Thursday, July 31, 2014



Chris Czynszak I accept your challenge and will connect Juice Newton to KISS in six steps or less.

Judy Kay "Juice" Newton is a five time Grammy winner and that is absolutely meaningless. How am I going to connect the queen of hearts to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. Juice Newton's 1981 album Juice, 1983 album Quiet Lies, 1984 album Can't Wait All Night and 1985 album Old Flame were all produced by Richard Landis.

2. Richard Landis also produced the second album by Canada's own Red Rider, an album called As Far As Siam that came out in 1981.

3. Red Rider are most famous for the song "Lunatic Fringe" from As Far As Siam and also singer Tom Cochrane had a big hit in 1991 with a horrible song called "Life is a Highway" but I also discovered that Red Rider's 1980 debut album Don't Fight It was produced by Michael James Jackson.

4. And Michael James Jackson produced the Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up albums for KISS.

And there you have it. KISSmas in July is complete. I hope you enjoyed Six Degrees of KISS. And for all of the challenges that I didn't get to, there are only 31 days in July! But I did get to some of them:

Melissa Manchester seemed difficult until I discovered that her 1975 album Melissa was produced by Vini Poncia. Waylon Jennings seemed difficult until I discovered he recorded a song called "Out Among The Stars" which was written by Adam Mitchell. Frank Sinatra recorded a duet with Liza Minelli, who was at one time managed by Gene Simmons. Little Feat's second album Sailin' Shoes was produced by Ted Templeman, that links us to Van Halen and Gene Simmons produced their 1976 demo. 

How am I going to connect the Pet Shop Boys to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. A power metal band called Gamma Ray recorded a cover version of the Pet Shop Boys song "It's a Sin." 

2. The main guy behind Gamma Ray is Kai Hansen who was originally in Helloween.

3. Helloween released a cover version of my personal favorite KISS song "I Stole Your Love." Helloween's version of the song appears on the 1995 "Sole Survivor" single.

Red Hot Chili Peppers was reasonably tough but luckily for me at on point a guy named D.H. Peligro played drums with the band and he was in Dead Kennedys. Faith No More released a cover version of the Dead Kennedys song "Let's Lynch The Landlord" and Faith No More were on the Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack with KISS. 

In the end it seems like almost anyone could be connected to KISS in six steps or less, even Kevin Bacon. 

I mean, look at the Footloose soundtrack. There's a Bonnie Tyler song, "Holding Out For a Hero," and Bonnie covered "Hide Your Heart." And what about "Almost Paradise?" That's Mike Reno from Loverboy and Ann Wilson from Heart. Mike Reno can be connected to KISS in multiple ways. Bruce Fairbairn produced the first three Loverboy albums and he also produced Sucko Circus. Also the guitar player from Loverboy Paul Dean recorded the song "Sword and Stone" for his 1989 solo album Hard Core and "Sword and Stone" was written by Paul Stanley, Desmond Child, and Bruce Kulick. As for Heart their 1985 self-titled comeback album was produced by Ron Nevison who produced Crazy Nights and that Heart album includes co-writes by Jim Vallance and Holly Knight. Two words for you Gene: Kiss Bacon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Generation Landslide: Remembering Dick Wagner

It's funny how the emotion that springs forth from music can connect people of different generations and form a true bond. Little did I know how deep that bond was until this morning.

Dick Wagner died today. It hurts me to say it and I've felt empty inside since reading Paul Brown's announcement of it on Facebook. Paul handled keys for Dick along with a great lineup of musicians including guitarist Kirk McKim, drummer Sandy Gennaro, and bassist Dave Fowler at an intimate club show here in Nashville back in April. We'll get to that night in a bit. Right now, I want to go back to my introduction to Dick Wagner and the circumstances, and people, that connected us.

As a die-hard KISS fan, the name Dick Wagner only rang a bell with me due to his ghost guitar work on the Destroyer and Revenge albums. He provided some excellent solos on the songs 'Sweet Pain' and 'Everytime I Look at You.' Aside from that, I didn't know a whole lot about the man or his music. That was all about to change.

