Sunday, December 24, 2006

Year End Wrap Up

Today in Music History:

1971, Slade appeared at London's Marquee Club, for a Christmas Eve party night.
Time to wrap things up for 2006, take some time off and start fresh in 2007. seems like it's a requirement to do a best of or worst of list for the ending year. Almost everyone has their lists compiled from magazines to tv etc blah, blah. Just finished reading Rolling Stone's list of the 100 best songs of 2006. Personally I wasn't too impressed, although a couple on the list I had to agree with. Honestly though if this was a representation of the best of the year then the music industry is in more trouble than it thinks it is. It was refreshing to see Weird Al at #77 with Trapped in the Drive Thru, a 10 minute opus in which a couple strives to get dinner. Done in a hilarious spoof of R Kelly which borders on genius.

So homercat dishes up his top Ten albums of 2006. No gnarls, monkeys or illinoise here. No apologies either. Homercat admits he's turning into an old fart and maybe doesn't get it anymore. As many times as he listened to Crazy he just didn't think it was great. Half decent maybe and I was left scratching my head over what the big deal was about. Old age and senility is no excuse to start listening to bad music, just because everyone else is. Speaking of bad music, what the hell happened to Gwen Stefani? Her first solo album blew me away and I listened to it over and over again. With high expectations I listened to her new album and could find no redeeming qualities and wondered where she came up with this garbage. It made me sad.
Top Ten Albums of 2006

1 Streets of New York by Willie Nile
Hands down the best thing I heard all year. Nothing comes close, excepmaybe number 2 on the list
Asking Annie Out by Willie Nile

2 Nothing but the Water by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
A Hammond never sounded so sexy and that voice, ahheeee the shivers down me back.
Nothing but the Water by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

3 and 4 The Monkees and More of the Monkees
Rhino's 40th anniversary remastered and deluxe double disc editions of The Monkees first two albums make the list because they have done such a superb job here and the music sounds almost new. Magnificent

5 Wolfmother
Folks this is what rock n roll sounds like. Balls to the wall, in your face rock. There may be a future for music if this band has any say.

6 Taking the Long Way by the Dixie Chicks
A few years ago the chicks spoke their mind about Bush and the war. The backlash from conservative America was inmmediate and resounding. They literally took a beating. In 2006 Americans got their heads out of their asses and opened their eyes and it seems the chicks were pretty much right all along. In this disc the Chicks show they are not ready to make nice and respond to the last few years with Colbert sized balls. Natalie Maines sounds almost punk at times.
Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks

7 Modern Times by Bob Dylan
I've only heard three cuts from this album but they are incredible. I'm waiting till after the holidays to get the disc. If these three songs are any indication maybe I should have given it the top spot.

8 Living With War by Neil Young
The guitars, the lyrics, and someone who actually had to balls to speak up about an administration gone terribly wrong.

9 Sinner by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Because I lub her and next to Neil has one of the greatest anti Bush songs ever on it.
Riddles by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

10 Rockford by Cheap Trick
Certainly not the best these guys have ever done, but it's Cheap Trick in fine form and once again reminding us that they are one of the greatest bands ever. Anything they do is top ten in my book.
Every Night and Every Day by Cheap Trick

Well like it or lump it, that's my say. I would like to personally thank those of you who took time out of your busy schedules to visit this little rag through the year. Hope to see y'all again in 2007 as Rockin' gears up for another year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and stay safe.


Funny Toon #1

#2
#3
#4

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best Christmas Song Ever

Today in Music History:

In 1957, Elvis Presley had his draft notice served on him for the US Army. He went on to join the 32nd Tank Battalion third Armor Corps based in Germany.
The insanity and madness that is gripping the North American continent will soon be over. I don't know what it's like in other parts of the world right now, so I can only speak of present experience. This will be the last posting to feature Christmas music this year. Homercat will probably grace these pages one more time this week and then it will be vacation time until 2007.

