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Friday, February 02, 2007

There looks like being no Monsters of Rock this year in the UK due to the lack of a suitable big name headliner – OZZY is already headlining Wembley and IRON MAIDEN headline a day at Download and AEROSMITH (they play the Arrow Rock festival on June 30th) are lining-up their own arena/stadium dates. HEAVEN & HELL, who were hot tips to headline MOR, will announce UK tour dates soon. Meanwhile SAXON join IRON MAIDEN at Download with MOTLEY CRUE hotly tipped as special guests on that day as well.

OZZY OSBOURNE releases his new album in May.

LINKIN PARK’s new album is now due in March.

Rhino Records has set a March 13 release date in the US for VAN HALEN's "Best Of (1978-1984)", the first single-disc compilation exclusively spotlighting 1978-1984, the group's original David Lee Roth era. The album, which coincides with VAN HALEN's March 2007 induction into the Rock nd Roll Hall of Fame, contains over an hour of remastered classics. The CD booklet will contain rarely seen photos and liner notes.
"Best Of (1978-1984)" tentative track listing:
01. Runnin' With The Devil
02. Eruption
03. You Really Got Me
04. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
05. Jamie's Cryin'
06. Dance The Night Away
07. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
08. Beatuiful Girls
09. And The Cradle Will Rock
10. Everybody Wants Some
11. Mean Street
12. Unchained
13. So This Is Love?
14. Where Have All The Good Times Gone
15. Oh, Pretty Woman
16. Dancing In The Street
17. Jump
18. Panama
19. Hot For Teacher

The FIFTH ANGEL reunion has bit the dust as two key members were no longer interested.

Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and aging rockers The Who will join The Coral, The View and Kasabian in raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust by playing live at London’s Royal Albert Hall later this year.
The Who’s Roger Daltrey, who officially announced the line up explained “Over the years these shows have really made a massive difference to the money available to build TCT units in NHS hospitals. They also give our teenagers the moral support to help fight this terrible disease”.

The full line up and dates are:
March 26
Noel Gallagher and The View plus special guests
March 27
Noel Gallagher and The Coral plus special guests
March 28
An evening of comedy hosted by Russell Brand and Noel Fielding (The Goth Detectives) with special guests
March 29
Kasabian
March 30
To be announced on February 12th
March 31
The Who
Tickets go on sale Friday February 2nd at 9:00am

Travis will return with a brand new studio album on May 7 entitled 'The Boy with No Name'. The follow up to 2003’s '12 Memories' will be preceded by a new single called 'Closer' which will hit the shops a fortnight before the new album on April 23.

Coldplay are to bundle all their UK 7-inch vinyl singles in a box-set called The Singles 1999-2006 which will include:
‘The Blue Room EP’, the bands debut EP
‘Shiver’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Don’t Panic’ and ‘Trouble’ which all taken from their debut album Parachutes.
‘In My Place’, ‘The Scientist’, ‘Clocks’ and ‘God Put A Smile On Your Face’, all taken from their second long player A Rush of Blood to the Head.
‘Speed of Sound’, ‘Fix You’, ‘Talk’, ‘What If’ and ‘The Hardest Part’, all of which were from their multi-million selling 2005 album X&Y.
The Singles 1999-2006 will be released on March 26.

PRESS RELEASES

Frontiers Records is pleased to announce all details of the release of the forthcoming PINK CREAM 69 European studio album “In10sity” !
For a number of reasons “In10sity” is a special album in the band’s history. On the one hand it marks the band's debut for their new label, Frontiers Records. On the other it is the band's tenth regular studio effort and celebrates it’s 20th anniversary.
Three years after their critically acclaimed “Thunderdome” album, 2007 marks the full force return of PINK CREAM 69. Strengthened by second guitarist Uwe Reitenauer - now a regular member - the band delivers another brilliant piece of Melodic Metal!
“In10sity” was recorded from October 2006 to January 2007 at the famous House Of Music studios near Stuttgart/Germany and once again was produced by Dennis Ward. Besides a truly dynamic and explosive production the album blows the listener away with a blistering set of songs. “Crossfire”, “No Way Out”, “A New Religion”, “Stop The Madness” just to name a few, feature all the classic PINK CREAM 69 trademarks: a focused songwriting style, energetic vocals and a tremendous guitar work.
“Thanks to the addition of Uwe Reitenauer as second guitarist, we have the opportunity to realize many ideas on guitars where we previously used keyboards. The new record is much more guitar-driven than our last productions”, drummer Kosta Zafiriou states. And he is right – “In10sity” is a full blast of stadium hard rock power!