Mitch Lafon, a rock journalist from Montreal, was the first guest on the Decibel Geek podcast. I had struck up a friendship with Mitch through Facebook over our shared love of KISS. During one of our many discussions about why KISS should mix up their setlist or who saved KISS (Vinnie Vincent, of course), Mitch would give me leads for possible interviews for my brand new podcast. One of those leads was Dick Wagner.

With our Skype interview planned a few weeks in advance, Aaron Camaro and I got to work on researching Dick Wagner's career; most notably with Alice Cooper. I had never really delved deeply into Alice's discography (I know, that's weird considering my favorite band). What I quickly learned was many of my favorite songs in the Cooper canon were co-written or featured Dick Wagner. The sense of melody, hooky guitar riffs, and grand sound of his many blazing guitar leads truly blew me away. I quickly started consuming mass amounts of the Alice Cooper catalog. I also received an advance e-book version of Dick's then-new autobiography 'Not Only Women Bleed: Vignettes from the Heart of a Rock Musician.' Suddenly, I had gone from "I guess I'll ask about the 'Sweet Pain' solo" to being very excited to talk to this man about his life and career.

We released Episode 31 - Dick Wagner on May 3, 2012. We tried to cover lots of ground in this discussion and I think we, mostly, accomplished that. What I noticed right away was Dick's willingness to be very forthcoming and put details on the table about his life. He shared many great stories during this discussion about his experiences with Alice Cooper, his battles with addiction, the challenges he faced in the 1990's while trying to fit into the Nashville music scene, his ghost work on albums by legends like the aforementioned KISS as well as Aerosmith, and details of how he'd come back from some severe health issues in 2007. It was solid hour of great discussion and Aaron and I were simply in awe at how grounded and down to Earth he was considering the rollercoaster of a life that he had lived up to that point.

I typically try to make our interview episodes special with song clips edited in to enhance the conversation as well as artwork for the episodes. I figure, if they are giving us their time, then I owe them at least that much. Our first talk with Dick was so engrossing and fun, we felt like we'd actually established a friendship through it. I worked very hard to make his episode as special as I could and was humbled beyond words when Dick and his manager/partner Susan Michelson gave us lots of praise for the episode and even had the audio adapted into a special video presentation to help promote the book. The good vibes were definitely in the air between us all.

A few months after the episode aired, Aaron and I were elated to receive signed copies of Dick's book in the mail. Inside the front cover, he wrote 'To Chris, thanks for the support, Dick Wagner.' We were taken aback by the generosity that Dick had shown us. He certainly didn't have to do that. He had given us plenty by coming on the show but this just reinforces what a great and genuine person Dick is. We knew we had to have him back on the show in the future.

Last year we had an idea to do some special episodes that would focus on a single album. They would feature a discussion with a key player in the album's creation. I didn't want to go for albums that were huge hits because there's plenty of information out there on many of those through various tv specials and documentaries. What we had in mind were albums that are great but have been overshadowed or ignored due to shifts in audience tastes or mainstream opinion. We decided to title the series 'Albums Unleashed' and we automatically knew the perfect first guest.

When I approached Dick through Facebook about coming on the show again to discuss the 1983 Alice Cooper album 'DaDa' I was nervous. The album was largely ignored and reamins an oddity due to lack of information coming from Alice, who readily admits to being blackout drunk during much of the album's production. I wasn't sure if Dick would want to delve into such a difficult time. Surprisingly, he was actually excited to share the story behind the album. Serendipitously, Dick had scheduled a few days in Nashville this past April for a book signing and performance. We agreed to do the next interview in person.

The Nashville Band
(from left): Kirk McKim, Paul Brown, Sandy Gennaro, Dick Wagner, Dave Fowler

The first week of April of this year will go down as one of the most musically fulfilling for me and our show. Once the interview was confirmed, I requested off work for a large portion of the week. I wasn't going to miss this opportunity to spend time with one of my favorite musicians for anything. Like fate, schedules opened up that allowed Aaron and I to be joined by fellow Decibel Geek contributors Andy Lafon, Mike Gahaffer, Billy Hardaway, and Rich "Meister" Dillon who had flown into town for a few days on his way home to Canada from covering the Monsters of Rock Cruise. It was truly a Decibel Geek week in Nashville.

