Bowie cornerstone of a half-century career.

The cancer Bowie had been suffering had largely been kept private.  The 69-year-old — known for hits such as Changes, Ashes To Ashes and Starman — left a legacy created by pioneering musicianship and ground-breaking lyrics.

Bowie's representative said he had passed peacefully "surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief."

Celebrities from around the world have been posting their condolences and fond memories.  Australian actor Russell Crowe, referencing one of Bowie's better known singles which featured on covers album Pin Ups 1973, wrote: "RIP David. I loved your music. I loved you. One of the greatest performance artists to have ever lived. #sorrow".

The British Prime Minister paid tribute.  According to David Cameron, he grew up listening to and watching the "pop genius".  "He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right," he added. "A huge loss."

Astronaut Tim Peake tweeted about David Bowie's death from outer space.  "Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer," he wrote.  "His music was an inspiration to many."

Bowie released a new album, Blackstar, only last week.  It is his 25th studio album, was released on his birthday only two days before his death.  The list of artists who hit a creative peak immediately before their deaths just increased: Mozart, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash and now David Bowie.

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Ludwig Von Beethoven's Hard Rock Legacy

Ludwig Von Beethoven's Hard Rock Legacy

Smoke on the Water is one of rock's most famous riffs and great rock anthems.  Most budding guitarists learn the riff but few realise the core of the song had been inspired by Ludwig Von Beethoven's Fifth.

Ritchie Blackmore wrote in rigid fourths to create the famous riff.  He had listened to Beethoven's Fifth and inverted it. "I should really owe Ludwig a lot of money," Blackmore said.

Another little known fact about the song is that folklore would have us believe it to be a drug song — which, in fact, it is not.  Blackmore had given it a name, "Title No. 1" before the words were created.

Blackmore had the skeleton of the song written thanks to Ludwig. He and Roger Glover (the bass player) often used to write the music first and later find the words. But on this particular day the words weren't coming.

The band had been in Montreux with their producer Claude Nobbs and the Rolling Stones Mobile, ready for the production of their "Machine Head" album.  They heard that Frank Zappa would be playing at the casino.

While watching the concert they saw Frank pause after looking up in the rafters when Frank screamed over the microphone, "Fire!!!"  The building was evacuated and Deep Purple returned to their digs and went to bed.

Roger Glover awoke early and was looking across Lake Geneva to witness the casino devastated and eery plumes of smoke drifting across the lake.  He thought: "Smoke on the Water" and from that the rest of the song is built around the happenings of that night.

"Smoke on the Water" went on to chart strongly around the world, including number two in Canada and number four in the US. The album "Machine Head" was a worldwide number one.  It stayed in the Top 100 for 25 weeks.  To put that into perspective, few albums with the exception of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" did better.

Glover and Blackmore did a simlar lyrics twist with the song "Black Night"  The boys were recording in a spooky place in the wilds of the UK.  It was a dark and stormy night but the words weren't coming, again. Then Glover said "Black Night, Ritchie." "Yes, that's it!"  More booze and some time passed and the rest of the lyrics revealed themselves.

So in simple terms it's about a dark night in a remote and scarey place while getting drunk and "not feeling right".

Many of Deep Purple's songs were written this way and it's great fun to research the riddles inside them.

 

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Rainbow Reprise — Is it Blackmore's Last Stand?

Rainbow Reprise — Is it Blackmore's Last Stand?

Rock legend Ritchie Blackmore is reforming Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow for what might amount to his last line up of the hard rock, AOR outfit.

The former Deep Purple guitarist who penned the rock classic "Smoke on the Water" is planning a three concert tour of Europe for June in Germany and the UK. No other dates have been announced at this stage.

Blackmore, 70, quit rock 'n' roll in 1997 and formed a medieval rock outfit with Candace Night. Since then Blackmore's Night has released nine studio albums.

"For past few months, Rainbow has been the frequent subject of reunion rumours, with singer Joe Lynn Turner — who fronted Rainbow from 1980 until 1984 and was a member of Purple from 1989 until 1992 — repeatedly claiming that Ritchie was "intching" to play rock music and insisting that he was in talks with the guitarist about a renewed collaboration. In a French newspaper Blackmore announced Rainbow would be doing a short tour, drawing from Deep Purple and Rainbow material.

However, Joe Lynn Turner is not included in the lineup. "I think that Joe will not be part of the adventure, and he doesn't know it yet. He does his thing, I like him, and I made good albums and good songs with him, like 'Street Of Dreams'. But I'm thinking about doing a mixture in the band, with famous people and not so famous ones. That's my state of mind at the moment, and you're the first person I talk to about it."

Blackmore will be joined by Lords of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, Blackmore's Night drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau (a.k.a. Robert "Bob" Curiano, ex-Blackmore's Night).

"I'm doing this for the fans, for the nostalgia, and the singer I've found is very exciting — he's a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Freddy Mercury. So this will mean exposing a new singer to the masses — I'm sure he will become pretty famous because of his voice."

