To many people, the year 1979 feels like an entire other lifetime. That year was the year that the Boston-based rock band New England released their self-titled release. New England was a quartet made up of guitarist/vocalist John Fannon, drummer/vocalist Hirsh Gardner, keyboardist/vocalist Jimmy Waldo and bassist Gary Shea. New England would end up being discovered at that time by Paul Stanley, member of the band KISS. Along with Mike Stone, Stanley would go on to produce that self-titled album for the band that would ultimately contain the singles “Never Wanna Lose Ya” and “Hello, Hello, Hello” that the band would be remembered for. While New England would release a total of three studio releases, the band’s self-titled album would be the biggest release from the band as it peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Top 200.
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).
Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days.
Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fan-bases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time.