Zakk Wylde Announces Upcoming North American Tour Dates

Courtesy: eOne

Courtesy: eOne

Zakk Wylde is heading back out on the road this summer.

The veteran guitarist announced this week that he will embark on the next leg of his tour in support of his latest solo album Book of Shadows II beginning Friday, July 8th in Dallas, Texas.  The North American tour will span more than forty cities across the U.S. and Canada and will even include a performance at the Heavy MTL Festival in Montreal on August 7th.  It will mark the first time that Wylde will have performed at the festival in a solo capacity, and the first time since last year’s Unblackened tour that he has toured North America (including Canada) as a headliner.  Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and Jared James Nichols will share stage time as support acts for the tour.  Tickets go on sale this Thursday, May 12th.  Qylde’s current tour schedule is noted below.

 

ZAKK WYLDE BOOK OF SHADOWS II NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

7/8: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live

7/9: Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom

7/10: Austin, TX @ Emo’s

7/12: Houston, TX @ House of Blues

7/13: New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues

7/15: Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live

7/16: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade

7/18: Millvale, PA @ Mr.Smalls Theatre

7/19: New York, NY @ Webster Hall

7/20: Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa

7/22: Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend

7/23: Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom

7/24: Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall

7/26: Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre

7/28: Detroit, MI @ The Majestic Theatre

7/29: Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Theatre

7/30: Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre Of Living Arts

7/31: Boston, MA @ Royale

8/2: Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live

8/4: Uncasville, CT @ Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino *no support

8/7: Montreal, QC @ HEAVY MTL

8/8: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

8/10: Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave

8/11: Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre

8/13: Sturgis, SD @ Full Throttle Saloon *no support

8/15: Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall

8/16: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot

8/18: Missoula, MT @The Wilma

8/19: Calgary, AB @Flames Central

8/20: Saskatoon, SK @ O’Brian’s Event Centre

8/21: Winnipeg, MB @ The Garrick Centre

8/23: Edmonton, AB @ The Ranch Roadhouse

8/25: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom

8/26: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO

8/27: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House

8/28: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater

8/30: San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom

9/1: Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues

9/2: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee

9/3: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre

 

Wylde just wrapped up his run on Steve Vai’s Generation Axe Tour on Monday.  Before that, he served as one of the marquee acts on the annual Experience Hendrix Tour.  He just recently premiered the video for the song ‘Sleeping Dogs,’ which is included in Book of Shadows II.  It can be viewed online now here.  More information on Zakk Wylde’s upcoming North American tour is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.zakkwylde.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/zakkwyldebls

 

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.

Black Utopia Re-Issue Another Hit For Sherinian

Courtesy:  Armoury Records/Eagle RockEntertainment

Courtesy: Armoury Records/Eagle RockEntertainment

Derek Sherinian’s second solo album Black Utopia is an interesting work from this world renowned keyboardist.  There is so much to say about this record and not enough space or time to go into everything.  So instead of rambling, we’ll hit on the main points of what makes this album just as enjoyable for Sherinian’s fans the second time around as it was in its original release.   The first aspect of this album that makes it so enjoyable is its sequencing.  That is to say the order of the songs.  The second factor that listeners will appreciate (especially those that might be hearing the album for the first time) is the A-list guest stars that agreed to be a part of this album.  The third factor in the success of the album’s re-issue is the reworked liner notes.  All three of these factors together make Black Utopia an album that any Derek Sherinian fan will appreciate just as much in its new re-issue as they did in its initial release some ten years ago.

The success of Black Utopia is thanks in large part to its sequencing.  The album’s sequencing greatly exhibits the understanding of and appreciation for music possessed by both Derek Sherinian and co-producer Simon Phillips.  The pair treat Black Utopia as if they were creating a set list for a live show.  The energy of the songs rises and falls just enough throughout the course of the album’s nine tracks to keep listeners fully engaged.  That energy rises and falls just enough within the context of the songs themselves to make the energy in the transitions between songs even more impactful.  It shows on a deeper level, the pair’s understanding of and appreciation for their craft.  The resultant effect is one the makes this album one of those rare albums that listeners will want to take in from start to finish without skipping even one song. It’s just the starting point of the album’s success, too. And that’s saying something.