Good Rockin recently passed it's three year mark of bringing you the best of rocking goodness. Homercat doesn't exactly get the goods out on a daily basis, but unlike many other fine music blogs who have closed up shop, he is still around. So it is kind of a Christmas tradition here to once again post up the best Christmas song that I know of. Those of you who have followed Rockin' for more than a year will be familiar with this one. It gets upped every year just in case someone has missed it or for those who have never heard it. t's not a Joy to the World or Silent Night type song. In fact it should get some different lyrics and be a song I can listen to year round. It's a classic Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors song. This song is full of double entendres and is probably not your typical kid friendly Christmas song. But it is awesome. The horns and piano in this song absolutely rock. It's kind of a jazzy, funky, r and b type thing that will get your booty shaking. I listen to this song year round and damn if it doesn't make me want to get up and dance. Trust me this is one song you'll want to keep on your playlist year round.
It's Christmas Time by Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors
Buy It

I've also got a choice cut for you metalheads out there. This tune may very well have already been featured on better blogs than mine. It should have anyway. Twisted Sister recently released their own Christmas album. The Long Island quintet melds classic Christmas tunes with their favorite heavy metal songs to create a disc like no other. For instance, singer Dee Snider realized that the chorus to the band's biggest hit "We're Not Gonna Take It" is almost note-for-note the same as the melody to "O Come All Ye Faithful." So the band played the backing music for the Twisted song, while Snider sung the traditional hymn lyrics, and the result is an instant holiday classic. Out of the 11 tracks, the one original track, "Heavy Metal Christmas," is a Twisted interpretation of The Twelve Days Of Christmas ("Four quarts of Jack, three studded belts, two pairs of spandex pants, and a tattoo of Ozzy.") It also has ferocious bass riffing by Mark "The Animal" Mendoza that alone is worth the price of the disc.
Heavy Metal Christmas by Twisted Sister.
Buy It

Finally one last Christmas song. It's one no one has probably ever heard, unless you were around last year. It comes from Angel, a highly overlooked band from the seventies. I have featured them a couple of times through the years. For pics and an idea what Angel looked like check out their official web site. They rocked purty good. This cut was actually a redo from their White Hot album called the Winter Song. They renamed it the Christmas song, reworked the lyrics, added a few bells and Voila a Christmas Song. These three tunes are destined to become tradition here at Good Rockin'.
The Christmas Song by Angel
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Holidays

Today in Music History:

Born on this day in 1949, Cliff Williams, bass player for AC/DC (he replaced Mark Evans in 1977).
Billy IdolJohnny Rotten once dubbed Billy Idol "the Perry Como of punk", but surely he can't have suspected that 1977's Gen Xer would one day record a Christmas album. Even more bizarre than swapping White Wedding for White Christmas, Sir William has traded in his Rebel Yell for a faux Bing Crosby croon. During Frosty the Snowman and other festive staples awash with unfortunate druggy double entendres, he struggles to keep a straight face. Admittedly, this may be because the album was recorded in a Los Angeles heatwave. Clearly Billy Idol just loves Christmas. So much so that he avoided the beaches this summer, bunkered down in the studio, festooned the mixing desk with tinsel and put his tree up. Billy is almost in lounge lizard mode here, almost as cheesey as Dick Cheese. In 2005 Billy served up the best album of his career as well as the best album of the year with Devil's Playground. It featured an awesome, rockin' Christmas tune called Yellin' at the Christmas Tree(Santa’s balls are jingling, Mommy’s hips a-wiggling). Why he felt he needed to record an album of Christmas favorites, I'll never know. Maybe it's a secret requirement of all musical artists that they must record a Christmas album sometime in their career.

There's an undeniably surreal appeal to Idol's Silent Night, the bonkers narratives ("Hello, this is Billy Idol") and a sherry-sodden Auld Lang Syne. The music doesn't stray from their original versions which is ok. Personally I tend to get sick and tired of the same old Christmas songs being recorded over and over again. Let's write some new ones. Be that as it may, you bold adventureous Idol fans may want to hunt down a copy of Happy Holidays.

Happy Holidays by Billy Idol 2006
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Blue Christmas (rs)
Buy It


Devil's Playground
2005
Yellin' at the Xmas Tree
Buy It

Bill has even done a few cheesey videos for his Xmas album. Head over to you tube to catch Jingle Bell Rock which is almost funny and frightening at the same time.

