Monday, May 2, 2016

The Passion Never Leaves

When you’re young and passionate like Jordan Sommer, your dreams become goals, and your goals become your fate. Former band member Rick Vice knows, that life can sometimes have a different plan in store. Making it big isn't likely nor easy. According to Nilna Ulloa, author for “Digital Music News,” 91 percent of all artists are undiscovered. 

Rick Vice is one of these artists. 

But, this is not a sad story, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Over a span of 11 years, Vice played bass in three bands. The first was “Siren” (1983-1986). He considers his time in this band as a learning experience. “A bunch of ‘green’ musicians and one crazy ass lead singer that eventually self destructed and left the band. We never were able to replace him,” Vice explained gratefully. 

His second band, “Tantrum” (1986-1989) embraced the showy nature of “Glam rock,” that was all the rage at the time. Vice said, “This band had the big-glam-high hair-eyeliner all about the show mentality. We were flashy, loud, and had a great following. Within one week the drummer and the lead guitar player left for what seemed to them greener pastures.”

Rick Vice(left) Playing in "Tantrum"
By the time “Tantrum” ended Vice had gained a lot of experience, and the third and final band “Vice Versa” (1983-1993) was created. Vice refers to this band as, “The most talented group of mature musicians.” He recalls writing a lot of original content, and recording sessions at the University of Pittsburg. After the band released its first EP, they lost two drummers in one summer. After that, a lack of funds convinced the remaining members that it was time to end the band. 

During his time in “Vice Versa,” Vice’s family expanded. He and his wife Donna had their first child Zakk, who was followed roughly three years later by his sister Kristen.

When reflecting on what could have become of the band, Vice says he has no regrets. “My priorities changed for the most part. It was time to settle down and start a family. I did not see myself being able to do both,” he said. 

Now that his daughter Kristen is able to fully grasp the selflessness of her father’s choices, she looks up to him now more than ever. “I loved my life growing up. I felt secure in a stable home environment, surrounded by a family that loved me,” she said. “My Dad could have easily said ‘no, I want to keep perusing the band,’ but he chose to stop chasing his passion just so he could be as involved with our lives as possible. To me thats all you can ask from a Dad.”

Vice now works as a vice president in a family owned machine shop. Much like Sommer, he still finds ways to quench his thirst for music. “I love collecting, tweaking and playing my basses and guitars to this day. Also, I built a small home studio,” he says with a smile on his face. 

Both Rick Vice and Jordan Sommer have something in common. They are both passionate musicians who refuse to leave music in the past. “I believe that being a musician is in your blood, either you have it or you don’t,” Vice says. “The passion never leaves, it just gets redirected.”

Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Play "Iron Man" Main Riff

This blog is all about exploring the metal music genre, so it only seemed fitting to incorporate some of Sabbath's best work. The Prince of Darkness and his bandmates have produced many timeless hits that have propelled them to fame and fortune. Perhaps their most well known song, "Iron Man" is as metal as it gets, but relatively simple to play.
Check it out for yourself in the video above.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stairway to Heaven, Plagiarized?

Ever since it's release in 1971, "Stairway to Heaven," has remained at the top of the list for the greatest rock songs of all time. Over time the success of the song became Led Zeppelin's legacy. Chances are if you're not familiar with any other song of Zeppelin's, you've probably at least heard "Stairway to Heaven."  
The idea that these heavy metal legends may have plagiarized elements in, their most popular song, is shocking to the entire rock community. 

The band "Spirit" claims that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant ripped off their 1968 track "Taurus" to record 1971's "Stairway to Heaven" and a Los Angeles district judge seems to agree with them. The trial is set for May 10th. A Youtube user created this comparison video, showing that Spirit certainly has a case:

Only Page and Plant are being sued, as the judge dismissed the case against John Paul Jones and Warner Music.

Michael Skidmore is a trustee for the late Spirt guitarist Randy Wolfe, and the man responsible for the lawsuit. He claims that Wolfe should receive song writing credit for the track. This claim is based on the notion that Zeppelin got the inspiration for the track while touring with Spirit in the late 60s.

"While it is true that a descending chromatic four-chord progression is a common convention that abounds in the music industry, the similarities here transcend this core structure," Judge Klausner ruled. "What remains is a subjective assessment of the 'concept and feel' of two works… a task no more suitable for a judge than for a jury.”

Although there is no word on what exactly the damages could end up being for Zeppelin if the judge rules in favor of Wolfe, it will be interesting to see how fans react. 

Led Zeppelin fans are amongst the most loyal and dedicated fans in the world, so it seems unlikely that this lawsuit could ruin the bands reputation. 

Any musician knows that inspiration come from what you have experienced, whether it be conscious or subconscious. Even though it seems unlikely that Zeppelin intentionally ripped of Spirit, if enough evidence is presented it could end up costing Plant and Page a lot of money. 

This is the first high-profile copyright case since last year when judge ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharell had to pay the estate of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million after claiming the track "Blurred Lines" plagiarized Gaye's "Got To Give It Up.”

