Monday, 30 May 2016

Uncle G's FUN Movie Reviews_Moonwalkers

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
31 May 2016
Uncle G's FUN Movie Reviews
Spotlight: Moonwalkers (2015)

Age: 16+
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk

Twitter @GBrown0816




If I'm into the subject matter, and it's a well written story, I tend to enjoy a good period piece film. In a way it's the closest thing we have to a machine that can go back in time, where we can actually see events unfold for ourselves. Researched thoroughly, it's contents can not only be entertaining, but a learning experience as well. Unless if based on a conspiracy theory, then all bets are off. And this is where the film, Moonwalkers, comes in. The premise being that the American Government had a Plan B just in case the 1969 Apollo Eleven mission was not successful landing on the Earth's only natural satellite.

Debuted in 2015, and released to the masses in the beginning of 2016, the indie comedy 'Moonwalkers' which goes back in time to June of 1969, marks the directorial debut of France's Antoine Bardou-Jacquet. Written by English writer Dean Craig. Stars American actor Ron Perlman, Irish actor Robert Sheehan, and from the mega successful Harry Potter motion pictures, British actor Rupert Grint. Together helping create a well made film, that's I'm sure any viewer who sees it, won't forget for a long time. Let me elaborate.

As soon as I put the Blu-ray disc in, and pressed the play button on the remote, Moonwalkers had my attention. Two things. The introduction of Ron Perlman's character Kidman, and the trippy animated opening titles. That's all it took. Check it out. When viewing, the credits look for the caricature of President Nixon. Here's just one of many laugh out loud moments.

The next scene takes place in the States, and is set just ten days before the United States Apollo Eleven mission is scheduled to land on the Moon. Here it's established in a top secret military meeting that Kidman has just returned from doing three years in Vietnam (Special Ops). Before this scene, we have witnessed he's strung out, suffering flashbacks that involve seeing spooky hallucinations, and that he also is racked with high anxiety. Facts he's not openly elaborating on. Yet the government thinks he's the right man for the job. His new assignment is to go to London, England, seek out famous film director Stanley Kubrick, and persuade him with a briefcase full of cash, to secretly make a movie of a successful Apollo 11 moon landing. This would also include, of course, getting out of the lunar module, and walking around on the surface. Footage that could be used just in case the real mission screws up, in which the odds of actually doing so, according to those giving orders to Kidman, are better than the odds of the mission succeeding. As I said, ten days. Sounds simple enough. What could go wrong? In this cinematic farce, the answer to that question, would be; everything. Take my word, it's really fun watching the events unfold from here.

As I already stated, Moonwalkers is a comedy. An adult comedy that is. It contains cursing, consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, and drug use, but nothing really super hardcore, or anything I didn't do back in the 1970's myself. Except for opium. If around, I suppose I would have done that too. Oh, and I wasn't into huffing. Not my thing. I once, saw a female do that, and then shortly thereafter proceed to piss herself. Speaking for myself, when it comes to urination, I'd rather use the toilet, or go outdoors. Meaning, not in my pants.

Did I say anything about the cocaine use? Well maybe the drug play is kind of hardcore? No one really dies or anything as a result. There is a nose bleed scene, as a result from snorting blow. Keep in mind, this is a period piece on the late nineteen sixties. So whatever is depicted, is a reflection of the time. Some funny scenes involving CIA Agent Kidman and drugs, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Add some heavy comic book violence, and then some nudity sprinkled in here and there for good measure. 
Nothing real graphic. Remember, in this decade not only was there rampant drug experimentation, but there was a sexual revolution going on as well.  

Once in London, we are introduced to a bottom of the barrel rock n' roll manager, named Jonny Thorpe. Portrayed by twenty something year old actor, Rupert Grint. His character is barely getting by. For the last three years he's been managing a rock band who call themselves, The Yellow Blackguards. Things up to this point, have not gone well. Matter of fact, instead of making money, Jonny's borrowing money from a loan shark (Ironmonger) to keep the group afloat.

With things continuing to not work out, this situation goes from being bad, to even worse. Adding insult to injury, the band now holds Jonny accountable for their lack of prosperity, and threatens to fire him. Really more than it is Jonny's fault, critically speaking the blame really lies within themselves, and squarely focuses on the group's lead singer / songwriter, Glen. His live performance borders on the obscene, as do his lyrics and song titles such as 'Grandma's Nipples.' Next comes Glen's demands to be able to record a rock opera. Which is borderline absurd. Motivated by not wanting to be unemployed, and have to sink to complete and utter failure, Jonny refuses to give up. And let's not forget, The Ironmonger. For just hearing the name spoken aloud, frightens people. An undesirable who has a reputation for having hired thugs cut off body parts if not paid back promptly. And Jonny's loan, is now due.

Trying to come up with the cash to pay that back, Jonny goes to a cousin, with whom he thinks he could get some help. After being laughed at and ridiculed, that idea seems a bad one. Until Jonny meets Kidman. He's now in London, seeking out Stanley Kubrick, and by accident runs into Jonny, who quickly comprehends Kidman to be an American idiot, and an easy mark. But when over, what Jonny mistakenly concludes to be a brilliant con, with help from his best mate Leon (Robert Sheehan), whose life revolves around being wasted, turns out to be nothing of the sort. For it seems Leon forgot to mention one thing. That the one they swindled out of a briefcase full of cash, isn't really who he initially said he was. Truth is he's a CIA Agent. Surprise! 

