‘The Ride’ Has Small Town Titans Poised To Be One Of Rock’s Next Big Names

Courtesy: AntiFragile Music

Small Town Titans has, over the course of the past two years, become quite a big deal in the rock community.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.  From its surprise hit cover of the holiday song ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ to original songs, such as ‘Dragonfly,’ ‘Devil’s Choir,’ and ‘War Cry’ to other equally popular covers and originals, this band has made quite a name for itself, and it has done so with the least amount of label help.  Now on Friday, the band will take its next step forward on its journey with the release of its new album The Ride.  The album has already spawned six singles ahead of its release – more than half of its album.  As much as they do to show what makes this album so appealing, they are only a portion of what makes the album stand out. ‘Behind The Moon’ is another notable addition to the album.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘When It All Comes Down’ does its own share, too, to show the album’s strength.  It will be discussed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Let Me Breath,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midpoint.  It will also be discussed later.  When all three of these noted songs are considered along with the noted singles and the one remaining unmentioned song from this record, the whole proves to be a presentation that, given the right support, could finally be that record that breaks this band into the mainstream.

Small Town Titans has, ever since its inception, been one of the rock and hard rock communities’ best kept secrets.  Its star has quickly risen since 2018 though, and now with the pending release of its new album The Ride, the secret could finally be out about this outstanding band.  The six singles that the album has already produced have more than proven that true.  They are only some of its notable works, though.  ‘Behind The Moon,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is notable in its own right.  That is due in no small part its musical arrangement.  The arrangement in question forms the song’s foundation.  What makes it so interesting is that between the harmonies and guitar lines, audiences get a song that crosses elements of modern/active rock and a clear classic rock influence for its whole.  One could argue that there are touches of Queen and The Allman Brothers Band mixed along with something more modern along the lines of Alter Bridge, for the same of comparison.  When that musical presentation is coupled with the song’s clearly uplifting lyrical content, the song in whole gains even more traction.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Behind The Moon’ is that of being willing to take risks and make the most of life.  That is evidenced clearly in the song’s chorus, in which front man Phil Freeman sings, “The sun don’t shine/When you stand behind the moon.” The message is made even clearer as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “I was walking on the other side of the moon/Looking for another sign of life/I was trying/To buy another man’s dreams/In exchange for something nice/Then I saw it /I saw it coming from miles away/Then I saw it/I saw it coming from miles away/The break of day.”  What audiences get here is that message, with Phil stating metaphorically, the song’s subject was trying to be someone and something that he wasn’t.  That is made clear in the statement about trying “To buy another man’s dreams/In exchange for something nice.”  As he continues, the song’s subject notes he saw reality in what he was doing.  The optimistic, uplifting message continues as he sings in the song’s second verse, “There was a fork in the road and no time left/But I finally had a place to go and a reason to live/And from that moment on I flew into space/Towards all those burning stars with a reason to give/And you’ll see me/You’ll see me coming from miles away/Yeah you’ll see me/You’ll see me coming from miles away/To find my place.”  When all of this positive mindset is considered along with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the whole leaves zero doubt as to what makes it such an appealing addition to The Ride.  It is just one of the additional entries that makes the album so strong.  ‘When It All Comes Down’ is yet another powerful addition to The Ride.

‘When It All Comes Down’ wastes no time catching listeners’ attention once it gets started.  The song’s musical arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Hellyeah and Dope in its verses.  On the other hand, the choruses once again conjure thoughts of Alter Bridge.  That sounds on paper, like quite the musical contrast, and it is.  At the same time though, Freeman (who plays bass along with handling vocals), drummer Johnny Ross, and guitarist Ben Guiles make the balance work.  The end result is a fiery composition that stands completely on its own musical merits separate from the rest of the album’s works.  That high-energy composition partners well with the song’s lyrical content, which delivers a message of making sure we realize where we set our priorities in life.

The noted message is familiar to rock fans, but interestingly not overly used, which keeps it fresh in this case.  That is even more so in the fashion in which it is delivered.  Freeman sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “You put stock in temporary things/Yet you cry, cry, cry when they fail to make you sing/You miss the forest for the trees/As if you’ll live forever and never bleed/Forever and never bleed/Ring around the dollar/Pocket full of power/Ashes to ashes/It all falls down/Ring around the dollar/Pocket full of greed /Ashes to ashes /As we all bleed/Tell me what it’s worth/When it all comes down/When it all comes down/Tell me what it’s worth/When it all comes down/When it all comes tumbling down.”  The message is just as stark and powerful in the song’s second verse, which finds Freeman singing, “No one’s gonna save you better than yourself/No one’s gonna steal your soul better than/your wealth/Put two and two together/And measure out the way they make you feel/Feel, feel, feel.”  This message is a statement of which listeners need to be reminded daily.  We put our focus on all the wrong things so often, and we need to step back and make sure we know what is really important in life.  When this loudly echoing statement is coupled with the power in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song leaves no doubt why it is yet another notable addition to The Ride.  It certainly is not the last of the album’s most notable works.  ‘Let Me Breathe’ is one more song worth examining here.