We went to Dick's in-store book signing at Howlin' Books on April 2nd. Standing in line and seeing The Maestro a few feet away, I quickly realized I didn't have anything to get signed. I snagged a copy of Alice Cooper's 'Goes to Hell' album off the shelf and sat down with Dick to sign it. He was in excellent spirits and told me he was looking forward to our interview. While we were sitting there, a young man (no more than 22-24 years old) came in with an old Marshall amp head. It turns out that he had purchased Dick's Marshall amp head from the 1975 Nightmare tour and brought it to show Dick and get an autograph. Upon seeing this long lost piece of his past, Dick's eyes welled up. You could almost see the memories of that tour flooding into his memory. I felt privileged to see this moment and will always remember it.

The next night our crew headed downtown to The Basement, an intimate club that's located under Grimey's Record Store. For the next few hours we were treated to an awesome night of music with Dick as the band leader leading his charges mentioned earlier in the story. They tore through old-time rock and roll classics that gave Dick his start, songs from The Frost and Ursa Major, and rounded it out with 'Welcome to My Nightmare' and 'Only Women Bleed' from the Cooper years. Dick's playing was top notch and the crowd ate it up. The band seemed thrilled to be playing with such a musical legend.

The next day it was time to get down to our DaDa discussion. We met Dick at his hotel in Nashville. I could tell that he was fatigued from the previous two days events as well as many visits with longtime friends but he also had a smile on his face. We sat in the hotel lobby for the next 2 hours talking about DaDa; the song compositions, the stories about hotel hijinx during off-hours, and the battle with Warner Brothers as well as with addictions. It was an engaging and enlightening discussion. What struck me most was seeing how emotional Dick would get when discussing certain songs such as the opening line to 'No Man's Land' and 'Pass the Gun Around' (in my opinion, possibly the greatest guitar solo of all time). The DaDa album was a commercial flop but I could see that it meant the world to Dick and was a proud muscial moment for him.

When we released 'Albums Unleashed: DaDa with Dick Wagner - Ep134' I had no idea of the response. We were flooded with e-mails and social media messages from Alice Cooper and Dick Wagner fans thanking us for having Dick tell the story of the album. What also struck me was how many people absolutely LOVED the album and consider it a lost classic. I sent Dick and his partner Susan every piece of feedback praising his appearance on our show and they were absolutely delighted at the reaction. If you were one of those that sent in a response and are in mourning today, just know that he saw your words and it gave him a smile. Almost immediately, Dick said he wanted to do another 'Albums Unleashed' and discuss 'From the Inside.' Sadly, it wouldn't come to pass.

If you're not a regular listener of our show, July is KISS month on our show and we focus solely on KISS. It's a very busy month for Aaron and I and we rarely have extra time for other episodes. I saw that Dick was struggling with health issues again and sent him a word of encouragement on Facebook and he replied that he was still excited to do the next episode. I suggested early August and he agreed that it would work for him. I only wish it had.

Upon hearing the news this morning, I can't begin to explain how much I regret not jumping on board and making time to record that discussion with Dick. I know it would've been a great talk and more fun than ever. I, like so many of you, felt that he would pull through these health problems and be back on the mend and back on our show in no time. But alas, only God can decide when our time has come.

I knew that Dick was getting up in age and had battled his share of health problems so this shouldn't have come as much of a shock. But, this has hit me harder than I ever expected. By making a connection, not only through our interviews but also through his music, I feel a serious loss from a bond formed over different generations.

I felt empty most of the day and was nervous about it but I decided to listen to some of Dick's work with Alice after hearing the news. As I listened to 'No Man's Land' and 'I Love America' from DaDa, I smiled and even laughed a couple of times from the tongue in cheek lyrics and good-hearted music. As I listened to 'I Never Cry' from 'From the Inside' I felt contemplative and emotional. And as I listened to 'My God' from the Lace and Whiskey album, I felt comforted knowing that Heaven just got one helluva guitar player.

Play on Maestro, play on.

- Chris Czynszak

Nice Day for a DWaRf Wedding.