Moonwalkers - Actors Ron Perlman and Rupert Grint
Now I hate when doing these reviews / write ups to give away the whole story. Cutting to the chase, there is no Stanley Kubrick. Story goes he's away from London doing promo for what was then his newest masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film that gave the United States government the idea that an idea like this, could work to start with. But it's OK because once Kidman catches up with Jonny, the at wits end manager states he knows another movie maker, whose name is Renatus (portrayed by Tom Audenaert), that could pull this off. An avant-garde out of this world type director, who surrounds himself with a harem of pretty women, and an assortment of talented / hippie type young people. From here till the movie's conclusion, a continual amusing tale that even the most hardened conspiracy theorist should be able to smile at. 

Uncle G Rates … Moonwalkers (2015)

Using the ten star rating system that the IMDb uses, whereas one star means it's dreadful, to ten stars which means it's the best one could hope for, I rate the Antoine Bardou-Jacquet motion picture Moonwalkers … 10 stars! It sucked me in from the very beginning, and kept me entertained all throughout. Isn't that what a ten star rating should be? Was a solid story, that along with being amusing, was filmed very well, never boring me in the process. Excellent special effects also. Watching it twice, I feel as if I certainly got my money's worth. Which by the way, it was a Netflix rental. Cool bonus features included with the disc. Kept me glued to the TV for hours.




Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Greg Lake Solo Reissues

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
23 May 2016
Classic Rock Reissues (2015 Double Disc CD)
Musician: Greg Lake
Disc # 01. Greg Lake - Greg Lake (1981)
Disc # 02. Greg Lake - Manoeuvres (1983)
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter @GBrown0816




What a pleasant surprise to find out the two albums Greg Lake did in the early 1980's have been reissued. A nice double CD, accompanied with a multi page booklet where Greg gives new insights on both releases. Plus photos! Very informative, and most importantly the CD's themselves sound great. A definite upgrade for me. I had both on cassette.

Uncle G Reflects on … Greg Lake - Greg Lake (1981)

Greg Lake's first solo record starts off with a real rocker called; Nuclear Attack. The intro screams electric guitar. Different from what fans like myself expected of Greg Lake. The song ends up being the biggest hit of the album. Written by Gary Moore (1952 - 2011). A very talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Just one of many wonderful musicians who participate on this unfortunate, over all, lack luster release. A topic that Mr. Lake himself addresses in the booklet that accompanies this reissue. His honesty / self evaluation I find to be refreshing.

The music itself, more in the vein of adult contemporary than what made Greg a household name; progressive rock. His voice instantly recognizable to fans of classic rock / rock music in general due to his participation in not only one, but two very successful prog-rock bands; King Crimson, and the mighty Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. His first record with Chrysalis Records is a mix of songs, that according to Mr. Lake, had no real sense of direction. A reflection of his professional life, being up in the air. For the 1980's was a new decade, and for Greg Lake seeing how ELP had just broken up, that meant new career decisions. Not joining another band where the main focus would not be on him, and instead recording under his own name, was one of them. Sales of Greg's self titled album wasn't exactly what the label was expecting. Disappointing, especially when compared to the millions sold under the band names he was a part of. Keep in mind, this was a fresh start.

Highlights

Nuclear Attack / Love You Too Much (in part written by Bob Dylan) / It Hurts / Let Me Love You Once / For Those Who Dare.

Not an out and out bad song anywhere. Just some might be better than others. People's taste varies. What tracks I give repeat plays too, someone else might not be that fond of. The one thing we Greg Lake fans all have in common is enjoying Greg's work in general as a musician. The man could create a song and have lyrics focus around doing a Google search on reptiles, and I'm sure it would be better than a lot of what could be found on today's record charts. Is my generations Tony Bennett or Andy Williams. Blessed with a singing voice that may have changed some as he aged, but has always remained strong and captivating. Also a very talented bass, and guitar player who knows his way around a recording studio. A professional career that started in 1969, that generated a song catalog any professional musician would be envious of.

Greg Lake - Greg Lake Reissue Bonus Tracks

01.) You Really Got A Hold On Me (Smokey Robinson song)
02.) You're Good With Your Love (recorded with members of Toto)
03.) Cold Side of a Woman (recorded with members of Toto)

Uncle G Reflects on … Greg Lake - Manoeuvres (1983)

This was Greg Lake's second solo record. I conclude it's a more cohesive effort, in which Greg is playing with one set of musicians throughout the album. His touring band in which he gotten use to working with. If I had to pick a favorite between his self titled first solo, and this one, I'd pick the latter. A mix of rockers, and power ballads. A solid listen from start to finish.

The Greg Lake Band

Greg Lake - Guitar, Vocals
Gary Moore - Guitar
Tristian Margetts - Bass
Tommy Eyre - Keyboards
Ted McKenna - Drums

Highlights

A Woman Like You / Famous Last Words / Haunted / It's You, You Gotta Believe.