Funny Toon

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Extra Cheese Please

Today in Music History:

In 1970, The Doors played what would be their last ever live show with Jim Morrison when they played in New Orleans.
Back in the seventies, homercat never missed an episode of Saturday Night Live. Everyone has their favorites from that era, but my favorite has to be Bill Murray. His character Nick the lounge singer was his best. I loved the way Murray would get into perfect lounge lizard form. I kinda like that lounge lizard sound. Recently people have been searching Rockin' frantically for Christmas tunes so I can kill two birds here by presenting to you one Richard Cheese, America's loudest lounge singer.

Dick CheeseRichard Cheese presents the perfect mix of music, martini, and madcap. With his swanky swing band, his tiger-striped tuxedo, and his enormous microphone, Cheese sings lounge-style covers of rock/rap hits, turning everyone's favorite songs into traditional pop vocal standards. Just imagine Sinatra singing a Nirvana song, and you've got Dick.

The finger-snapping, liquor-lapping, night-capping crooner first stepped into the spotlight in 2000 with his "LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE" CD. This critically acclaimed album featured "swankified" versions of alternative rock songs, such as Radiohead's CREEP and Limp Bizkit's NOOKIE, all uncensored and all unbelievably Cheesey.

In 2002, Cheese was back in blacktie with his "TUXICITY" CD, an album of alternative, rap, and pop covers, including loungey remakes of Sir Mix-A-Lot's BABY GOT BACK and Van Halen's HOT FOR TEACHER. Dick's popularity grew with sell-out concerts around the U.S.A., appearances on The Opie & Anthony Show and The Howard Stern show, Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends Morning Show," and a regular gig as the Vegas house band on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly" show.

Cheese returned in 2004 with his "I'D LIKE A VIRGIN" CD, an intuxicating collection of "loungified" covers of Snoop Dogg's GIN & JUICE, Coldplay's YELLOW, and Michael Jackson's BEAT IT accompanied by a children's choir. That same year, Dick appeared on ABC-TV's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and his cheesey version of Disturbed's song DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS was featured in the Universal Motion picture "Dawn Of The Dead."

In 2005, Dick released his fourth album, "APERITIF FOR DESTRUCTION," an all-new CD of kooky covers for lounge lovers. This 18-track record includes Vegas versions of songs originally by Guns 'N' Roses, U2, Black Eyed Peas, The Beastie Boys, Alanis Morissette, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Slipknot, and many more. From 2 Live Crew's ME SO HORNY to Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT, Cheese served up another "fromage homage" to the hottest hits in music.

RC also released a greatest hits CD, "THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE MOON: THE BEST OF RICHARD CHEESE," featuring 10 all-new recordings plus 8 of Dick's cheesiest favorites. The album boasted newly re-recorded 2006 versions of Cheese classics RAPE ME, CLOSER, CREEP, NOOKIE, COME OUT AND PLAY, and FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT! Backed by a big band and a bigger sound, this was the biggest Dick yet!

Now, Cheese is back with his sixth CD, "SILENT NIGHTCLUB," a collection of happenin' holiday hits just in time for Christmas. This all-new album, released by Surfdog Records, includes 14 spirited covers of songs like HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA, DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS, PERSONAL JESUS, I MELT WITH YOU, LIKE A VIRGIN, NAUGHTY GIRL, IMAGINE and ICE ICE BABY. Plus, Richard Cheese has written and recorded an all-new original song called CHRISTMAS IN LAS VEGAS, destined to be a Christmas classic!

The line-up of the band consists of:

* Richard Cheese: vocals
* Gordon Brie: double bass
* Buddy Gouda/Frank Feta: drums
* Bobby Ricotta: keyboards

The names are all pseudonyms, and new band members adopt the pseudonym of the player they replace. The only constant band member is Cheese himself, who is really a Los Angeles-based comedian and entrepreneur named Mark Jonathan Davis. When the drummer Buddy Gouda (Charles Byler) left the band in 2004, he was replaced by Brian Fishler who changed the stagename for the drummer to Frank Feta. The role of pianist and musical director Bobby Ricotta is currently played by Noel Melanio, but was previously played by David Adler. The role of bass player Gordon Brie is played by Louis Allen, and was previously portrayed by Christopher Monaco.

