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Thursday, March 29, 2007

DEEP PURPLE will perform the whole of the ‘Machine Head’ album on their April UK tour.

LA Guns have parted with bassist Adam Hamilton. No replacement has yet been confirmed.

Rumours abound that guitarist Jeff Watson has left NIGHT RANGER. For two superb interviews with band members Jack Blades & Kelly Keagy hop over to –
http://www.melodicrock.com/interviews/jackblades07.html
http://www.melodicrock.com/interviews/kellykeagy07.html

The ROLLING STONES will be releasing a live DVD to coincide with their upcoming summer tour dates.

Judas Priest legend KK Downing has launched his personal website www.kkdowning.net.
The site is titled the Steel Mill, and is intended to be a forum for all things Downing, Judas Priest and Metal Music! It's the first place to go to get all the information about KK Downing, as well as finding out about all of KK's side projects. There are also great forums where you can discuss any of your metal issues, and get the lowdown on the best new (and classic) metal albums.
KK has just been in the press, talking about his recent project Violent Storm, which he executive produced and played on. He has also been very busy in the studio with Priest, recording their new album, which is a concept album, based on the predictions of Nostradamus. It is due to be released in the latter half of 2007, and will be doubtless followed by a massive world tour.
KK had this to say about the Steel Mill: "Hi metal fans. I am proud to present my new which is uniquely international and able to give music fans worldwide the opportunity to interact and participate. Lots of things will be happening at the steel mill, you will be meeting friends of mine, and get to communicate with other metal fans all over the world. I will be reviewing new and not so new records, live gigs and having interviews with interesting people. The mill workers will be working hard but we your input to keep the flames in the forge as hot as possible.
Keep feeding the flames...K.K Downing."

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CLASSIC ROCK NEWSWIRE FORUM
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PRESS RELEASES

Frontiers Records is delighted to announce the signing of TRW for the release of their debut album Rivers of Paradise!
Behind the TRW acronym hides a trio made up of the most incredible musicians/session players that have literally played the history of Rock and Pop music!
T stands for Michael Thompson - a stunning guitar player, Michael is well known to the Melodic Rock crowd for his M.T.B. album How Long released in 1989. He has also released two solo albums titled, The World According To MT and MT Speaks. But he built his reputation playing with such megastar names as Shania Twain, Michael Bolton, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Cher and many many more. He is nowadays one of the leading names in the guitar world and is playing is instantly recognizable and full of technique and feeling.
R stands for John Robinson - a real legend in drumming. He released one solo album titled Funkshui and played with an impressive list of artists. Some names include Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton, Seal, Steve Winwood and of course Barbra Streisand. His discography (579 credits!) can be found following this link.
Last but not least, W is for Mark Williamson, the singer and bass player in the line-up. He came to the attention of the Melodic Rock fans - together with Robinson - on the superb Toto-flavoured album Bridge 2 Far. Later he released one solo album for GRP, entitled Time Slipping By, collaborated with Mike Oldfield and worked in sessions or live dates with many artists, including Freddie Mercury, George Harrison, Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, Elton John, Peter Frampton.

"The concept behind TRW is that myself, Michael and Mark are true fans of classic rock and roll", explains John Robinson. His friendship with Thompson dates back to their years in the Berklee College of Music when they were in classes together.
"We have so many things musically in common that it was destiny forming TRW", continues Robinson. "We also play in David Foster's All-Star band. Michael and I have been writing together for many years now and by adding such a great singer/writer as Mark, it is just magic. We have formulated our own style with comparisons to many rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Journey and Toto."
The new album is everything one could expect from these monster musicians brilliant musicianship, immense songwriting, soaring vocals and rocking attitude!
"One thing that we pride ourselves on is all our songs have melodies that everybody will remember", concludes Robinson "We all believe in great songs! Quincy Jones taught me about it and by the way, this is definitely not a one off. We have already plans to start writing by the end of this year for the 2nd CD."
Rivers of Paradise is undoubtedly a true Melodic Rock classic in the making which should not be missed by anyone. Songs in streaming can be heard following this link!
The release is scheduled for June 2007 on Frontiers Records, with more details (including an additional very nice surprise for the fans) to be announced at a later stage.