‘Let Me Breathe’ is the most Alter Bridge-esque song featured in The Ride in terms of its musical arrangement.  That is made clear through the combination of the song’s instrumentation and Freeman’s vocal delivery style.  Even the choruses play out like a mirror image to Alter Bridge’s work.  That is not necessarily a bad thing because the work still maintains its own identity despite the clear comparison.  It is just one part of what makes the song worth examining.  The song’s lyrical theme adds its own touvh to the work.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Let Me Breathe’ comes across as a familiar story of one’s battle with one’s inner self.  This is a familiar lyrical theme for so much music, not just rock.  It is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Freeman sings, “There’s a game of hide and seek tonight/Between my shadow and I/And it starves for something greater now/As I sit here satisfied/It whispers in my ear and tries/To sell my soul for things that I don’t need/It seems it won’t stop until I break/Especially when I start to speak/Let me breathe as I try to clear the weight inside/As I find my saving grace this time/Cause the hunger never fades /No the hunger never fades/Let me be as I try to steal away this night/As I try to clear the weight inside/Cause the hunger never fades/No the hunger never fades/Let me breathe as I try to clear a space inside.”  That inner battle theme is made just as clear in the song’s second verse, in which Freeman sings, “This game we play is zero sum/There’s no winner and no higher ground/But at least these words they save my pain/From this battle to which I’m bound/I say/Trust me you don’t want any of this/Trust me you don’t want any of this/Trust me you don’t want any of these empty lies/So get behind me and follow the leader/Get behind me and follow the leader/Don’t forget your place and remember why.”  The existential message is confirmed without doubt in the song’s third and final verse, which states, “And I hope to God that this saves you too/Cause we all have shadows in our minds/And all they want is everything and all we have is time/And all that we can try to do is lead them to the light.”  Overall, the song’s message is one of hope for listeners, reminding audiences that those shadows can be eliminated and that we can breathe again.  This is a positive message that will resonate with listeners every day.  When it is couple with the song’s radio ready musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes a work that every listener will appreciate.  When the song is considered with the others examined here, the album’s current singles, and its one remaining song, the whole of this record proves to be a “rock solid” (yes, that awful pun was intended, too) album.

Small Town Titans is on the verge of becoming a big name in the rock community.  The band’s forthcoming album The Ride leaves zero doubt as to that statement’s truth.  Its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes collectively fully support the noted statements.  That is proven clearly in all three of the songs examined here as well as through the album’s existing singles.  When that collective is considered with the album’s one remaining work, the whole of the album proves itself a memorable musical “ride.”  The Ride is scheduled for release Friday through AntiFragile Music.

More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://smalltowntitans.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/smalltowntitans

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/smalltowntitans

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “LIke” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Lonely Ones Debuts New Single, ‘Real Big Trouble’

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent rock band The Lonely Ones debuted its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted its new single ‘Real Big Trouble‘ Friday.  The song is the band’s first new music since the debut of its single ‘The Lonely One’ March 23.  The band debuted its cover of Queen’s Flash Gordon theme song in July.  Its debut was not connected to Arrow Video’s re-issue of Universal’s 1980 movie last month.  The movie was an adaptation of the classic comic strip.

The Lonely Ones’ cover of Queen’s original has received praise from Queen guitarist Brian May and Flash Gordon himself, Sam J. Jones, since its debut.

May said of the cover, “What a fantastic cover! I didn’t realize they were going to go into The Hero and the whole reprise…magnificent!”

Jones also praised the band’s cover.

“This is one of the best covers I have ever heard and seen,” he said. “What a gifted group – The Lonely Ones are for everyone of us, from the 1980’s to right now!”

The Lonely Ones’ new single is a heavy work that will fit into any active rock radio station programmer’s daily play list.  The melodic hard rock arrangement featured in the song is grounded in its bass and drums.  The guitar and vocals build on that foundation to flesh out the song even more.

The lyrical content featured in this song hints at someone who has caved under the pressure of his past. He even goes so far as to say, “I’m ready for the judgement day/I’m crawling out of my skin/I got myself in some real big trouble again.”

More information on The Lonely Ones’ new single is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thelonelyonesband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/_thelonelyones_

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video’s ‘Flash Gordon’ Re-Issue Is The Movie’s Best Presentation Yet

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group

Arrow Video’s recently released Blu-ray re-issue of Universal’s classic sci-fi flick Flash Gordon is the new gold standard for the movie’s home release.  Released Aug. 18 on Blu-ray and 4KUHD, this latest re-issue of the 1980 comic strip adaptation is the movie’s first domestic re-issue since 2012, when it was re-issued alongside The Last Starfighter, Dune, and the pilot for the original Battlestar Galactica series in a four-disc DVD set.  The movie’s audio and video form the foundation for its latest re-issue, and will be discussed shortly.  The extensive bonus content that accompanies the movie’s home release builds so much on the foundation formed by the movie’s production values.  It will be discussed a little later.  Flash Gordon’s story rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the movie’s latest re-issue a presentation that is without question one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.

Arrow Video’s new Flash Gordon re-issue is a presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  From sci-fi fans to fans of comics to action movie aficionados to classic cinema connoisseurs, this movie’s appeal will find plenty of appreciative audiences.  That is proven in part through the production values presented in this re-issue.  The colors in the sets and the costumes are so rich, especially the reds (red was allegedly the favorite color of the movie’s famed Producer Dino De Laurentiis according to information provided in the movie’s bonus content) of Ming’s palace.  In comparison to footage from the movie in its original presentation (which is shown in the noted bonus content), it is clear that painstaking efforts were taken in order bring forth the true, rich color.  If De Laurentiis were alive today, he would be just as impressed by this aspect.  In the same vein, every laser blast and every note of rock band Queen’s feature-length soundtrack is expertly balanced, enhancing the viewing experience for audiences even more.  Even a minor touch, such as the ambient sounds of Planet Mongol and its moons get their own attention.  From that production aspect to the noted deep, rich colors and the balance in the music and sound effects, it is clear that painstaking efforts were made in order to offer viewers the best possible presentation once again.  It’s another way in which Arrow Video continues to prove itself one of the leading names in the home media world.  Those efforts also go a long way toward making this presentation so enjoyable for viewers.  It is just one of the most notable aspects of the movie’s new home re-issue, too.  Its bonus content adds even more enjoyment to its presentation.