No matter what the verdict ends up being, the truth remains that "Stairway to Heaven" will always be a defining aspect of Led Zeppelin's legacy. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Baby Faces Behind BABYMETAL

There is a new face for metal music in Japan. It's the rise of the wonder kids; Babymetal!

At first glance it looks like some kind of gimmick. You've got three incredibly young looking girls standing in front of an extremely metal looking band. As soon as the music begins you hear an orchestra of heavy riffs, double base petals, and head banging base. At this moment you're probably wondering what the hell you just got yourself into. Then the tempo changes, and a trifecta of female voices come together to blend a popish feel to the otherwise heavy metal sound.

At this moment you understand why Babymetal is taking the world by storm.

Babymetal recently made their debut US TV performance on The Late Show With Steven Colbert. The band was celebrating the release of their second album Metal Resistance. Unsurprisingly, the metal-pop fusion brought the house down.

The baby faces of Babymetal are Su-metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal. Su-metal is 18 years old, and the lead singer of the band. Despite not yet being able to vote in her home country, she is already one of the top singers in rock music. As for Yuimetal and Moametal, they are linchpins of Babymetal's performance and personality. Both girls are only 16 years old, so to put it simply, it wouldn't be Babymetal without them. 

The band began as a subunit of Sakura Gakuin, but rapidly became the most popular thing about Sakura Gakuin. Once their restraints were removed, their popularity soared. 

Babymetal will be hitting the states later this year for the "Babymetal World Tour 2016"

Wednesday, May 4 - Playstation Theater - New York, NY
Thursday, May 5 - House Of Blues - Boston, MA
Saturday, May 7 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, May 8 - Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion (Festival) - Concord, NC
Tuesday, May 10 - The Fillmore - Silver Spring, MD
Wednesday, May 11 - The Fillmore - Detroit, MI
Friday, May 13 - House of Blues - Chicago, IL
Saturday, May 14 - Northern Invasion (Festival) - Somerset, WI
Tuesday, July 12 - Showbox SoDo - Seattle, WA
Thursday, July 14 - Regency Ballroom - San Francisco, CA
Friday, July 15 - Wiltern Theater - Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, July 17 - Chicago Open Air (Festival) - Bridgeview, IL
This is only the beginning for Babymetal. These three young girls will prove to the world that they have what it takes to rock with the big boys. So prepare yourself... for the up-and-coming of Babymetal!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Warped, The Most Wonderful Tour of the Year

Warped Tour is a summer long traveling music festival that makes numerous stops at locations all across the U.S. Every year fans wait in anticipation so see which of their favorite bands get scheduled to perform.
The energy is amazing.
The crowd is into it.
The performances are intense.
The memories are everlasting.
Who better to explain the experienced than those who have experienced it. Warped Veteran's Joe Barnaby, Addison Hurlburt, and JT White talk about what it is they love most about the "warped experience."

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Issues is Hoping Fans Think Their New Album is "The Realist"

Lead clean vocalist Tyler Carter of Issues has announced the coming of the metalcore band's second album titled "Headspace". The singer posted the news via his Facebook page, and claims that the album is scheduled to be released on May 20th 2016.

Headspace Tracklist:
1. The Realest
2. Home Soon
3. Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)
4. Yung & Dum
5. Made to Last
6. Flojo
7. Hero
8. Coma
9. Rank Rider
10. Blue Wall
11. Someone Who Does
12. I Always Knew
13. Slow Me Down

Following the departure of Carter and unclean vocalist Michael Bohn from their former band Woe, Is Me, they formed their new band "Issues". They then recorded their debut EP, Black Diamonds, which was released on November 13, 2012. The EP featured some of the heaviest tracks the band has produced, including the powerful track "King of Amarillo.

The song is the product of the former bandmates unpleasant break up, and emphasizes the differences that emerged within in the group. Aside from dissing their old bandmates, Issues used the EP to allow listeners to get a sense of what the new band was all about. 

Due to Carter and Bohn already being well recognized within the metalcore community, the band gained popularity at a rapid pace. After touring with bands such as Of Mice & Men, Beartooth, and Sleeping With Sirens, the band released the single "Hooligans" and began recording their self-titled debut album throughout 2013. The band released their album "Issues" on February 18, 2014. It peaked at number 9 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 22,000 copies within its first week. 

The band has revealed via Carter's Facebook page, that a new album titled "Headspace" is to be released on May 20th 2016. 

Carter and Bohn discuss what separates their new album from previous installments of the band’s catalogue. “Everybody [in the band] has got their own taste and style,” says Tyler Carter. “It is like putting six different flavors into a stew and being able to complement it and stir in things that aren’t bitter.”

This ability to mix and match different musical styles could quite possibly be the reason for the bands ability to obtain fans who might not typically be fans of the metalcore genre. The band continues to push musical boundaries in new single "The Realist". The song is composed of funky base riffs and a country undertone blended into a heavy pop-punk sound.

The album is to be strategically released only a short time before the band begins their summer long road trip with the alternative music festival "Warped Tour". 

Although Its unclear how much fans will accept the albums new sound, it seams as though nothing will stop this adventurous group of musicians from testing their musical boundaries.