Black Utopia’s success is thanks in large part to its sequencing.  The sequencing of the songs would be moot without the music crafted by Sherinian and the guest musicians that make appearances on this album.  That is the second factor in this album’s creation that makes it a success.  Sherinian invited some of the biggest names in the business to join him on this record.  And it’s a good thing they accepted his invitation.  Among those major names are the likes of Simon Phillips (The Who, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, etc.), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Al Di Meola (Return To Forever, Chick Corea), Yngwie Malmsteen, Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and others.  Their talents are well shared throughout the record.  The whole group teams up on the album’s opener for what is without a doubt one of the album’s absolute best works.  Malmsteen puts on a virtual clinic with his shredding, while Sherinian himself manages somehow to mix in a touch of jazz/fusion at one point, adding even more flare and substance to the song.  And the combination of Zakk Wylde, Simon Phillips, Tony Franklin and Jerry Goodman on ‘Nightmare Cinema’ is incredible.  Sherinian’s etherial keyboard part set against Phillips’ drumming early on perfectly illustrates the song’s title.  It establishes quite the eerie vibe.  The eventual addition of Wylde on guitar adds even more depth to the song as it progresses.  It is simply something that must be heard in order to be fully appreciated.  The same can be noted of the album’s remaining tracks.  Sherinian  and his fellow musicians come together on each song to show just why their addition to Black Utopia is such an important part of the album’s overall success.

The who’s  who of musicians recruited to record Black Utopia alongside Derek Sherinian is just as important to the success of the album as its sequencing.  Without the talent of the musicians in question, the sequencing would not be all that important to discuss.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case here.  And because it wasn’t the case, it leaves only one remaining factor to note of this re-issue.  The factor in question is the updated liner notes included with the album.  This time out, Black Utopia includes an article crafted by journalist Joe Lalaina, of Guitar World magazine.  Lalaina outlines the album in his own words.  Sherinian’s own thoughts on Black Utopia are also included as a follow-up to Lalaina.  Listeners will take special interest in Sherinian’s comment about working with Brian Tichy (Something Unto Nothing, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol).  He notes that it was his friendship and working relationship with Tichy that led the pair to work together on this album.  There’s also mention of his excitement of working with both Yngwie Malmsteen and Al Di Meola.  One of his comments in particular regarding this can’t be repeated here.  But it will most definitely have listeners laughing.  It’s the finishing touch to an album that any hard rock fan should hear at least once now that it has been re-issued by Armoury Records.  More information on this and other albums from Derek Sherinian is available online at http://www.dereksherinian.com.  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.

Bearings Is A Beautiful Musical Eulogy For A Great Guitarist

Courtesy:  Alien Echo Music BMI/RoMoCo

Courtesy: Alien Echo Music BMI/RoMoCo

Guitarist Ronnie Montrose was one of the music industry’s busiest individuals during the course of his life.  Montrose, who died last year of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was one of the most respected guitarists in the music industry.  Despite the respect that he earned among his fans and fellow musicians, he never gained the level of fame that those musicians gained.  It had been known that he had been suffering from depression at the time of his death.  So it is perhaps no wonder that the music on his final recording, Bearings, is in large part, very reserved.  The fourteen total tracks that make up the album are so painful yet just as beautiful in their emotional depth, too.  Of course for all of the reserved emotion displayed throughout most of this album, there are more upbeat songs, too.  One of those more upbeat songs is the album’s opener, ‘All Aboard.’

‘All Aboard’ is a prime example of Montrose’s exemplary talents right from its opening seconds.  The song comes in at just under three minutes in length.  In the course of that three minutes, he showed in this song that his talents were right up there with the likes of Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani and so many other equally talented guitarists.  What makes this so interesting is that this song actually bears more of a country/bluegrass vibe about it than that of a rock song.  It would be so easy to see Ronnie sitting on the back porch of a large house somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, playing this piece.  Just as interesting to note on this song, is that Montrose also covered the song’s mandolin part, and the equally driving bass.  The layering of the three parts, which was also largely handled by Montrose let each part come through just enough to give a full assembly effect.  In turn, what listeners get in ‘All Aboard’ is a solid ad aptly titled opener to this record.

‘All Aboard’ is impressive to say the least.  It is impressive because of the talent displayed by Montrose both as an instrumentalist and as a producer.  He showed that he more than knew his stuff.  Just as much an example of his talent (and that of his fellow musicians) is the album’s fifth track, ‘Morning.’  Just as ‘All Aboard’ was aptly titled, so is this near five-minute song.  Ronnie was joined by percussionist Michele Graybeal and keyboardist Ed Roth for a song that stands out in so many of its own ways.  The gentle strains of Montrose’s guitar set next to Roth’s role on piano give this song so much life.  Graybeal is not to be left out either.  The use of what is either a small bongo drum or even a tabla is a subtle addition.  But it is just enough to add a certain extra something to the song.  One can close one’s eyes, and see the sun slowly coming up over a mountain range perhaps after a late night thunderstorm.  Others might see something else in hearing this song.  And they would be right, too.  That’s the beauty of completely instrumental music. It is one hundred percent open to interpretation.  And it’s just one of many songs that will lead to any number of interpretations on Montrose’s last recording.