The bonus content that is featured in Flash Gordon’s latest re-issue is extensive to say the absolute least.  Audiences get two separate feature length audio commentaries, — one from director Mike Hodges and the other from star Brian Blessed (who played Prince Vultan) – a series of interviews with the movie’s cast and crew, two episodes of the Flash Gordon cartoon series, and a vintage “making of” featurette as well as photo galleries from the movie’s creation.  The bonus content alone makes for literally hours of entertainment and engagement.  The vintage making of featurette reveals that creation of the set for Ming’s palace alone took four months.  That and the other sets were so extensive that production had to take place primarily in a six-million cubic foot aircraft hangar.  It was just one of the facilities that was used for the movie’s production.  As director Mike Hodges reveals (off the cuff) during his audio commentary, Elstree Studio was also used.  That is the same studio in which Star Wars was created by George Lucas.  This is especially important to note because it is also revealed in one of the bonus discussions, that George Lucas apparently wanted to make Flash Gordon before Star Wars, but could not afford the rights, so he ended up making Star Wars.  How is that for a little six-degrees of separation?

As if everything already noted here is not enough reason to check out the bonus content, viewers will learn that there apparently was quite a bit of tension behind the scenes during the movie’s creation.  Hodges points out during his commentary that De Laurentiis viewed the movie’s creation in a very serious fashion, even though Allin was extremely displeased with the final product.  The vintage making of featureette does point out that De Laurentiis was himself very much a Flash Gordon “fan boy” prior to producing the movie.  To that point, his “seriousness” was perhaps chalked up to that fandom, even though he might not have thought he was going to such extreme.  There is nothing wrong with his approach, either, since he wanted to pay proper tribute to the original, timeless Flash Gordon comic strip.

Allin, on the other hand, said during the new bonus featurette “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” that he and Roeg wanted to make a serious film in Flash Gordon complete with sociopolitical commentary, but that De Laurentiis wanted to stay true to the original Flash Gordon comic strip, which ran daily from 1934 to ’92.  Its Sunday edition continued until 2003.  The movie does just that with its special effects and its overall look (what with its costumes and sets).  The short and simple here is that Allin and Roeg’s story would have been a good fit among today’s comics based movies (since dark, brooding stories are about all that audiences get nowadays in comics-based movies).  De Laurentiis’ version has remained a cult favorite for four decades meanwhile maybe because of his dedication to its source material.  Regardless of which side viewers take, all of the noted discussions are sure to engage audiences thoroughly and generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  All things considered here (along with the bonus content not directly noted – again the bonus content here in fully immersive) the bonus content featured with Arrow Video’s recent Flash Gordon re-issue more than makes the movie worth owning.  When it is considered with the outstanding production values presented in this re-issue, the two elements together make for so much enjoyment for audiences.  They are still not all of the positives provided in the movie.  The movie’s central story adds even more to that enjoyment.

The story at the center of Flash Gordon is relatively easy to understand.  It starts with Flash and Dale Arden taking a flight somewhere (it’s never pointed out where the pair is going interestingly enough) and ending up crashing in the lab of the mad scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov.  Zarov basically kidnaps the duo and the trio ends up flying into space where they end up rocketing to another galaxy that is ruled by the evil emperor Ming The Merciless.  Along the way Flash unites the peoples of the worlds ruled by Ming, befriending them in the process.  The story has a happy ending, but also leaves the door open for a sequel (which going back to the bonus content, could have happened, but never did).  It has to be assumed in the movie’s story that as the clock reaches zero near the movie’s end, Ming does stop his attack on Earth before his alleged death, though that is never made 100 percent certain.  The only way audiences can assume the Earth is safe comes in the final scene in which Dale tells Flash that she is a New York girl and would rather go home than stay on the planet Mongol.  Next to that note, the only other odd note from the story is centered on all of star Sam J. Jones’ constant costume changes.  It just so happens that everything he wears is Flash Gordon-themed.  It is never fully explained where he gets all of his attire, but oh well.  That aside, the story’s simple approach is very much in line with the original Flash Gordon comic strip.  Yes, comics often do have deep philosophical language, but they are also meant to entertain the masses, and that is what this story does.  It entertains while also presenting at least some philosophy.  To that end, the story succeeds just as much as the movie’s bonus content and its production values.  When all three elements are considered together, they make the movie in whole the best presentation yet of this cult classic flick.

Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Flash Gordon is an applause-worthy presentation that will appeal to a wide ranger of viewers.  That is proven in part through the movie’s production, which fully brings out the deep, rich colors in the sets and costumes.  The same can be said of the movie’s sound, which is so well-balanced in terms of the soundtrack and special effects noises.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s new re-issue will immerse audiences even more in the movie.  From everything noted here to other items, such as the realization that Queen was not the first choice for the movie’s soundtrack, and the note that the movie never got the merchandising push that other movies have gotten over the years, the bonus content adds so much of its own appeal to the movie.  The movie’s simple story does its own part to appeal to audiences with its simple presentation.  All three items noted here are important in their own way to the whole of the movie’s latest re-issue.  All things considered, they make this presentation, the best yet for the movie.