LILLIAN AXE ROAR BACK ON METRO CITY RECORDS LABEL WITH NEW ALBUM:
Opening for the likes of Ratt, Poison, Queensryche, Krokus, Stryper and Lita Ford, working with some of rock's most respected producers and scoring several 'Headbangers Ball' approved video clips, Lillian Axe certainly carved (or perhaps more appropriately, chopped) a niche for themselves with metalheads worldwide during the '80s and '90s. And now, after an extended hiatus, the group ­ which is now comprised of Derrick LeFevre (lead vocals), Steve Blaze (lead guitars/vocals), Sam Poitevent (guitars/vocals), Eric Morris (bass), and Ken Koudelka (drums) ­ has unleashed their first new studio album in nearly fifteen years (and first for the Metro City Records label), titled Waters Rising.
"We have spent the last 3 years getting this record done, in 4 different locations, and we have gone through a complete metamorphosis mentally and physically,” explains Blaze. “It's a different environment in the music industry these days yet the spirit and soul in creating music has stayed the same in the Lillian Axe camp. My engineer, Rob Hovey, and I spent many hours experimenting with different approaches to this record, but it always came back to the same formula do what we do, period."
Blaze also offered some insight regarding several favorite individual tracks from Waters Rising. “The song 'Quarantine' deals with germaphobia - I suffer from this condition. I deal sometimes with the 'dirtiness' of the world by living in a very clean, pristine, and organized environment. 'The 2nd of May' speaks of child disappearance and the theories behind the inability to find so many missing people. 'Field of Yesterday' would be Lillian Axe's 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' The one song that encompasses the pieces sonically and emotionally that are the quintessential elements of that group. It is about eight minutes long and has a mid-section which capsulates the history of man's existence in an ethereal interlude which soars and then slams back to reality. '5' is an instrumental in which I used about 80 guitar tracks. I attempted to touch on many different aspects of the instrument from arpeggios to clean picking to orchestration to heavy blues riffs to speed riffing to manipulation feedback. It took a while, as I wrote it as we recorded it, but the fanatic end result was just what I intended."

Originally formed in 1983, the New Orleans-based group soon caught the attention of Ratt manager Marshall Berle and MCA Records, leading to the release of the group's self-titled 1988 release (produced by late Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby), 1989's 'Love and War' (produced by Tony Platt, who previously worked with AC/DC), 1991's 'Out of the Darkness into the Light,,' 1992's 'Poetic Justice,' and 1993's 'Psycho-Schizophrenia' (the last two of which were produced by Leif Mases, who previously worked with Led Zeppelin). Additionally, such Lillian Axe tracks as “Dream Of A Lifetime,” “Show A Little Love,” “True Believer,” and a cover of Badfinger's “No Matter What” received attention from rock radio and MTV.
By the middle of the '90s, Lillian Axe opted to take a break, although a collection of previously unreleased material was issued in 1999, 'Fields of Yesterday.' With metal once more ruling the charts and the airwaves by the early 21st century, Lillian Axe was back in business with live shows, resulting in the release of their first-ever live album, 'Live 2002,' recorded in Houston, Texas. Roadwork has continued for the band - including playing to 27,000 fans at Germany's Bang Your Head Festival in 2004, as well as an extensive European tour a year later. With new singer LeFevre recently replacing longtime frontman Ron Taylor, 'Waters Rising' sees a whole new metallic chapter unfolding for Lillian Axe.
"This album has been conceptually in the works for years. 'Waters Rising' represents the boiling point factor, that life seems to be a tumultuous ride always on the brink of explosion. These recent times on this planet seem to be proving this point. However, in each individual is the point where you reconcile this within your spirit and peace takes over allowing you to cope more effectively. The songs on this record cover the different ways that we deal with this factor and the fact that everyone is trying to make sense of it."
Tracklisting for Waters Rising: 1. Waters Rising, 2. Antarctica, 3. Become A Monster, 4. Quarantine, 5. I Have to Die, Goodbye, 6. Fear of Time, 7. Until the End of the World, 8. Fields of Yesterday, 9. Thirst, 10. The 2nd of May, 11. Deep in the Black, 12. 5.
For more information, go to: www.MetroCityRecords.com and www.lillianaxe.com

