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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Straight Six “Full Circle”

As time goes by, it seems that less and less people are focusing on making real, straight-out Rock and Roll. However, there are those out there that are focused on keeping the style alive. No matter how far and wide you need to look, you can find real Rock and Roll if you look hard enough. One particular band out there right now making now short of real Rock and Roll is the band Straight Six.

Straight Six is a quartet that came together after bassist Glen Drieth had attempted to form a band. When that version of the band did not work out, a new and different line-up was put together and the result is the quartet of musicians who call themselves Straight Six. Along with Glen Drieth on bass, the rest of the group consists of Jay Quintana on vocals, Eric Schaudies on guitar and Joey Shapiro on drums. This band is a supergroup of sorts as Glen Drieth, Jay Quintana and Joey Shapiro also appear in other bands when not providing their time and talents to Straight Six; Quintana can be found in Death Bed Confession while Shapiro can be found in XYZ and Glen Drieth also appears with the Chris Cagle Band. Together with Eric Schaudies on guitar, the resulting quartet creates some of the hardest hitting Rock and Roll out there today.

Together, bassist Glen Drieth, Jay Quintana on vocals, Eric Schaudies on guitar and Joey Shapiro on drums create the band Straight Six, whose Rock and Roll lives up to many of the hard rocking bands who had existed in the seventies and eighties when straight-out Rock and Roll was at its strongest and hardest. And right now, Straight Six celebrating the release of a brand new ten-song album entitled Full Circle.

Full Circle from Straight Six begins with the track “Aimed at Me”. The track starts off strong as continues that way as the music contains a driving feel to the Rock And Roll music. The music itself is somewhere between straight-out Rock and Roll and Hard Rock. And with the vocals from Jay Quintana containing a slight feel reminiscent of Bon Scott and/or Brian Johnson of Hard Rock. The feel of the music and the feel of the vocals ensure that what the listener experiences is and can only be considered Rock and Roll.

The new album from Straight Six continues with the track “Middle of the Ride”. Where the first track of “Aimed at Me” had a fact, driving pace to the music, “Middle of the Ride” contains a slower, more contained pace. What this track may remind the listener of is music reminiscent of Aerosmith; at least, the sound of Aerosmith from the mid-to-late eighties. You can hear a little bit of that band’s influence from their songs like “Walk like This” in the song “Middle of the Ride”. And while you may hear a little Aerosmith in the band’s music that is all you hear as the band uses Aerosmith as an influence and not one to copy.

For the song “Back Home,” the listener gets a chance to hear Straight Six at its best. This track features strong guitars as well as strong vocals from Jay Quintana. What the listener also experiences with this track is a band that has created a song that easily falls into the Hard Rock genre but does not sound like a band in particular. The unmistakable Hard Rock feel of the track proves that Straight Six is most serious about the music they create. Just like the bands that came before them, they have a sound that is fresh. In fact, “Back Home” could easily be the stand out track of the release.

With the song “Cry All Night,” is one song that takes the listener back in time. If you are of a certain age, you can put “Cry all Night” on and find yourself thinking back to the days of Power Rock. In fact, this track would have felt right at home within that radio format. The sound of the guitars on the track, in particular, is one indicator that this track would be right at home back in the eighties.

While the Full Circle release from Straight Six seems to be a release without much controversy, there is one track on the release that seems to have a statement of sorts. With a feel to the lyrical delivery that would be reminiscent of Punk Rock if the anger was there, the track “Divided We Stand” is a track that sounds very political yet may not actually be. The play with the lyrics has the listener paying closer attention to the track simply to hear the playful delivery of the lyrics. Lyrics like “Divided We Stand, United We Fall” will make you think; especially with how much we have been exposed to the other way of making those statements. 

With the track “What Would I Give,” Straight Six provides the listener with a truly straight-out Rock and Roll musical approach. The track comes complete with a sound that would remind the listener of something from The Black Crowes. The track’s intensity lies somewhere between the band’s rockin’ delivery from something like the track “Remedy” and the more relaxed delivery of “She Talks to Angels”.

As you make your way through the ten tracks that make up Full Circle from Straight Six, you get to experience several different Rock and Roll influences. But no matter how matter styles of Rock and Roll you encounter on this album, it’s all Rock and Roll. With this release, Straight Six shows you just what a Rock and Roll album can sound like. And the most important thing is that there is no track on the album that needs to be skipped. Put the album on and just let it play out. That is something you rarely get today, but you get it here on Full Circle from Straight Six.

For more information, check out the band’s website

To hear the music of Straight Six, check out the song “Aimed at Me“. 

