Sunday, September 30, 2012



Ahhhh 1991, I was 21 years old and although we were starting to hear music from the incoming "gunge" tsunami, heavy metal was still ruling the world with some major releases and big tours that were rocking through North America and the world.

One such tour rolled into Toronto in June of 1991, was about as big and bloated as the genre got. Guns and Roses had gone out in support of the "Use Your Illusion" records. The fact that neither album was ready and wouldn't be for another three months when the tour got underway didn't deter the biggest band on the planet. After all they were Guns and F'n Roses!

Along for the ride was Skid Row who had released the metal masterpiece "Slave to the Grind" album. This was going to be one bad ass metal feast for the ears. Definitely the biggest show of the year.

Skid Row hit the stage like they were shot from a cannon. This band exuded an intense energy that I haven't witnessed many bands match. They truly lived the moniker "Youth Gone Wild". Fact is they were on top of the world, "Slave to the Grind" was faster, meaner and more intense than their debut album. No easy feat and it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts.

Skid Row worked the crowd into a frenzy. Sebastian Bach is a ball of explosive energy and was blessed with a set of metal pipes that puts him in the league of Halford and Dio in the sheer talent category. The band left everything they had on the stage, a stronger opening band I can't recall. (possibly LA Guns opening for ACDC but that's another story) "Slave to the Grind" is a must have album for any self respecting metalhead, and my pick for best metal album of 1991.

Now remember Guns and Roses had become the biggest band in the world. Appetite for Destruction had propelled them into the stratosphere. Lies was just a little ear candy to hold us over as they prepared what was going to be 2 albums released on the same day. The buzz on Use Your Illusion was off the hook. People were so anxious and excited to hear more from the street urchins turned "Kings of the World".

So very early in the tour they pulled into Toronto's CNE stadium to rock a full house of metal maniacs. Now I do remember a longer than normal wait between sets but it wasn't horrible. I don't recall what time the Gunners hit the stage but this was before Axl's time schedule and inability to arrive on time became a bigger story than the shows themselves.

So Guns and Roses arrived and played a solid and long set. Clocking in at over two hours they put on a good show. From an energy level it was a little strange because the crowd would go from rocking their asses off to the "Appetite" material and then be brought down a bit with the unfamiliar new songs. This early in the tour, they had not yet grown into the full bloated beast with backup singers, horn sections, etc. that they would add when they passed by the following year with Metallica.

Funny story, a few months before the show I had found a fairly rare bootleg of Guns and Roses entitled "No Refrain". On this CD was a per Illusion version of November Rain. So my buddies and I knew this track inside and out before the concert. When they brought out the piano for the "live" version, my crew were singing along with the still unknown tune. After the song ended the people in front of us turned around asking "how did we know those lyrics?" Ahhhh yes I was even a decibel geek back in 91.

Slash's solo that night was way way way too long. Now I love Slash love his guitar work, but I have never been a fan of solos period. The exceptions are musicians that make the solo a visual treat (Tommy Lee for example) instead of just a musician's wank. So Slash noodling on and on for over 25 minutes was to me, just a tad boring. With the exception of the snippit of the Godfather theme all I could think was "I wish they would get on with more songs".

I was glad I got to see Guns and Roses at time when they were still a band, but on this night I have to give it up to SKID ROW as, in my opinion they upstaged the headliners that night. Come to think of it, Metallica would do the same the following year in the same building.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kisstory Science Theatre


While there is certainly no shortage of KISS podcasts (shout outs to our brethren Creatures Of The Net, PodKISSt and THE KISS ROOM at this point), the 3 powerful and attractive Canadian gentlemen behind Kisstory Science Theatre up the ante by including an accompanying YouTube channel and a Vimeo (a.k.a. The Kisstory Science Theatre Screening Room).  And if that wasn't enough, their spot-on impressions of Gene, Paul, Ace and Peter will make you laugh all the way to the emergency room.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the ONLY rock/metal thing I did in 1991


Andrew Jacobs here,

As I've previously mentioned in one or two of my posts, I didn't really become a full bore rock and metal fan until I got heavily into KISS and Pantera in 1993, so in 1991, I was still pretty much exclusively a punk and hardcore guy with a heaping tablespoonful of rap and hip hop (yes, you read correctly, RAP AND HIP HOP) thrown in for good measure.

Despite that though, I did manage to do one rock/metal thing that year - I saw the movie Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in the theater on opening night (July 19, 1991).

And I loved every second of it.

So much so, in fact, that the very next day, I went over to one of my local record stores (there were quite a few back then) and purchased the soundtrack to it.  NOT for all of the great rock and metal songs on it, however.  I wanted it solely for "The Reaper Rap".  I was hoping to hear The Reaper (a.k.a. William Sadler, in perhaps not only his greatest acting performance but THE greatest acting performance of all time) spit some funky verse for a few minutes.  Unfortunately, it was not to be and I subsequently traded the soundtrack in a day or two later (probably for a punk, hardcore or rap/hip hop CD).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Episode 52 - Radio Revisited 1991


While our Year in Review shows tend to have a great response each time out for the wealth of information that we try to squeeze in each time and numerous song clips that we attempt to shoehorn in; we've also plenty of folks tell us that they like when we spin more than 1:00-1:30 length clips of songs and prefer to hear more music. This week's show is our attempt to satisfy that contingent....with a twist!

