Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Forgotten Songs of the 21st Century: Chevelle

Forgotten Songs of the 21st Century: Chevelle

Chevelle released Vena Sera in 2007 and radio jumped all over the first single, “Well Enough Alone,” then cooled a bit on the follow-up, “I Get It” mainly because it had a softer beat and had a bit of a dance feel to it. But when the third single, “The Fad” was released, it hit with all the impact of a rock hitting a pillow. It’s amazing to believe that happened because without a doubt, “The Fad” is probably the best song the band have ever written.

Kicking off with the traditional Chevelle riff, the song then dissolves into a pounding, heavy rock track about watching the future of the music industry and basically the future of entertainment in general. The message is excellent and the way the band delivers it makes it all the more compelling.

By the time it gets to the chorus, the band is just playing for its life and it results in the hardest and loudest they’ve ever been. But I guess it just wasn’t enough for radio to pay attention to it. But maybe in a few years with some hindsight, people will realize what a great song managed to slip unnoticed through the cracks.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Forgotten Songs of the '80s: Dangerous Toys

Forgotten Songs of the ‘80s: Dangerous Toys

When Dangerous Toys released their self-titled debut in 1989, the band were viewed quite differently than other hair-metal bands, mostly because of Jason McMaster’s voice which sounded like Janis Joplin if she gargled with blood. The best song of the band’s career is “Scared,” which has always been one of my favorites even when I first heard it.

The song is supposed to be a tribute to Alice Cooper but the video is more of a tribute than the song because the song is like a power ballad but with balls and electric guitars instead of acoustic. I had forgotten about the song for years until the advent of VH1 Classic which played the video quite a lot and allowed me to remember a song from my youth I had wanted to hear again but had no way to.

The song still sounds as good as it did in 1989 and the guitars still come straight at you like it was yesterday. While not everything else on the record stands up like “Scared,” that’s what you expect from most hair-metal bands; one or two songs still sound excellent twenty years later but almost everything else sounds like crap. But that’s okay with some of these bands because no one expected them to still sound fantastic twenty years later. So go, find “Scared” and see what you think.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Forgotten Songs of the '90s: Flight 16

Forgotten Songs of the ‘90s: Flight 16

Back in 1998, there were many, many bands trying to hop onto the dying grunge bandwagon, many of them became almost as famous as the bands they were imitating: Creed, Nickelback and Matchbox Twenty while others just withered and faded away: Big Wreck, Athanaeum and the English band Flight 16.

Flight 16 were trying to be like Pearl Jam or STP but couldn’t pull it off; the fact that they aren’t even remembered today isn’t really that much of a shame. But there is one thing that should be remembered: one song from their self-titled 1998 debut, “If All the World Hated Me.” While some people may say that the song is derivative and non-original, to me there’s no denying the power of the opening riff and the power that drives the song.

Hearing the song for the first time eleven years after it was first released, you know it came from the nineties because it sounds the same as all the alt-rock songs of the decade. But it still sounds so good and interesting it cannot be denied. Whether one wants to or not, you will have the song stuck in your head for eons to come because it’s so damn catchy.

The band got dropped and disbanded before the end of the decade but the video still exists out there and the song is still waiting to be heard. So go and check it out and decide what you think from there.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Forgotten Album of the Month: Saigon Kick

Forgotten Album of the Month: Saigon Kick

From the opening of "New World", one is fully aware that they are listening to a different brand of hair metal. While most people will remember Saigon Kick fully for their hit ballad "Love Is On The Way", the band's self-titled debut is the place to start. This is where Saigon Kick started to develop the sound that they became best known for.While their sophomore album The Lizard is decent as well, it relies too heavily on gimmicks, including loopy instrumentals and sentimental ballads to gain sales. This album has none of that and succeeds in just about everything it tries.Matt Kramer's lyrics, which can veer from serious ("Coming Home" and "Down By The Ocean") to quite silly ("What Do You Do") help to serve the album in more ways than one. The music is eclectic as hell but again, it's only more of a drawing point for the band. And let's not forget the songs, most of which still hold up a whopping eighteen years later; from "My Life" and "Colors" to the closing finale of "I.C.U." the band were more than capable of some kick-ass material. The fact that they are only known for a damn power ballad is more than a shame but what can you do now. The band is split into four separate factions, most of the hatred and acrimony pointed at guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter and producer Jason Bieler clearly shows that a classic reunion will never happen, so just sit back and enjoy the music!

