CD Review: ZZ Top - Live in Germany

CD Review: ZZ Top -  Live in Germany
Eagle Rock
All Access Review: A+

The tread on ZZ Top’s tires was showing a lot of wear by the time that little ol’ band from Texas put out 1976’s uninspired burr under the saddle Tejas. Compared with the thick, rubbery, insatiably delicious blues-rock boogie of Tres Hombres and Fandango, from 1973 and 1975, respectively, the bald and flat Tejas rolled along almost completely on its rims until being sent out to that album scrap yard where disappointing records go to be dismantled for parts. As for ZZ Top, it was time to go back to the shop for a tune-up.
Lying low for three years, the durable trio of Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill triumphantly returned in 1979 with the nitro-burning funny car Deguello, as rowdy and raunchy a record as ZZ Top would ever make. Their propulsive rhythms and Gibbons’ growling guitar licks never sounded so lean or mean as they did on Deguello, with the bubbling hot bluesy stew “I Thank You” and the snarling pit bull of a single “Cheap Sunglasses” leading the charge. It was a strutting, vice-ridden tour de force that would set the stage for the even more lusty and powerful Eliminator in 1983, an album that would transform ZZ Top into the toughest rock-and-roll outlaws on the planet.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Already bad and nationwide, having poured its whiskey-soaked, boogie-rock down America’s gullet and gotten the country blind drunk on its shots of its heavy-duty, Chicago-by-way-of-Texas blues moonshine, ZZ Top set out to search Europe for some accommodating “Tush” and new fans thirsty for their brand of barroom rock, at the behest of Warner Bros. And they found it all on the famed TV show “Rockpalast.” In 1980, ZZ Top roared into the Grugahalle in Essen, Germany, and raised more than a little hell, the live mayhem caught on camera for the acclaimed “Double Down Live” DVD released in 2009. Here, is the musical documentation of that unforgettable night and it is street-legal, complete with vintage concert photos of the band and informative liner notes from “Rockpalast” executive producer Peter Ruechel that tell the fascinating story behind this historic performance.
Riding in to the sound of spaghetti-western horns of the intro “El Deguello,” ZZ Top launches into a wicked, side-winding version of “I Thank You,” one of nine Deguello tracks in the concert set, and follows up with the rugged, earthy grooves of a brass-knuckled “Waitin’ For The Bus” that kicks like a mule. Hill’s bass registers 7.0 on the Richter scale throughout Live in Germany, but on “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” it simmers slowly and seductively, until reaching a boil during Gibbons’ fuel-injected solo, just one of seemingly a thousand sharp, stinging leads the guitar legend clawed his way through that night so long ago. Going deeper into the catalog, ZZ Top rumbles and rages through “Precious and Grace” and “Manic Mechanic,” before working out the kind of sweaty, nasty grooves usually found in strip joints in “Lowdown in the Street” and the radiation burn of “Cheap Sunglasses.”
And Gibbons and company are just warming up, their earthy, gritty aesthetic sounding so dynamic and full of vitality. On “Heard it on the X,” ZZ Top presses the accelerator to the floor and simply runs over the clapping, cheering crowd, prior to cooking up a steaming hell broth of boogie-based blues and proto-metal on “Arrested for Driving While Blind.” Many of ZZ Top’s most salacious hits are set on fire in this scorched-earth, 16-track set, including a riotous “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” and a down-and-dirty medley of “La Grange/Sloppy Drunk/Bar-B-Q,” where Gibbons wrings every bit of sinful, aggressive energy his guitar can muster out of those hot-wired six strings. It’s the highlight of an incredibly exhausting thrill ride that concludes with tasty, swaggering takes on Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom” and Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock,” before driving the bruising, brawling closer “Tush,” in all its tawdry glory, straight into a house of ill repute. Confident, lively and full of testosterone, ZZ Top’s Live in Germany is a sensational concert album, maybe one of the best ever. It never lets up, not for a minute, and in the end, it’s a full-blown package of dynamite that will blow you to kingdom come. Don’t worry, you’ll die happy.
Peter Lindblad