GIG NEWS

FOREIGNER
November
10th NEWCASTLE City Hall
12th CARDIFF St Davids Hall
13th PORTSMOUTH Guildhall
15th WOLVERHAMPTON Civic Hall
16th MANCHESTER Apollo
17th LONDON Shepherds Bush Empire

HEAVEN & HELL
November 4th Newcastle Metro Arena
November 6th Glasgow SECC Hall 4
November 7th Sheffield Hallam FM Arena
November 9th Manchester Evening News Arena
November 10th London Wembley Arena
November 11th Brighton Centre
November 13th Birmingham NEC
November 14th Cardiff International Arena
November 15th Nottingham Arena
November 17th Plymouth Pavilions
November 18th Bournemouth BIC

POISON, RATT (featuring original lead singer Stephen Pearcy), VINCE NEIL and Y&T are among the acts that are expected to appear at Rocklahoma, a three-day outdoor '80s hard rock festival, set to take place July 13-15, in Pryor, OK at the Pryor Festival Grounds. The following is a partial list of bands that are **rumoured*** to be taking part in the event:
BANG TANGO
BULLET BOYS
DOKKEN
FASTER PUSSYCAT (feat. Brent Muscat)
FIREHOUSE
L.A. GUNS (feat. Tracii Guns)
POISON
QUIET RIOT
RATT
SLAUGHTER
TESLA
VINCE NEIL
WARRANT
Y&T
Rocklahoma will be hosted by radio personality and VH1 Classic VJ Eddie Trunk, who will officially announce the lineup for the festival today (Tuesday, March 27) during a press conference at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California

REVIEWS

ROBERT PLANT re-issues Rhino (2007) www.rhino.com

Following on from last year’s box set containing all Robert Plant’s solo output, the albums each get their own individual re-release with added bonus tracks (these bonus tracks were included in the box set). The Honeydrippers CD is also re-released adding extra tracks.
For me 1988’s ‘Now and Zen’ **** is the first real ‘must have’ of Robert Plant’s solo work. Previous albums contained some good songs and a hit single in ‘Big Log’, but they did have too many average tracks. ‘Now and Zen’ saw Plant hook-up with Phil Johnstone on keys and more importantly as a co-writer on many of his tunes over the next few albums. This album at the time also caused a stir as Plant’s Led Zeppelin band mate Jimmy Page guested on two tracks, namely ‘Heaven Knows’ and ‘Tall Cool One’, the latter boasting some Led Zep sampling as well. The sound is very electronic/keyboard led with a big, almost synthetic drum sound supplied by Chris Blackwell. ‘Ship Of Fools’ is one of Plant’s best ballads whilst the rock ‘n’ roll flavoured ‘White, Clean and Neat’ is semi-autobiographical. Three bonus tracks are live versions of songs from the album which are okay but the sound quality is not the best at times.
1990’s ‘Manic Nirvana’ *****, along with Plant’s latest album ‘The Mighty Rearranger’ are for me his best works. Not one duff track on here and some real rock anthems on here including ‘Nirvana’, with its great slow build chorus, the riff on ‘Tie Dye On the Highway’ is stunning and for a more reflective moment try ‘Watching You’. This album really saw the guitar back into the music (guitarist Doug Boyle really adds his personal stamp to the tunes) whilst keeping the big drum and keys/electronic sound. Three bonus tracks with ‘Oompa (Watery Bint)’ the pick of them as it sits well with the rest of the album.
By 1993’s ‘Fate Of Nations’ ****1/2 Plant had expanded his musical backing musicians with guitarist Kevin Scott MacMichael in particular making an impact in the song writing area. There was also more use of traditional instruments such as the hurdy gurdy on ‘I Believe’, which paves the way for the more world music approach taken by Plant & Page. This album also provided another hit single in ’29 Palms’, a song made for cruising down a US highway/M6 motorway on a summer’s day. A real highlight though is the achingly beautiful cover of ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, surely one of Plant’s best vocals in ages. Five bonus tracks on this one, including the folk tinged ‘Colours Of Shade’ with Martin Allcock (Jethro Tull/Fairport Convention) providing all the instrumentation. ‘Great Spirit’ features another fine vocal performance.
Of the three surviving Led Zep members Robert Plant has had the most success sales wise and musically, as he keeps pushing his own voice into new direction and exploring new musical avenues. Grab these three albums plus ‘The Mighty Rearranger’, the Honeydrippers album and check out his new music with the Strange Sensation. Truly a vocal hero and these re-issues serve as a timely reminder of how varied and enjoyable his solo output is.