Instead of just a typical show spinning songs from the chosen previous Year in Review, we decided to explore a new option of entertainment with a Decibel Geek episode from 1991! We dug through the archives and dusted off this episode of a very young Chris and Aaron and you'll get to hear where their minds were at (when not "using" the Sears catalog) and their opinions of the bands of the day as well as the changes in the ever-shifting music industry.

We hope you will enjoy this rare look back to a simpler time in our lives and some great music that we were digging on in those days. Thanks for joining us on this time warp back into history with Radio Revisited 1991!

*Editor's Note* - All content contained in the "flashback" portion of this episode is not, in fact, from 1991 and is meant purely for comedic purposes. Anyone taking offense or feeling misled by this scripted error should contact the offices of Decibel Geek attorney Uneedto Getalife (he's foreign). 

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Slash Takes Toronto to Paradise City


Slash Takes Toronto to Paradise City

Veteran rocker Slash rolled into Toronto to play at The Sound Academy this past Sunday September 23rd.  When I had first heard about the show I had mild interest but was not chomping at the bit to go as I had not been terribly impressed with his non Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver work.  Then Sunday rolled around and finding myself having a rare Sunday night off of work, I made the spur of the moment decision to trek down to T.O. and check out the show.  I grabbed my ticket on line to make sure there was one available before I got all the way down there.  The ticket price of just under $50 was a bit steep I thought for a club show, but what the hell I’d already decided to go.  The bill was titled as Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators and as I had no idea who they were, I assumed they were the opening band. 

Doors at 7:30pm were stated on the ticket and when I arrived at 7:40pm I was a bit surprised to see a huge line-up waiting to get into the venue.  Perhaps it is sold out, although I had had no trouble getting my ticket earlier that morning.  The crowd filed toward the entrance and encompassed a diverse age range, with lots of excited chatter and song speculation.  By the time I got through the doors it was just after 8pm and the opening band was already onstage.  I seem to remember back in the day that you were always made to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the show to begin after you got into the venue, but this was the second time in as many concerts that things seemed to get going at a lightning quick pace.  I guess times are a-changin' as my grand-pa used to say!

No matter, on with the show as they say!  As I wormed my way through the already thick crowd working my way closer to the front, I was impressed by the sound quality of this unknown band gracing the stage.  The singer was just announcing the next song and I quote,  “my favourite time of the day, The Holy Touch”, as I found an acceptable standing area with not too many tall people in front of me and began to focus on the performers.  The singer claimed that the next tune was written by him and Rob Zombie and it did contain a smidgen of Dragula.  The band themselves appears quite eclectic with the keyboardist drawing most of my attention early on.  He had a shaved head and a decently long beard that will one day make ZZ Top proud I’m sure.  He was into the tunes and rockin’ hard, standing on his keyboard, playing with his feet and his facial expressions easily gave away that he was generally having a great time.  The bass player had a huge mane of curly shoulder length brown hair which appeared to be dyed blonde underneath and the trumpet player often threw his instrument in the air and caught it a few seconds later.  They blew through a couple more tunes called Yes, Yes, Yes and then Killing It, with the singer, Eric, performing a laugh out loud funny monologue between each number.  Then came I Like It, after which Eric asked for a cigarette from the audience.  He received three or four smokes and he lit them all and took a couple of puffs simultaneously while he asked for the lights to be turned down.  He then blew the ash embers into the air and proceeded to eat the still lit cigarettes.  Their final song was The Temple, at the end of which the band left the stage all except vocalist Eric, who said into the microphone 
“I wish I had a big mirror on stage so I could watch myself sing” and no sooner had the last word left his lips he dropped the mic and with a clatter of feedback as it hit the stage, he was gone.  I was able to find out that they were called Foxy Shazam and I listened to several crowd members’ remark about how good their performance was.  I purchased their CD for only $10 and after listening to it the next day, I realised that this is a band that must be seen live to be fully appreciated.  The CD, The Church of Rock and Roll,  is still worth a listen by all means and I will search out their other recordings, but their live performance is where it's at.

By this time I had figured out that Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators were Slash’s lead singer and backup band.  The crowd tightened up as everyone tried to squeeze closer to the stage for Slash and there was not much room to breathe as the band came out,  roaring into Halo from the latest record Apocalyptic Love.  A cheer went out as the second number came from Guns N' Roses' iconic record, Appetite for Destruction in the form of Nightrain as the crowd attempted to dance even though they were shoulder to shoulder.  Again everything sounded great and Slash looked just like he did when I’d seen Guns N’ Roses back in the early nineties with his trademark curly black hair, sunglasses and leather top hat.  Ghost from the Slash CD was followed by Standing In The Sun from Apocalyptic Love before going back to Slash for Back From Cali.  The songs sounded awesome as the band rocked through them that I couldn’t help think that I’d done an injustice to Slash and should give his recordings another more concentrated listen to.  Been There Lately from Slash’s Snakepit led us into Civil War and right through into Rocket Queen, the crowd singing every word.  I couldn’t help but notice that vocalist Myles Kennedy sounded very similar to Axel Rose and the classic Gunners tunes sounded bang on and still hold up today as some of the best rock ever released.  Two more from the latest release followed in Carolina, which is a catchy song and
No More Heroes and the bass and rhythm guitarists gave very energetic stage performances.  Myles introduced bassist Todd Kerns and said that he would be taking on vocal duties for a bit.  Todd looked to be having a blast as he powered through We’re All Gonna Die and then broke into the G N’ R classic You’re Crazy to an overwhelming response from the audience.  Throughout the next few numbers of Not For Me, Starlight, Anastasia and You’re A Lie, which contained a couple of mini Slash
guitar solos, I noticed that Slash seemed to be almost talking to his guitar as his lips were constantly moving.  The crowd, especially the ladies went crazy as Slash played the opening to Sweet Child O’ Mine and the audience all sang along knowing every word.  The Velvet Revolver hit Slither wrapped up the initial portion of the show and they left the stage for a short break before returning to play another Velvet Revolver track in Fall to Pieces.  The crowd went nuts again as Paradise City started and glimmering plastic confetti strips floated down from the rafters.  Slash and Myles and the rest of the band took their bows, said their thanks and left the stage.  Wow! I was very impressed with the whole evening, but in particular Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.  They sounded great on old and classic material alike and on Sunday September 23rd, 2012 Slash took Toronto on a ride to Paradise City.