Greg Lake - Manoeuvres Reissue Bonus Track

01.) Hold On (original tune by Greg Lake)

Greg Lake - Manoeuvres Song Writing Credits

Mister Lake has his name on eight songwriting credits on this album. Bonus track makes nine. Either as the sole writer, or in part.

Uncle G Rates … Greg Lake - Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (2 disc reissue CD)

Using the one to five star rating system in which one star means one can skip over, to five stars which means every Greg Lake fan should have this in their collection, I rate Greg Lake - Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (2 disc reissue CD)… 5 stars! I am so glad I have this now. Have played both disc numerous times since acquiring. A wonderful addition to the many titles I have already with Greg Lake's involvement.

For additional information, please visit Greg Lake's official Website:

www.greglake.com

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Uncle G - Memories of Space City Comic Con 2015

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
21 May 2016
Memories of Space City Comic Con 2015
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter
@GBrown0816

My first Space City Comic Con was three years ago, back in 2013. I had a super time spending the day checking out all their was to see, as well as meeting the majority of the special guests that had appeared. Two years later (2015) and I was back at it again. Instead of one day, I spent the entire weekend there. Reason being so I could cover the event for the classic rock station I write for. Ended up being quite a task.

My main focus, was on the live music Space City Comic Con 2015 had to offer. One guest in particular, Tim Russ. Most know the name from the television show; Star Trek: Voyager. Besides his acting, Tim is really a very talented musician. I had the pleasure of interviewing him before the convention about a new CD he had at the time, just put out called; Tim Russ - Lifeline. I enjoyed the task of reviewing the CD, and wanted to go a step further with it. Tim was all too happy to oblige. I then picked up on the fact that not only was Mr. Russ going to be a special guest at Space City Comic Con 2015, appearing with several other actors from the Star Trek show he did, but that he was also going to be a musical guest there. Seeing how I review music concerts as well, it just seemed a given that I be there. And that I was! In my opinion, things could not have worked out any better. The response from all the pieces I wrote, not only on Mr. Russ, but on my experiences at the convention, amazed me. For myself, it was a really cool writing experience. I thank all who made it possible. To those who assisted, and to everyone else who found the free time to hang out, and shoot the bull with me some.

Seeing how Space City Comic Con 2016 is getting near (May 27 - 29), I figured I put all my stories together that I done centering around last years mega successful Space City Comic Con, and again let them fly. I know there are some are out there reading this now, that are not one hundred percent sure if they are attending or not. So this re-posting, for those on the cusp. A gentle nudge to push one in the right direction of good times, and everlasting memories.

As for myself, I wish I could attend. Things have a funny way of changing over the course of one year. For this Space City Comic Con, instead of driving in, and going home at the end of that day's events, I would have to fly in, rent a car, and crash at a nearby hotel. Two words explains it all; separation / divorce. As ugly as that is, my friends tell me I'm all the better because of it. So not a bad thing. A life lesson to pass on; don't take anything for granted. As it pertains to Space City Comic Con 2015, the special guests you have an interest in seeing this year, but are thinking you might pass on till the next time around, could have other obligations preventing them from making it in 2017. Events could change. Items you might be interested in obtaining, purchased by someone else. Catch my drift? Believe me, this year's Space City Comic Con, will be unique in it's own way, and the only way you will have the opportunity to experience it, is to be there. Even if it be on a shoestring budget. Just do your best to make it happen. And to all who have already made plans on attending … enjoy!


OH, and should anyone have contact with William Shatner, please pass on that I'd still would love to interview him on his music. Seriously! I enjoyed his last album (William Shatner - Ponder The Mystery), and I am also a big Billy Sherwood fan, who helped Mr. Shatner on that project.  

Stories: Space City Comic Con 2015

01.) One Question with Uncle G (Star Trek: Voyager Alumni)

http://classicrockradioeu.blogspot.com/2015/07/one-question-with-uncle-gstar-trek.html

02.) Concert Review_Tim Russ at Space City Comic Con 2015

http://classicrockradioeu.blogspot.com/2015/08/concert-reviewtim-russ-at-space-city.html

03.) Space City Comic Con 2015 - Chapter Three: The Trade

http://classicrockradioeu.blogspot.com/2015/08/uncle-gtales-from-space-city-comic-con.html

04.) Space City Comic Con 2015 - Chapter 4 - It's A Wrap!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Uncle G's Fun Movie Reviews_Bloodsucking Bastards

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
20 May 2016
Uncle G's FUN Movie Reviews
Spotlight: Bloodsucking Bastards (2015)
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk

Twitter @GBrown0816



Back in 2008, vampires movies were forever changed by the downright horrible, yet popular teen Twilight films. These motion pictures made so much money, that whatever story one could insert a vampire in, was done, so to also cash in on the fad. Besides films, television programs, and books, also polluted the landscape. Worse thing was most times, they made these bloodsucking walking and talking corpses, the most un-coolest characters one could imagine. They had emotions, and feelings. Storylines were filled with angst. People like myself who grew up with old school Bela Lugosi, or Christopher Lee's evil Prince Of Darkness, was instantly repelled by this girlie new version of one of cinema's most popular monsters. Personally, I quit watching anything with a vampire storyline in it. In my opinion, all this new vampire stuff sucked, and it wasn't nowhere near in a good way.