The songs included in Bearings could be interpreted in so many ways.  That has already been noted.  No one interpretation would be wrong, either, regardless of who is interpreting the song.  One more example of that ease of interpretation comes in the form of the album’s penultimate piece, ‘Lighthouse.’  The song’s very title invokes images of a lighthouse set on a cliff.  The music itself feeds an even richer vision.  This critic alone sees images of said lighthouse overlooking a calm ocean on a warm summer night.  The sun is setting off in the distance.  The gentle fade of the music in the song’s closing seconds sees the sun setting below the horizon and the moon and stars taking over in the sky.  Again, this is just one critic’s view of this beautiful work.  Others might have their own visual interpretation of the song.  And those interpretations would be just as right.  Much the same can be noted of the album’s other songs, too.  That is exactly why any true music lover will want to hear this record at least once.  It not only displays a late musician’s talents once more, but also displays said musician’s ability to evoke so many different emotions among his audiences.  The album is available now online.  It can be ordered direct from the official Ronnie Montrose website at http://www.ronniemontrose.com/merchandise/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=237&zenid=2f9f4e8f36f439800dd5f1b97f4131fb.  More information on other Ronnie Montrose releases is available also available at http://www.ronniemontrose.com.  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.

Martin’s Scenic Album Paints A Stunning Musical Picture

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Venezuelan born guitarist Felix Martin is back with his second full length release (and first full length studio release) from Prosthetic Records in the form of the Scenic Album.  When last fans left Mr. Martin, he was blowing away audiences with his live debut release, Live in Boston.  As unorthodox as this order of things seems, it actually makes perfect sense.  That’s because live shows are the key way of getting audiences into an artist’s music, especially for audiences that have not yet experienced an artist’s material.  He has translated that live show quite well on this record.  This is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Tango I.’

‘Tango I’ is the opener to what is essentially a near six and a half minute opus split into three parts.  The control of the song’s frenetic energy maintained by Martin and his band mates is incredible to say the least.  Those that have not had the pleasure of seeing Martin and his band mates perform live in person can just close their eyes and imagine Martin’s fingers flying across all fourteen strings of his double-neck guitar.  Even imagining it in one’s own mind is…well…mind blowing.  Just as stunning about this song, is that Martin and company are able to maintain that control through all three movements and six-plus minutes of the song without missing a single note or beat.  That is in itself a feat to behold.  Drummer Marco Minneman’s timing with such difficult poly-rhythmic pattern is just as worthy of applause.  What he does can only be described as controlled chaos.  Along with bassist Nathan Navarro, the trio has crafted a song in these three movements that is as good as anything crafted by fellow guitar virtuosos Steve Vai and Joe Satriani if not better than them.

‘The Tango’ is just the beginning of the enjoyment from Felix Martin and company on the trio’s first full length studio release.  Those that have the patience and are open minded enough will enjoy the album’s other three-movement opus centered on a character by the name of Viroliano.  This trio starts with the character in question “trying” progressive music.  He then moves into the jazz realm, before finishing up with a jaunt into the metal world.  It’s through this trio of songs that Martin, Minneman, and Navarro really get to stretch their creative wings and display their talents even more.  As talented as Martin is playing more up-tempo pieces, it is nice to hear him pull back if only a little bit on ‘Viroliano Tries Prog.’  The riffs almost hint at influences from the likes of Yes, King Crimson, and even certain other bands of that ilk.  ‘Viroliano Tries Jazz’ is just as interesting as ‘Viroliano Tries Prog’ because it switches things up a bit more and progresses the overall opus one more step.  It mixes elements of fusion jazz with a more rock oriented sound that eventually sets up the song’s final movement, ‘Viroliano Tries Metal.’  Martin and his band mates easily rival Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, John Myung, Mike Mangini in this movement.  It’s a good closer because just as with the song’s previous movements, it’s one more chance for Martin and his band mates to display their talents even more.  They prove that they don’t plus play fast and loud.  They show that they can play heavy, soft, fast, and slow.  It makes the overall presentation of The Scenic Album that much richer of a musical picture.

