Archive for the ‘Yngwie Malmsteen’ Category

[WATCHED October-November 2012] Metal Evolution

metal evolutionVH1 aired this series last year and I was intrigued by it but figured I had no time to watch an 11 hour series on the history of heavy metal.  Of course, this being VH1, they have since re-aired the series on an almost continual loop.  So, if you’re interested, you can always catch it.

This series was created by Sam Dunn, the documentary filmmaker who made the movie Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.  I had heard good things about the movie, but never saw it.  After watching the series, I’m definitely interested in the movie.  Dunn is a keener–A Canadian heavy metal fan who is really into his subject.  He knows his stuff and he knows what he likes (heavy metal) and what he doesn’t like (glam metal, nu metal).

The sheer number of people he interviews is impressive (as are the number of locations he travels to).  Part of me says “wow, I can’t believe he was able to interview X,” and then I remember, “X is really old and is nowhere near the level of fame that he once had.”  Given that, the few hold-outs seem surprising–did they not want to have anything to do with VH1?  Are they embarrassed at how uncool they are now?  Just watch the show guys, you can’t be as low as some.

The only mild criticism I have is that the show relies a lot on the same talking heads over and over.  Scott Ian from Anthrax, whom I love, is in every episode.  Indeed, he may be a paid VH1 spokesman at this point.  There are a few other dudes who show up a little more than they warrant, but hey, you use what you got, right?

What is impressive is the volume of music he includes with the show.  I assume that he couldn’t  get the rights to any studio recordings because every clip is live.  This is good for fans in that we get to see some cool unfamiliar live footage, but some of it is current live footage which often doesn’t compare to the heyday.  Having said that, there’s a lot of live footage from the early 80s–of bands that I never saw live anywhere.  And that’s pretty awesome.

With an 11-part documentary there’s the possibility of exhaustion and overkill, but Dunn is an excellent craftsman  he jumps around from old to new, talks about how the history impacts the current and, because of his own interests, he makes it personal rather than just informative. (more…)

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harpersmarch3SOUNDTRACK: THAT METAL SHOW (VH1 Classics) (2008-2009).

metalTiVo taped 120 Minutes on VH1 Classics as a suggested title (thanks TiVo), and while we were watching it, there was an ad for That Metal Show.  So, I made sure to record that as well.

The premise of the show is that three metalheads (Eddie Trunk, whose name sounded familiar–and it turns out he’s been a DJ for years in the New York area–and two comedians I’d never heard of: Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson) host a half hour talk show about heavy metal.  There were 7 shows last season and the new season has just started.

They had a brief marathon so I was able to watch a few of the last season’s episodes and the new one.  And my opinion is mixed.

I enjoyed the interview with Geddy and Alex from Rush, and I even enjoyed the Twisted Sister episode.  And yet, like with everything on VH1 there’s more fluff than substance there.  Eddie Trunk is a good host, and although he is also from New Jersey, he’s no Matt Pinfield when it comes to interviewing.  And the comedians are kind of funny in a meathead sort of way.  Because yes, even though there are ladies in the audience, the show is a guys show.

The set up is fairly straightforward–discussion of metal “news” which is often way out of date, the guests interview, “Stump the Trunk” in which 3-4 studio audience members (almost all decked in black leather) ask Eddie Trunk a question.  If he gets it right, nothing.  If he gets it wrong, they get a prize.  The last episode I watched I got two of the three questions right and was surprised that he missed one of the ones I knew).  Then there’s the Throwdown, in which a topic is discussed for two minutes: two that I remember were “Old vs New Metallica” and “Tawny Kitaen vs The chick from the Warrant’s Cherry Pie video” (See, it’s a guy show).

And so really what you get is a bunch of affable meatheads talking about music (just like high school–how serendipitous that Yngwie Malmsteen was a guest…bummed that I missed that one!)

I quickly tired of the comedians, and if the interviewees aren’t very interesting, the show is pretty much a wash.  I do enjoy the prize section (although their segment on “picking the hot chick to hold the Trunk of Junk or whatever it’s called was just foolish).  But TiVo will keep recording it and I’ll keeping skimming through.

It’s no Henry Rollins Show, let me tell you.

[READ: March 11, 2009] “Seven Stories”

This was indeed a collection of seven very short stories.  Most are a couple of paragraphs long.  I would consider this flash fiction except, well, I don’t think they really work as flash fiction.  In my experience, flash fiction is a complete cohesive story in a few paragraphs.  These were actually fairly convoluted and never really led anywhere.

In fact I would have not finished this work, except the whole thing was only two pages long.  The stories seem to tie together (there are a couple of stories where the names are the same), but I’m unclear how.  Characters are mentioned as if we know them, but they are never explained further.  I’m actually surprised it was published at all.

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rockstar.jpgSOUNDTRACK: RADIOHEAD-In Rainbows (2008).

inrainbow.jpgOK Computer has been my favorite album for many years. And since then, I’ve been consitently blown away by Radiohead. Even their willfully obscure phase is pretty awesome in my book.

I’m not going to say much about Radiohead’s decision to sell this record online. I congratulate them for going on their own and selling so many copies. Good for them.

I bought the CD.  I would have bought the crazy expensive package, except that it was crazy expensive, so…no.

Anyhow, this album is really great. Really, really great. Radiohead have mellowed since the gorgeous cacophony of “Paranoid Android” but their songwriting has never sounded better. The songs all just sound so good. Which is sort of like saying I like eggs because of the way they taste, but the point is tsill there.

If you were to compress all of the things that Radiohead has done since OK Computer into one album this is what you would get. Not to say that it’s derivative, because it isn’t. I’m listening to it right now, and the amazing hook of “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” blows me away every time. The first time I heard “Werid Fishes/Arpeggi” I was instantly sucked into the groove. Even the opening song, which starts out with a weird staccato drum beat leading you to think here’s another techno-Radiohead disc is taken in a whole new fantastic direction by the great, weird and wonderful guitar lines that soon follow.

It’s just an amazing creation. It’s almost alike a greatest hits record of all new material. Great basslines, great harmonic vocals, astonishing guitar work, and best of all, crazy beats that keep you off balance and in the groove at the same time.

I’m curious to hear what some of these originally sounded like (there was a lot of talk of fans hearing these songs in different versions on tour, so if they ever release some live shows, that would be pretty neat. In the meantime, I’ll take this compact token of Radiohead’s output.

[READ: March, 2008] Rock Star Superstar.

So, this is my first serious foray into YA books. I got this book purely for the title. I was showing a patron the YA section, and this title jumped out at me. I’m thrilled that I took it out. In continuing with my YA theory (see What I Learned… (18)) this book is very short. It also cuts right to the chase. Our hero is Pete, a very talented bass player. He has been playing for years and is very skilled, and in the way of most high school musicians that I knew, he’s very uptight about the difference between “real” musicians and “amateurs.” I can recall having endless discussions with my fellow classmates about the merits of various musicians, (shout out to Al Crisafulli, Mike Hoblin, Tom Fitzpatrick and Steve Angelone…let’s see if you find this by Googling yourselves! “Is Geoff Tate a better singer than Bruce Dickinson?” “Is Yngwie Malmsteen a great guitarist or an overrated poseur?” (more…)

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