More information on Arrow Video’s Flash Gordon re-issue is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

May, Jones Praise The Lonely One’s ‘Flash Gordon Theme/The Hero’ Cover

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

The Lonely Ones’ cover of Queen’s Flash Gordon theme song/’The Hero’ is getting some high praise.

The song, which the band debuted in July has received praise from Queen guitarist Brian May and Flash Gordon himself, Sam J. Jones.  A comment from May on the song was released Wednesday, noting of The Lonely Ones’ cover, “What a fantastic cover! I didn’t realize they were going to go into The Hero and the whole reprise…magnificent!”

Jones also praised the band’s cover.

“This is one of the best covers I have ever heard and seen,” he said. “What a gifted group – The Lonely Ones are for everyone of us, from the 1980’s to right now!”

The band’s take on the song pays full tribute to Queen’s version of the classic work.  The Lonely Ones’ rendition is longer than that of Queen, with the original clocking in at just under three minutes and the cover coming in at five-and-a-half-minutes.  Even with that in mind, the band’s cover is still very much in line with Queen’s original work.

The band talked about its take on the song in a collective statement.

“We recorded Flash in 2019 – a pretty dark year for the four of us on all fronts,” the statement reads. Our original musical output reflected that darkness, so recording a cartoonishly triumphant, heroic cover song seemed like a good counter-balance. Fast forward to spring 2020 and the impending COVID-19 Stay at Home order. With limited time and help from some fans we got our friends together to film a music video while we were still able. It’s July now and, with the future more unclear than ever, it seems like the perfect time to release the most positive song we have.  I hope you enjoy it. “Flash/The Hero. A Queen Cover.”

The Lonely Ones’ cover of the Flash Gordon theme song/’The Hero’ is available to stream and download here.

 

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group

The debut of The Lonely Ones’ cover of the song came less than a month ahead of the Blu-ray and 4KUHD re-issue of the classic movie Flash Gordon.  Arrow Video re-issued the movie on the noted platforms last month.  The debuts are not connected, however.

The new re-issue features a companion booklet with new liner notes on the movie penned by a variety of film critics and historians; separate feature length audio commentaries by Mike Hodges and Brian Blessed; cast interviews; a behind-the-scenes making of featurette; archival interview with Mike Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross as well as much more.

More information on The Lonely Ones’ cover of ‘Flash Gordon’/’The Hero’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at The Lonely Ones’ official Facebook page.

More information on Arrow Video’s forthcoming re-issue of Flash Gordon is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Ellefson Debuts New Compilation’s Lead Single; Unveils Initial Track Listing

Courtesy: Combat Records

Audiences got their first preview of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s new eponymous rock project this week.

The band — Ellefson (bass), Thom Hazaert (vocals), Andy Martongelli (guitar), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (guitar), and Paolo Caridi (drums) — released the song ‘Wasted‘ Friday.  The song, a cover of the Def Leppard song, is the lead single from the group’s debut record, No Cover.

Ellefson’s cover of ‘Wasted’ features guest appearances from Frank Hannon (Tesla), Jacob Bunton (Mick Mars, Lynam), and Dave McClain (Ex-Machine Head, Sacred Reich).

The famed names featured on ‘Wasted’ are just some of well-known musicians and performers who make appearances on this record.  Also lending their talents to the album are equally well-known figures, such as Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Al Jourgensen (Ministry) and Gus G. (Firewind).

Along with debuting its lead single, Ellefson has also unveiled the initial track listing for No Cover.  The initial listing opens with a cover of Judas Priest’s timeless hit song ‘Freewheel Burning’ and also features covers of songs such as AC/DC’s ‘Riff Raff,’ Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ and Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell.’

The album’s initial track listing is noted below.  Two tracks are still TBA. Pre-orders are open now.

 

Tracklist:
1. Freewheel Burning (Judas Priest) ft. Jason McMaster, Gus G, Andy James, Dave McClain
2. Tear It Loose (Twisted Sister) ft. Eddie Ojeda, Dave McClain
3. Love Me Like A Reptile (Motorhead) ft. Doro Pesch, Greg Handevidt, Chuck Behler
4. Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys) ft. Charlie Benante
5. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
6. Wasted (Def Leppard) ft. Frank Hannon, Jacob Bunton, Dave McClain, Bumblefoot
7. Riff Raff (AC/DC) ft. Jason McMaster, Dave Lombardo
8. Nailed To The Gun (Fight) ft. Andrew Freeman, Russ Parrish, Jimmy DeGrasso
9. Not Fragile (Bachman-Turner Overdrive) ft. John Aquilino
10. Say What You Will (Fastway) ft. Troy Lucketta, Mark Slaughter
11. LOVE Machine (W.A.S.P.) ft. Dirk Verbeuren, Dave Alvin
12. Love Hurts (Nazareth) ft. Brandon Yeagley, Chuck Behler, Tyson Leslie
13. Sheer Heart Attack (Queen) ft. Bumblefoot, Doro Pesch, Charlie Benante
14. Sweet FA (Sweet) ft. Todd Kerns, Bumblefoot, Shani Kimelman
15. TBA
16. TBA
17. Auf Wiedersehen (Cheap Trick) ft. Al Jourgensen, Brandon Yeagley, Charlie Benante

Bonus Tracks
18. Eat The Rich (Krokus) ft. Dead By Wednesday

 

No Cover was co-produced by Ellefson, Hazaert, and Martongelli.  The record was engineered by Alessio Garavello, Matt LaPlant (Nonpoint, Lil Jon, Skindred) and John Aquilino.  Alessio and Garavello mixed the album alongside Randy Burns and others.