Seven years from when that first Kristen Stewart snooze fest hit the silver screen, here comes an indie film centering around vampires called; Bloodsucking Bastards. Found it on Netflix. Great title! Caught my attention. Then I saw it starred actor Fran Kranz (The Cabin In The Woods), who had a terrific role in Joss Whedon's TV show; Dollhouse (2009 - 2010). An episodic television hour long sci-fi / drama that in my opinion, was prematurely yanked off the air. So Fran's involvement made me even more interested. A little more research showed 'Bloodsucking Bastards' to be a unrated American comedy / horror indie offering, clocking in at just under ninety minutes. Good enough for me. My boycott of vampires movies, was over. I added it to my Netflix queue, placing it third behind the newest Quentin Tarantino offering, The Hateful Eight, and a movie that I had several friends recommend to me called, The Big Short. Years ago I was a loan officer for a division of Countrywide Home Loans (Full Spectrum Lending) that specialized in subprime lending. Stressful, yet I was compensated well which motivated me to continually deal with the day to day hassles. Back to Netflix, neither movie title was in my snail mailbox the next time it came to receiving an envelope from the rental giant, but 'Bloodsucking Bastards' (Blu-ray_Scream Factory) was.


Like 'The Big Short', 'Bloodsucking Bastards' takes place in the white collar office world. A present day blood-soaked tale directed by Brian James O'Connell, with major involvement by Dr. God, in which the director is a part of. A Los Angeles based comedy group that before viewing 'Bloodsucking Bastards', I didn't know existed. Better late than never to jump on the fan bandwagon. According to Internet research, Dr. God consists of five people; BOC (Brian James O'Connell), Sean Cowhig, Neil Garguilo, David Park, and Justin Ware. Now on my radar, it should be interesting to say the least, keeping up on them. 

Viewing 'Bloodsucking Bastards' twice (the second time in commentary mode), and without giving away the whole thing, here's a few things that I really liked best: 


01.) The Acting: From the main cast to the supporting players, all did a really bang up job. The ones I liked their performances the most; Fran Kranz (Evan), Joey Kern (Tim), Emma Fitzpatrick (Amanda), and Marshall Givens (Frank aka Mr. Red Bull … a one of a kind performance / character). Basically these are the main stars of this feature. A combined effort by all involved, including those behind the scenes, is what made this work as well as it did. 

02.) Story: One that adults like myself could chill out to, and enjoy. I'm a 54 year old man. The teen shit I can appreciate at times, but it's not what I'm looking for in a nights entertainment. Unrated, one can call this adult fare. No nudity, but there is some cursing, which is fine. Matter of fact, the funniest moments involve blue language.  

03.) Mean Vampires: They kill with glee. The way it should be. And it's just awesome watching them perish when their time comes. 

04.) Filming: Indie films as a rule, usually have some kind of financial restraints. Starts with a solid story. All through production it's a struggle of having to do more, with less. A challenge I always find interesting, and explains why at least in part, why I seem to prefer independent movies more often than BIG Hollywood. 

'Bloodsucking Bastards' has just as good a look / sound to it, as the major popcorn flicks one will find at the local cinema. And I'm sure it didn't cost half a billion dollars to create. Seriously, when you have that much funds available, and are able to hire the best talent in front of, and behind the camera, how can you flop? Yet it happens all the time. 

Weird in a way. I typically expect less from indie movies, and as with 'Bloodsucking Bastards' got more. With BIG Hollywood presentations I expect more, and typically get less. Adding to the assault on my wallet, an insult to one's intelligence. 

Uncle G Rates … Bloodsucking Bastards 

Using the one to ten star system that the iMDB website uses, whereas one star means it blows chunks and should be avoided at all costs, to ten stars which means … holy shit this film was rated 10 stars, Uncle G rates 'Bloodsucking Bastards' … 10 stars. Wow!  

I pay a ten spot a month for snail mail Netflix. If I would have went out to a theater and seen 'Bloodsucking Bastards' on the big screen for ten bucks, I'd be happy. The money I put out to be entertained, means a lot to me. If I give a stripper a dollar I expect … only kidding. I'm nearing nine hundred words now. Just seeing if you the reader, are still paying attention. All kidding aside, nearing age 55, besides money, I don't like to waste time. No such thing happened viewing 'Bloodsucking Bastards'. And remember, I watched it twice, listening to the commentary by Dr. God the second time around. 

Blu-ray Disc: Nice job by Scream Factory. Well put together. Cool bonus features / easter eggs. I recommend not only renting 'Bloodsucking Bastards' like from Netflix, but also purchasing. Something extra special for those who still collect discs, and are not into streaming.

Official Website: http://www.bloodsuckingbastards.com/



Sunday, 15 May 2016

Doing Liner Notes...with Uncle G

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
14 May 2016
Liner Notes - Generation:landslide!