And to hear the entire Full Circle release from Straight Six, click on the album cover below:

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Granicus “Thieves, Liars and Traitors”

Psychedelic hard rock band Granicus existed alongside bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. The Cleveland-formed band left the area to seek their musical fortunes out in New York. RCA signed the band and released their self-titled debut release. However, it would be their only major label release, as bad management and a bad record deal left Granicus’ potential as a band unfulfilled. By the mid-seventies, Granicus had ceased to be.
Jumping ahead three and a half decades to 2010, unfinished demos were uncovered as band members were cleaning and the idea to release the ‘album that never was’ was born.

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Tools of Creation “Adventures in Chaos”

If you are looking for good hard rock being made by a modern-day rock band, look no further than Tools of Creation, a band that makes its home in Canada’s capital of Ottawa. The band is made up of three musicians who really know how to create hard rock that sounds as authentic as bands that have since become legends in the music industry. In their music, you can hear influences from bands like Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and many others.
The three musicians that make up Tools of Creation are:  vocalist/guitarist Ben DiMaria, bassist/vocalist Chris Rock, and drummer/vocalist Stewart Scharf. Alone, they are talented musicians; taken together, they make up one of the best hard rock bands out there today.

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Live Rock and Roll Reviews and Suggestions

CD and Show Review: Joe Satriani “Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards”

This guitar virtuoso has been gracing our ears since 1987 with his pioneering guitar work, which is executed and produced with so much finesse. During the space of a few short years, after he began to work under his own name, Joe rapidly gained recognition as an internationally renowned guitar God. Nowadays, just about every rock fan knows just how influential Joe has been in helping to shape modern rock.

If you have read Aaron’s interview with Joe , here on The Rock and Roll Report, then you will be aware of the release of Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards earlier this month (October 5).  This is a great album and such a natural progression for this guitar orchestrator. Eleven great songs that say so much about Joe’s natural talent.

Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards differs just a little from Joe’s previous thirteen releases. This is due to the fact that Chickenfoot is now the outlet for Joe’s hard rocking side. This album rocks so well in so many ways while also exploring many musical avenues. This album was recorded in Skywalker Sound, the studio that Chickenfoot also use, and the result from this is a colossal live feel on the album. Produced and recorded by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica), Joe is joined once again by veteran Satriani drummer Jeff Campitelli, alongside newcomers Mike Keneally (keyboards – Frank Zappa, Steve Vai) and Allen Whitman (bass guitar – Mermen).

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Reviews and Suggestions

Rhone-ing on Empty

Marty Rhone – Born To Rock
Self Released

During the genesis of rock and roll, it would be safe to say there were few classically trained singers among the early pantheon of great rockers. Sure, they could all carry a tune for the most part or they wouldn’t have become famous, but most either had an overwhelming personality or were overflowing with charisma which covered for their lack of vocal prowess and allowed the pure energy and anarchy which fueled the primitive power of the music to shine through without being saddled with the added nuisance of having to be a flawless singer. Of course, rock and roll was always considered to be musically rudimentary trash by those who loved “real” music such as classical or jazz. We know today these sentiments are untrue and a lot of classical and jazz musicians doubled in the studio as rock session musicians whenever the need (the musician’s need for money, mostly) struck but for years the opinion stood. And rock and roll artists and promoters didn’t mind. They were only too happy for rock and roll to be seen as the music of youth and rebellion (as long as the parents gave the kids money to buy the records) and to be known as a trained musician or vocalist was to betray rock and roll’s proletarian ethics. But, that all changed to a large degree when Elvis Presley hit the charts, as he became the standard for singers in the rock world for many years. While not classically trained, Presley’s voice was unique and he had a natural way with melody, possessing a pure tone which enthralled listeners. By the time the ’70’s rolled around and rock began to evolve into a more progressive music and led to bands such as Journey, Yes and the like, being a trained singer was seen as a benefit, since rock had now become part of the establishment and had embraced classical (Moody Blues) and jazz (Weather Report, Mahavishnu). While accepted at the time, the notion of claissically trained rock singers became a slippery slope. For every Freddie Mercury there was a David Hasselhoff. Not a good sign! While classically trained vocalists are still to be found in rock and roll, most wind up on Broadway or in Vegas where they rightfully belong.

Which brings us to Marty Rhone and his new release Born To Rock.

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Live Rock and Roll

Special Ops Kick Off North American ‘Through the Heart of the Infidel’ Tour

Special Ops Invade “Through The Heart of The Infidel” Canada & US Tour Dates Presented by RockstarWeekly.com

Having just released their third studio album “Through The Heart of The Infidel” via Vancouver label Thorny Bleeder Records (digitally April 27th and CD in stores on May 25th), Montreal rockers Special Ops are proud to announce their “Through the Heart of the Infidel Tour” presented by RockstarWeekly.com. The tour will kick off in Toronto on April 28th and see the infantry invade Canada and the US in support of this latest release.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Man Called Noon Tell You What Time It Is