Ellefson talked about the record’s genesis in a recent interview.

“Before any of us started writing our own songs, we all began playing cover songs by our heroes during our formative years as musicians,” said Ellefson.  “So, it’s fun to go back in time and revisit those songs which helped us to become the artists we are today, especially when, ironically, many of those artists have now become peers and friends. During the process of recording some covers for B-Sides and bonus tracks for the upcoming Ellefson solo LP, Thom and I just said, “This is a blast, let’s just do a whole album of covers!” Literally, within 2 weeks, we had the songs recorded, and began calling our friends to join us, many of whom we had just performed with on the MEGA-Cruise back in October. From there, the album just fell into place.”

“A lot of our buddies have been playing covers and quarantine jams on the Internet during the pandemic, so this is really just an extension of that, but we took it the next level and actually recorded a full studio album,” he added.” We’ve been working remotely anyway, as we’re all over the Globe, so it was easy to incorporate some guests jumping in with some outstanding performances of their own. It’s been a really fun nod to making great music with our friends, who are kick-ass players, and many legends in their own right, which is the whole reason we got into this in the first place!”

Hazert expanded on Ellefson’s comments with his own thoughts.

“It’s all songs and artists that really mutually influenced both myself and David, especially a lot of early “Metal” and harder Classic Rock,” he said. “Some stuff I picked, some stuff he picked, but for the most part is was all artists that we both loved. What’s funny, as there’s a bit of an age gap, we were sometimes more influenced by different eras of the same bands. But it was really him saying, “Let’s do this song”, and me saying, “Yes!!! And let’s do this song.” And before we knew it, we had over 15 songs. And it’s a lot of album tracks, deep cuts, early tracks, stuff people might not expect, which was what was so fun.”

“It was also great that we were able to work in a lot of nods to David’s [Ellefson] history, getting Chuck Behler to play with us, bringing in original Megadeth guitarist Greg Handevidt to play on “Love Me Like A Reptile”, a song they used to play in cover bands together before they moved to LA (which we wrote about in More Life With Deth), and Randy Burns is going to mix a track or two,” added Hazert.  “As a singer, these are literally bands I’ve listened to, and covered all my life, and for me, getting to play with Eddie Ojeda, the Tesla guys, Charlie Benante, Jason McMaster, Mark Slaughter, etc, and sing these songs that mean so much to me. I mean, literally, the entire record is my bucket list of people I’d love to play with, and some of my favorite bands. So, it’s truly an honor to put together something so fun, and really as effortless as this was. It truly is a love letter to Rock N’ Roll, an homage to what made us, musically, who we are today.”

Ellefson resurrected Combat Records in 2017 as part of the EMP Label Group family.

Combat Records was a seminal punk and thrash record label in the 1980s.  Its doors closed in the mid-2000s after its catalog was absorbed by Sony Music.  Combat Records’ official relaunch took place in 2018.

Ellefson said in an interview in 2017, Combat Records would handle only new music because Sony has control of the label’s back catalog.

“…And to clarify, we do not own any rights to the Combat Records back catalog,” Ellefson stressed. “That is owned and controlled by Sony, and they have done a great job of curating it through other imprints. Combat Records will solely focus on new releases under the Combat banner. As always, thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details!”

More information on Combat Records, along with its latest news, is available online now

at:

Websitehttp://www.combatrecs.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/combatrecordsofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/combatrecs

\

Ellefson is scheduled to release its debut full-length studio recording in spring 2021.  More information on Ellefson is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://davidellefson.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/davidellefson

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ellefsondavid

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Arrow Video Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘Flash Gordon’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group

Arrow Video is resurrecting the classic science fiction flick Flash Gordon.

The studio is scheduled to re-issue Starling Films/Famous Films/Dino De Laurentiis Company’s 1980 movie Aug. 18 on 4KUHD/BD combo pack and standalone Blu-ray.

The movie’s story follows American football star Flash (Sam J. Jones — Jane and the Lost City, Code Red, Ted), as he is kidnapped by beings from another world along with his girlfriend Dale Arden (Melody Anderson — FirewalkerBattlestar GalacticaDead & Buried) and their friend Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol — Fiddler on the Roof, For Your Eyes Only, Sallah), while aboard Zarkov’s rocket.  The trio is taken back to planet Mongo, which is ruled by Ming The Merciless (played by Max Von Sydow — The Seventh SealMinority ReportThe Tudors).  Ming wants to take Dale from Flash, and destroy Earth.

Complicating things even more for Flash is that Ming’s daughter Princess Aura (Ornella Muti — OscarFirst Love, The Most Beautiful Wife) is romantically pursuing Flash.  Between dealing with her, trying to save Dale and keep Ming from destroying Earth, Flash has his hands full.

The forthcoming re-issue will feature a companion booklet with new liner notes on the movie penned by a variety of film critics and historians; separate feature length audio commentaries by Mike Hodges and Brian Blessed; cast interviews; a behind-the-scenes making of featurette; archival interview with Mike Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross as well as much more.

Francesco Simeoni, Arrow Video’s Director of Acquisitions and Business Development, said in a prepared statement, he was looking forward to the movie’s re-issue.

