Rainbow Live Re-Issue A Welcome Return For A New Generation Of Audiences

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Long live Eagle Rock Entertainment.  That’s what fans of classic rock group Rainbow will be saying after experiencing the band’s newly re-issued recording, Live in Munich 1977.  This classic concert was originally released to DVD in 2006.  Now seven years later, it’s available once again for a whole new generation of purist rock and roll fans to enjoy.  And it goes without saying that this is quite the performance.  It is available now on DVD, 2CD, digital audio and digital video, and even vinyl for older audiences with a certain sense of nostalgia. 

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records

The classic lineup of Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath, Dio), Bob Daisley (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Dio, Uriah Heep)  and Cozy Powell (The Jeff Beck Group, Whitesnake, ELP, Black Sabbath, etc.) came together for what is one of the single most epic concerts of this band’s career.  It’s also the only full live show ever filmed that featured this lineup.  And what a show it was.  It is yet more evidence of everything that once was right with rock and roll.  This is not just some rock and roll concert.  Rainbow Live in Munich 1977 is a rock and roll experience.  The show’s shortest song is four minutes and forty-two seconds long.  The longest comes in at a whopping twenty-seven minutes and thirty-three seconds.  So it is not for those with short attention spans.  The songs in between are hardly short, either.  And that is perfectly fine.  The audio (CD/Digital audio) portion makes for great driving music for classic rock fans, especially with the weather having turned warm.  The video portion (DVD/Digital video) is just as enjoyable to pop into one’s DVD/Blu-ray player.  Those with home theater systems will especially appreciate the surround sound experience of this show. 

Speaking of the overall concert experience one would be remiss to ignore the overall performance presented by Rainbow in this recorded concert.  Both Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio showed why they were and are two of the most respected individuals in the music community to this day.  RJD no longer being with us, this concert serves as a testament to his vocal abilities, even though his vocals are somewhat overpowered by the rest of the band at times.  When he cuts through though, RJD really cuts through and shows why he remains one of the best singers in the rock business today.  Blackmore’s chops on the guitar are second to none throughout the show.  This is especially the case on the anthem, ‘Love Live Rock ‘n’ Roll.’  He and the rest of the band put on a virtual clinic with this song that was brand new at that point.  It’s such a simple song.  Yet somehow, Blackmore with his solos and Cozy Powell with his solid time keeping make this one of the show’s highest of highs.  On a side note, seeing Cozy Powell playing with the traditional grip is just as incredible.  When one thinks of drummers using the traditional grip, the most common association made is with jazz, not so much rock music.  There are those that did and do today.  But their numbers are few.  So for the drumming community, this, along with Powell’s solid time keeping makes the performance even more enjoyable. It’s just one of so many examples that could be pulled from the show that make it such a joy to experience whether one is hearing Rainbow for the first time or fiftieth.

Rainbow showed that it could really bring down the house with a number such as ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll.’  It also showed its versatility on the equally bluesy ‘Man on the Silver Mountain.’  This sixteen-minute plus opus had its own slower jam session moment that is just as incredible as anything that any of today’s blues musicians could churn out.  It’s also one of the moments when RJD really got the opportunity to showcase his powerhouse vocals.  And did he ever?  His vocals soar on this performance.  And even after this song ended Dio showed again why he was and is one of rock’s best front men.  Here was this larger than life figure.  Yet on stage, he seemed so down to Earth and so humble.  Seeing the rapport that he had with the audience in comparison to the myth surrounding him is so eye opening and refreshing.  He shows that he was a rock star’s rock star.  He showed he didn’t have an ego and that he appreciated having the chance to do what he did; even more proof of the importance of RJD as an artist.  And the band fed off of that energy, too, making this whole concert such a joy to look back on.

The concert contained on the DVD and double-disc CD are both wonderful additions to the home library of any classic rock fan or any fan of pure, guitar driven rock music.  This latest re-issue boasts more than just a concert though.  Adding to the overall enjoyment of the performance are bonus interviews with Bob Daisley and Colin Hart, as well as an interesting recording of the band performing in Texas the year prior.  The interviews with Daisley and Hart are entertaining to say the least.  During his interview, Daisley tells an anecdote about going driving with one of the other band members.  This little story is sure to make for some laughs.  He also tells his side of how the band came to be and much more.  What else is discussed, audiences will have to find out for themselves when they pick up the DVD.  Hart’s interview is just as entertaining, and at other times candid.  This is especially the case when he is asked to share his thoughts on drummer Cozy Powell.  It’s obvious in hearing him talk that this was a difficult topic to touch on.  Fans will take away a lot from this and Hart’s other thoughts on fellow band member Ronnie James Dio, as well as his thoughts on the band’s success and other topics. 