Famous for being the driving force of Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore has had a host of incredible talent surround him over the years.  Some of those names include Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Roger Glover, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell, Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White.  Generally a list of who's who in hard rock.

It will be interesting to see if he takes the new project any further than just the four concerts. Exciting times.

Concert tour

 

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Incredible Drummer Powers "Threshold"

Incredible Drummer Powers "Threshold"

Isn't it funny how drummers in rock bands are maligned. In particular, the stereotype that plays out in the rock satire "Spinal Tap" where the drummers "self-combust" into a ball of flames.

While in the UK, I'd heard about a drummer who had won "Best Drummer" four times (now five), awarded by the Classic Rock Society.

Johanne James is a phenomenal talent, piledriving his kit for progressive metal outfit Threshold. He has been in the band over lengthy periods since signing a record deal in 1992.

The band's style is progressive metal featuring a combination of heavy guitars and sweeping keyboards, underscored by a stunning rhythm section of tight drumwork and bass. The band's lyrics concern subjects such as life, religion, science, politics and the environment.

"Pilot in the Sky of Dreams" is my favourite track. I saw them perform this live in Surrey (their home county) at a festival. One of the features of this gig was James performing a drum solo in the middle of a Genesis cover.

His pedalwork on the double kick is hard to comprehend. Perfect timing with blistering speed and tempo changes that are sublime. Apart from his work with Threshold, he plays and sings in his own band, Kyrbgrinder.

Threshold has had its ups and downs. There have been three vocalist changes. One of those sadly was Andrew McDermott, who died of kidney failure. The current vocalist Damian Wilson also sang with the band in its very early days before being unavailable to join the band for the follow-up tour, and so Glynn Morgan was recruited to replace him.

The band shines against most metal outfits with its distinctive melodies supported by driving guitars and beautiful harmonies. Wilson's vocals are outstanding.

If you like old school bands like Genesis, Marillion, Kansas, Journey, Toto and more modern groups like Kamelot and Dream TheaterThreshold is a must for your music collection.

Threshold released a double-live album, European Journey, which was recorded at various venues across Europe during November 2014, in support of its current album, For the Journey. European Journey contians 15 tracks and has been releasedas a 2-CD digipak.

Threshold is: Karl Groom (guitar); Damian Wilson (vocals); Richard West (keyboards); Steve Anderson (bass); Pete Morten (guitar); Johanne James (drums).

Highly recommended

and Johanne James singing and playing with his band Kyrbgrinder. Phenomenal.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stevie Wright's Hard Road Ends

Stevie Wright's Hard Road Ends

One of Australia's true rock 'n' roll heroes has passed. Stevie Wright was frontman of the Easybeats — arguably the most successful Aussie pop group, which had inspired Beatlemania-like fans in the UK.

Early hits for the Easybeats were co-written by Wright with bandmate George Young, including, "She's So Fine" (No. 3, 1965), "Wedding Ring" (No. 7, 1965), "Women (Make You Feel Alright)" (No. 4, 1966), "Come and See Her" (No. 3, 1966), "I'll Make You Happy" (track on Easyfever EP, No. 1, 1966), and "Sorry" (No. 1, 1966). He was lead vocalist on their only international hit, "Friday on My Mind", which peaked at No. 1 in Australia in 1966. It also made No. 6 in the United Kingdom, the Top 10 in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, No.13 in Canada, and the Top 20 in the United States in 1967.

Wright, after the break up of the Easybeats, struggled with heroin addiction. It would cast a long shadow over the rest of his life with periods of good health and subsequent return to bad habits.

His 1974 single. "Evie" went to number one and is considered the longest single to ever achieve that mark. The song was released in three parts but as album track it is more than 11 minutes long. Very unusual.

In 1982, Wright joined Vanda & Young in their studio band, Flash and the Pan to provide vocals on their album, Headlines and the related singles, "Where were You?" in July, and "Waiting for a Train" in December. That same year there was talk of an Easybeats' reunion. Wright told Juke Magazine in 1983 "we had our lawyers working out the deal" because there was a venue interested in having them "but at the last minute they tried to change the venue and we just said 'forget it'."

Wright was inducted into the Aria Hall of Fame in 2005.

Wright retired and lived on the South Coast of New South Wales. He died on 27 December 2015 at Moruya Hospital. The cause of death was later revealed to be pneumonia.

A legend gone but his music lives on.

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'Shania Twain' meets Metal — Delain

'Shania Twain' meets Metal — Delain

The name of Dutch symphonic metal band, Delain, comes from a reference in a Steven King novel. King's "The Eyes of the Dragon" has a kingdom called Delain.

Formed in 2002, the band has five excellent albums to its credit. They are Lucity, April Rain, We Are the Others, The Human Contradiction and Intelude.

Fronted by the beautiful Charlotte Wessels, she is classically trained but found it too restrictive. She likes to do something "in between the classical and the jazz stuff, and if you look at classical music with high vocal lines, then you kind of get to gothic very soon!"

She has been performing metal in various guises since she was 16 and joined Delain in 2004. She ranks among the amazing European singers such as Simone Simmons and Floor Janssens.