By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter @GBrown0816

Generation:landslide 2016 EP
Towards the end of last year I was approached by musician Tom Underwood, asking if I'd be interested in doing the liner notes for a new CD (expanded single) that his band has scheduled for release around Spring of next year. Without hesitation, my answer was; "Yes". I have been exposed to the band, and knew their music for some time. When going into more detail about this writing assignment, Tom added that I would be limited to about five hundred words, give or take. This made it more a personal challenge. For a lot of what I author on a semi-daily basis, easily exceeds that word allotment. The reason for the limitation Tom explained was due to what was planned as far as the printing of the actual CD booklet that would come with the physical CD. The band wanted a single page fold, so when you opened the CD single, one could pull out the cover insert and open it up to reveal a page in which the liner notes would be. After saying OK, I said I'd start to work on it soon, after bouncing some ideas around as to what I was going to say. Tom thanked me, smiled, and it was a done deal. I thanked him as well for considering me for the job. A couple weeks later on a beautiful Houston Saturday afternoon, we got together at his home. While eating a delicious meal along with Tom's wife / bandmate Kathie Muncy-Underwood, we further discussed the plans for the up and coming five song EP.

Weeks later, I submitted my over six hundred words to Kathie. All was fine. We went from Fall of 2015, to the start of Spring in 2016. Then one chilly day in the great State of Pennsylvania, I receive a padded envelope containing the newest Generation:landslide! release, entitled: Carousel. A just under thirty minute CD EP, containing 5 new songs, with the last track being an instrumental, called; One Dead Rose. A group composition, while the other four tracks, all written by Tom and Kathie. Generation:landslide!, a five piece band out of Houston Texas. Mister Underwood is a guitarist and does lead vocals, while his wife Kathie plays bass and does lead vocals as well. A two guitarist band, Tom is joined by Sellers Thomas, who makes his debut here on lead vocals, with the song; Watch The World Die.

On drums, Mr. Charles Zittle. One of a kind. As I say in the liner notes, his style of drumming I find akin to Alice Cooper's; Neal Smith. That's "Uncle G" high praise there. The Generation:landslide! catalog is filled with amazing drums beats. I witnessed Charles play on several occasions. The man's a natural behind the drum kit. As with Neal Smith, if the name is new to you, or perhaps you have only seen it mis-spelled in a syndicated PR story, the man is a rock n' roll legend. For the record, from here on out, the correct spelling of his name: 
NEAL Smith. I, Gary "Uncle G" Brown can be quoted as saying it's cool to buy any song / album with Neal Smith's name on it. Plays different styles, while never forgetting he's a professional rock n' roll drummer. Always plenty of bang for your buck! And directed to the newbies, check out the Alice Cooper song, Billion Dollar Babies. Focus on the drumming. Your only thoughts should be after hearing that song, played very loud, but not distorted, is that was fu*king incredible, and that Neal Smith pounding the skins, RULES! After that, feel free to dig into the rest of his work (drummer_guitarist_singer_songwriter), and you'll find out quickly, I'm NOT wrong. 

And then there is keyboardist, Mr. Alan Cunningham. For those unaware, Generation:landslide! didn't always have a keys player. My first time seeing Alan perform with the group was when they played the House Of Blues (Houston) on my birthday, back in 2014. No secret I'm a fan of piano / keyboard playing. For myself, I think the additional added layer(s) of sound, opens more doors that a rock band like Generation:landslide! can go through. In my opinion they found the right person in Alan, to do just that with.



Generation:landslide! from left to right: Sellers Thomas, Tom Underwood,
 Kathie Muncy-Underwood, Alan Cunningham, and Charles Zittle. 

Photo taken by Missy Baxley-Wallace. 
By The Way: Joining Generation:landslide! on two tracks (Days Of You / One Dead Rose) of this EP (Generation:landslide! - Carousel) is saxophonist; Ralph Armin Kaethner (Mydolls / Dead Roses ). Just one of many reasons why I feel it's so imperative to buy this 2016 Generation:landslide! offering. Besides the fact I did the liner notes (insert smiley face).


Speaking of which, playing writer, I always found it a huge pleasure to see whatever it was that I creatively had a part in, appearing in print, or as a part of a commercial venture. I thank all those who acknowledged, and have used my work either in part or in whole, for the exposure. That would of course include; Generation:landslide!, who kept / printed every word I submitted to them for this liner note assignment. I also am very grateful to Jon Kirkman - ClassicRockRadio.co.uk - Yes' Cruise To The Edge MC for sharing with me the writing rules he follows when doing liner notes himself. Good advice as always!

Sneak Peek: Here's the first paragraph of what I came up with, used as liner notes on Generation:landslide! NEWEST studio release, the EP; Carousel. For the rest of what I said, please support the band, and buy the actual CD, so you can read the liner notes for yourself. As for those who rather not and is more interested in downloading, the MP3 version, is cool as well. Either or helps pay the bills, in which I'm sure the band is very appreciative.  

GenerationLlandslide! - Carousel (2016)

"Generation:landslide! A band that co-founder Tom Underwood explained to me one fine Saturday afternoon as being akin to something that should be locked up at a top secret military facility like Area 51. A remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range, and studied thoroughly. Then the both of us shared another bowl, laughed and decided that being dissected was a bad idea because not only might it hurt some, but then only a selected small group of people in white coats, would then know about the Houston Texas (USA) based band, inside and out. How fair is that we pondered. What about the rest of the world?"