   July 25, 2014.  I've been looking forward to this day for months. For me, this beats all the other events of the summer. We're heading down to Buffalo for a rockin' concert and the wedding of Darrell Millar (aka Darrell Dwarf) and his long-time girlfriend, Stracey Burtch.
The venue is one of the coolest I've been to.  Braun's Bar and Grill, in the quaint little town of Akron, NY, is a favourite of the DWaRfs. The owner, Ray, has become a good friend of theirs over the years and he is actually the one hosting the free concert and also the wedding.
The line-up is great. John Corabi will play a set, followed by his band, Cheap Thrill, and then there will be a real live rock n roll wedding, on stage, with the ceremony officiated by the Rev. Luc Carl from Sirius XM Hair Nation. Closing the night will be a concert by the KiLLeR DWaRfS. Awesome right?? Right!
We arrived at our hotel around 6:00pm and it was spectacular!!! Salvatore Garden Place is filled with old world Italian grandeur. It's right there, as you get off the highway, and it's breathtaking. We checked in and headed out right away. We cabbed it to the venue (of course) which is between Buffalo and Rochester, about 15 minutes from the hotel.
Walking out to the patio and down to the 'Concert Cove', the first face I saw was John Corabi.
He's such a friendly fellow. I'd met him briefly on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, so a big hug was needed to greet him. (I think I'm known internationally as the Canadian girl who hugs everyone.)
He had already played his solo set before we got there (darned border crossing delays, get us every time!!) but he was just about to go on with Cheap Thrill.
 The 'Concert Cove' was buzzing with energy. Every time I turned around, I saw another familiar face, here to support a great couple, fantastic musicians, and have a good old rock n roll time. Ray Braun has done an outstanding job of bringing a top notch concert venue to the small town of Akron. It's a great place to eat, drink and party with friends. I can't believe I'm just finding out about Braun's!! It's definitely one of my top places to see live shows. I'm hoping there will be many more opportunities to visit Braun's but it's future is somewhat uncertain, due to a few influential people and some extremely dirty politics. (See the link at the end of the article.)
We took our places in front of the stage along with many familiar faces. It was somewhat of a Monsters of Rock Cruise reunion. People had flown in from far and wide for this event - from Minnesota, Missouri, New York City and, of course, a great showing from north of the border.  Cheap Thrill were so much fun. I hadn't seen them play before but we completely enjoyed both the music and the great energy. There was a young boy (about eight years old) sitting on the stage and he was totally rocking out, following Crabby's riffs on a mean air guitar.  It's always great to see rock appealing to youngsters like that. Next up was a real live Rock 'n Roll Wedding. The guys took the stage.
It was no surprise that Darrell's 'best men' were Russell, Gerry and Johnny Dwarf. Also on stage, ready to officiate, was Luc Carl. Stracey arrived in a wicked cool, yellow Lamborghini,
chauffeured by bar owner, Ray Braun. It was a perfect rock n roll entrance.  It was so cute when the guys saw Stracey arrive - they all pointed, excitedly, to the back of the venue, then pulled out their phones and started snapping photos.
The sound of AC/DC's Hell's Bells rang out and the processional began with beautiful Marlow Millar, (Darrell and Stracey's four year old daughter), accompanied by Stracey's two gorgeous bridesmaids setting the stage for the stunning bride, who was proudly escorted by her uncle. Darrell was certainly glowing with pride as his bride stepped up on to the stage and the ceremony officially began.
The Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla (aka Rev. Luc Carl) laid on the perfect set of vows. Short, sweet and very rock n roll. Four year old Marlow, had Mommy's ring, for safe keeping, and was beyond adorable when called upon for the ring. She ran to her Dad , calling out "Daddy, here's the ring!" With a cymbal crash, each said their 'I do's' and, with their choice of wedding song being 'Long Live Rock n Roll', it was on with the party!! The DWaRfs then played a killer set, ending up with a stage full of musicians and friends and even the bride, to close off the concert with a bunch of great cover songs by BTO, AC/DC, Goddo and Led Zeppelin to name a few.
It was an incredible night - one I'll never forget!! The party continued on into the night, catching up with old friends, and making new ones. Then, it was back to the hotel for a few hours sleep before heading back over the border and back to reality once more.
Until the next time, which won't be long, I promise.
Rock on and Keep the Spirit Alive.