The Meister

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

UNO! Good Clean FUN with Green Day


Back a couple months ago during our "Threesomes" week I informed our readers about Green Day's plans to release three complete albums, each about two months apart. Well the world has received the first of these, aptly titled UNO!

UNO! brings us a dozen new melodic three chord radio friendly "powerpoppunk" songs. To call Green Day a PUNK band at this point would be like calling Bon Jovi a heavy metal band. They indeed were heavily influenced by the punk scene, but Billie Joe and the boys have become part of American culture by writing hook laden tunes that are in a word "FUN!"

When I discovered the band after "Dookie" broke, I loved how much fun this band was. High energy and songs to scream along with. Green Day became an instant favourite of mine. Nothing in the world like playing my bass guitar to "American Idiot" rocking out in my living room.

This time Green Day has steered away from the last two "concept" albums, the band simply seems to have just written some songs and a lot of them because they filled up three albums worth. UNO! opens with "Nuclear Family" a raucous rocker that would be at home on American Idiot. Easy to hear the Ramones influence in this track and it gets the album off and running. Funny how the Ramones who wrote easy and fun radio friendly punk songs are considered "legends" yet Green Day often catch flack for the same formula.

Does Green Day break any new ground with this release? Probably not, but what they do is serve up another round of solid and FUN (there's that word again!) Green Day songs, custom made for air guitars everywhere. From the catchy "Let Yourself Go", the mischievous "Troublemaker" and the beautiful first single "Oh Love" all the songs are catchy enough to be singles and rocking enough to go over great live. One song in particular made me laugh and I totally disagree with a review I read earlier on the new album. "Kill the DJ" is probably the most fun song on the album, many times I have shared Billie's sentiments to kill the fucking DJ!

If you love Green Day, you will probably love the new album. If you hate Green Day, it will do nothing to change your mind. That said there isn't a band out there that does it any better than Billie, Mike and Tres. It's great to hear a band playing instruments, rocking out and oh yeah HAVING FUN!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A book for all the SMF's - Dee Snider's "Shut Up And Give Me The Mic"


Library of Loud week continues and it doesn't get much louder than Twisted Sister! Dee Snider recently released his Twisted Memoir taking the readers back and all the way through his years with the legendary band.

If you are looking for the usual eighties debauchery of drugs and booze and women, then you are looking in the wrong place. Dee Snider has always been a pretty straight shooter, choosing to refrain from many of the trappings of the rock and roll lifestyle. A faithful husband and proud father he is quite the contradiction from his wild and crazy madman persona of the mid eighties.

"Shut Up And Give Me The Mic" digs deep into Dee's memories of the entire Twisted Sister history. He pulls no punches when telling stories about the band and his fellow band mates do not come out of the book unscathed. Dee has always said it like it is, isn't afraid to call people out if he feels it is deserved but he also will admit when he is wrong and accepts the blame when he is.

A tale of a band that struggled for years, honing their craft and paying their dues. A tale of a band that broke through to the big time making all their dreams come true. A tale of a band that had the brass ring only to slip and fall flat with it. Truly an interesting tale of the music industry and the personalities involved.

One of my favourite stories was when they were touring over in Europe for the first time. The band weren't exactly thrilled with the European tradition of throwing things at the stage while the band performed. Dee Snider called the audience out! Challenging the entire audience to lineup after the set and he would personally fight whoever was man enough instead of throwing shit at them. After the set, true to his word he went over to where he had motioned to meet for the challenge. Nobody took him up on the fight.

Stories of Twisted Sister's Godfather Lemmy, stories of touring with Iron Maiden, and a great story of how a certain band from Switzerland that he refers to as "Krapus" had wronged his wife Suzette and how her family wanted to deal with the situation. Stories of how their legendary music videos were made. Stories of the inner workings and friction between band members and how the whole house of cards came crumbling down.

The book is worth the cover price just for the chapter on the PMRC hearings alone. Hearing the entire story of how the "Washington Wives" were put in their place by a long haired SMF in tattered jeans and makeup was classic. I laughed out loud when Dee told the story of how his Dad looked after Frank Zappa's kids while the two of them went in to the courtroom. How the senior Snider would tell people that he got to look after "Moon Dweezel and Unit".

A good read, the only thing that surprised me was how brief the years after Twisted Sister were covered. It seems like all the years after Twisted Sister broke up were covered in 50 pages. I would have enjoyed more in depth stories on the reunion, his other non-musical endeavours. That said the vintage Twisted Sister years were a great time, in fact reading the book inspired me to go out and pick up the "Double Live" DVD to experience the Twisted Sister live show one more time. The DVD includes the infamous North Stage 1982 show and the Reunion New York Steel show 2001. Great concerts from the SMF's.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Henry Rollins' Fanatic! book series


Long before Chris & AAron invented the brilliantly titled Radio Sucks radio show, Henry Rollins was doing something very similar to it on his Harmony In My Head show on an actual radio station, Indie 103.1 in Los Angeles.  To say that Rollins mixed it up on his show would be the understatement of the century.  Thankfully, he released a series of books that he christened Fanatic! which not only contained the playlists from each show but a whole shitload of information on each and every song that he played as well.