“We are proud to announce that we have decided to launch our first 4K Ultra HD titles,” said Simeoni. “At Arrow we have always sought to have the best standards in home video presentation so it seemed a logical step that we would embrace this new format, to present you with the best versions of the finest cult and classic films.”

 

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

In other news, independent rock band The Lonely Ones recently debuted the video for its cover of Queen’s performance of the Flash Gordon theme song and its companion song ‘Hero.’  The video features the band performing its take on the song in a studio setting, complete with sound effects and audio from the original movie.

The band’s take on the song pays full tribute to Queen’s version of the classic work.  The Lonely Ones’ rendition is longer than that of Queen, with the original clocking in at just under three minutes and the cover coming in at five-and-a-half-minutes.  Even with that in mind, the band’s cover is still very much in line with Queen’s original work.

The band talked about its take on the song in a collective statement.

“We recorded Flash in 2019 – a pretty dark year for the four of us on all fronts,” the statement reads. Our original musical output reflected that darkness, so recording a cartoonishly triumphant, heroic cover song seemed like a good counter-balance. Fast forward to spring 2020 and the impending COVID-19 Stay at Home order. With limited time and help from some fans we got our friends together to film a music video while we were still able. It’s July now and, with the future more unclear than ever, it seems like the perfect time to release the most positive song we have.  I hope you enjoy it. “Flash/The Hero. A Queen Cover.”

It should be noted that the band’s premiere of its new cover is not connected with the movie’s forthcoming re-issue.  It is merely coincidence.

More information on The Lonely Ones’ cover of ‘Flash Gordon’/’The Hero’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at The Lonely Ones’ official Facebook page.

More information on Arrow Video’s forthcoming re-issue of Flash Gordon is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Lonely Ones Debuts Video For ‘Flash Gordon’/’The Hero’ Cover

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Independent rock band The Lonely Ones debuted the video for its cover of a classic Queen song this week.

The band debuted the video for its cover of Queen’s performance of the Flash Gordon theme song and its companion song ‘Hero’ Tuesday.  The video features the band performing its take on the song in a studio setting, complete with sound effects and audio from the original movie.

The band’s take on the song pays full tribute to Queen’s version of the classic work.  The Lonely Ones’ rendition is longer than that of Queen, with the original clocking in at just under three minutes and the cover coming in at five-and-a-half-minutes.  Even with that in mind, the band’s cover is still very much in line with Queen’s original work.

The band talked about its take on the song in a collective statement.

“We recorded Flash in 2019 – a pretty dark year for the four of us on all fronts,” the statement reads. Our original musical output reflected that darkness, so recording a cartoonishly triumphant, heroic cover song seemed like a good counter-balance. Fast forward to spring 2020 and the impending COVID-19 Stay at Home order. With limited time and help from some fans we got our friends together to film a music video while we were still able. It’s July now and, with the future more unclear than ever, it seems like the perfect time to release the most positive song we have.  I hope you enjoy it. “Flash/The Hero. A Queen Cover.”

The Lonely Ones’ cover of Queen’s classic song comes more than a month ahead of Arrow Video’s upcoming re-issue of Starling Films/Famous Films/Dino De Laurentiis Company’s 1980 movie Flash Gordon.  It should be noted that the band’s premiere of its new cover is not connected with the movie’s forthcoming re-issue.  It is merely coincidence.

Arrow Video is scheduled to re-issue the science fiction flick Aug. 18 on 4KUHD/BD combo pack and standalone Blu-ray.

The forthcoming re-issue will feature a companion booklet with new liner notes on the movie penned by a variety of film critics and historians; separate feature length audio commentaries by Mike Hodges and Brian Blessed; cast interviews; a behind-the-scenes making of featurette; archival interview with Mike Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross as well as much more.

More information on The Lonely Ones’ cover of ‘Flash Gordon’/’The Hero’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at The Lonely Ones’ official Facebook page.

More information on Arrow Video’s forthcoming re-issue of Flash Gordon is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.arrowfilms.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ArrowVideo

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/phispicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Ellefson Announces Release Date, Cover Art For Forthcoming Covers Compilation

Courtesy: Combat Records

Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s band Ellefson will release a new covers compilation this fall.

The band is scheduled to release its new covers compilation album No Cover Oct. 2 on Combat Records.  The album will feature covers of songs from bands, such as Judas Priest, Queen and Dead Kennedys.  The 13-song record’s track listing will be announced soon.

Pre-orders are open now for No Cover.  The compilation was produced by Ellefson and EMP Label Group Co-founder Thom Hazaert with guitarist Andy Martongelli.  Alessio Garavello, Matt LaPlant (Nonpoint, Lil Jon, Skindred), and John Aquilino co-engineered the record.  Garavello, Ellefson, Randy Burns and others handled mixing duties for the album.

Ellefson talked about the record’s genesis in a recent interview.

“Before any of us started writing our own songs, we all began playing cover songs by our heroes during our formative years as musicians,” said Ellefson.  “So, it’s fun to go back in time and revisit those songs which helped us to become the artists we are today, especially when, ironically, many of those artists have now become peers and friends. During the process of recording some covers for B-Sides and bonus tracks for the upcoming Ellefson solo LP, Thom and I just said, “This is a blast, let’s just do a whole album of covers!” Literally, within 2 weeks, we had the songs recorded, and began calling our friends to join us, many of whom we had just performed with on the MEGA-Cruise back in October. From there, the album just fell into place.”