Man Called Noon – Broke and Beaten Down
Self Released

Though I know very little about the band itself, the imagery Man Called Noon uses in their name is very interesting to me. That it comes off sounding something like a reference to character in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western almost makes sense as the band’s music has the defiant air of rebellion about it that I like while retaining a coolness which is sure to draw people to their music. I am guessing the title may refer to the picture on the CD of a down and out man playing guitar in an alley, While it seems to have little to do with the music, there are undercurrents in every song regarding the struggles of the everyman to succeed in life, in love and to find happiness while still retaining a healthy self-image and not succumbing to the temptations and problems life throws at you. As someone like Bruce Springsteen sings of the life of the everyman so do the musicians behind Man Called Noon, albeit in their own way. Led by Tony Giamichael (lead vocals, guitar) and Brian Sonnek, (lead guitar, background vocals) the band boasts a solid one-man rhythm section in producer/engineer Mike Burns (drums/bass). The trio is bolstered by Katie Dingle who adds some atmospheric cello to a couple of tracks.

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Reviews and Suggestions

Where Tom Petty’s Concerned, There’s No Backing Down!

Tom Petty – Live Anthology
Reprise Records

tom-petty-live-anthologyTo me, Tom Petty will always be the quintessential every-day guy who ended up making it big. But not because of his possession of exemplary songwriting talent but because of his irrepressible spirit and pure rock and roll heart, the true power of which may never be known but which will always be felt, which has always guided him throughout his career. Whether it was involving members of his old band Mudcrutch in his original record deal instead of simply going solo, riding out a record company buyout and the personal bankruptcy it caused to rally his band and create Damn The Torpedoes (ie – one of the best rock and roll albums ever), fighting his new record company to lower the list price on his album Hard Promises, punching a wall and breaking his hand just because he hated the producer’s mix of his album Southern Accents and on and on, Petty has consistently done whatever it took and made the right choices, not just for personal economic/monetary reasons but personally and for his fans. This is a man who lives and breathes rock and roll, but seems to love his fans even more and is a genuinely nice guy to boot. A life lived in the spotlight with very few scandals to speak of and nothing but admiration from your peers is a very rare thing indeed in the rock and roll business. If he didn’t bring the rock like a sonofabitch he would be this generation’s answer to Pat Boone for chrissakes. But he does, and people know it. Like AC/DC, Petty’s albums are not going to lead to the next big thing or make waves with any musical innovations but people who love true rock and roll know he is the real deal and bands looking to capture the spirit of what makes rock and roll great will no doubt be listening to and studying his albums until the end of time…at least.

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Features

Lita Ford Talks 15-Year Hiatus Spent on a Secluded Island, Ozzy Osbourne, Songs From the Heart and Crotch and Her New Album

l_c7ea4163aaf142918d5f7df4513e8787Lita Ford has often been called the “Queen of Hard Rock”, and with a career as successful as hers, it’s no surprise. On the scene since her teenage years, Lita played with legendary Runaways before embarking on a successful solo career.

She’s best known for her 1988 commercial smash hit, Lita, which spawned hits like Kiss Me Deadly and the famous Ozzy Osbourne duet, Close My Eyes Forever.

In the late 90s Lita exchanged her musical career for quaint family life on a secluded Caribbean island and it wasn’t until October 6th of this year that she released her first studio effort, Wicked Wonderland, since her 1995 Black album.

The rocker was kind enough to chat with The Rock and Roll Report about all things Lita Ford. From the new record, to personal life, to the future of rock – nothing was left off limits.

Q: It is such a thrill to see you back on the scene after all these years. What was the driving factor to make a new record after a 15-year hiatus?

A: Rock n’ Roll is in my blood. Always has been and always will be. I was just waiting until my kids were ready and now they are totally ready. They have as much fun as Jim [Gillette] and I do!

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Features

Punk-Rockers ‘Limozine’ Compare Recording to Murder, Survive the Unbearable U.K. Smoking Ban and Get Set to Release Their Second Album; ‘Evil Love’

l_abcf247dc0e845a18ed540b163c368d0One would think that recording studios would be more likely breeding grounds for competition rather than collaboration. However, when it comes to West London’s Limozine, it all started in Coventry at the Cabin Recording Studios where Dean (Vocals) and Johnny Zero (Guitar) met through a mutual friend.

It is also not often true that drinking brings about brilliant ideas, but Limozine, once again, makes the exception. After some late night drinking Dean and Johnny  discovered their shared passion and respect for acts like The Cramps, ACDC, The Stooges and The Ramones. Using their idols for inspiration they began Limozine in the effort to bring about their own version of a punk rock album.

Writing their 11-track debut, Car Crash Casino, in 2005 and recording and mixing the album in eight days, it wasn’t until 2007 that they saw it’s official release. A year later, Johnny’s close friends, Tim (Drums) and Karl (Bass), saw Limozine live and were so gripped by the project they couldn’t help getting in on the action. And so, the two-piece doubled and today’s Limozine was born.