Uncle G's Closing Remarks

It's almost the last paragraph (that you have to purchase the physical disc to find out) where I describe Generation:landslide! as; "...a Houston based psychedelic, garage power-pop group..." In the above paragraph I just quoted from the liner notes, three words in particular, jump right out at me; "...shared another bowl...". If I was the reader, and not the author, I would assume that was referring to, a bowl of marijuana. Saying someone is 420 friendly in 2016, isn't as bad as outing others and yourself, as being pot smokers, forty years prior. Word got around to the wrong person back then, and here comes Sargent Stadanko and the boys. May I safely assure everyone, that it isn't like that. And so there is no misunderstandings, let me explain exactly what I was referring to when I typed, those three words. It was, a big bowl of … peanuts. Charles like peanuts as well. Ends up we shared many a bowls on many occasions. I can't say Kathie and Sellers do. Last I heard, Alan was said to be allergic, and could not be anywhere near peanuts. Oh well. Sorry Alan. More for those who can indulge! And if you haven't already, pick up Generation:Landslide! - Carousel. I thank you, as does the band. And keep an eye out, for whenever there is Generation:landslide! news to report, ClassicRockRadio.co.uk / yours truly will be right there with the details. Nevermind the fact if I had too much … peanuts … or not!

Important Generation:landslide! Web*Links


Social Media

Generation:landslide! Official Facebook Page

Sales

Generation:landslide! Amazon Dot Com (Carousel EP)

Generation:landslide! CD Baby (Carousel EP)

Generation:landslide! Carousel EP produced by Steve Bundrick & Generation:landslide! - Recorded at Bundrick and Sons Studio in Houston, Texas, USA. 

Bonus Video: From their 2012 album "A Beautiful Accident" - 3AM (in concert)


Special THANKS to Debbie Lyons-Fogel (story editing) 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

In The News_The Alice Cooper Band REUNITES

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
12 May 2016
*Original Members of Alice Cooper - Reunite*

By:Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter @GBrown0816 


So I went to a local grocery store yesterday, early in the afternoon to pick up a few items so I can have hot dogs for lunch. Mustard, sweet relish, and bread. I already had the wieners. While there, I see the local free newspaper called; The Weekender. Not exactly published in the same town I'm in, but close by. Comes out of Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. A good little paper that highlights among other things, the music scene in the northeastern Pennsylvania area. And fresh off the presses, a cover with a picture of Alice Cooper on it. I'm not surprised. He's playing Wilkes-Barre tomorrow night. Is sold out, in which I am not fortunate enough to have a ticket, but still I thought of going. Am sure I can get my way in, as long as I had the cash to do so. I have seen Alice's solo act twice over the years. He always puts on a good show. Sitting here typing this … maybe?

The headline on the newspaper, made me curious as to what the story contents were going to be about. It reads:


"Alice Cooper's Latest Release, A Mini-Reunion And His Vampire Side Gig".

The story is written by Alan Sculley. I conclude even before reading the piece, that it's promo for the Wilkes-Barre gig, and The Hollywood Vampires that Alice is included in, along with actor Johnny Depp, and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. After performing live here and there, The Hollywood Vampires are about to begin their first real tour. Would love to catch a show. Distance away might prevent me. Even if I can't attend, I strongly recommend anyone who can, to catch one show or several, if able to do so.

Once home from the store, I make lunch, and while sitting down to eat, I start reading the newest Weekender edition. On page four is a full page picture of Alice Cooper, wearing a blood soaked white shirt. Has his left eye closed, and his right eye open. Looks rather murderous. Page five is where the article begins. Nothing that uncommon until one gets to the end of the third paragraph. It's mentioned that Alice is working on new music. His last studio record was 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare', which came out almost five years ago. A sequel to Alice's mega hit, and debut solo album; Welcome To My Nightmare (1975). Between then and now, is his involvement with; The Hollywood Vampires. The man stays busy, and has been for the most part, throughout his whole musical career.

Between the original Alice Cooper, and his solo act, he's somewhere in between twenty-five and thirty studio records. Started in 1969, with himself and four others calling themselves Alice Cooper, and an album called; Pretties For You (1969). Their first big hit, I'm Eighteen, released a year later, on the band's third studio album called; Love It To Death. Long story short, the band that consisted of Michael Bruce (rhythm guitar / keyboards), Glen Buxton (lead guitar), Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums), and Vincent Furnier (playing the part of Alice) after much success, crashed and burned. Alice's solo career started in 1975, and has not stopped. The band had a reunion of sorts doing three tracks, on the previously mentioned Nightmare 2 recording. The group was inducted in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame around the same time. This was all, minus Glen Buxton (RIP), who passed away back in 1997.

To continue the new story on Alice, this is where my jaw and the hot dog I was eating, dropped on the floor. Again Alice mentions he's working on new music. But get this, he goes on to say he's doing that with Neal Smith, and Mike Bruce. That they wrote, and demoed about three or four songs recently, and how this could be a follow up to the bands fourth album, Killer (1971). Next came the news that Dennis Dunaway, who is busy on a book tour, has two or three songs put aside for the project. No information on a release date, or anything of that nature. 