“A lot of our buddies have been playing covers and quarantine jams on the Internet during the pandemic, so this is really just an extension of that, but we took it the next level and actually recorded a full studio album,” he added.” We’ve been working remotely anyway, as we’re all over the Globe, so it was easy to incorporate some guests jumping in with some outstanding performances of their own. It’s been a really fun nod to making great music with our friends, who are kick-ass players, and many legends in their own right, which is the whole reason we got into this in the first place!”

Hazert expanded on Ellefson’s comments with his own thoughts.

“It’s all songs and artists that really mutually influenced both myself and David, especially a lot of early “Metal” and harder Classic Rock,” he said. “Some stuff I picked, some stuff he picked, but for the most part is was all artists that we both loved. What’s funny, as there’s a bit of an age gap, we were sometimes more influenced by different eras of the same bands. But it was really him saying, “Let’s do this song”, and me saying, “Yes!!! And let’s do this song.” And before we knew it, we had over 15 songs. And it’s a lot of album tracks, deep cuts, early tracks, stuff people might not expect, which was what was so fun.”

“It was also great that we were able to work in a lot of nods to David’s [Ellefson] history, getting Chuck Behler to play with us, bringing in original Megadeth guitarist Greg Handevidt to play on “Love Me Like A Reptile”, a song they used to play in cover bands together before they moved to LA (which we wrote about in More Life With Deth), and Randy Burns is going to mix a track or two,” added Hazert.  “As a singer, these are literally bands I’ve listened to, and covered all my life, and for me, getting to play with Eddie Ojeda, the Tesla guys, Charlie Benante, Jason McMaster, Mark Slaughter, etc, and sing these songs that mean so much to me. I mean, literally, the entire record is my bucket list of people I’d love to play with, and some of my favorite bands. So, it’s truly an honor to put together something so fun, and really as effortless as this was. It truly is a love letter to Rock N’ Roll, an homage to what made us, musically, who we are today.”

Ellefson resurrected Combat Records in 2017 as part of the EMP Label Group family.

Combat Records was a seminal punk and thrash record label in the 1980s.  Its doors closed in the mid-2000s after its catalog was absorbed by Sony Music.  Combat Records’ official relaunch took place in 2018.

Ellefson said in an interview in 2017, Combat Records would handle only new music because Sony has control of the label’s back catalog.

“…And to clarify, we do not own any rights to the Combat Records back catalog,” Ellefson stressed. “That is owned and controlled by Sony, and they have done a great job of curating it through other imprints. Combat Records will solely focus on new releases under the Combat banner. As always, thank you for your support and stay tuned for more details!”

More information on Combat Records, along with its latest news, is available online now

at:

Websitehttp://www.combatrecs.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/combatrecordsofficial

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/combatrecs

\

Ellefson is scheduled to release its debut full-length studio recording in spring 2021.  More information on Ellefson is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://davidellefson.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/davidellefson

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ellefsondavid

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Rock Carnival Returns This Summer

Courtesy:  Stan Levinstone Presents/Game Loud

Courtesy: Stan Levinstone Presents/Game Loud

The Rock Carnival is officially returning.

The Rock Carnival, the Northeast’s only classic carnival + Rock ‘N Roll experience returns this year for its second year.  And headlining this year’s festival is none other than one of the great legends of rock, Alice Cooper.  The second annual Rock Carnival will be held Friday, September 30th – Sunday, October 2nd.  It is produced by Stan Levinstone Presents and Game Loud.  It will take place at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood New Jersey.  It is the home of the Lakewood Blue Claws minor league baseball team.  The team is a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.  This year marks the first time that it will take place at FirstEnergy Park.  General Admission tickets for single day and weekend access are available now along with Reserved Seat Weekend passes VIP packages, and Skybox Meet and Greets.  The General admission passes and Reserved Seat Weekend Passes can be purchased online here now.  The VIP and Skybox packages are available here.

While Alice Cooper will headline this year’s festival he will not be the only big name on the bill.  Also on this year’s bill are the likes of: Kyng, Overkill, Texas Hippie Coalition, Jackyl, Ace Frehley, Clutch, Blue Oyster Cult, Zakk Sabbath, Monster Magnet, Fuel and many others. Twisted Sister will also be on hand for the festival in its final tri-state appearance.  The performance is part of the band’s official farewell tour.  Performances will take place across a number of stages including two side-by-side main stages.

Along with the major acts scheduled to perform, a special “Classic” Friday night celebration has been added to this year’s festivities.  The celebration will feature performances by a number of cover bands including: Voyage (Journey tribute band), Almost Queen (Queen tribute band), and Zakk Zabbath.  Zac Sabbath’s lineup features Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society Ozzy Osbourne) on vocals and guitar, Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie) on bass, and Joey Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age) on drums.

More information on the second annual Rock Carnival will be announced in the weeks to come.  Audiences can keep up with all of those updates online now at:

 

 

Website: http://therockcarnival.com

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheRockCarnival

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheRockCarnival

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Queen’s New Archived Live Show Will Have Audiences Saying “Oh What A Night!”

