Derek Sherinian Offers Update On New Album

Courtesy: InsideOut MUsic

Famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian is scheduled to release his new album, Vortex, this summer.

The album is scheduled for release July 1 through InsideOut Music. The record’s release will come more than two years after the release of his then latest album, The Phoenix. That album produced the singles,  ‘Empyrean Sky,’ ‘Dragonfly,’ and ‘Them Changes‘ (a cover of the Buddy Miles classic).

Sherinian announced last March, that he had started work on the album. He said at the time, drummer Simon Phillips would return for the album, which has been confirmed for this album. Also making guest appearances at Steve Stevens, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne band, Black Label Society), and Michael Schenker (Temple of Rock, Michael Schenker Group, Michael Schenker Fest), all of whom he has worked previously.

Sherinian made a guest appearance on Schenker’s latest Micheal Schenker Group record, Immortal, last year, while Wylde has previously appeared on some of Sherinian’s early solo releases. Also making appearances this time out are the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather (Toto), and his Sons of Apollo band mate Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.

The track listing for Vortex is noted below.

1 The Vortex feat. Steve Stevens
2 Fire Horse feat. Nuno Bettencourt
3 Scorpion
 4 Seven Seas feat. Steve Stevens
5 Key Lime Blues feat. Joe Bonamassa, Steve Lukather
6 Die Kobra feat. Michael Schenker, Zakk Wylde
7 Nomad’s Land feat. Mike Stern
8 Aurora Australis feat. Bumblefoot

More information on Derek Sherinian’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:




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Santana Shines Again In Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The weather outside is definitely looking frightful this time of year.  That means rather than going outside to get out and about, people are going to be looking more for ways to have fun while they stay indoors and stay warm.  That is just one of so many reasons that record labels churn out so many live recordings each year.  The problem with all of those recordings is that while some are truly standout offerings, others are otherwise forgettable space fillers used to fulfill contractual obligations for the given acts.  Presented today are some of the best of this year’s new live recordings.

Whereas Phil’s Picks already presented the year’s top new live CD recordings, this time Phil’s Picks is presenting the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  A lot of thought and consideration went into this list.  The concerts’ set lists, the bands’ performances, the cinematography and audio mix all went into consideration for this list as did the recordings’ companion booklets or lack thereof.  So it goes without saying that it wasn’t an easy list to assemble.  But this critic tried.
As always, the list presented here includes not just this critic’s list of the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs but five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.  Without any further ado, here for you, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs.
1. SantanaSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
2. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
3. Joe BonamassaLive at the Greek Theatre
4. Judas PriestBattle Cry
5. Motley CrueThe End Live in Los Angeles
6. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon
7. Deep PurpleLive at the NEC
8. Melody GardotLive in Paris
9. Gregory PorterLive in Berlin
10. ScorpionsLive in Munich
11. Alan JacksonLive at Red Rocks
12. Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockRock on a MissionLive in Madrid
13. SaxonFeel Your Power
14. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live
15. Fall Out BoyThe Boys of Zummer TourLive in Chicago
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Michael Schenker Releasing New Live Recording Next Month

Courtesy:  MVD Entertainment Group

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Michael Schenker will release his new live recording next month.

Michael Schenker recently announced that he has a new live recording on the way.  On A Mission: Live in Madrid will be released Friday, May 6th.  On November 19th, 2015 Schenker rejoined his former Scorpions band mates bassist Francis Buchholz and drummer Herman Rarebell on stage in Joy Enslava in Madrid, Spain for one of a number of performances together that the musicians presented last year.  The performance in question featured songs that spanned Schenker’s extensive musical resume with numbers such as UFO’s ‘’Lights Out’, Scorpions’ ‘Coast To Coast,’ MSG’s ‘Victim of Illusion,’ and Temple of Rock’s ‘Live and Let Live’ among a number of other hits.  The concert, which is available now for pre-order via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store, will be presented in separate standalone 2CD, 2Blu-ray, DVD and deluxe collector’s edition.  The show’s set list is exactly the same on both platforms and in the same order.  However, the DVD will come with a pair of bonus features.  There will also be a special limited Deluxe Collector’s Edition of the recording on the DVD that will feature band interviews, sound check footage, rehearsal footage, and much more.  The complete set list and bonus material included in the DVD platforms is noted below.  A trailer for the recording can be viewed online now via YouTube  at

CD Track Listing:
Disc: 1 

1. Ocean Odyssey – Intro
2. Doctor Doctor
3. Live And Let Live
4. Lights Out
5. Where The Wild Winds Blow
6. Natural Thing
7. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
8. Victim Of Illusion
9. Lovedrive
10. Coast To Coast
11. Vigilante Man
12. Rock My Nights Away