Cheese's pseudonym is a slang reference to smegma, as Richard can be shortened to Dick, making his name "dick cheese".

Now, after six CDs, a dozen tours, a hundred concerts, and a million martinis, Richard Cheese has earned a prominent place in that prestigious pantheon of lounge legends:
Frank ... Sammy ... Dean .......... and Dick.

Not only are these tunes swanky and loungey, they are incredibly good also. Some of them are downright hilarious covers and extremely well done. For example, one would never think of the Dead Kennedy's Holiday in Cambodia as a Christmas song, yet Cheese makes it work and it sounds like a natural Xmas tune. So I will serve up a few examples of Cheese including a few off of his new Christmas album for your listening pleasure. Homercat recommends you track down some of his discs and get to buying.

Closer (NIN cover)
Buy It

Me So Horny (Two Live Crew cover)
Buy It

Rock the Casbah (the Clash cover)
Buy It

Christmas tunes

Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys)
Christmas in Las Vegas (original)
The Trees (Rush)
Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)
Buy It


Funny Toon

Friday, December 08, 2006

Helix

Today in Music History:

Elton John hits #2 with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," the title track from a double album that would itself reach #1 and remain on the album charts for two years.
Time to finish up my quadtastic lineup of classic Canadian bands. People have been searching the heck out of Christmas music, so starting next week I'll probably put up a few to satisfy the googlers. Honestly though I've just about had it up to here with the whole holiday thing. When I got to shop for necessities I have to wait in lines for at least a half hour and I swear everyone decides to put on their dipshit hats for the holidays. Folks just plain forget how to drive and the pedestrians just hop out in front of you without even a looksee. Homercat is going to hibernate all weekend so he can stay the hell away from all these Christmas tards. On to the music.

HelixHelix is a heavy metal band that formed in 1974 for a Battle of the Bands contest in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and is best known for their 1984 single "Rock You". The original lineup consisted of singer Brian Vollmer, guitarists Brent Doerner and Paul Hackman, bassist Keith Zurbrigg and drummer Brian Doerner. Yep those Doerner guys are twins. Helix will never be known as progressive or thinking man's metal but who cares? Besides you gotta love a band that can mix a harmonica in with the metal.

After touring the southern Ontario clubs for a few years, the band decided to record and release their material on their own. Their first independent release, 'Breaking Loos'e, was released on their own H&S Records label in 1979. Two years and two member changes later, they released their second H&S album,'White Lace & Black Leather'. In 1982 they were signed to Capitol Records worldwide and 1983 saw the release of their first international album, 'No Rest For The Wicked'. Over the next ten years they released six more albums, five for Capitol, including a best-of compilation, and one on Aquarius/EMI. They did several international tours with the likes of Kiss, Aerosmith, Rush, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, Heart, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., and Motorhead, and headlined a few of their own Canadian tours as well.

In 1991, co-founding member Brent Doerner decided to call it quits after 15 years on the road and his replacement was found in northern New York in Balicki. Balicki only played live with them, however, and when the band went back into the studio in 1992 to cut 'It's A Business Doing Pleasure', Doerner came out of retirement and rejoined his old cohorts. Also appearing on that album were guests such as Kim Mitchell, Lee Aaron, and Jaymz Bee, among many others. On July 5, 1992, a bus carrying some band members and crew went off the road suddenly near Kamloops, BC, and plunged down a 40 foot precipice. Two crew members were seriously injured and bassist Gray escaped with minor injuries, but guitarist and co-founding member Paul Hackman was killed in the crash. Services were held five days later near Kitchener, and long-time friend Ray Lyell sang during the service. After taking some time off, the remaining members decided that Hackman would have wanted them to continue, so they recruited Brighton Rock guitarist Greg Fraser to join their ranks. The first single off the album, "That Day Is Gonna Come", was written as a tribute to Hackman, and the video for the song featured unique Super 8 and video footage shot by Vollmer on the road over the years.