Vol. 1 and vol. 2 are available for only $5 each (vol. 3 is only available electronically at the moment). If you're a fan of the Radio Sucks radio show, you'll DEFINITELY want to check out these books.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

HumaleboobalaybeebalayBOP! Crazy from the Heat.


The first book I have chosen to look at for our "Library of Loud" week is a book I that I have unfortunately lost and have been searching to have it replaced. David Lee Roth released his biography(?) "Crazy From The Heat" back in 1998.

First, it should be noted that David Lee Roth writes much like he talks. Therefore, you have a book that jumps around a lot but is guaranteed to be entertaining as hell. I have always called it the perfect bathroom book because essentially it's David just sharing a thousand short stories. Throughout them all you do get a full biography but told in very "crazy" way. Chapters vary in length from one page to at most 4 or 5. Perfect for those small breaks if you know what I mean.

From what I read back when the book was released. When DLR decided to write the book, he used no outside or ghost writers and supposedly brought the publishers a complete 1000 plus page draft ready for publication! That obviously didn't end up as the finished product but we did get 300 pages or so of amazing stories, told by one of the biggest, most colourful personalities in rock.

Included in this book you will find stories that include the truth behind the brown M&M's, another use for highway glue, the insanity that are the Van Halen brothers, how he won the Kodak Cinematography Award, getting "fished" on tour and some of his amazing world travels and adventures.

This guy chooses to live life, rather than watch it go by and his book is no exception. My favourite story is the time he decided in a snowstorm to cross country ski from his hotel to the stadium for that nights show. He and his bodyguard stop about halfway at a little bar where he meets a little old lady. He shares lunch and some stories with her and later sends a limo to pick her up and bring her to her very first rock concert. There's a lot more to the story and a few hundred more in the book.

Definitely one of my all time favourite reads, entertaining from page one...Now I could just find it again.

Drop the Needle!...The Heroin Diaries


Next up for the "Library of Loud" week Cynthia Johnson looks at Nikki Sixx's "The Heroin Diaries"

Confession: I just recently(this past February) read Heroin Diaries.  Now, before you scream and start calling me everything but my first name, let me explain. For a brief time I didn't read anything, or even watch the news. I was married to a man that thought so much within the box, HE BECAME THE BOX, and for a time, I was in that box with him. After I emerged from my coma, I went to my local library and found this book.  Now, the cover of Heroin Diaries is not an innocent one. It's rather, well, grim, and dark.

The book opens with Nikki, giving a brief and correct definitions of all the medical terms used in the book. Then, the next page is Lemmy, giving the true, raw, uncut junkie version. I liked Lemmy's version better. The roller coaster begins on December 25, 1986. It starts out somewhat innocent with Nikki writing 'Merry Christmas'. But  for Nikki, it was anything but. There has to be something said for a man to say that he's sitting butt naked under his Christmas tree with a needle sticking out of his arm.  No one was safe when Nikki decided to write this book.

The book paints a not too pretty picture of anybody. I have to admit the guys in the band really come off as jerks, especially Vince Neil. I'm probably going to piss off a lot of people when I say what I gotta say. Nikki was a complete asshole to everyone. There, I said it. Did anyone deserve his wrath? No, not really, but at the same time, this man was strung out, and it seemed that the people that could help him, turned a blind eye. Of course those closest to him knew, but who was gonna open their mouth and call him out when he's the one making sure car notes and mortgages are getting paid...NO ONE. Because, without Nikki, there was no Mötley Crue.

Ok, now back to this book. The details of Nikki's life are at times a cloud, and sometimes chaotic, and he takes the reader on every moment, from the beginning to the end. Nikki shows he has feelings. He touches on his relationship with Evangelist Denise Matthews (better known as to Vanity).  Now, I'm really about to piss some people off, maybe even get some hate mail. At one point in the book, Nikki, at one point is explaining a past incident between he and Vanity (that was her name and as far as I'm concerned it still is). Even though they are not in the same room, you can visualize these two arguing about what happened happened some 20years ago. And just when you stop and say 'What the hell?', Nikki stops and says the same thing. Priceless.  The diaries drips and oozes A LOT OF SEX, TONS OF DRUGS AND PLENTY ,PLENTY AND PLENTY OF STRIPPERS AND BOOZE. I was amazed  at how detailed the entries were and how organized everything was.

The book also goes into the writing of  Girls Girls Girls. The album that some say saved the Crüe from losing everything...LITERALLY. The sessions that Nikki would show up high and spend most of the time in the bathroom shooting up, while Vince did his vocals or while Mick layer out his guitar tracks. I found it sad, that Doc McGhee didn't do more to get Nikki clean, or the rest of them for that matter. I did however, understand how Nikki would try and keep clean for the sake of his GrandFather. Now, on that I can understand. I'm 38 years young and I don't really care to drink I front of my father. Even though I know I'm an adult and he does too, it's just something about drinking(oh and smoking) in front of him that I can't do it. It's a respect thing . But he also touches on that issue as well. Here it gets personal for me. Nikki, was raised by his grandparents from time to time. His mother wasn't around much, next to none. Nikki had sisters that lived with his mom, but he didn't. Now, my father raised me, my mom wasn't around. That can do things to a kid. Not trying to preach here, but I could see why he probably, started using and had the type of  mentality he had. He was making other people rich, happy and he was not happy within himself .its often said that our childhood reflects how we survive in the world of adulthood. At one point in the course of this seedy tale, you find yourself  cheering for Nikki to get clean and sober, if not for himself at least for his fans. Then it happens.As we all know Nikki suffered few mishaps when it came to his love for the sludge(as my uncle called it).