Kate Campbell,
(a proud member of Dwarfnation) signing off.

Here's some great footage of the wedding.

The kid shredding on the air guitar with Crabby.

One last thing:
 Some people with some very dirty politics are trying their hardest to shut down Braun's Bar and Concert Cove. Please check out the following link and share it to spread the word and help a local small business stay alive.

Photo credits to Joel Naphin, Darrell Millar and Tracy Milne and April Lee (except my awesome selfies and the one of the guys;))
Also, thanks as usual to my good friend Amanda Schumacher, who always double checks my punctuation and grammar before I go to print.

Oh Crabby!!!!! It's a good thing you're a true Pirate brother of Darrell's!!!!!

Rock the Park - Friday July 25th 2014 Harris Park London Ontario Canada

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The 11th annual Rock the Park Festival in London Ontario kicked off the weekend with a Friday night line up of 80's rock. A festival which normally consists of one night country, one night modern rock and a weekend of classic rock threw a bit of a curve ball this year with a tribute to the mullet.This years line up consisted of Survivor, Winger, Tom Keifer of Cinderella, Extreme and headliner Sammy Hagar and Friends. His "friends" included Jason Bonham on drums, Michael Anthony on bass and Vic Johnson on guitars. From the signature "Eye of the Tiger" right through to the classic "I Can't Drive 55" it was a night of unforgettable performances. Here are my pics from the show. Enjoy!!!



AAron Camaro I accept your challenge and will connect Brett Favre to KISS in six steps or less.

Brett Favre's name if read phonetically should clearly be pronounced either Fov-Ree or Fov-Ray but for some reason it is pronounced "FARV" as if the V and R were inverted. Brett Favre set numerous NFL records including throwing for more than 700,000 yards, more than 500 touchdowns, more than 300 interceptions, and more than 6000 completions; and also for retiring 17 times. How am I going to connect Mr. Gooder Than Grits to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. Brett Favre has a surprise cameo in the Farrelly Brothers' 1998 smash hit comedy There's Something About Mary

2. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman also appears in There's Something About Mary performing original songs throughout the film which provide a sort of interstitial narrative.

3. Jonathan Richman was originally the frontman of a legendary Boston band called The Modern Lovers along with future Talking Head Jerry Harrison.

4. The first song on Jerry Harrison's 1990 solo album Walk On Water, a song called "Flying Under Radar," was co-written and co-produced by former Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter non-albino sideman Dan Hartman.

5. The guitar player in Dan Hartman's band for his 1978 album Instant Replay was a guy named Vincent Cusano.

6. A few years after working with Dan Hartman Vincent Cusano would become Vinnie Vincent, replacing Ace Frehley in KISS.

And there you have it.

The Skrou Rock Show


After a long (14hr) day of work on Friday July 25, 2014 I needed to get out, have a couple of beers and hear some loud rock and roll.  A co-worker had the same thoughts and I knew just the place to be, right here in my little town north of Toronto, Ontario.  I was familiar with the band Skrou, having seen them live several times at The Rockpile venues in Toronto as they set the stage for acts such as Michael Schenker among others.  While the band plays a healthy dose of awesome 80's cover material they also released their self titled debut CD back in January and slip their own tracks into the setlist as well.

Arriving around 11:30pm we entered the tiny bar in my hometown of Newmarket just in time for "A Place to Shake", the opening track on the CD and recently released video.  I always chuckle to myself as I hear this song.  A good friend of mine residing near Amsterdam, Netherlands who taught himself English uses the word "shake" to mean sex and he's always looking for a "shake".  I'm not sure if that's the meaning here, but as the song says she's looking for a place to shake......maybe I should introduce her to my Dutch friend!  The sound in the bar was great, nice and loud but the stage was so small that it barely had enough space for the quartet as they ripped through the rest of the second of three sets.  There were some member changes since I'd last caught The Skrou Rock Show with vocalist Sam Kirou and guitarist John DeFino now being joined by bassist R.C. Ricci and drummer Eric Bonatti.  We were treated to covers of The Cult's "Love Removal Machine", KISS' "Lick It Up" and Ratt's "Round and Round" for which Kirou's voice was a great match.