The lead singer and sole member to remain in the band throughout their career is Brian Vollmer. Currently Brian manages every aspect of the Helix organization from booking tours to distributing Helix merchandise. He also teaches the classical vocal technique Bel Canto in Kitchener, as well as singing classical music at weddings and funerals throughout southern Ontario.

Rock You by Helix 1984
Make Me Do anything You Want by Helix 1984
Buy It

Rockin' in My Outer Space by Helix 2004
Buy It

F.U.G.L.Y. by Brian Vollmer (solo) 1999
Buy It

So back on November 15 I started this Canadian retro thingy with my post on Prism and here I have ended up with Helix. Here's the reason. About a month ago the ladycat of the house won us two tickets and VIP passes to a New Year's Eve Bash at Bear Mountain Arena in which four bands will be performing. PRISM, HARLEQUIN, THE HEADPINS AND HELIX. I'm not sure but I believe this will be one New Year's Rockin' Eve. Dick Clark ain't got shit on this. The VIP passes entitle us to food, champagne and schmoozing with band members. If I'm lucky I may get an interview or two as I will surely be wearing my press hat. Photo's seem very likely to be taken. I doubt if I bootleg it though. Journeying back and relistening to these classic albums has got homercat pumped for this new years party. So rock out people and be safe this weekend.

Funny Toon

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another edition of Canadiana

Today in Music History:

In 1973 Slade hits #1 in the UK with "Merry Christmas Everybody." It will remain at #1 for five weeks and becomes the group's biggest single, recharting every year between 1981-6.
harlequinHarlequin was a Canadian rock band that formed in Winnipeg in 1975 and lasted until the mid 1980s.
The original members of Harlequin were vocalist George Belanger, guitarist Glen Willows, keyboard player Gary Golden, drummer David Budzak and bassist Ralph James. Harlequin signed with Epic Records in 1979 and had a string of hit singles in Canada.

Their debut album, VICTIM OF A SONG was produced by Jack Douglas, who'd previously worked with the likes of Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Aerosmith and John Lennon. Released that fall, it immediately made an impression with both the critics and the fans alike. "Sweet Things In Life" and "You Are The Light" both became instant radio staples across the country and Harlequin was rewarded with a debut gold record. Backed by the solid writing of other tracks like "Turn Around" and their first single "Survive", the band was heralded as one of the country's most promising new groups.

Following a year long tour which saw them open for such heavyweights as April Wine & BTO, they returned to the studios for LOVE CRIMES, released in the summer of 1980. Again, the airwaves were filled with the tight harmonies and catchy rhythms of the singles "Innocence" and "Thinking Of You". After Hannah left to join Streetheart in 1980, Harlequin came back with CRIMES OF PASSION later that year. Fuelled by new guitarist Glen Willows, tracks like the singles "Innocence", "Take This Heart" and "Thinking Of You" put to rest any fears the group couldn't function through problems like personnel changes. The band was now taking its straight forward rock and roll message all across Canada, and into the rest of the world.

It would be nearly two full years before their third record, ONE FALSE MOVE would hit the shelves. By this time Denton Young had replaced Budzak on drums. Back for his third consecutive stint behind the controls was Douglas and the fans' wait was justified by what many considered to be their best effort yet. "I Did It For Love", "Superstitious Feeling" and the ballad "Heart Gone Cold" pushed them to the elite status of only having three records, but all going gold.

They released a self-titled album in '85 which featured new keyboardist John White and John Hannah, ex of Streetheart, returning on guitars. "Take This Heart" was featured as the lead track and first single. Their second life was short-lived however, as the band called it quits shortly after the end of a North American tour which saw them share the stage with the likes of Loverboy and Streetheart. By 1986 the rigors of the road had taken their toll on the band, and they called it quits later that year.

Belanger and company all but disappeared until the mid 90's, when the advent of the 'classic rock' weekend festival brought them back to the stage. They currently still make their rounds around the country, playing to packed houses and outdoor concerts. They released a new album entitled HARLEQUIN II in 2005, which was met by rave reviews. "Sometimes I Feel", "Let Me In" and "Trust The One" have been heralded as some of the best new rock in years.