Posted from www.sleazeroxx.com


Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Interview With Mike Zelenko

Material Issue were one of the best, most underrated bands of the last twenty years. The powerful songwriting of singer Jim Ellison helped the band leap years beyond the rest of the pack. Songs like "Everything" and the immortal "Valerie Loves Me" will live on in music lovers' hearts forever. Tragically, Jim committed suicide in June of 1996 and the band split soon afterwards. Their story is a warning for all bands that are dedicated to their music and will let nothing stop them from creating. On the brighter side, the music will forever live on. The following is an interview I did with drummer Mike Zelenko. Read and reminisce!
When did you first become interested in music?

i got into rock when i saw KISS on TV, i was like 8 yrs old. i got into music in high school when i discovered the Beatles like Junior year.

When did you first get together with Ted and Jim?

Jim answered an ad i had in the Illinois Entertainer for "drummer looking for band". He called me on July 4th 1986, the summer i graduated high school. He basically told me that if i didn't want to have a day job for the rest of my life, that i should come out to his parent's house in Addison, IL and pick up a tape of his songs. He was very confident and knew exactly where he wanted to go. I was impressed with him from the beginning. We had my audition and first rehearsal the following Sat. I showed up with my van and that alone got me hired. (touring vehicle). I was amazed at how well Jim and Ted sang together. We did our first gig just a week latter and never looked back.

What was the scene like when you guys got started?

It was the mid to late 80's so there was a lot of hair metal and the bad new-wave stuff around in the mainstream. Basically mainstream radio was awful, but I think it always has been awful. There was no "alternative formatted" radio, like there is today. College radio was where the good music was being played, and promoting local shows. I was also a time where lots of independent, privately owned record labels were just getting off the ground. Labels like Touch and Go, Pravda, Susstones, Caroline, SST, Twin/Tone etc.. were putting out records from bands that would come to town and sell out Metro. It was exciting because it gave us the feeling that we could release our own records and book our own tours and be just as "legitimate" as any band on a major label.

How did you hook up with Jeff Murphy?

Jim was a fan of Shoes, and when he discovered that they had their own recording studio in Zion, he simply called him and booked time there. We developed a relationship.

When did you guys sign with Mercury and how do you feel about that in hindsight?

Fine. It was a good decision and we were ready for the "big leagues" by than. At that point we had toured all the the MidWest and East Coast many times and had established ourselves, in several cities and college towns. In hindsight, we were in the first wave of major labels to sign "alternative rock" acts with the intention of promoting to mainstream radio. It was 1991.

What was success like and how did everyone feel about it?

Success for us meant that we could play and make music full time and have enough money to pay our bills and such. We were happy.

Do you feel that the label dropped the bomb on Destination and Freak City when they came out?

Part of that was bad decisions on our part. Its not always the labels fault. On this question I could go on and on. Lets just say that we had our opportunity to make MI explode. Its a tough business.

Were you guys surprised when Mercury dropped you?

no. they have to make money too. its a business. it would have been nice if the climate of the industry were different. Labels were just not into "development" like they were in the 70's and 80's.

Were you surprised about Jim and what memories do you have of him, if I may ask?

many good memories. he was a special guy. it's really a pity he choose that fate for himself.

How difficult was it putting together Telecommando?

That body of recordings were demos for what was going to be our next record.It required work, but it was the right thing to do. We basically used all everything of Jim's that was there, even the mistakes. Did some overdubs, cleaned up some bits and searched for a label. I was very happy and honored when Rykodisc offered to release it. My favorite song is 976 love.

When did you and Ted decide to call it quits and do you still keep in touch?
Don't see too much of him, but bump into him now and than.

What are you up to now?
I play in a band called The Ladies + Gentleman (myspace). Its a really great band.. I also do session work and very rarely do a small tour now and than.

Final question: What do you think Material Issue's legacy will be?

I can already see from the responses I get off myspace and other places, younger people discovering the band. They seem to really think we were great, and I think that we were. Quality always floats to the top and I think, for fans of this genre, we will be viewed as one of the premier acts of that time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VTBam8YzQg&feature=channel_page (Everything)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E42Xo8FrGI (Very First Lie)