The third set (unfortunately we had arrived too late to catch the first) was filled with Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive", Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Coming", Deep Purple's "Smoke On the Water", The Cult's "Little Devil", Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way", Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys Room", Poison's "Nothing But a Good Time" and KISS' "Shout it Out Loud"
An AC/DC double encore of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" followed by "T.N.T." featuring bassist, R.C. Ricci on vocals shut down the night just prior to two am.  Mixed in amongst these excellent cover versions were the Skrou originals, and three of the best on the debut album, "No One's Home", "Cold Heart" and "Ride On".  All of which settled neatly amongst the well known songs, effectively keeping the crowd rocking while introducing the original compositions.  I dearly wished that I had gotten there for the earlier portion of the event to maybe hear my favorite track, "Dirty Little Fantasy".  All in all Skrou delivered spirited sets of rock and roll that enticed several attractive ladies into dancing up a storm in the few feet of space at the front of the platform/stage, perhaps they were looking for a place to shake!  My co-worker was also impressed with the band, in his first experience with them and we even had a few moments to chat with extremely personable front man Sam Kirou on our way out the door as he thanked us for coming to the Skrou Rock Show.

These guys are one of the hardest working bands around having over 70 shows booked for this summer already.  Trust me, get out and support great rock and roll and Skrou as they cover many towns, small and large in Southern Ontario this summer!
The debut CD was reviewed on Decibel Geek by my fellow writer Wallygator and you can check it out via this link (Giving Us A Place to Shake).

The Meister

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(Skrou's Website) (Skrou on Facebook) (Skrou Twitter)

PHOTO: Courtesy of Skrou's Facebook Page.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014



David Haltom I accept your challenge and will connect The Beatles to KISS in six steps or less.

The Beatles were a rock band from Liverpool who had some success in the sixties. 

How will I connect the Fab Four to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. The lead guitar player in The Beatles was a bloke named George Harrison.

2. George Harrison had a number one hit in 1987 with his Jeff Lynne produced single "Got My Mind Set On You."

3. Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of "Got My Mind Set On You" called "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long" for his 1988 album Even Worse.

4. Weird Al Yankovic's 1985 album Dare To Be Stupid was produced by Rick Derringer.

5. Rick Derringer contributed an uncredited guitar solo to "Exciter," the opening song from the 1983 KISS album Lick It Up.

And there you have it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Doin' It Doggy Style Again With Neanderthal

One of the first projects that I did after being inducted into the ranks of Decibel Geek was to go after my first interview to coincide with the podcast's weekly theme which that week was "threesomes", bands with three members.  I had recently discovered a great band that played no frills, balls to the wall, straight ahead rock and roll by the name of American Dog, who consisted of three members.  At the time they had recently issued their sixth studio offering and possibly best to date with Poison Smile in 2012.

Frontman and bassist Michael Hannon readily agreed to speak with me over the phone when I contacted him via his Facebook page.  I was nervous as hell when he called me and had already completed a couple of beverages, working on another when the phone rang.  Why was I so nervous?  This was my first interview with someone that had been producing music that I'd been listening to for many years.  You see Michael Hannon had been a part of the short lived band Salty Dog whose song, "Come Along", was a staple on every mix tape of "drivin' tunes" that I created in those days of youth.  Mr. Hannon also spent a period of time with Jason McMaster and Dangerous Toys and while I was nervous I was also extremely excited, having labored over my questions.  Hannon was also downing a few beers during our chat and we got on quite well.  I'm glad that I chose Michael Hannon and American Dog for my first interview and hopefully along the way I've set some new fans "Foamin' At the Mouth".  You can read my review of Poison Smile and our conversation through this link: This Threesome Does It Doggy Style.

Here we are two years later (almost exactly, as the original article was posted on August 8, 2012) and The Dog is back with a new full length issue this time titled Neanderthal, released in late June.