A new Alice Cooper (band) studio album … in the works. OMG! At one time, an impossibility. Now it appears to be a reality. I imagine the involvement of producer Bob Ezrin. He produced the bands four most popular albums; Love It To Death, Killer, School's Out, and Billion Dollar Babies. I can't think of anyone I'd like to hear doing this job, besides maybe Jack Douglas, who produced the groups last studio album; Muscle Of Love (1974). And while on the subject, I'd like to hear that guitarist Steve Hunter is also involved in some aspects. Steve graciously took over Glen's role when the guys were inducted in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (2011). Myself, a fan of the original band since before they split up, I'd be cool with that (if possible). He'd be my first pick.

And there you have it. Until more news comes out, this is pretty much all we got for the moment. I put a call in with Michael Bruce. Newly married, he's been active starting up a new band (Michael Bruce Force), and meeting up with the Cooper members doing various things. All that I'm sure has everything to do with this announcement that the original members are being creative again. Am sure I'll hear from Michael sooner or later. When I do, I predict more off the record comments, than anything else. One evening way back when, he poured ketchup on my TV screen. Another story for another day.

Will keep you updated...

Source: The Weekender - www.theweekender.com

And for those interested, I just reviewed the debut album of The Hollywood Vampires. You can find that here:

http://classicrockradioeu.blogspot.com/2016/05/classicrockradiocouk-new-music.html

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

ClassicRockRadio.co.uk NEW Music Review_The Hollywood Vampires

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK) 
03 May 2016 
ClassicRockRadio.co.uk 
NEW Music Review 
Spotlight: The Hollywood Vampires - The Hollywood Vampires (2015) 
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown 
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk 
Twitter @GBrown0816


After Alice Cooper released the sequel to one of his most popular solo records, Welcome To My Nightmare (1975) entitled 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' back in 2011, my hope was that it would be followed up by a tour. One that would include the three other original surviving members of Alice Cooper (1969-1974); Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith. Reason being because they were included on the Nightmare 2 album. Three different tracks. But that never happened. Instead Alice toured like he's done since separating from the original members of Alice Cooper, with his own band. In my opinion, the three strongest tracks on Nightmare 2, was the ones written and performed by the surviving founding members of Alice Cooper (RIP Glen Buxton), and performed again as a group. Their first time doing so since 1974's Muscle Of Love album. And not that the rest of 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' sucked. The track, 'I Am Made Of You', contains some excellent guitar work by Steve Hunter, and is one of the best solo tracks in my opinion that Alice has done in ages. The album was touched on live, and that's about it. Next came talk of a covers record, in which quite frankly I really wasn't that excited about. Not until it expanded / grew into what we have today. The debut album of; The Hollywood Vampires. 

The Hollywood Vampires self titled record that came out last September, is very much a Alice Cooper project. Produced by longtime associate; Bob Ezrin. The same man who dared recently to voice aloud what I thought was constructive criticism of rap music's, Kanye West. Of course that flew over like a lead balloon, as one would expect from Mister Kardashian, and his homies. Bob Ezrin, who was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame twelve years ago, is also a songwriter, and plays the piano / keyboards extremely well. On the Hollywood Vampires album, Mr. Ezrin plays keyboards / piano, gets partial writing credit for three tracks, does backing vocals, is credited as producer, and also gets partial credit again, this time for helping mix the recordings. A studio wizard, whose work and dedication to his craft helped sell millions and millions of records worldwide. 

The idea for this concept album originated from what lyricist Bernie Taupin labeled a; "drinking fraternity". A bunch of famous guys who putting their celebrity aside, would meet up to see who could out drink one another. All heavy drinkers / alcoholics, whose reputation for partying preceded them. Didn't take long for the Grim Reaper to start picking them off, one by one. Not all mentioned in this tribute to their memories died because of a result of abusing King Alcohol. The Beatles, John Lennon for example, was assassinated by a crazed fanatic on the 8th of December in 1980. Rumor had it back in the day, John was capable of being a very sloppy drunk. Yet it's said the last five years of his life he spent raising their son Sean. Am thinking he didn't do so in a constant drunken stupor. One can conclude that if not for the asshole who shot him multiple times, that John Lennon might be still alive today. 

Back in the seventies / eighties, I had my own battles with the bottle. Ends up some of us cleaned up our act some, while others unfortunately didn't. I loss my Mother who was a professional musician due to her drinking, when I was seven years old. Worked in bars. You'd think I know better, yet I went through and survived the DT's, back when I was just twenty four, after a decade of consuming any and all booze I could get my hands on. Withdrawal almost killed me. Made me learn to respect the bottle, and of course it's contents. Alice took on sobriety after damn near dying. Lucky for him because many try, and fail. 

Uncle G Reviews … The Hollywood Vampires (self titled debut album) 

Starts off with a very cool spoken word track entitled 'The Last Vampire', by the late actor; Sir Christopher Lee (1922-2015). Both Johnny Depp (guitarist for The Hollywood Vampires), and Alice Cooper worked with him in the Dark Shadows film they did together back in 2012. One of my all time favorite movie actors. His body of work with just Hammer Studios is simply outstanding. Who else but he could take the role of Dracula made famous by Bela Lugosi, and profitably make it his own? The opening track ... 'The Last Vampire' ... excellent intro! 

Next we get one of two original songs on the Hollywood Vampires album, called; Raise The Dead. Along with 'The Last Vampire' it helps set the tone for everything that follows. Here's the first track one gets to hear actor / musician Johnny Depp play guitar, and do backing vocals. That to me was a curiosity. My good friend Charles Zittle (drummer for Generation:landslide) informed me before I really dug into this release that Mr. Depp is actually quite a skilled guitarist, and was into playing guitar before becoming famous for his Hollywood roles. News to me. Listening to this album, I found what Charles told me, very much on the money. 