The final tracklisting will include the following songs:
Children of the Dawn; No Way Out; Crossfire; I’m Not Afraid; A New Religion; The Hour of Freedom; Stop This Madness; Desert Land; Out of this World; It’s Just a State of Mind; Wanna Hear You Rock; My Darkest Hour (*); Last Train to Nowhere.
(*) Bonus track exclusive to the first pressing in slipcase

“In10sity” will be released in Europe on Frontiers Records on March 23rd 2007. Do


Magenta will celebrate their move to a new label Tigermoth records, with the release of a single Speechless on March 19th. This is song that opened their live set at the end of last year. The song is a slice of exuberant, infectious prog with a great hook and a strong contemporary feel. It will be issued as both a CD single and as a download, and we plan to get this single into the UK charts.
A few years ago this would have been an over optimistic assumption for a band on a independent label, however the huge changes in the way that the UK charts are compiled – with the increasing influence of downloads against physical CD sales – means that if any band can organise its fan base to download their single within the first week of release, it can chart, as several artists like John Otway, Marillion and Koopa have shown.
Here’s what Rob Reed has to say: “People may be surprised with Speechless – it shows a side of the band that not many have heard. However, we feel it’s a very strong song, and the perfect vehicle to increase the profile of progressive rock in the UK as well as benefit the profile of the band, so you won’t just be doing it for us, you’ll be promoting prog.
We’d like as many people as possible in the UK to download the single during the first week of release, or buy it the CD from a major UK chain. There will be two versions of the song, plus a new version of “Anger” from our second album Seven, so please buy as many of these as you can afford as they all count towards the chart placing. If everyone pulls together, a UK top 40 is a real possibility.”
The band have shot a video to go with the single and a short clip is already online at a special mini-site that the label have set up for the single at www.magentasingle.com Both CD and download versions also include a superb new full-band arrangement of Anger that was also showcased at the bands live shows towards the end of last year.
You can read more about the campaign at www.magenta-web.com and we are also after volunteers to help with our street and e-campaigns. Fans who live outside the UK can still buy the single and download, but sadly these don’t count towards the chart. However, you can still help

The tracks for download will be:
Speechless 7”
Speechless 12”
Anger – 2007 mix

The CD single will contain the following tracks:
Speechless 7”
Speechless 12”
Anger – 2007 mix
Speechless video


Guitarist Josh Ramos has been busy working on his next Ramos album, due for release in 2007. He invited LA based keyboardist/songwriter Eric Ragno to be a part of the album and help write the songs. So I thought it time for a direct update and who better to comment than one of the participants themselves. Eric reports about his working with Josh Ramos as well as a couple of other projects he is working on.
Over to Eric: "A few months ago Josh Ramos invited me to San Francisco to write some AOR songs in the vein of that classic sound he is known for in bands like The Storm and Two Fires. The trip was surreal as we drove through the countryside that inspired all those classic Journey and Storm albums. Josh shared stories about his work with the Storm, his work with Greg Rolie and Neal Schon and everyone else...the kind of rock history you don't get to read about.
I got to see those sites and meet those people while writing a classic AOR album with one of the guys who was there through it all...I mean we literally went back to where it all started, and you can hear that on the new album. The rhythm section of John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen) and Jamie Brown (Hardline) gives the songs a real edge, and Josh and I have created layers of melody that bring you back those special moments in your life. Don Chaffin is now recording his vocals, after which Frontiers can set a release date. We're all very excited and we're hoping to be invited for some festival dates in 2007.
Eric Ragno, Josh Ramos, Neal Schon, Christine the photographer and Jamie Browne - Fender show featuring Jeff Scott Soto & friends, NAMM 2007
"I've also wrapped up work on the upcoming American Angel record, which sounds GREAT. I've been a diehard fan of the band since their MTV heyday when I lived back in their home state of New Jersey. Rocco Fury has a great ear for melody and asked me to contribute some keyboards to the songs, as well as a keyboard intro. Rocco voice sounds better than ever, and the initial fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Look for this in April on Chavis Records!"
"With these two albums out of the way, I'm now in the process of shopping the China Blue album, which features myself, Tony Mills (TNT), Rev Jones (MSG), Michael Riesenbeck (Fanfields) and of course Zane Petersen (Conditioned Response). Also, I am featured in the current Progression Magazine (a print magazine for progressive rock in the U.S.) which includes a four page interview and photos surrounding my work with Vox Tempus. NAMM was incredible and I've been out there raising awareness about the new and improved Williams Keytar (www.keytarinc.com), which is getting a LOT of attention. I've posted some pictures from NAMM weekend on my website at www.ericragno.com where you can see everything else that is going on."