Artist Official Page: ZZ Top

CD Review: Iggy Pop's Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977 - 2009

CD REVIEW: Iggy Pop's Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977 - 2009
Shout! Factory 
All Access Review: A

Pleading for quiet, Iggy Pop is having no luck convincing the crowd of mangy curs at Bookie’s in Detroit in 1980 to settle down and stop screaming. Worked into a frothy, rabies-infected lather, the audience, pressing dangerously against the stage, wants blood. They demand that Iggy and the band punch them in the mouth with the kind of grimy psychedelia and brass-knuckled garage rock his old band, The Stooges, used to dish out with violent glee. Iggy, on the other hand, is intent on serenading them with a soft, jazzy old standard, “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and popularized by Frank Sinatra, of all people.
In the end, the stubborn and confrontational Iggy, spewing a stream of expletives amid entreaties for sanity, reason and safety, gets his way, and unexpectedly, he croons the song with great reverence. It’s one of the most disarming moments on the sprawling new four-CD, 66-track collection of unreleased Iggy Pop live recordings Roadkill Rising, setting them up for the kill that is the brawling, propulsive, furious ball of energy “Take Care of Me” from 1980’s Pop solo effort Soldier.
Spanning four decades of Iggy’s solo years, Roadkill Rising bulges with more than four hours of well-chosen concert audio – more than 60 tracks in all of Stooges and Iggy solo material, and a clutch of interesting covers – from some 20 different shows, like the four-song snippet from the show at Bookie’s, with its sweaty, intimate atmosphere, that includes a creeping version of “Nightclubbing” or Iggy’s performance at the huge Glastonbury Festival in England, where the classic Stooges’ growler “Down On The Street” is burned and beaten to within an inch of its life and “Real Cool Time” whips around in a cyclone of riffage.
Another in a series of “official” bootleg collections from Shout! Factory, which has featured artists like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Todd Rundgren, Roadkill Rising might just be the cream of the crop. Stooges’ material such as “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Loose,” from Disc 2’s 1987 gig at New York City’s Club 1018, jump out of the speakers like a mugger from the shadows, while Iggy’s “Kill City” is a muscular, turbo-charged thrill ride and covers of the “Batman Theme” and “Hang on Sloopy” are fun-filled rock-and-roll romps that celebrate rock-and-roll’s past. Disc 1 sees Iggy digging into The Stooges’ past with seething takes on “Raw Power,” “1969,” “Search And Destroy” and “Gimme Danger,” and Disc 3 – from the ‘90s – presents a rousing survey of Iggy’s best-known solo work, with “Lust for Life,” “China Girl,” “Butt Town,” “Candy” and “The Passenger” rumbling menacingly and snarling with anger.
Iggy’s fingerprints are all over these recordings. Like other artists in the series, Iggy not only has given the collection his stamp of approval, but he’s also been involved in the remastering. And the sonic quality, tough, full-bodied and electric, of Roadkill Rising is pure Iggy. There’s nothing weak sounding or lethargic. Take “Corruption,” “Howl” and “The Jerk” from Disc 3’s 2001 Bizarre Festival performance in Germany.  The guitar wrangling is viciously clear, the stomping bass is thick and powerful and the drums hit like wrecking balls – as they all do throughout Roadkill Rising. Even comments, such as “Iggy is God” and other less complimentary utterances, from the peanut-gallery crowd come through loud and clear. The only drawback the set has is its packaging. Although the comic-book artwork is cool and the accompanying booklet features vintage photos, it lacks liner notes about how these bootlegs were found or even chosen for this collection. A minor complaint, though, as Roadkill Rising is a must-have for Iggy completists or anybody with a healthy respect for ballsy, take-no-prisoners rock and roll.
Peter Lindblad  
Artist Official Page: Iggy Pop

Rock and Roll Limited Edition Lithographs


In the mid 1990s, the music memorabilia community responded with excitement to the release of a most impressive series of a strictly limited quantity, museum-quality lithographs, featuring works of the worlds' best known graphic artists, such as Giger, Van Hamersveld, Volmer, Dean, Warhol and others. Combined, they produced rocks' most memorable album art for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Yes, Eagles, Genesis, The Who, ELP and many more. Available for a limited time only, these fully authorized works-of-arts sold out quickly (worldwide) and have since become highly collectible. 