Jason Ritchie

THE SPACE COWBOYS "Dead End Streets & Devils Night" (2006 Bad Reputation)

Quickly leaving any possible comparisons to Steve Miller to one side The Space Cowboys are a loud, brash Swedish outfit owing more the all out heavy rock 'n' roll of Motorhead and The Ramones than the old 'Joker'. However, and perhaps more importantly, they are accessible enough that fans of the heavier works of recent crossover successes Jet and Kings Of Leon might also find something to interest them on this album.
Thirteen track and about thirty-five minutes of no let up heavy rythym, hammered drumkit and the odd soaraway solo later it clear that they're put a good solid set together and are perhaps only the memorable hook away from a hit single that would break them to a bigger audience. To be fair, Gotta Go is so nearly that track whilst Damnation High, opener Sleeping Energy and Dead End Streets also stand out. Dirty Mind has all the subtlety of Gene Simmons lecturing on the facts of life whilst It's About Time stands proudly over the rest as their most accomplished track.
An admirable short, sharp hit of high octane, raw rock 'n' roll that has little variation but plenty of energy and attitude.

***
Bill Leslie

KINGBABY "Whole Lotta Easy" (2006 Bad Reputation)

KingBaby are the brainchild of ex-Baton Rouge member and one-time Alice Cooper collaborator Lance Bulin and can be described quite confidently as radio-friendly southern rock. Desptite gigging since 2004 this marks the bands first full release.
A decent if fairly unspectular set of songs there is plenty to like here. The band prove themselves adept at a few styles with rockers Swan Song, Always Free and Rock 'n' Roll High bringing to mind the likes of early Aerosmith and The Georgia Satellites whilst Right Time is an acoustically heavy number not unlike Tesla at their best. Excellent slow number The Well demonstrates an ability to write a strong, meaningful lyric whilst the loose, bluesy feel of The Bones stands out as the high point of the album and perfectly showcases the throaty, made for blues, voice of Bulen.
A couple of lesser quality tracks in Sing Along and Let's Stay Home do detract from the album but for fan of the bands mentioned above as well as the more obvious influences of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty et all then this is well worth checking out. Indeed with samples of five of the tracks on the bands website and four tracks including the excellent The Well on their MySpace site it'd be daft not to...

***
Bill Leslie

JOE LYNN TURNER "Second Hand Life" Frontiers (2007)

Joe Lynn Turner cannot be accused of ever taking the easy route to rock notoriety. Following the likes of Ronnie James Dio into Rainbow, then directly replacing Ian Gillan for Deep Purple's 1989 release Slaves And Masters perhaps isn't the ideal way of endearing yourself to fans but on both occasions he produced works of some merit and success. Lately Turner's been able to stamp more of his own identity onto his own releases and has been prolific to say the least. His collaboration with Glenn Hughes in HTP received some long-overdue critical acclaim and he's even released a couple of covers albums worth hearing and not many artists can claim that.
Signed now to the Italian Frontiers label his latest solo album bows to fan's requests and is a fully blown melodic rock opus of a standard befitting his experience and stature in the business. Whether its polished rockers like the opening track Love Is Life, Over The Top or Sweet Obsession of the Foreigner style big ballads in the shape of In Your Eyes, Cruel or Love Is On Our Side the level of competence is abuntantly clear.
Deep Purple fans will be interested in the track Stroke Of Midnight. Co-written with Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover and Survivor's Jim Peterik it was originally for the follow up to Slaves And Masters and parts turned up on One Man's Meat on The Battle Rages On with Gillan back in the fold. Highlight of the album by far though is the eastern flavoured Blood Red Sky. Rainbow like in all the right ways guitarist Karl Cochran introduces himself as a guitarist of note whilst Turner produces a stellar performance.
For melodic rock fans this is a release well worth hearing, for latter day Rainbow fans its essential.

****
Bill Leslie

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