I always wondered why I had never heard of this band as a young un as they put forth some solid pop/rock, rivalling most of anything that was going on in the states at that time. Hopefully this post will introduce this band to a few folks outside of Canada.

Innocence by Harlequin
Thinking of You by Harlequin (rs)


Funny Toon

Friday, December 01, 2006

Screamin' Canadian Rock

Today in Music History:

In 1969 A free concert is organized by the Rolling Stones at Altamont Speedway, outside San Francisco. The event turns ugly when sets are disrupted by violence from Hell's Angels, Marty Balin is knocked unconscious, and a concert-goer is stabbed to death.
HeadpinsThe Headpins are the head instructors in Canadian Kick Ass Rock 101 - and school is in session. This ain't no snow day kitties. Originally formed by Brian MacLeod and Ab Bryant as a sort of 'side project' from Chilliwack, the group was rounded out by drummer Bernie Aubin and vocalist Darby Mills, one of the west coast's hottest new singers. Their impact was immediate even before they'd landed a record deal - the band's live magnetism was rivalled by few and they soon became one of the hottest commodities in Canadian rock, beginning with their first show in hometown Vancouver backing up Blackmore's Rainbow. After winning a local radio contest, the group released TURN IT LOUD on the independent Solid Gold Records in 1982. Co-produced by Bill Henderson, who Bryant and MacLeod played with in Chilliwack, the record allowed the Headpins to hit the scene with an experienced master behind the controls. Charged with emotions, MacLeod's guitars rang predominant, almost a friendly battle with Mills' immediately signature voice. The lead-off title-track grabbed you by the balls and refused to let go, and would soon find its place in rock history as one of rock's greatest anthems of all time.

Mills' style became known as the growl and would go on to lead the charge in their energized live show, compared more to Robert Plant or David Coverdale than, say Ann Wilson or Janis Joplin. "Don't It Make Ya Feel" turned the FM stations upside down, and deservedly so, the tune is simply crazy good. The Headpins had arrived and were soon rewarded with a gold record. Word of the band's raucous live show spread and by the time TURN IT LOUD turned platinum just a few short months later, the band had already toured most of North America. The debut would go on to sell over a quarter-million copies in Canada alone and be certified double platinum, making it one of the most successful debut albums by a Canadian group ever.

The band came back in '83 with their follow-up, LINE OF FIRE. Backed by the single, "Feel It (Feel My Body)" and "Don't Stand In The Line Of Fire", the album stayed true to the course its predecessor laid out the year before. LINE OF FIRE not only played the same chords at varying volumes as TURN IT LOUD, but the group also showed growth and diversity with "Feel It", incorporating synthesizers as well as a horn section. Another extended tour ensued, including dates with the likes of KISS, Billy Squier, Helix, Quiet Riot and Whitesnake.

Nearly two years would pass before the Headpins would emerge from the studios again. The result was HEAD OVER HEELS. Typical Headpins, it served up a healthy dose of MacLeod's blazing riffs and once again Mills' unmistakeable voice rang true on "Still The One" and "Death Of Me". Again the band enjoyed sales of nearly 100,000 copies at home alone, making HEAD OVER HEELS their third straight album certified gold or better.

The band went into hiatus for the next couple of years, with each member venturing out to do outside projects, including Mills' 1991 solo effort NEVER LOOK BACK. The rock world was saddened the next year, when Brian MacLeod lost his bout with cancer. The group reformed later that decade and the result was unanimous - people still loved the live magnetism only they can bring to a party.

The band is still packing the houses and kicking ass like no others. A greatest hits package was finally released to the delight of classic rock fans in 2002. The only compilation currently available to span all 3 records, THE COMPLETE GREATEST HITS is a multi-media event - 14 killer tracks that helped shape Canadian rock, as well as the videos for "Just One More Time" and "Don't It Make Ya Feel". Me likey that rock n roll.

Don't It Make Ya Feel by the Headpins
Mine All Mine by the Headpins
Buy It


Funny Toon