The band is comprised of founders Hannon on bass and vocals and Steve Theado on lead guitar and backing vocals.  Michael "Hazzard" Harris took over for Keith Pickens behind the kit after 2009's Mean album and now the trio has upped the ante to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Vinnie Salvatore.  Once again in true Dog fashion I stocked the fridge with some of my favorite beers and cued up the digital download (I hate that phrase) as I settled down to hear the latest offering from the dog pound.  With the volume cranked up and ice cold beer in hand, I was bludgeoned with the grinding riffs in the opener, titled "Carnivore".  The rabid, snarling canine has once again bared it's teeth, serving up a food bowl piled high with bluesy riffs and the addition of Salvatore provides many well used trade-off guitar solo experiences.  All contained behind the cover art, a painting by artist Frank Frazetta whom you may remember from early Molly Hatchet album covers.  In the early years of the dog pound sex and alcohol were major themes behind the compositions (Ex. The 2005 EP Six Pack: Songs About Drinkin' & Fuckin') but now Neanderthal is a continuation of 2012's Poison Smile seeing a little more, dare I say, maturity setting in.  Most of the compositions on this outing come in at a mid tempo style of pace and in general seem a little less blue collar working man themed than in the past.  That being said tracks like "Who's She Killing", "Dirty Fun", "Stuck in the Mud" and "Start to Bleed" all possess the elements of the standard Dog sound while the grammatically incorrect mouthful "We Ain't Gonna Not Get Drunk Tonight" is pure Dog of old.  "Sun Won't Shine" and "Devil Inside" both run near seven and a half minutes showcasing the bluesy evolution of The Dog.  Both contain plenty of slide guitar backed with a Southern Boogie feeling that displays the aforementioned maturity of American Dog.  The title track, "Neanderthal" features plenty of the dueling of tasty trade-off solos thanks to the addition of Salvatore.  Also included among the ten tracks that make up Neanderthal is a
cover of Ted Nugent's "Dog Eat Dog" that just sizzles.  All in all it's taken me a bit to really get into Neanderthal and I like it more and more with each listen.  While I do prefer 2012's Poison Smile this is still a great no frills, beer swilling, straight ahead no gimmicks rock album.  Catch American Dog on tour throughout August as they set the stage for Tesla.  Hopefully, but doubtfully they'll be trekking north to Toronto.  So, do I see another rock and roll trip in my future?

The Meister

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(American Dog Website) (American Dog Facebook) (American Dog Twitter)

MICHAEL HANNON PHOTO: Supplied by Michael Hannon for the original article in August 2012.



Timmy K. Kramp I accept your challenge and will connect Ned's Atomic Dustbin to KISS in six steps or less.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin were a British alternative rock band with two bass players. Their 1991 debut album God Fodder is well worth seeking out.

But how am I going to connect them to KISS in six steps or less? Like this:

1. Ned's Atomic Dustbin's second album Are You Normal from 1992 was produced by Andy Wallace.

2. Andy Wallace also produced the 1992 breakthrough album for Henry Rollins' post-Black Flag combo Rollins Band called The End of Silence.

3. For a 1987 EP the Rollins Band covered the song "Do It" from the 1971 album Never Never Land by British heavy rock band Pink Fairies.

4. Twink, the drummer in Pink Fairies, had previously been in a psychedelic rock band called Tomorrow with future Yes guitarist Steve Howe.

5. After leaving Yes Steve Howe helped form the band Asia, whose first three albums were produced by Mike Stone.

6. Mike Stone engineered Peter Criss' KISS solo album, mixed Paul Stanley's KISS solo album, and also co-produced the 1979 debut album by New England with Paul Stanley.

And there you have it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

KISS Grab Bag - Ep147

KISSMAS in July is now drawing to a close for 2014 and there were so many things we wanted to cover we figured, why not cover them all?

This week Aaron and Chris open up a KISS Grab Bag of topics to discuss. Listeners of the show submitted KISS-related subjects and your hosts give their take on those topics this week. Everything from discussion of KISS' merchandising reaching into things like Hello Kitty and arena football to favorite/least favorite albums, stages, costumes, songs, and much much more is covered in this free-form discussion. We also give an update on Vinnie Vincent, plans for more KISS-related shows later in the year and a track by track discussion of the Ace Frehley album 'Space Invader.'

A whole lot to cover to round out KISSMAS in JULY so take it all in and enjoy our talk on the Hottest Band in the Land!

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