Next comes eleven tracks of not just cover songs, but songs that speak the name(s) for whom they were picked. Every track is enjoyable to listen to. Some rock harder than others. Most of the compositions picked, people will recognize pretty quickly. Here's a few highlights: 

01.) My Generation: Having The Who's drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo's son) playing drums on this track, is icing on the cake here. Always been one of my favorite Who songs. The song's a nod to the original Who drummer Keith Moon (1948 - 1978), who was a Hollywood Vampire back in the day. 

02.) Whole Lotta Love: I always dug Alice's harmonica playing, and if you do too, then you'll seriously dig this track. Also joining Alice on vocals is former AC/DC singer, Brian Johnson. The Hollywood Vampires version of the Led Zeppelin classic, has five guitar players, and again we have Zak Starkey pounding the skins. On bass, Kip Winger. All involved make it one of the coolest covers, being that it's not an exact copy of the original. Dedicated to Led Zeppelin's John Henry Bohham who died of alcohol poisoning (1948-1980). Came close to doing that myself, more than once. 

03) Come And Get It: Written by the Beatles Paul McCartney, and made a hit by the band Badfinger. Released in the States in 1970, it charted on Billboard's Top 10. This version is nothing short of being blessed, having Sir Paul's participation; vocals, bass, and piano. Sharing guitar duties; Johnny Depp and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. On drums, the very talented, Abe Laboriel Jr (Sir Paul's regular drummer). Hollywood Vampires producer Bob Ezrin joins in on backing vocals. Worth repeat plays for sure. 

04.) Jeepster: A fun rocker credited to Hollywood Vampire Marc Bolan (1947 - 1977), and made a hit by the band, T Rex. Includes a standout performance by singer Alice Cooper, who by the way, shines throughout the album. Another feather in the cap for the long time musician. Already inducted in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland Ohio) for his work with the original Alice Cooper band, I say it's about time he was acknowledged for his solo work. Should be just a matter of time before we see him on the ballot again. 

05.) School's Out / Another Brick In The Wall part 2: Amazing how closely School's Out sounds like the original. Seeing how aging didn't change anything, we have three other people who participated on the 1972 hit School's Out, involved here; Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums), and producer Bob Ezrin, who helps out here musically along with Kip Winger doing backing vocals. A tribute to Glen Buxton, original lead guitarist for Alice Cooper who passed away back in 1997. Noticeably absent from participating on this Alice Cooper group reunion; Michael Bruce. Main songwriter, rhythm guitarist, and keyboardist for the band. Still very much alive, and who recently came out retirement debuting his new band; Michael Bruce Force. Note, I believe it's Michael that is referred to in the last page of the Hollywood Vampires booklet that comes with the CD. Found listed with a bunch of other names under; "Johnny and Alice wish to thank." It's reads; "Mike Bruce". Those who know Michael, know that he seriously dislikes being called, Mike. So perhaps a typo, or maybe it's another person entirely? Regardless, always nice to at least hear Mr. Dunaway, and Mr. Smith on a record that includes Alice again. 

Pink Floyd's mega hit 'Another Brick In The Wall part 2', gels perfectly with School's Out. Alice has been including the mix (School's Out / Another Brick In The Wall part 2) in his live show for some time now. A natural to appear on this record. The Pink Floyd number, a tip of the hit I imagine to deceased Pink Floyd members, Syd Barrett (1946 - 2006) and Richard Wright (1943 - 2008). Guitarists on this track include Slash, whose a long time Alice Cooper fan. 

Original Track - My Dead Drunk Friends: Over four minutes, this is an excellent closing number. Just as the first two tracks did their job setting the scene, My Dead Drunk Friends, does a superb job ending the album. Containing a serious message in it's lyrics, the song takes a more humorous approach in it's delivery, both lyrically and music wise. 

Uncle G Rates … The Hollywood Vampires (self titled 2015 album) 

Using the one to five rating system, whereas one star means it's downright horrible, to five stars in which means one is safe to spend their hard earned cash on it, I rate The Hollywood Vampires debut album … (a Neal Smith drum roll please) … 5 stars! 

For a mostly cover record, this kicks ass! Due to it's storyline / presentation, it's not just another "tribute" / "cover" album. Is a wonderful introduction to the group. 

The live Hollywood Vampire shows critiqued by critics and fans alike that I have read so far, have all been good. The band smoked on television debut at this years Grammy's. The group played a new song called, As Bad As I Am, that comes with the new deluxe version of the Hollywood Vampires album, and as a tribute to Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister (1945 - 2015), the Motorhead song, 'Ace Of Spades.' 

In closing, my hope is to see another Hollywood Vampire album follow. A super group for sure, even if hard to get everyone together, the effort I'm sure would be worth it. A mixture of cover / original material would be fine. And I'd also like to see these guys live. Catch them on the road if you can. Should be a solid night of entertainment / hard rocking. 

For additional information on The Hollywood Vampires, please check out their official website @ www.HollywoodVampires.com