Disc: 2 
1. Saviour Machine
2. Too Hot To Handle
3. Only You Can Rock Me
4. Lord Of The Lost And Lonely
5. Rock You Like A Hurricane
6. Rock Bottom
7. Horizons
8. Attack Of The Mad Axeman
9. Communion
10. Blackout

DVD Track Listing:

Ocean Odyssey – Intro
Doctor Doctor
Live And Let Live
Lights Out
Where the Wild Winds Blow
Natural Thing
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Victim Of Illusion
Coast To Coast
Vigilante Man
Rock My Nights Away
Saviour Machine
Too Hot To Handle
Only You Can Rock Me
Lord of the Lost and Lonely
Rock You Like A Hurricane
Rock Bottom
Attack Of The Mad Axeman
Searching For Freedom – Outro

Bonus Materials:

Outside the theatre
Soundcheck sketches

Additional Bonus Materials Limited Deluxe Collector’s Edition:

The tour starts
Michael and his guitars
Individual Interviews With Band Members


More information on On A Mission: Live in Madrid is available online now along with all of Michael Schenker’s latest news and more at:





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2015 Saw A Number Of Great Rock Records Released

2015 has been a great year for the rock community. That is because so many standout albums have been released this year. This includes new rock albums both in the underground and the mainstream. There have been so many outstanding rock albums released so far this year that there was just not enough room for all of them on just one list (that is unless one were to make a list of the year’s top 100 new rock albums). Keeping that in mind, it couldn’t have been easy for any critic to develop a year-ender for the year’s best new rock records. It definitely wasn’t easy for this critic. This critic’s list of the year’s best new rock records presents albums from some relatively well-known bands and some that might not be so widely-known. Regardless of how well-known said acts (and albums) are, it can be said that each wholly deserves its spot on this list thanks to musical and lyrical content that is more apt to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end than any other band or album. Enough rambling. Without any further ado here is the list of those bands and their respective albums. This is the Phil’s Picks ‘ 2015 Top 10 New Rock Albums. As with every other list, the main body of the list is made up of the year’s Top 10 Best new records. The bottom five receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen albums.



  13. POP EVIL – UP 


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Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock Succeeds In Its “Mission”

Courtesy:  inakustic

Courtesy: inakustic

Michael Schenker has had quite the storied career. He has recorded and performed with both UFO and Scorpions over the course of his decades-long career. He has also recorded and performed with his own band, Michael Schenker Group. The music that he has crafted with both UFO and Scorpions is considered some of the greatest in rock’s modern history. The music that he has crafted with his own band has proven to be just as enjoyable for his fans. Now with the recent release of Spirit on a Mission, the new album from his latest project, Temple of Rock, Schenker can add another mark to his already extensive resume. This album is a one more album that every rock purist should have in his or her own music library. The twelve-track album mixes the bombast of his former bands’ arena rock sound with something heavier and more focused. The end result of those sounds is a record that could potentially be another of this year’s best new rock records. The proof for this argument comes early on in the album’s second song ‘Communion.’ This is such an interesting song because its blues-infused rock sound is a direct contradiction to its lyrical content. Another piece that makes Temple of Rock’s new album so interesting is ‘Saviour Machine.’ Anyone that is a fan of Black Label Society will like the song’s familiar, heavier sound. The song’s lyrical side makes it just as interesting. The song’s lyrical content comes across as a personal commentary of sorts. Both elements together make it yet another example of why this record stands out in an increasingly crowded field of rock records. While both ‘Saviour Machine’ and ‘Communion’ each present their own proof as to what makes Spirit on a Mission so enjoyable for rock purists, they are just part of what makes this album stand out. The aptly titled ‘Rock City’ helps make the record stand out just as much. This full-on rock song throws back to the days of big riffs and even bigger hair with its musical side. Its lyrical side is just as classic with front man Doogie White’s subject singing to a girl that he’ll give her everything. Those classic lyrics and straight-forward, driving tempo will put a smile on any rock purist’s face as he or she sings along. Whether for this song, the others noted, or those not noted, audiences will agree in listening to Temple of Rock’s new album that Spirit on a Mission more than succeeds in its mission.

Spirit on a Mission is a solid follow-up to Michael Schenker’s 2011 album Temple of Rock. From start to finish, this twelve-track record succeeds in its mission as it will both entertain listeners and have them thinking with its mix of music and lyrics. This is made clear early on in the album’s second track ‘Communion.’ It is such an interesting song because Schenker’s blues-infused rock sound is a direct contradiction to the lyrics penned by front man Doogie White. The song’s lyrical content comes across as presenting the standard story of a broken relationship. The situation for the couple in this song seemingly starts out fine, as White sings, “Watch as the candle gives out the light/Show me the pages/On which the ink won’t dry/Tell me your secrets as the candle burns low/Whisper you love me/Then it’s on with the show.” It doesn’t take long for things to go south and White’s subject to end up alone. White sings in the song’s final verse, “Now that it’s over/I cried in my sleep/Woke in the morning/With the secrets you keep/Give you my best/I gave you a little bit more/A slap in the face when you slammed the door/I don’t belong here no more.” Considering these lyrics, one wouldn’t think this song would have the solid blues-infused sound that it boasts. It’s definitely not the pairing that one would expect when thinking about such lyrical topics. Having such an uncommon dichotomy, it more than proves itself on of the most notable of this album’s songs. Thus it definitely stands out as at least one piece that makes this record well worth the listen.

