The Beatles : LOVE

On A Beatles Kick

I picked up the new Beatles release Love this afternoon and am completely blown away. The 26 tracks on the album have been completely remixed. You’ve never heard The Beatles sound so good. If you are a Beatles fan, this album is a MUST LISTEN TO.

One odd thing about the album though. For some reason, I was unable to rip it into iTunes to pull it into my iPod. The disc just wasn’t able to be read properly. I wound up finally pulling out the old Gateway Windows machine and ripping the disc to MP3’s at the highest quality, moving them onto our network server, pulling them down to the Mac, and importing them into iTunes that way.

I don’t recall ever seeing this happen before – where a disc cannot be read by the Mac at all but is fully rippable through Windows Media Player (I tried iTunes on Windows as well to no avail). I looked around, and couldn’t find any reference to anyone else having problems with iTunes. Weird.

Anyway, the album is phenomenal and I highly recommend it. While I was at it, I picked up The Beatles 1 as well. Its amazing how completely timeless the music they produced is.

Paul Stanley: Live To Win

Its been 9 years since anything good has come from the KISS camp that wasn’t a rehash of the days before they took their make up off. The last KISS release of original material was Psycho Circus back in 1998, which wasn’t necessarily their best effort.

In 2004 Gene Simmons released Asshole his first solo album since 1978, which is hardly something I would recommend you to buy. However, being one of those goofy KISS fans that have to buy anything new from the band, I just had to buy it for some reason, a decision I regretted soon after making the purchase.

This year, Paul Stanley has released his first solo album since 1978, called Live to Win.

This album is one I’ve actually enjoyed listening to. Its quite obvious when listening to this album where most of the song writing skills within KISS actually reside. I found the songs to be strong and catchy. Its been a while since I’ve bought an album that I’ve been able to listen to all the way through and then start over again.

Some of you might have heard the title track of the album without even knowing it, as it appears in the South Park World of Warcraft episode during the scene where the kids are practicing for hours on end killing boars to up their strength in order to confront the character in the game that is killing everyone within the game.

I felt the rest of the songs were pretty strong on the album as well. This is a good effort by Stanley, and its nice to hear his voice on something new for a change, rather than rehashes of KISS’s 1970’s catalog.

I have thought for a while that it is about time that KISS let go of the make up and old catalog performances that strike one as something to just fill their coffers and get out and do something new. Stanley has made a really good effort in putting some new material out there and this is one KISS fan who actually appreciates the effort and has enjoyed listening to something fresh and new from the KISS front man.

Its pretty obvious. If the band were to break up and stop putting out “Best Of” CD’s, Paul would be the one that still has a career when the dust settles.

Off The Rails – The Review

I just finished reading Off The Rails by Rudy Sarzo this last week. Overall, I would say I liked it.

I’ve been a fan of Randy Rhoads since first hearing the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of Madman albums in 1983 or so. He was a unique player for his time and these two albums are of the sort that they sound just as fresh today as they did when they were released.

As a Rhoads fan, I’ve always picked up any and all information I could get on him. Every guitar magazine he’s been in, I probably have or have had it. Each article or magazine never really gave you enough, as a fan, as to what Randy was like.

Off The Rails was written using Sarzo’s daily diaries that he had kept during the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary tours between 1981 and 1982 (at the request of his accountant) and gives you an interesting glimpse of what was going on in the band at the time. While this book is probably the most detailed about Rhoads as a person, the book for me seemed to focus more on how screwed up Ozzy and Sharon were during this time, which is actually the stuff I wound up getting more interested in as the book went on.

After reading this book, you will be amazed that Osbourne has gotten to where he did, and that he actually produced the music he did over the years. Rumors have always abounded about his alcoholism and wild antics, but Sarzo gives you a very detailed glimpse into the amount of abuse Ozzy exposed himself and everyone around him to during the early days of his solo career.

Most interesting to me was the circumstances around the planned live album that became Speak of the Devil and Randy’s resistance to doing the album. Given where the band was at the time, with two albums of solo material, its easy to understand that Randy did not want to do a live album of Sabbath material, but the most telling is how Ozzy reacted and treated Randy when he refused to do the album initially.

Over the last twenty some years, we’ve heard a lot of positive things about the relationship between Ozzy and Randy. This book, if nothing else, gives you a glimpse of the “real life” circumstances on the tour and paints a much less rosy picture of the time that the band spent on the road.

That is not to say at all that Off The Rails is negative. Sarzo manages to detail all of the goings on during this time without giving the reader the feeling of reading a “tell-all” book meant to smear the participants for the sake of making money. Rudy does a great job of reporting what happened in a very balanced way that manages to get the reader to close the book and walk away thinking.

Bottom line, the book is excellent. Sarzo does a good job of reporting the daily goings on in the tour, giving you a glimpse into the life of guitar hero, and doing it in such a way that it does not feel exploitative in the least. I would definitely recommend this book to those who are Rhoads fans, or even those who just want a third party addition to the biographies already out there on Ozzy and his crew.

Off the Rails by Rudy Sarzo Now Available At Amazon.com

I received an email yesterday from someone letting me know that Rudy Sarzo’s long awaited book, Off The Rails is now available at Amazon.com. The book chronicles his time with Ozzy Osbournes Blizzard of Ozz band, featuring the late great Randy Rhoads.

From what I’ve heard, this book is a one of a kind. I actually headed over to Borders yesterday to pick it up, only to find it listed in their computers as out of print. I guess I will have to forego my need for ‘immediate satisfaction’ and wait for Amazon to deliver it.

Rhoads fans have been waiting a long time for this release. I’ll let you know what I think once I get it.

I Had Forgotten How Much I Liked Iron Maiden

I was a huge Iron Maiden fan in the 80’s. I had quite a few of their albums and was I guess was one of those people who got extremely energized when listening to any of their albums. There was just something about the way the music was put together that I really liked.

Yesterday we went on our usual weekend mall trip and while browsing at FYE saw the album A Matter of Life and Death, the bands latest release. I’m not sure why I noticed it, except that someone Jonna works with had gone to a show in Chicago and she was telling me that he was rather disappointed in that they played more new stuff than old, and he didn’t recognize any of the music.

I couldn’t imagine being disappointed at a Maiden concert. They were actually the first concert I had ever gone to, at the now defunct Poplar Creek in Chicago, on the Powerslave tour.

This, coupled with our visit to the King Tut exhibit inspiring me to pop Powerslave on in the car last week has had me jonesing a bit for some new Iron Maiden.

So, this morning I logged into iTunes and grabbed the new album. I have to say, I love it.

The band sounds better than ever. I had forgotten how much Iron Maiden had meant to me back in high school. I remember spending hours learning songs like Number of the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, Wasted Years, and Hallowed Be Thy Name, still one of my all time favorite Maiden songs.

This morning has been pretty satisfying, music wise. I’ve grabbed all of my old Maiden CD’s and ripped them into iTunes. Those I’ve lost, that I really had the urge to hear again, I’ve repurchased (with a subsequent backup – just in case).

For those who were big Maiden fans back in the day, check out this album. If nothing else, it will inspire you to pull out the old stuff and give it a listen.