When asked who influences her she says: "My parents had quite good taste in music so I had some of the classic rock influences; Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, and Kate Bush."

My brother really got me into metal, those were really the high days of Metallica. Actually, Toxicity (2001) by System of The Down is still one of my favorite records ever.

"Right now, I am really into the alternative rock scene, Radiohead is my favorite band ever. I adore Muse and Nick Cave. Then there is the corner of the great female songwriters like Tori Amos, Björk, and Sia Furler.

"That pretty much covers it. I can go on for hours but I think these are the few directions which have influenced me most."

I saw them play in Weize, Belgium, in 2007. They were great then but have matured into a really tight outfit. What I like most about Delain is how Wessels doesn't stretch her vocal capability, singing well within herself bringing emotion and control to her delivery.

If you close your eyes while listening to "The Others" or "Get the Devil Out of Me" (see videos below) you could swear that it is Shania Twain singing metal. Sounds like an oxyoron, I know, it's for real. She also looks amazing in anything — at a concert you can see her in a classic 40s look, gothic costumes and corsets right down to jeans and a check shirt. Awesome!

Delain is: Wessels — vocals; founder Martijn Westerholt – keyboards; Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – bass guitar; Timo Somers – guitar, backing vocals; Ruben Israel – drums; Merel Bechtold – guitar.

If you have a liking for Nightwish, Epica, Kamelot or Within Temptation, give Delain a listen. The music is metal, sure, but iis held together with beautiful melodies and Wessels' immaculate voice.

Highly recommended.

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Steve Perry Recording New Album Since March; Due in 2016

 
Calling in to celebrate 'Uncle Joe's' birthday on LA Radio, former Journey vocalist (and all-round legend) STEVE PERRY has confirmed he has been recording a new studio album since March of this year and hopes to complete that process in the first few months of 2016.
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Scorpions - Return To Forever (Review)

Scorpions - Return To Forever (Review)
Germany’s rock legends the Scorpions return with their final studio album and final tour. Or not…maybe, who knows. Either way, the guys have come out firing with a big guitar fueled, anthemic rock record that combines song ideas from the early and mid-80s and from today.
So it sounds like an old-school Scorps record, but with a contemporary production.
There’s a lot to like here as long as you can get past the cringe worthy and clichéd lyrics and the band should absolutely be cited for the overuse of the term ‘rock and roll’ – Rock My Car, Rock N Roll Band, Hard Rockin’ The Place, Rollin’ Home.
We get it guys – you ROCK!
 
On a serious note, this is a fun album as long as you check your brain in when you hit play.
The 80s hard rock of Going Out With A Bang sums things up fairly well; and We Built This House is a great melodic rocker with a big chorus.
Rock My Car sounds like it might be called Rock My (censored) if you don’t listen close enough. It’s a bit daft.
 
House Of Cards is a solid new Winds Of Change style ballad; Rock N Roll Band has a fast beat and decent riff; Catch Your Play is a nice pompous AOR track; The Scratch has quite a groove; and Gypsy Life is a sentimental anthem before a whole range of bonus tracks (depending on format) kick in.
 
Of the bonus stuff, only the upbeat Dancing With The Moonlight has any real lasting power. The chance of having up to 5 bonus tracks moves this album from consistent to too long and containing several fillers.

Well produced by Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen and filled with the best anthemic songs the Scorps have always been known for. Nothing new, but nothing bad (apart from the lyrics) either. Just good old’ rockin’ rocking rock rock’n’roll.

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Toto XIV Represents an Awesome Legacy

Toto XIV Represents an Awesome Legacy
Toto XIV is a different beast compared to the band’s last album, Falling In Between, released some 9 years back now. There’s been a fair list of events to document in that space though. There has been the break up with vocalist Bobby Kimball; a live reunion to support Mike Porcaro (sadly suffering with ALS); the return of Steve Porcaro and David Paich to touring; the return of famed vocalist Joseph Williams (of Fahrenheit and The Seventh One fame); the departure of drummer Simon Phillips - with Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock joining for the recording of this album (but now replaced by Shannon Forrest for the tour); a lengthy (now settled) lawsuit and not least of all, the return of original bassist David Hungate for the tour and also several tracks on this album.
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Geradeaus im Saarbrücken — Ode to Herman Rarebell

Geradeaus im Saarbrücken — Ode to Herman Rarebell

During a tour of Europe I'd met up with friends in Saarbrücken, a German town on the French/Germany border. Andy and his wife said there would be a street party on during the weekend.

The Germans love their festivals during Spring. Nearly the entire population turns up for beer, food and music regularly. Think of Darwin's Mindle Bearch Market and tripple the size.

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Brian
I've been to some German beerfests and there is no doubt they know how to party. In some ways they are even more chilled out than ... Read More
Friday, 11 December 2015 01:48
Peter Russell
So true Brian. My time in Saarbruken was so much fun. I bumped into a huge German who looked like a weightlifter, spilling his bee... Read More
Monday, 14 December 2015 10:23
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