Currently in the Backstage Auctions Store, a selection of Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones and The Beatles lithographs are available for direct purchase. The limited edition lithographs range in price from $35.00 - $150.00. 

"These are truly beautiful pieces of artwork and look absolutely stunning framed and displayed. We recently sold an entire set of Rolling Stones lithographs to a customer that was had them framed and then hung in their media room at home," says Backstage Auctions owner, Jacques van Gool. "And make no mistake,  these fine pieces of art will not break the piggy bank - they are all moderately priced."

The entire collection can be view by clicking on this link: Limited Edition Lithographs



There are lots of cool and collectible guitars in the world - but rarely do you find an opportunity to actually own one as cool and significant as THIS silver (pre-Fender) Gretsch 6128 DuoJet with Bigsby that belonged to none other than Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. !!! Yes, you read that correctly. THE Soundgarden, one of the pioneering bands at the epicenter of the "Seattle sound" known as Grunge that emerged from the Great Northwest in the early 1990s. Soundgarden were - beyond question - at the forefront of that movement, along with the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains, and this Gretsch DuoJet was undeniably involved in the creation of that sound. 

The Gretsch 6128 (DuoJet) is a solid body electric guitar manufactured since the mid 1950s. Made of a chambered mahogany body, the DuoJet model 6128 is one of Gretsch's most sought after guitars. The difference between the DuoJet and comparable guitars, is in its configuration variations. While it shares the same two pickup, single cutaway style of the popular Gibson Les Paul guitar, the 6128 DuoJet models have more controls for shaping the tonality of the instrument. 

The DuoJet has been popular with anyone from Chet Atkins to David Gilmour, and is still in demand to this day. The most famous example of a DuoJet being played was by George Harrison during the Beatles' early days in Hamburg, and first few albums. In fact, he used that exact guitar on the cover for his 1987 "come back" masterpiece, "Cloud Nine." Clearly these guitars have impacted all types of music and players - including Chris Cornell and Soundgarden! 

Soundgarden achieved their biggest commercial success with the release of their 1994 album "Superunknown," spawning mega-hits "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman" which won Grammy Awards and helped Soundgarden reach mainstream popularity. In 1995, the album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. 

The album has been certified five times platinum by the RIAA in the United States and remains Soundgarden's most successful album. In 2003, the album was ranked number 336 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time! Their follow-up album "Down on the Upside," their last studio album to date, produced a few successful singles as well. The video to one of these singles, "Pretty Noose Live" shows Chris Cornell playing the Gretsch as offered here. In addition to this video there are numerous pictures and videos floating around of him playing it, and you can rest assured knowing that there is no other single guitar on the planet that will match this one.

Gretsch 6128 DuoJet: 
* Custom Silver Finish 
* Solid Body 
* Two Humbucking Pickups 
* Bigsby Tremolo 
* Silver Pick Guard 
* Two Volume/Tonal Controls 
* Neck/Bridge Pickup Switch 
* White Pearl Fret Inlays 
* White Pearl Gretsch and Horseshoe Inlay in Headstock 
* Chrome Hardware 
* Serial Number: 9411129.301 (11/1994) 

For more information on how to acquire this super rare and unique guitar, visit our website for more information: CHRIS CORNELL SILVER CUSTOM GRETSCH GUITAR

Here is an awesome clip of Chris playing the guitar: (Pretty Noose Live 1996)

DVD Review: David Byrne "Ride, Rise, Roar"

DVD Review: David Byrne "Ride, Rise, Roar"
Eagle Vision
All Access Review: A-

The iconic "big suit" David Byrne wore to arty, and somewhat comic, effect in the classic Talking Heads concert film "Stop Making Sense" is nowhere to be found on the idiosyncratic artist's newest performance documentary "Ride, Rise, Roar." In that exquisitely tailored, yet enormous, the rail-thin Byrne seemed like he was drowning in colorless fabric. It wouldn't have fit anybody, let alone the stick-like frame of Byrne, and yet, it told us much about contemporary living.