GIG NEWS

This year’s OZZFEST line-up will be announced shortly with the reformed ALICE IN CHAINS set to be on the bill. OZZY won’t be on the bill though as he announced his retirement for the OZZFEST last year.

SHAW/BLADES
March 16 – Dewey Beach, DE @ The Rusty Rudder
March 17 – Atlantic City, NJ @ The House of Blues
March 18 – Philadelphia ,PA @ Theatre of the Living Arts
March 21 – New York, NY @ BB King's
March 22 - Boston, MA @ Paradise
March 23 - Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
March 24 – Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
March 26 – Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere
March 29 – Annapolis, MD @ Ramshead
March 30 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
March 31 - Columbus, OH @ West Pavillon
April 1st - Akron, OH @ Tangiers
April 4 - Indianapolis, IN @ Music Mill
April 5 - Chicago, IL @ Joe's
April 6 - Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
April 7 - West Des Moines, IA @ Val Air Ballroom
April 11 - San Jacinto, CA @ AC's Lounge
April 12 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club
April 13 - San Juan Capistrano, CA @ Coach House
April 14 - Agoura Hills, CA @ Canyon Club

REVIEWS

DUCKS DELUXE
The John Peel Sessions
Hux HUX068

Three Peel sessions make this CD, and show just how hot this band were. While they were labelled a pub rock band, a couple of tracks here have blistering twin guitar care of Sean Tyla and Martin Belmont that would put many young bands to shame; just check out “Coast To Coast” from the first session, dating from June 1973. “Fireball” from the same session adds to the rock’n’roll credentials. “Pensecola Blues” is bluesy with some neat picking, while “Bring Back My Packard Car” finishes the first session. Yes the band had a punch, and a solid rhythm section in bassist Nick Garvey and drummer Tim Roper.
The following 1974 session adds former Sabres pianist Andy McMaster, and the band sound slicker, if less raw. Another (different) version of “Fireball” kicks off, and the session includes a cover of The Stones’ “It’s All Over Now”.
By 1975 Garvey and McMaster had left, later to form The Motors, and The Ducks weren’t far of splitting, but the music is still hotter than a vindaloo. “Paris 9” is a solid rock/pop song with sleazy vocals. “Jumpin’ In The Fire” is also worth checking out.
All 12 tracks previously unreleased, a couple never even committed to vinyl, it’s not just for fans and collectors but a damn good set in its own right.