Martin, Navarro, and Minneman prove throughout the course of The Scenic Album that they are true musicians, and not just three guys that can play fast.  The songs noted here prove that.  They aren’t the only proof of that argument, either.  The album’s final two songs—‘Eleven Drums’ and ‘2am’—solidify the argument for those that perhaps might have otherwise still been unconvinced.  ‘Eleven Drums’ is unlike anything else that the trio recorded for this album.  For lack of better wording, it has almost an ethereal vibe about it.  It is far more subdued than any of the album’s other works, yet just as technically impressive.  ‘2am’ is even more proof of the trio’s talents.  This song is all over the place.  It switches up between a semi-swing jazz vibe and something far heavier.  How the trio manages to make it balance is anyone’s guess.  They the Martin and company manage it.  And the end result is a song that closes the album just as solidly as ‘The Tango’ opened it.  And together with the album’s other tracks, it makes the Scenic Album one that true music lovers and musicians will enjoy just as much as any other more well-known instrumental and rock records out there today.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online at http://prostheticrecords.com/?p=3859.  Felix is currently scheduled to appear at the 2014 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California on January 22 – 25th.  He is also scheduled to perform at the Baja Prog Fest in Mexicali, Mexico on April 2nd.  To find out about Martin’s latest tour dates and news, fans can follow him online at http://www.felixmartin.net and http://www.facebook.com/felixmartinmusic.  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.

The Winery Dogs’ Debut A Super Record From A True Supergroup

Courtesy:  Loud & Proud Records

Courtesy: Loud & Proud Records

2013 has been quite a year for new rock records.  The list of new records vying to make critics’ lists of the year’s best is already cluttered.  And the year’s not even out yet.  That list already includes releases from the likes of:  Pop Evil, Queensryche, Buckcherry, Filter and Joe Satriani just to name a handful of releases.  Now with the release of its self-titled release, rock trio The Winery Dogs has added its name to that already massively cluttered landscape.  The band—Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison)—instantly draws comparisons to Chickenfoot from early on with its brand of rock.  If one were to listen to this and not know it was another band, one would instantly think one was listening to the latter of the two.  Even vocalist Richie Kotzen sounds at times like Chickenfoot front man Sammy Hagar.  At others, he sounds like Soundgarden/former Audioslave front man Chris Cornell.  The similarity in the singers’ voices is eerie.

The band’s new self-titled album is a solid mix of sounds, opening with a trio of heavier, energy-laden songs in: ‘Elevate’, ‘Desire’ and ‘We Are One.’  From there, things slow down a little bit in ‘I’m No Angel’ ‘The Other Side’ and ‘You Saved Me.’  What’s interesting here is that while this trio of songs is a little more subdued, there is still a certain controlled energy throughout all three.  The guitar solos in ‘We Are One’ along with Portnoy’s expert drumming in this song is just one of so many of the album’s highlights.  ‘You Saved Me’ is impressive not just because of its musical content, but also for its uplifting lyrical content.  Kotzen sings, “You saved me in my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You gave me all my strength and power/And when sunshine turned to grey/In my darkest hour/You stood by me and stayed/You stood with me/My guiding angel.”  This could be interpreted in a religious sense.  It could just as easily be considered more in the sense of a relationship.  Regardless of which angle one takes here, the ballad with its moving music and equally uplifting lyrics is sure to impress any listener. 

‘You Saved Me’ is a fitting midpoint for The Winery Dogs’ debut record.  That is because it is after this point that things pick back up beginning with what is one of the best of the best from this record in ‘Not Hopeless.’  This song is a standout thanks to the contradiction of the heavier, slower sludge rock style verses to the more standard rock style choruses.  Kotzen shows throughout both sections (and his solos) that he can easily hold his own alongside fellow guitar great Zakk Wylde here.  And if this isn’t enough to get listeners excited, the album’s next track, ‘One More Time’ definitely will.  Bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan gets his chance to shine in this up-tempo prog rock piece alongside Portnoy.  Sheehan gets his own solo alongside Portnoy in the song’s bridge.  Kotzen eventually joins in to add in his own spice, too.  By the time the song ends, it will have left listeners in awe of the trio’s talent once more.  Forget the lyrics.  This song is entirely about the talent of these three musicians.  And it definitely doesn’t disappoint.

After the high energy of ‘One More Time’ and ‘Not Hopeless’, the band slows things down only momentarily in ‘Damaged’ and ‘Six Feet Deeper.’  This gives listeners just enough time to catch their collective breath before diving back in the deep end again on the album’s final trio of songs.  ‘Time Machine’, ‘The Dying’, and ‘Regret’ finish off the album.  And they do so in expert form.  The energy in these three songs is just enough to keep listeners engaged right to the final notes without skipping even one song.  Suffice it to say that listeners that are familiar with the musicianship of Sheehan, Portnoy and Kotzen will be just as impressed with this record as anything else that the trio has recorded throughout its career.  For those that are new to the trio’s talents, these final three songs are certain to seal the deal and make new fans of three of the most talented individuals in the music industry today. 