The most famous one was on December 23,1987. In the book, he starts off the entry as saying that "this is what my life has boiled down to...I either have to stop or die..." . That night he was with Robin Crosby (RIP) ,Slash, and his then girlfriend. From all accounts, which seem to be very hazed, the guys were hanging out, of course at the CatHouse, and the Franklin Hotel. So the story goes, the guys had went back to the Franklin Hotel to score. Well, Nikki and Steven Adler were in a room with the dope dealer. I've learned from enough episodes of Intervention and just for watching Behind The
Music that you NEVER let anyone shoot you up that doesn't really know what they are doing. This was such case. Nikki went to Slash's room, and so the story goes and  DIED.

Since everyone in the room was very drunk and high, there is no actual account, just bits and pieces of what happened. In short, 911 was called and the paramedics had to try to revive him. Now, it's very, VERY rare that a person can die, and come back after two minutes. But he did. And this is why. One of the paramedics was a Motley fan. So the paramedics use not one, but TWO adrenaline needles to bring Nikki back from the dead. Now mind you, while all this is going down, we have the limo driver, who is hearing this and calls Vince Neil. Now, anyone who's read "Tattoos and Tequila" by Vince, already knows these two had a bad bromance, but deep, really deep down Vince had love for Nikki, and he even said in the book, he cried when he heard the news.

Changes came down after Nikki's death/revival. The European leg of Girls Girls Girls was canceled. With that, Nikki decided to take full control of his life and habits. The first was getting clean. Nikki went cold turkey, moved out of Van Nuys, to Hidden Hills. He also wrote Dr. Feelgood, another classic, began therapy, not just for his issues, but also got the guys to join him in group therapy, which we all know gave way to a better stronger Mötley Crüe .

Heroin Diaries is a really good read. It's a real, grimy read, that isn't for the easily offended or the shy. It is a honest look at a life filled with drugs and pain, but it shows how no matter how shitty you think life is right now, somebody else has it shittier than you.  One thing this book does show, is money, no matter how much you have can never but you happiness.
So pick it up, read it, laugh a little. HAPPY READING.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bruce Kulick's Crazy Nights discussion continues next week on


From the official Bruce Kulick Facebook page:

I'm wrapping up week one of my 25th Anniversary of CRAZY NIGHTS celebration with a look at "Good Girl Gone Bad," "Turn on the Night," and "Thief in the Night." And, yes, I said week one. Coming next week I'll be talking about the album's artwork, photo shoots, videos, gear, tour, and those unreleased songs you all keep asking about!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Gene, I Trust


Andrew Jacobs here,

Gene Simmons can safely add one more achievement to his enormous and ever-growing legacy - authoring The Bible.  No, not THAT Bible (though that one certainly does come in handy whenever I run out of toilet paper).  I'm speaking, of course, about his 2003 Sex Money KISS book.

Sex Money KISS is a crash course in Gene's life philosophy.  And what does Gene's life philosophy consist of?  Well, certainly sex.  At last count, I believe he's topped out at close to 5000 sexual partners in his 63 years of life.  Then, of course, there's money.  A Google search of the words "Gene Simmons net worth" puts it at $300 million as of 2011.  Finally, there's KISS.  And if you're a Decibel Geek regular, nothing more needs to be said with regard to that.

The main reason why I hold Sex Money KISS in such high regard is because despite having all but conquered the world (certainly the world of entertainment anyway) and having made a HELLUVA lot more money than Mitt Romney, Gene still believes in working your ass off every single second of every single day and, to paraphrase him, sleeping when you're dead.  Gene has taken (and continues to take) the cliché of working hard and playing hard to a whole other level.  Although many people think to the contrary, one cursory glance at his unbelievable life makes it painfully obvious that Gene cares just as much about work itself and keeping oneself busy with work as he does about making an enormous profit from said work.  And that is something (hell, probably the ONLY thing) that I agree 200% with Gene on.

I'd also like to say that I give Gene a pass on his flip-flop with regard to his views on marriage, which are also discussed thoroughly in Sex Money KISS.  As somebody who has been happily married for almost 8 and a half years, I applaud Gene for finally marrying Shannon Tweed and I don't personally think that he compromised in the least because of it.