If the bonus interviews aren’t enough for fans, then maybe the bonus promo videos and the included booklet in the DVD package will impress audiences, too.  The booklet included in the DVD outlines the history of Rainbow from its formation to the replacement of Dio, Daisley, and Stone.  It’s just one more extra piece that fills this small package with so much to appreciate.  The bonus videos included in this recording are actual full performances of the songs ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’, ‘Gates of Babylon’, and ‘L.A. Connection.’  They aren’t just little snippets of the songs.  If all of this set alongside an already impressive full live performance isn’t enough for fans, then fans that don’t appreciate everything included here either don’t have a pulse or aren’t real fans to begin with.  Keeping this in mind, this latest re-issue is one more incredibly jam packed live release that is more than worth every watch.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct online from the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com/product/EV306049/Live+in+Munich.

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Re-Machined More Than Just A Tribute Record

Courtesy:  Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Famed British hard rock band Deep Purple is set to drop its new album next month.  The album, titled Now What?! will be released in the United State Tuesday, April 30th.  While fans wait for the release of this highly anticipated album, they have another recent release to tide them over in the form of the tribute album, Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head.  It may be a tribute album, but it is still a great album for both new and long-time fans of Deep Purple.

The new honorary compilation hit stores in late 2012 as part of the 40th anniversary of the landmark album’s original release.  It features all seven tracks from Deep Purple’s original iconic album plus a pair of bonuses.  One of those bonuses comes in the form of Metallica’s cover of ‘When A Blind Man Cries.’  As Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich notes in the compilation’s liner notes, “I have a list of songs in my head that Metallica should play before we either break up or die, and Deep Purple’s ‘When A Blind man Cries’ is one of those songs.”  The song in question is a bonus in that it actually never made the record.  Again, the liner notes shed light on this.  The notes, written by Classic Rock Magazine’s Mark Blake note that the song in question was originally a B-side to the song, ‘Never Before’ but has become a fan favorite throughout the years.  So it only made sense to have it included on this tribute record.  And it’s just one of the pieces that make this album a must not just for any Deep Purple fan but for any hard rocker, period.

‘When A Blind Man Cries’ is just one part of what makes Re-Machined such an impressive album of covers.  Going back to Ulrich, he and Metallica constitute just one of the acts brought together to record this album who openly tout Deep Purple as an influence in their own career as musicians.  Blake writes of Iron Maiden’s front man Bruce Dickinson (whose band also covers a track on the disc) that he [Dickinson] was also a “serious Purple aficionado.”  He quotes Dickinson as saying, “I cut my teeth as a kid on Deep Purple.  It’s what I grew up with.  It’s what got me out of bed in the mornings.”  Now if that isn’t a tribute in itself to the importance of Deep Purple in the music world, it’s anyone’s guess what is.  Dickinson and company ended up recording ‘Space Truckin’’ for the record, which is an absolutely outstanding piece both originally and as a cover here.  The way that it drives (no pun intended), it will have fans pumping their fists and singing along loud and proud. 

If Iron Maiden’s ‘Space Truckin’’ isn’t enough to convince fans of this compilation’s importance, then maybe the album’s opener will.  Carlos Santana (yes, that Carlos Santana) joins Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix for a cover of what is arguably the band’s most famous song of all time, ‘Smoke on the Water.’  What’s really interesting about this cover is that while it is a cover, it doesn’t feel or sound like one.  Far too often, bands and artists try to take classic songs and update them.  That’s not the case here.  Shaddix and Santana have taken the classic and made it their own while still paying homage to the original.  It makes perfect sense as to why the album would open with this cover in hearing Santana’s guitar chops and the solid vocals of Shaddix.  It also serves one more purpose that at a passing glance is missed.  But in really thinking about the generational mix presented here, one sees the purer purpose of using it as the compilation’s opener.

On the surface, having a bunch of bands and artists resurrect one of rock’s most important and iconic albums is a great thing.  Having the album resurrected by a collection of rock’s greatest names past and present is even greater.  What this does is it makes it more than just a tribute album.  It makes the album a music history lesson in and of itself.  As evidenced in the opening number, young audiences will be pulled in by the inclusion of Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix.  Older audiences will be pulled in from both the fact that it’s Deep Purple and that fellow veteran musician Carlos Santana is on the track.  Also because of the inclusion of Santana, those same younger audiences will potentially be introduced to the music of not just one great classic act, but two in both Deep Purple and Carlos Santana, thus preserving both acts’ legacies for a whole new generation.  The same could be said of the inclusion of Chickenfoot’s live cover of ‘Highway Star’ and Black Label Society’s cover of ‘Pictures of Home.’ 