4.5/5
Joe Geesin

John McCOY
Unreal: The Anthology (2CD)
Angel Air SJPCD195

While bassist McCoy is perhaps best known for his work with Gillan, Mammoth and most recently GMT, he’s been recording since the late 60s and this compilation gives a good overview.
1969’s “Walking Strong” by Welcome is a big band rocking effort, and you can here McCoy pounding through. There’s Zzebra (1973), who were more jazz rock inspired, and Quadrant from 1975, who mixed psychedelic and funk to rock.
The hard rock interest starts off with McCoy’s “Big Boss Man”, featuring guitarist Paul Samson. A live number that really shakes, well worth a listen. Guaranteed to get your head nodding.
Samson’s “It’s Not As Easy As It Seems” (an early version) is a classic in its own right, as are the Gillan tracks included here (“No Easy Way” and “Are You Sure” are essential listening). And don’t forget the Top Of The Pops appearance with John Du Cann and “Don’t Be A Dummy”. Samson’s “It’s Not As Easy As It Seems” (an early version) is a classic in its own right, as are the Gillan tracks included here (“No Easy Way” and “Are You Sure” are essential listening). And don’t forget the Top Of The Pops appearance with John Du Cann and “Don’t Be A Dummy”.
Disc 2 also contains some gems, including Atomic Rooster (yes this man has been about), Joint Forces (including Paul Samson and Nicky Moore), and the previously unreleased “Hard Times” by Torme McCoy Thunderstick.
McCoy’s “Freemind” is not only a brilliant rock track, but one of the best pieces of guitar work from Paul Samson.
The disc continues with Mammoth, Samson and Sun Red Sun (the latter featuring singer Ray Gillan and drummer Bobby Rondinelli). To finish, we get “Cannonball” from current project GMT, a blistering stripped down rock’n’roll number, and the enjoyable and relevant “Shaving Cream” by The Split Knee Loons. Behind the power, heavy bass, and shaven head, is McCoy’s sense of humour.
Annotated by the big man himself. BUY!

4.5/5
Joe Geesin

HUGHES / THRALL
Hughes / Thrall
Rock Candy CANDY018

Rock Candy continue their reissue of important albums and from 1982, outside the post NWoBHM this is about as important as a rock album as they get. Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, solo), bassist and voice of rock joined forces with guitarist and former Pat Travers cohort Pat Thrall, and this polished hard rock set is Classic. No Question. It formed the template for much of the 80s hard rock scene. Solid bass and outstanding guitar, coupled with keyboards and polished production; you only have to listen to opener “I Got Your Number” to realise how enjoyable and essential the whole album is.
Some songs are hard and heavy, while “Where Did The Time Go” is more moody and mellow, with an element of soul. Compare that to the guitar opening to “Muscle And Blood” which gives you just that.
Well annotated with interviews, and bonus demo tracks from the planned second album, it really is an essential part of the classic hard rock record collection.

4.5/5
Joe Geesin

SAXON
The Very Best Of Saxon (3CD)
EMI Gold

Saxon, or more accurately their previous label EMI, have been guilty of a large number of cheap compilations. But here we have something different, and it’s very worthwhile.
Over the 3 CDs, we get not only several well known album tracks, but all the hits from 1979 to 1988, the singles and many of their b-sides. So on top of “747”, “Wheels Of Steel”, “Never Surrender” and “And The Band Played On” we also get “Big Teaser”, “A Little Bit Of What You Fancy”, “Midnight Rider (live)”, “Broken Heroes” and “Rock’n’Roll Gypsy”. A lot of classic metal, from the NWoBHM days signed to Carrera, to the mid and late 80s class metal. Some damn decent tunes. In fact British metal at its best.
This is done with band cooperation too, with decent sleevenotes and details of where each track came from, including chart positions where relevant.

4/5
Joe Geesin

DOMINICI ‘O3 – A Trilogy Part 2’ Inside Out (2007) www.insideout.de

Charlie Dominici was the vocalist on Dream Theater’s debut release ‘When Dream & Day Unite’ and this album as the title sates is the second part of the O3 trilogy. The lyrics deal with the darker side of life and it is a brave move to open the album with the eight minute instrumental ‘The Monster’. Plenty of time changes and soloing in this one to delight Dream Theater fans! In fact only this track and ‘Nowhere To Hide’ occasionally hark back to the Dream Theater debut album, the rest of the music on here is solid progressive metal/rock. The piano led ‘The Real Life’ provides respite from the metal guitar riffs plus it allows Dominici to show the quieter sied of his vocal range. Closer ‘A New Hope’ adds a note of optimism to the proceedings and leaves it nicely open for the final album in this sequence. Excellent guitar work throughout the album courtesy of Brian Maillard, a name to watch out for as he is a real find and top notch prog metal guitarist.
Fans of Charlie Dominici, Dream Theater and prog rock/metal would do well to get this album. Not quite the classic of say Ayreon’s last album but still a damn fine album.

***1/2
Jason Ritchie

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