Sammy Hagar, Red My Uncensored Life In Rock


My Uncensored Life In Rock
By Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin

Bryan Martin

    The book opens with a foreward by Michael Anthony, former bassist for Van Halen, and now bass in Chickenfoot, Sammy’s newest band. His testimony to the artist, the man, the vocal powerhouse that is Sammy Hagar, is nothing short of pure respect and awe. From there we move through the tough childhood into his first musical forays. Sammy Hagar is candid throughout the book and there are genuine pieces of his heart and soul woven into the fabric of the pages. His uncompromising integrity is unmatched. His drive and ambition second to none. From Montrose to Solo, to Van Halen, and now Chickenfoot, his knack at weaving vocal tales of teen angst, love, hate, and everything in between are never in doubt.
    The sacrifice and negativity that follows fame like a shadow is cast into the light by Sammy himself in this book. One part talks of his divorce and how it was terribly hard on his children, mostly his youngest. It is a heartfelt commentary on a man who loves his family as much as he loves his music. Here is a man who put everything on the line to bring you classic hits like “Red”, “I’ll Fall In Love Again”, “Heavy Metal”, “I can’t Drive 55”.
    Then he joins the biggest band in the world, Van Halen, and we are taken for a rocket ride around the world with them. He reveals the scariest thing of all. That the band and its members are human beings after all. I don’t feel he bashes them in the book at all. Rather it is a simple call for them to wake up and get over themselves. Which they seemed to have done.
    I have always been a fan of Sammy Hagar. Once when the band Krokus didn’t show up to open for him on the “I can’t Drive 55 tour”. He simply walked out early, sat down on the edge of the stage and explained what happened. He said, “ You paid to see two bands so i’m gonna play two band’s worth of material.” And he did. He played songs I never heard of and he played all his hits. One of the best concerts I ever saw and his work ethic and consideration for the fans is something I carry with me today.
    This book is full of passion, energy,tales of excess and tales of sacrifice. It is not a “tell all to the tabloids” type of book like has been thought. Rather this book is a testament to a man who was destined by fate to become the world’s most famous rock vocalist. You know the fame, you understand the lofty height of it all, but what you don’t expect is to feel like he could be hanging out with you at the bar like a regular person. Telling his stories, slapping you on the back, and shooting back those Tequilla shots.

Episode 51 - Library of Loud


It's been quite a memorable week here at Decibel Geek headquarters.

We had record numbers of downloads with the recent Bruce Kulick episode and have received a lot of great feedback on the show. Bruce is currently doing a Crazy Nights retrospective on his official site and it would behoove you to give it a look. Good insight into a very divisive album among the KISS Army.

In other KISS-related news, our very own Wally Norton had his recent review of The Tour's stop in Toronto get a mention on KISS Online. There's also another great Toronto review posted by The Meister that you should check out as well. We'll put our horns down and get on with the business of this week's episode.

As we announced last week, Aaron and Chris will be appearing in-person at the upcoming Nashville Comic & Horror Festival at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 6th. They will be recording all day long at their table and YOU can even be on the show. All details including guest list and prices are available at

This week's Geek of the Week is Jani Vare who had some great feedback on the Bruce Kulick episode. To be eligible to be a future Geek of the Week simply join our facebook fan page and add to the conversation.

The only thing more enjoyable to a true Decibel Geek than listening to music is reading the stories behind the music. There have been some amazing books written about the genre of Rock as well as plenty of great bio/autobiographies that give a deep insight into the people that churn out that ear-splitting music that we love to hear. With that in mind, we present this week's topic; Library of Loud: Favorite Rock Books.

Joining us for this discussion is someone that certainly knows a thing or two about Rock books; author Michael Toney. Mike recently released his own book; Tales from the Stage. This book is loaded with great interviews of numerous bands/artists that are right in the Decibel Geek wheelhouse including Ron Keel, Tracii Guns, Eddie Trunk, and the aforementioned Bruce Kulick. This is not standard fare as far as rock interviews go as Mike delves deeper with his questioning to probe out specific details about the lives of his interview subjects that are eye-opening, funny, and as is the case with WASP's Chris Holmes, utterly shocking. You'll look at your favorite rock stars with a whole different perspective after reading this book.

We decided to do a round-robin style conversation about our favorite Rock books with each of us discussing three choices each as well as the most popular suggested pick by our listeners at the facebook fan page.

In round one, Mike picks a relatively recent autobiography by a certain Spaceman from a different planet. Aaron picks an exhaustive document on England's biggest rock export of the 70's and Chris chooses an autobiography that is a serious look at the inner-workings of one of the biggest bands in history told from a members' persepctive.

Round two sees Mike picking a memoir of a metal legend that's recent statements in the press have been equally as impactful as the thrash music that he's churned out for 30 years. Aaron's second choice is an in-depth look at the Hottest Band in the Land from the business side of things that includes so much detail it could easily be required reading in a college classroom. Chris rounds out round two with an inspiring book that chronicles that life of a concert promotion giant that ended in tragedy.

Before we get into round three, Mike shares a contradictory take on the Mark St. John transition to Bruce Kulick in KISS during the 1984 Animalize tour. Aaron and Chris were truly surprised by this revelation. Is it the real story? What do you think?

Our final round of picks includes Mike's pick of an autobiography that is as entertaining as it is informative and is, quite frankly, a miracle in its existence due to the tumultuous lifestyle of the book's namesake. Chris' final pick is, in his opinion, the ultimate document on KISS (can you tell we like them?) with its engrossing detail and depth. Aaron finishes things off with his final pick that happens to coincide with our listener's overwhelming favorite and it's a choice that is anything but clean.

With a topic like this there are so many other choices that could have easily been our lists but are also worthy of your time and attention. These include books that have been promoted on our show before like Lydia Criss' Sealed with a KISS and Dick Wagner's Not Only Women Bleed.

Before we let Mike go, we had to grill him for his thoughts on the enormous (in size AND price) KISS Monster book that was recently released and he certainly didn't shy away from his opinion on it.

As you'll hear at the end of the show Mike is graciously offering a great deal on Tales from the Stage for the Decibel Geek listeners. If you go to before October 31st and type in the offer code RADIO, you'll get 10% off the price of the book! This book will make a great addition to any rock fans book shelf. Get it before it's too late.