Winery Dogs’ debut record is slated to be released Tuesday, July 23rd via Loud & Proud Records.  Fans can pre-order it now via the Loud & Proud Records website at http://loudandproudrecords.com/releases/winery-dogs/.  In the meantime, fans can check out the band’s new album live on its tour.  It will be touring through Japan and South America during the month of July before coming back to the United States on August 3rd.  Fans can get a full list of the band’s tour dates online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWineryDogs.  Fans can also “Like” the Winery Dogs’ Facebook page for all of the latest news and updates from the band.

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

Up-And-Coming Guitarist To Tour With Malmstein

Rising guitar star Ethan Brosh will hit the road this spring and summer with veteran guitarist and virtuoso musician Yngwie Malmstein.  The tour, which is in support of his upcoming sophomore full length studio release, will span twenty-five cities across the U.S. and Canada.  Brosh’s upcoming album is titled Live The Dream.  Bassist Dave Ellefson joins Brosh on this new release.  Ellefson isn’t the only huge name to have a hand on Bosh’s latest record.  Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth) mixed the record, and Bob Ludwig (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden) mastered it.  Joe Petagno (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd) crafted the album’s artwork.

Brosh’s debut album, 2009’s Out of Oblivion featured its own roster of who’s who in rock. Mike Mangini (Dream Theater, Extreme, Steve Vai) covered the drums for the record.  Mangini was just one of the big name musicians to make a guest appearance on Out of Oblivion.  He was joined by George Lynch (Dokken) and Greg Howe (Michael Jackson).  Derek Riggs (Iron Maiden) created the artwork for the album, while Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne) ran the boards.

Brosh has obviously made quite the name for himself as a solo artist.  And while he has done so, he doesn’t rest on his laurels as he also performs with another group called Burning Heart.  Burning heart will join the Yngwie tour on its second leg.  The tour will mark the first ever national tour for the band. 

A current list of tour dates is available below.  And for the latest tour updates and all the latest news from Ethan Brosh, fans go “Like” him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ethan-Brosh/88968151778.  Fans can also get the latest from Ethan Brosh online at http://www.ethanbrosh.com, http://www.myspace.com/ethanbrosh, and http://twitter.com/ethanbrosh.  Audiences can also check out Ethan’s music via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ethanbrosh.

04/24/13        CLEVELAND, OH           HOUSE OF BLUES
04/25/13        DETROIT, MI                             ST. ANDREW’S HALL
04/26/13        TORONTO, ON                     PHOENIX THEATRE
04/27/13        HARTFORD, CT                    THE WEBSTER THEATER
04/28/13        MUNHALL, PA                     CARNEGIE LIBRARY MUSIC HALL OF HOMESTEAD
04/29/13        BOSTON, MA                      THE WILBUR THEATRE
04/30/13        NEW YORK, NY                    IRVING PLAZA
05/03/13        MEMPHIS, TN                     TOM LEE PARK – BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVAL
05/04/13        CHICAGO, IL                     HOUSE OF BLUES
05/05/13        ST. CHARLES, IL                 THE ARCADA THEATRE
05/07/13        DENVER, CO                      THE SUMMIT MUSIC HALL
05/09/13        ANAHEIM, CA                     HOUSE OF BLUES
05/10/13        W. HOLLYWOOD, CA                HOUSE OF BLUES
05/11/13        FRESNO, CA                      TOWER THEATRE
05/12/13        VENTURA, CA                     MAJESTIC VENTURA THEATER
05/13/13        SAN FRANCISCO, CA       THE REGENCY BALLROOM
05/14/13        SAN DIEGO, CA                   HOUSE OF BLUES
05/16/13        DALLAS, TX                              GRANADA THEATER
05/17/13        SAN ANTONIO, TX         BACKSTAGE LIVE – OUTDOORS
05/18/13        HOUSTON, TX                     OUTDOORS HOUSTON GUITAR FESTIVAL
5/21/13         SAUGET, IL                              POPS
5/23/13         NEW ORLEANS, LA         HOUSE OF BLUES
5/24/13         ORLANDO, FL                     PLAZA THEATRE
5/25/13         MIAMI, FL                               GRAND CENTRAL
5/26/13         TAMPA, FL                               ORPHEUM THEATRE

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.

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

To keep up with more from Deep Purple and all 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.