Archive for journey

TOXIC MELONS-Bus Therapy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

tm12So, the story goes that Paul Fairbairn, Pablo Melons himself, was taking a lengthy bus trip and became so inspired, that he  the he got the idea for the entire album right there and then. Why not? George Harrison was said to have written “Blue Jay Way” on a plane!

I first encountered Toxic Melons in May, 2013, and my love affair with their quirky U.K. sound continues with the new release, Bus Therapy, which I was fortunate to get pre-release.

The album opens with “More Or Less“, showcasing way cool  piano and organ, a great melody and super harmonies. The song could be on any XTC album. “Journey“, an instrumental, has a dynamite musical melody that sits under  electronic effects to create a Close Encounters feel. The acoustic guitar of “Let Me Sleep” is reminiscent of early Bowie, and fits perfectly among the weird keys that create a circus tm13atmosphere.  Interesting melody, sweet harmonies and a precise and tight guitar solo. “Disco Balls“, an amazing satire of the genre, nails it, with a great disco beat, cool changes and transitions, and  great electronic effects. The cowboy sentiments of “Just One Beer“, captured by the saloon style piano, hide just below a sweet melody, nice harmonies and cool guitar riffs and runs. “Getting Old“, with its melancholic melody, delivers dynamite strings and horns, great transitions, and a cool bridge. I can’t help liking the vocal track. “Take Me Back” is beautifully melodic, with harmonized vocals that rival The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. That good! The track kills, with amazing flute and acoustic guitar, and wonderful arrangements. I am particularly fond of the vocals being the primary instrument here. Surprisingly, I have 2 favorite tracks. The wonderfully fabulous melody and sweet harmonies, combined with some way cool piano,  and lyric- “was a need to change the world before her lifetime expired; no complicated reason, just the way she was wired”- had me asking why “Change The World” hasn’t been on a Nilsson album. “Not In Love” has a great pop melody and  lush harmonies. The guitar and piano are dynamite, and I really dig the guitar runs. The bridge is perfect. Great pop song!

tm11Bus Therapy is my kind of therapy. Truly inspiring, soul touching, and mind altering. The album plays like a journey through a toxic mind, but that’s ok. The songs are pop heaven, with shades of folk, blues, electronic, and some western influences. This Paul Fairbairn can write songs. The melodies are out of this world, and the harmonies, well, remind me of The Beach Boys. The music is wonderfully eccentric.The album is insanely addictive. It has me singing along and I haven’t figured out all of the lyrics yet!  An amazing compilation of great songs that has been placed on my must have list. Very cool.

Check out Toxic Melons and help this band:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11591364/toxic-melons-bus-therapy-kick-starter-campaign

 

 

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AND THE BANDS PLAY ON

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

americaI was recently at the local track here in Toronto, and was surprised to see a billboard advertising a performance by America. America? “Ventura Highway“, “Lonely People“, “Sister Golden Hair“, America? Yep, that America. I was surprised for two reasons: What was this band doing playing at at race track, and secondly, can there really be an America without Dan Peek?

3dognightIt has become increasingly common for bands to continue on following the death or departure of one of the founding members. Years ago I went to Casino Rama to see Three Dog Night and was somewhat disappointed that only two of the Dogs appeared. Chuck Negron was not touring with the band at that time. It was a great show, but Chuck’s vocals were noticeably absent.

It appears that if the “front man” is strong and charismatic enough a band can go on without missing a beat following the departure of a member. The Rolling Stones moved on following the departure and subsequent untimely death of Brian Jones, replacing him with Mick Taylor and then with Ronnie Wood. Bill Wyman’s departure had no impact either-he was replaced by Darryl Jones. Following the death of Keith Moon in 1978, The Who released 2 albums of moderate success and disbanded in 1983. The remaining 3 members continued to perform until John Entwhistle’s death in 2002. Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend continue to perform as The Who, but are they really?

yes-band-np01Yes has taken to touring, performing entire albums of The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I was always a huge Yes fan. From Time And A Word up to Relayer. Never really like Going For The One or subsequent albums.. Hard to imagine Close To The Edge without Jon Anderson! Hard to imagine Yes without Jon Anderson!

INXS1INXS is another failed attempt to carry on. Following the death of singer Michael Hutchence in 1997, the band attempted to replace him with vocalists Jimmy Barnes, Terrance Trent D’arby and Jon Stevens. Really? With little success, the band participated in a reality show, Rock Star:INXS in 2005 and selected J.D. Fortune as their new lead singer. He was replaced by Ciaran Gribbon in 2011 and the band formally put an end to their misery in 2012.