The surprisingly entertaining musical and lyrical dichotomy presented in ‘Communion’ makes it a clear example of just what this latest effort from Michael Schenker has to offer listeners. Considering that not many acts would take such a chance as that taken here says quite a bit. That the chance taken has paid off here says even more. It’s just one of the album’s many smaller successes that make Spirit on a Mission its own success in whole. ‘Saviour Machine’ shows in its own way why Spirit on a Mission is such a success. This song is one of a pair of pieces that displays a different side to Temple of Rock on this record. It is a much heavier tune than others musically speaking. Those that are fans of Black Label Society will especially enjoy its slower, heavier sound. Lyrically speaking, it is just as certain to have listeners talking. Written by Doogie White, Michael Schenker, and Wayne Findlay, the song’s lyrical side comes across as a commentary of sorts. This inference can be made `as the trio writes, “We passed the point of no return/We stood and watch as cities burned/The sound of laughter cuts the night/Destroyed your world with my despite.” The trio goes on to write in the song’s second verse, “The soldiers marching off to war/Wonder what the hell they’re dying for/So speaks the tongue of the liar/As mountains crumble to the seas/Their hearts are crushed by man’s disease/And now they bathe in the sorrow.” As the song’s chorus states, this is coming from the vantage point of a very cynical figure. The figure almost says with a grin, “Your world is shakin’ and I don’t hear you call/Just scream my name/Hail the saviour machine.” It could be argued that the message presented here is a commentary about people’s indifference to everything going on in the world until things get to their absolute worst. That’s when people seem to really turn to a higher power. As always, that interpretation could be entirely off. It is merely this critic’s interpretation. Right or wrong, it proves in the end to be a really heavy piece both musically and lyrically. Being so heavy both musically and lyrically, it shows clearly why it is yet another prime example of why any rock purist should hear both this song and Spirit on a Mission in whole even if only once.

Both ‘Saviour Machine’ and ‘Communion’ are important additions to Spirit on a Mission. They both exhibit a certain heaviness in their own way. The same can be said of the band’s full-on tribute to the golden days of rock that is ‘Rock City.’ This song will take listeners back to the days of big riffs and even bigger hair right from its first strains. Its straight-forward, driving tempo and classic lyrics about a man wanting to give a woman everything will put a smile on any listener’s face. In all honesty, anyone that knows their music history will instantly equate the song to Judas Priest’s hit song ‘Freewheel Burning’ thanks to those opening moments. This applies both to Schenker’s work on guitar and drummer Herman Rarebell’s solid time keeping. On the lyrical side, White sings, “Your broken heart, girl/Can still be mended/Stay with me until the morning comes/It’s a long road to nowhere/Believe me when I say you gotta give me some more/We’re gonna rock this city/This city of love.” Considering this and some of the song’s other lyrics, one would actually associate this song more with the classic love ballads of the 80s. But thanks to the juxtaposition of the song’s full-on musical side to these lyrics, it gives the song a whole other identity. The pairing of the two elements within the song makes the song come across as that of a man who really wants to make things work and make a woman happy. Compared to so many overly sappy, over-the-top ballads that were crafted by the bands of the 80s (and even 90s) a song such as this is a great contradiction to those songs. And it is also just as great of an addition to Spirit on a Mission. It is one more way that this album proves Schenker and his Temple of Rock band mates definitely succeed in their mission with this record, one of the best new rock records of 2015.

‘Rock City’, ‘Saviour Machine’ and ‘Communion’ each show in their own way why Spirit on a Mission succeeds in its mission of entertaining audiences. They do so through the combination of both their musical and lyrical sides. While all three of the note songs each show in their own way that Spirit on a Mission succeeds in its missions, the album’s other tracks should not be ignored in that argument. ‘Bulletproof,’ ‘Let The Devil Scream,’ and ‘Wicked’–the album’s closer–each could be used to make that argument, too along with any of the other songs that make up this album. Regardless of which song(s) one picks, the result is the same. Listeners will agree that Spirit on a Mission succeeds wholly in entertaining audiences from its first track to its last. They will agree, too that that same entertainment makes it a solid candidate for any critic’s list come December for the year’s best new rock records. Spirit on a Mission is available now in stores and online. More information on Spirit on a Mission or any of Michael Schenker’s other projects is available online at:



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