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

On Christmas Eve 1975 Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon (Collectively known as Queen) brought audiences in London a very special hometown show when they performed live at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The seventeen-song set was a fiery set to say the very least as the band drove through each song almost seamlessly. Even as fast as it passed by, there’s something about that fire that exemplifies everything that was once and still is right with live performances. Now thanks to the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment, audiences of all ages will get to see just how enjoyable it is for themselves as that concert has been made available in a number of formats including SD-Blu-ray. The band’s previously noted stage presence in this performance is undeniably important in its own right to the overall concert experience. It is just one part of what makes this recording so enjoyable, though. It will be discussed at more length later. The most important element to examine here is the concert’s set list. The set list featured in this performance is quite interesting. That is because while the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera had been released only a few weeks ahead of the presented performance, the band opted not to touch on that album by and large. That will be discussed shortly. Again, the band’s stage presence over the course of the concert is just as important to note in its overall presentation. Last but not least of note in this recording’s presentation is the bonus documentary “Looking Back At The Odeon.” Each of the recording’s noted elements plays its own important part in the whole of the recording. Altogether they make this recording one more of 2015’s top live recordings and another must have for both Queen fans and classic rock aficionados alike.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s latest archived live Queen recording is one of 2015’s top live recordings and yet another must have for any Queen fans and classic rock aficionados alike. The main reason for this is the concert’s set list. Unlike the case with so many other live recordings released by Queen and Eagle Rock Entertainment overall the set list featured in this recording stands out quite starkly. That is because it features all of one song from what was the band’s latest album at the time, 1975’s A Night At The Opera. The rest of the show’s seventeen total songs are lifted from what were the band’s previous albums at the time. That’s ironic to say the absolute least. It is so ironic because the band had released A Night at The Opera only weeks before this special Christmas Day show. What’s more, the show was the closer of what was then the band’s current tour, too. So simply put, the juxtaposition of the show’s set list to the timing of the show and the release of A Night At The Opera really makes the show’s set list stand out as a key part of this recording. It is only one part of what makes this concert well worth the watch, too. The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is just as important to note as the show’s rather intriguing set list.

The set list that makes up the body of A Night At The Odeon is an interesting part of the recording’s whole. That is to say the very least. Being that only one of the featured songs comes from A Night At The Opera the recording’s title doesn’t seem entirely fitting. That aside, it still presents its own share of fan favorites throughout the course of its seventeen total songs. Having noted that, the songs are just one part of what makes this recording another must have for fans of both Queen and classic rock in whole. The band’s stage presence is just as important to the recording’s overall presentation as the show’s set list. What is so interesting to note of the ban’s stage presence in this performance is the fire that seems to be burning hot and bright beneath each member. The show runs a total of seventeen minutes and a little more than an hour (an hour and three minutes to be exact). But the pace at which the band attacks each of the featured songs is incredible. It makes that hour-plus run time seem to fly by in the blink of an eye. It also shows the band’s collective energy. Of course one need only watch each of the band’s members to see just how much energy each had. It translates quite well to home viewers, too. So much so that home viewers may even end up feeling their own energy as they take in the concert. That says quite a bit especially considering the fact that the concert was originally recorded some four decades ago. It shows why Queen is just as much of a fan favorite today as it was when this concert was originally recorded.

Both the band’s stage presence throughout the course of its concert at the former Hammersmith Odeon and the set list featured in this concert are important elements in their own right to A Night At The Odeon. The set list presents a number of fan favorites from what was then Queen’s earlier releases. And the band’s stage presence over the course of the show’s hour-plus run time is just as certain to keep audiences of all ages engaged from beginning to end. For all of the importance presented by the show’s set list and the ban’s performance of said songs, they are not the recording’s only key elements. The bonus documentary that is included with the concert is just as important to the recording as the show itself. That is because it isn’t necessarily a documentary in the traditional sense of the word. Rather it is more of a general interview with two of the band’s members–Brian May and Roger Taylor–than a documentary. May and Taylor discuss the tour that included the concert in this recording as part of their interview. There are also discussions on the band’s legendary front man Freddie Mercury and his ability to hold a crowd in the very palm of his hand. Just as interesting to note is the discussion on the band’s financial issues at the time of the tour. One would be surprised to hear just how little the band was actually being paid for its shows at the time. Considering how popular Queen has become in the decades since and the money that Queen brings in to this day, it’s quite the stark statement. These are just a few of the subjects that are tackled in the concert’s bonus documentary. The pair has much more to say in its interview. And audiences will hear all of it when they pick up A Night At The Odeon for themselves. Those discussions together with the show’s set list and the band’s performance of said set list make A Night At The Odeon a recording in whole that the band’s fans and classic rock fans in general will equally enjoy.

Queen: A Night At The Odeon — Hammersmith 1975 is another must have for any of Queen’s legions of fans around the world. It is also just as much of a must have for classic rock fans in general. In examining the whole of this recording, it can be said just as much that it is one of 2015’s top live recordings. That is thanks in large part to the concert’s rather ironic set list. The set list features only one song from A Night At The Opera, which had been released only weeks ahead of the concert. Most of the show’s set list was pulled from the band’s then older material. The band’s fiery stage presence throughout the course of the concert’s hour-plus run time is just as important to note. The band’s stage presence shows why it is still one of the music community’s most respected bands even four decades after this concert was originally recorded. The bonus “documentary” that is included with the concert is just as important to the whole of the concert as the show’s set list and the band’s stage presence. Audiences get first-hand insight into the concert from two of the band’s members as well as insight into other, related topics. Each element shows to be its own important part of the recording in the long run. Altogether they make A Night At The Odeon — Hammersmith 1975 a recording that is, again, more proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leading name in live recordings and why this recording is one of 2015’s top live recordings. They also collectively serve to show why this recording is another must have for any of Queen’s fans and any classic rock aficionados in general. It is available now in stores and online on a number of platforms. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.