We'd like to thank Michael Toney for being this week's guest and appreciate him coming on to Geek out with us about books. Read on!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

"The Tour" rocks Toronto - Meister's Story


When The Tour 2012:KISS/Crue was first announced I was not overly enthused.  I’ve seen KISS ten times or so and just like no matter how much you love your favourite movie you can only watch it so many times before losing interest in it.  Having already seen the set-list for this KISS tour, I knew that there would be no surprises and was basically just a repeat of anything that I’d seen before!  I did not rush to purchase a ticket.  I had never seen Motley Crue and that alone had me contemplating picking one up.  No need to spend millions here, Gene and Paul already have enough of my cash to make several mortgage payments on my house!  I’m going solo anyways so why not just grab a cheap ($45) lawn ticket and hang out in that more party atmosphere than the reserved seating sections?  Finding that another friend already had lawn seats, the I was warming up to the idea nicely and even more so upon my discovery that my fellow Decibel Geek Wallygator was also attending the show (he had 400 level reserved seats, so basically lawns).  The party was taking shape and my excitement started to build again.  As I said, I have never seen the Crue (how I continually missed them is beyond me, but it happened), so the anticipation of their performance was the deciding factor to get me a ticket.  Good thing that I ordered mine when I did, as the show completely sold out shortly after!  My next surprise was that The Treatment was listed as the opening band.  I wonder if it is the same band whose début CD, entitled This Might Hurt, had just recently found it's way into my purchases, why yes it is! 

Awesome, I love that disc and it spins in my regular listening rotation.  I quickly got to work, talking to my friends and Wally too about The Treatment (which I cited as the must hear album of the year during these talks).  By now Mr Wally had signed me up to the Decibel Geek weekly pod-cast and website as a writer and I was having a great time posting articles on some of my favourite bands.  Somehow the ingenious (he says as he rubs his fingers together, ala Mr. Burns) idea to contact The Treatment for an interview exploded into my head.  After being forwarded to their manager (founding member Dhani Mansworth’s father, Laurie), I sent off a list of questions as an email interview.  Less than a day later, the questions had been returned graciously filled out and answered by lead singer Matt Jones (read my article/interview here: ).  Now I was totally pumped to see this show and hopefully catch up with the guys from The Treatment in person.

After a long day of wandering the streets of Toronto and enjoying beverages on a sunny patio (all this after the Accept concert the previous night, (read about it here: ) I arrived at the gates and met up with Wally and his brother outside.  They were waiting for the third member of their group to arrive and since they had assigned seats there was no rush to enter, I left them outside and headed in to claim my little grassy knoll, hopefully near their assigned seating section of #407.  

Once through the gates I was met by a pleasant (although outrageously expensive) beer vendor, why yes don’t mind if I do!  Now, there are certain things that you would expect to see at a KISS concert, many of the audience members in full make-up for one, but that's a new one on me (see photo on left)!  Ice cold bubba can of generic Molson Canadian  beer (poured into a plastic glass "because of Motley Crue" I was told) in hand, condensation dripping on the ground behind me, I spotted the merchandise booth and bee lined straight there.  Already knowing that I wanted to secure a Treatment T-shirt to sport proudly in support of this young band of brits, my cash was hot in my hand.  In response to my question (asked in my interview with The Treatment) of the best place to get a Treatment CD, Matt had answered that a show was the best place and he was not wrong!!  “Get a free Treatment CD with the purchase of any Treatment shirt" signs were all over their corner of the display area!!  A KISS or Crue shirt sells for $40 and these guys were selling theirs for $40 and throwing in a $15 CD!!  I already have the disc, but I'm sure I can find a good home for the other one….......Wally?  Why is NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY here wearing a Treatment shirt, especially at such a good deal.  Oh well, maybe after the show when people have heard them play their sales will go up… least they should!!

I pulled my new Treatment shirt on over top of last night's new Accept shirt, once again clasped my condensation laden beverage cup and sauntered off through the milling throng to claim my grassy knoll.

The Treatment hit the stage promptly at 6:45pm to the appropriate “God Save the Queen” and merging into Drink, F**k, Fight.  The seats were pretty empty, but that didn’t stop them from pounding through the first song.  World On Fire came next and led straight into Party On, the two of which do not appear on the CD.  Matt announced that it was their pleasure to be in Canada for the first time and that they would be over at the merchandise stand for pictures and autographs and wanted to meet as many of us as possible!  They broke out into Just Tell Me Why and then ramping it up with The Doctor and keeping pace into Departed, easily two of the best from the disc.  Matt again announced the meeting and greeting of everyone and that CD's were available for purchase before stating: "this is our latest video" as they went into Nothing to Lose but Our Minds.  Closing out with my current personal favourite, Shake the Mountain, some of the sparse crowd were on their feet by now and a few fists were in the air, hopefully some new fans!  The Treatment sounded tight and like they were having the time of their lives up there setting the stage for the two heavy hitters yet to come tonight.  Shake The Mountain?  Certainly, for me anyway, it was Shake The Molson Ampitheatre!!
Meister meets The Treatment of the U.K.