Skynyrdpic7301The saddest of these attempts at carrying on, is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Following the death of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines in 1977, Skynyrd disbanded. 10 years later, they reformed, using Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother as vocalist. (There is a 3rd brother, Donnie, better known as the lead singer for 38 special). Currently there is only 1 original member left in the band. Yet they tour and record as Lynyrd Skynyrd!  Apparently, owning the name or getting consent to use the name, gives anyone an opportunity to try to be Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have heard this incarnation, and no one, and I mean no one can sing “Gimme Three Steps  “, “You Got That Right“, and “What’s Your Name” like Ronnie Van Zant. May as well they bring on “Miami” Steve Van Zandt as the front man! Yeah, I know its spelled differently, but what difference does it make? Still not Ronnie Van Zant!

The-BeatlesIs everyone replaceable in a band? Impossible to believe that any one of The Beatles could have left and the band carried on. Perhaps they would have had to find look a likes. AC/DC replaced Bon Scott and had remarkable success. Journey replaced Steve Perry with a sound alike. So who is dispensable? It doesn’t make much of a difference to me. Don’t try to sell me tickets to The Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia. Don’t tell me The Band is reuniting without Danko, Helm and Manuel. And don’t ask me to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant.

Is it really so difficult to disband and carry on under a new name?  Would U2 be U2 without The Edge? Jefferson Airplane had the decency to reform as Jefferson Starship. Its not about respect but rather a belief that the great music that had been created should be a legacy of a great band. Leave it as such. Reform under a different name, but let me remember Lynyrd Skynyrd, INXS, America and many others as they were. Amazing bands with a catalog of great music. Replacements never quite do the music justice, and more often than not, destroy the legacy left by these incredibly gifted musicians.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

As shocking as it seems and as much as I love music, there comes a time when musicians should just pack it in and call it a career. I am a strong believer that artists must continue to create if they are indeed creating. The Stones continue to release new product, as does McCartney. But what about the other aging rockers who continue to tour, playing the “B” circuit when they haven’t created any new material in 20 or 3o years?

The Eagles

The Eagles

The Eagles are currently on tour. I have seen these guys during the Hotel California tour, and they were great. Always liked their sound and admired the songwriting. I was particularly happy when Joe Walsh sobered up enough to join. I was a huge James Gang fan-Funk #49, Walk Away, Meadows-great music.  I saw the Hell Freezes Over tour. And now, for $700 I can get a floor seat to see these guys play the same songs I have seen them play before.  They have nothing new to offer other than grayer and shorter hair. Not sure, but I don’t think I’ll be going.  The selling feature, if the stories are indeed true, is that Bernie Leadon (one of The Flying Burrito Brothers) will be joining the band for this tour. Wow! Hasn’t been there since 1975. Didn’t really miss him. And it only took Glen Frey 38 years to forgive him for pouring beer over his head. HA! The Eagles have landed guys. It’s time to disembark.

Grand Funk

Grand Funk

There is a Music Festival  in London, Ontario at the end of July. Rock The Park, is sort of a Canadian, hillbilly Woodstock. All of the big names in Rock ‘n’ Roll will be there; Whitesnake, Journey, Grand Funk Railroad and Styx. No way! Yes! A veritable heaping,helping of has beens. And in Whitesnake’s case, never weres. I saw Grand Funk in the early 70s, and they were amazing. I’m Your Captain” is on the My Favorite Song list, “We’re An American Band” loses a lot of its lustre 40 years later!  The line  “we come into your town, we’ll help you party down…”  just doesn’t have the same effect when sung by the  over the hill gang. Its hard to believe there is anything grand left in their funk.

Bad Company

Bad Company

And, wait a minute! The rock supergroup, Bad Company is on the road again, or still, as well. Founded in 1973, this band, made up of former members of Free ( Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke), Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs) and King Crimson (Boz Burrell), were insanely great! I have every album, and believe that Paul Rodgers has one of the best rock voices around.  I have recently learned  that the band that I saw play Maple Leaf Gardens in 1976, will now be taking the stage at Central Ontario’s musical mecca, Casino Rama. It’s been 40 years guys! I love you dearly, but I can’t bear to see or hear it. Contrary to the song,  it seems that I can get enough.

The Spoons

The Spoons

The record companies have certainly done their part to help create this messy turn of events. Canadian new wave darlings, The Spoons have been playing club dates, fueled by a host of re-release parties for product that is 30 years old.  I really do not need another copy of Stick Figure Neighborhood  or Arias & Symphonies. I’m not certain anyone does.

And so, after much trepidation and consideration, I decided that if I were to put my old band back together, I would have to change the name. Rebel  just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. In honor of one of my favorite musicians, the band will be called The Jeriatric Garcias.  But there will not be a reuinion!  There will be no re-release parties, no club dates and no tours.I have nothing new to play! And, as Jim Morrison so eloquently put it, “when the music’s over, turn out the lights”.

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