It should be clear by everything noted here that Re-Machined is more than just a tribute to a band.  It’s a tribute, yes.  But it’s also a tribute to everything that was and still is right with rock and roll.  It’s a musical love letter to real rock and an excellent way to get a whole new generation of hard rockers and metal heads into what is without a doubt, one of mainstream rock’s greatest bands.  The album is available now in stores and online.  Audiences can get more information on this album, the band’s upcoming new full length studio release and its tour dates online at http://www.deeppurple2013 and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple

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Something Unto Nothing Is Something Indeed

Courtesy:  Robo Records

Courtesy: Robo Records

The debut album from rock supergroup Something Unto Nothing is perhaps the first great rock record of 2013.  The band—Sass Jordan (Canadian Idol), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne), Michael Devin (Whitesnake, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Kenny Wayne Shepherd), and Tommy Stewart (Godsmack, Lo Pro, Everclear, Fuel) have come together for a record that’s a solid, no-nonsense rock record.  The project was originally started by Jordan and band mate Brian Tichy.  Tichy notes in an interview about the album, “I had played drums on Sass’ Rats record.”  He added, “I knew she was one of the best rock singers out there.  So after many years, we reconnected and tried a bit of writing together.”

Fans of the stoner rock genre will especially enjoy this album as it opens with a sound similar to the likes of Fireball Ministry, Nebula, and others of that ilk.  Jordan even noted in an interview of how the album came to develop its sound.  “As we continued the songwriting path from the quintessential rock tunes, ‘Burned’ to ‘Mobile Again’ to ‘Nomad’ and on…The whole thing started to take shape in the form of a 70’s odyssey, a time travel trajectory”, she said.  That couldn’t be truer.  The album’s opener, ‘Burned’ will take audiences back to rock’s heyday thanks to the combination of Sass’ vocals and the band’s musical backing.  Sass sounds like some wild hybrid of Janis Joplin and fellow veteran vocalist, Geddy Lee (Rush).  Stewart expertly keeps a solid 4/4 beat for the band all while tossing in some nice little flourishes throughout.  And Tichy’s guitar work is just as solid here.  Just as Stewart’s drumming proves the K.I.S.S. formula true, so does Tichy’s guitar work.  There’s nothing overdone about what he does here.  But it’s that simplicity and solid playing that makes this the right choice for a first impression on this record.

The band follows up the success of ‘Burned’ with an equally simple yet rocking song in ‘Crazy Head.’  There’s no question what this song is about, lyrically speaking.  It’s a song about a relationship issue.  Given, that’s the most common lyrical topic of any song.  But it’s the way the topic is tackled both lyrically and musically that makes it such an interesting piece.  Jordan sings in the song, “You, You, you/You’re crazy/Don’t you call me baby/You, you , you/You’re crazy/You got a crazy head.”  It’s amazing what a few words can do.  But that chorus is enough to explain everything that’s needed to understand this song.  This is not just some “oh-woe-is-me” style song.  This is coming from the standpoint of a strong empowered individual.  It’s someone who isn’t going to take any junk from anyone.  Add in the music’s fiery exuberance, and that becomes increasingly clear.  Yet again, Brian Tichy shines on this song, adding a solo that would make any guitar purist proud.

The band continues much in the same style in the album’s very next song, ‘Nomad.’  This is one of those songs that will instantly have the horns in the air and the hair flying as heads bang.  It’s sure to become a fan favorite both from the record and both as the band hits the road to perform the songs from this album live.  And for those worrying about whether or not this first trio of songs is all that the band has to offer on its debut, those fears are instantly silenced as the band launches in the Red Hot Chili Peppers style funk-rock of ‘Did Me No Good.’  Together, Tichy and bassist Michael Devin make for a sound that would make RHCP guitarist and bassist Josh Klinghoffer and Flea happy.  The band barely lets up from here with the southern rock styling of the album’s next two tracks, ‘Mobile Again’ and ‘I’m The One.’  ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd fans will appreciate ‘Mobile Again’ with its classic southern rock sound.  The same applies with ‘I’m The One.’  There’s more than enough rock to make any rock purist happy.  For those who want something a little softer, Something Unto Nothing offers that, too as it only slows down a few times.  That slowing is just enough to let listeners catch their breath before the band launches into its next aural assault.  The last of the slower songs is the album’s closer, ‘Goodbye.’  On the surface, it would appear that this is a breakup song as Jordan sings, “I don’t want to leave you/But I’ve got to say/Goodbye.”  And given the song’s tone, it would appear even more that this is a song about a breakup.  But on a deeper level, it could also be interpreted as Jordan and company saying goodbye for now.  It’s as if she and her band mates are collectively saying, “We’ve had a blast entertaining you, and we don’t want to have to leave, but we have to say goodbye.”  On that level, it’s a fitting end to what is without a doubt one of the first great rock records of 2013.

The band currently wrapped a series of dates in support of its new album.  In order to find out when the band will next be hitting the road, fans can check out the band online at http://www.somethingunto.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/SUN-Something-Unto-Nothing/177605938956922, https://www.twitter.com/teamsassjordan, and http://www.reverbnation.com/sunsomethinguntonothing.

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