Scantily clad girls began to parade through the stadium carting/supporting poles adorned with red and white M.C. banners.  Having miraculously missed every previous opportunity to see Motley Crue I was not sure what to expect, especially since Vince Neil had broken his foot the night before in Cleveland.  A large circular, ticking clock filled the stage as a big flash pot explosion of pyro erupted and Crue stormed the stage promptly at 7:45pm, with girls sliding down ropes from the rigging above.  Vince hopped around the stage as they belted out their opening number in Saints Of Los Angeles.  Fire covered the stage as more flash pot pyro went off for the start of Wildside and Vince was flanked by dancing ladies.  I’m sure that the pain of his foot could be a factor here, but it seemed to me that Vince was struggling with the verse lyrics, almost out of breath while the chorus, however was bang on. 
With a spinning pentagram on the video screen backdrop they easily enticed the crowd to Shout At The Devil.  “I’d like to thank the guys from KISS for lending me one of their boots” claimed Vince as he pulled up his pant leg to show off the cast on his left foot before launching into Same Ol’ Situation.  The rather lack-lustre and campy Sex was up next, to which a cannon at each side of the stage sprayed water on the crowd.  The popular, but a bit of a sleeper in my eyes, Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) followed.  Emerging from behind the kit, Tommy walked along the stage, stopping on the left side to ask “why don’t you have a drink” to some audience members, “well I got a drink for ya” he exclaimed as he uncorked a bottle of champagne and sprayed them with it. “A shot for the crowd” Tommy screeched as he took up reisidence behind the piano that had been brought out and they rolled into the quintessential rock ballad, Home Sweet Home.  And finally it was time for the drum solo.  
Everyone has heard tales of Tommy’s Drum Solos and the outrageousness of them and this was no exception!  The kit was on a circular roller coaster and Tommy rolled from side to side and finally right around as he pounded out an extremely unimpressive solo musically.  Exclaiming that there was an empty seat with him, contest winner Charlene was strapped in for another drum solo and a ride to the Roller Coaster of Love song.  From there we got a short guitar solo from Mick Mars, before Live Wire
still Vince seems struggling to catch up with the verse lyrics.  And of course we need Nikki to have his bass solo too, at the end of which his guitar shot fire into the air as Primal Scream began, inciting everyone in my lawn section to "scream and shout".  Time to call the doctor for Dr. Feelgood before Girls Girls Girls.  Rounding out with another short guitar solo and closing up with Kickstart My Heart, Crue exited stage left and although the sound quality was excellent, left me wondering if I enjoyed the music or the gimmick laden stage show.

KISS dropped from the ceiling on a smoke filled platform and exploded onto the stage with Detroit Rock City, followed with Shout It Out Loud.  The sound quality was incredible and I had to ponder the age old question to myself of lip synching!  Eric's drums announced a classic KISS song, (for me, one of the first that I ever heard), I Love It Loud.  They sounded bang on all around, clear and concise.  Firehouse led into the new track Hell or Hallelujah, which I actually quite enjoy and hope that it's a sign of good things to come from the forthcoming Monster album (I personally was rather disappointed in Sonic Boom).  During the next number, War Machine, Paul was seated on the ground of the stage on the left side, tired Paul? Getting old?    Paul then announced that they were going to do an old one and Tommy was going to sing it before they launched into Shock Me (at which Tommy did an excellent job, I might add)  What's KISS without a little controversy?  I say, if you can have him wear the costume and assume the persona, you can for damn sure have him sing the tunes, especially when he hits a home-run like he did with Shock Me that night!!  I don't remember hearing too many people complaining when Eric Carr sang Beth, or is that just my feeble brain letting me down again?  
Next Tommy Thayer (Ace) and Eric Singer (Peter) did a combo solo thing which was really quite entertaining before Gene’s standard bass solo.  Same old, same old for all the years that I've been seeing KISS shows, he spits the blood and is hoisted up onto the small stage atop the rigging to play God of Thunder (one of my least favourite KISS tracks of all time).  When I was a kid discovering music (KISS is what got me into rock music by the way), I loved all the blood spitting, but now it’s just boring, repetitive and I long for my heroes to do something new.  Paul talked about how he had lived here in Toronto for about six months when he was in  Phantom of the Opera (wish I had gotten around to seeing it!).  Then just as I had predicted to
my grassy knoll buddys (I should have taken the offered bets), Paul swung out across the crowd to a small stage in the centre of the audience stands to play Love Gun, citing the overused line of "everyone deserves a front row seat"......what?,  Were you out here on the grass, or did I just miss it?  Heading back to the main stage for Lick It Up, the only non-make-up track that worked it's way into the playlist and a little guitar solo from Paul, certainly nothing new here!  A few references to how much better Toronto was than Montreal (an age long rivalry) crept into Paul's monologue from time to time to be met with uproarious cheers from the packed outdoor stadium at each mention.  Black Diamond came next with Eric singing and what a fine job he did too.  Kiss left the stage for a few minutes before returning to play the encores of Dr. Love and the standard show closer of Rock & Roll All Night.
Confetti exploded into the air and rained down on the audience for what seemed like an eternity as KISS took a photo with the crowd in the background (if you look hard enough, maybe you can find Decibel Geeks Wallygator and The Meister)!  Over all, three fine performances by three great bands all together on one night in one stadium and certainly well worth the ticket price at twice my cost!  I'm so glad I attended and should have known that KISS would not let me down.  Just like your favourite movie that you've watched
hundreds of times, you may not be excited to put it on, but once it's there you are glued to it and remember everything that brought you to it in the first place.  Thank-you to all three bands for an excellent night of rockin'!

My ears still ringing after my two day, two concert, beer drinking tour in the big city of Toronto, it's nice to be back home in my quiet, peaceful little town.  Wow, I must be getting old!

The Meister

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