To anybody paying attention, it was hardly a great leap of imagination to make a connection between that suit, so devoid of personality in and of itself and yet so strangely compelling to look at, and how the frenetic, soul-stealing activity of modern life and work can swallow a person whole. And yet, there was nothing obvious or ham-handed about Byrne's unforgettable theatricality. As outsized as that suit was, the statement Byrne made with it was subtle and small, just a little tweak at the self-important business man wanting to become a master of the universe and losing himself in the process. Then again, to Byrne, maybe it was just a funny-looking, clown-ish get-up, a way to get a laugh — not bloody likely, though.

Whatever the case, it's Byrne's ability to dissect the human condition and all its mundane preoccupations, its underlying tensions, as if the world were a biology class's fetal pig — be it through enigmatic lyrics or his own strangely compelling visual artistry, and do so with a sly wit and a scientist's curiosity — that's made Byrne such a consistently interesting figure in pop music and other arenas.

"Ride, Rise, Roar" only adds to the mythology. Though not one inclined to revisit the past often, in 2008, Byrne did re-connect with Brian Eno for the LP Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, his first collaboration with Eno since 1981's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Informed by a decidedly un-ironic love of gospel music and its effervescent hopefulness, plus a healthy interest in electronica, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today was a triumph of man and machine. Then came the tour, the 2008-09 celebration of the music Eno and Byrne have made together over the years, starting with Eno's production and writing work with the Talking Heads, when they were a new wave, art-punk oddity that somehow forged a connection with the masses through the power of nerdy funk.

Wanting to make the experience more of a dazzling show, Byrne dreamed up an unlikely marriage of pop music and modern dance — reflecting his growing interest in the interpretive power of group movement — that could have been a train wreck. Unbelievably, it worked. The tour received glowing reviews, and "Ride, Rise, Roar" shows why. Decked out all in angelic white, the band and the small cadre of darting, twirling dancers — not the usual posse of break-dancing, hip-hop athletes you see on MTV — have a synergistic bond that adds spiritual weight and uplifting joy to performance segments that are thrilling, thought-provoking and full of boundless energy.

Cringe if you must at the thought of combining "interpretive dance" with the straightforward ethics of a traditional rock concert, but be prepared also for a visceral religious experience that mixes Talking Heads classics with selections from other Byrne-Eno works, including, of course, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. It is beautifully shot by filmmaker David Hillman Curtis, with multiple camera angles and instinctual editing making the action even more intense and profound.

Though there's an awkwardness to the choreography surrounding Byrne in an otherwise electric version of "Once In A Lifetime," the concept comes together in the reflective "Life Is Long," with dancers wheeling fluidly and expressively across the stage on office chairs. Wonderfully abstract and moody, "I Feel My Stuff" shifts from jazzy, jungle-like atmospherics to sinewy, driving rock and then back again, the deceptively tricky choreography growing more and more anarchic. Taking on Talking Heads' favorites "Burning Down The House," "Road to Nowhere" and "Life During Wartime," Byrne and company attack them with an intoxicating, wild-eyed fervor and a snake-handler's belief that every note they're playing and every mapped-out dance step they take is full of meaning.

Sprinkled in between the concert footage are black-and-white, behind-the-scenes segments that reveal much about Byrne's creative process and how the experimental choreography developed. It's a fascinating look at an art form that doesn't get a lot of exposure, and the part where Byrne and Eno share a moment describing what influenced them musically on their latest collaboration offers fresh theories on inspiration and how they've channeled it into their more recent creations.

Boldly innovative, "Ride, Rise, Roar" gives "Stop Making Sense" a run for its money. Once again, Byrne's artistic sensibilities win out, and this grand experiment captures the best of what pop music and dance can accomplish when boundaries are pushed to the limits of imagination.

— Peter Lindblad