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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Axel Rudi Pell – Circle of the Oath album review

Axel Rudi Pell – Circle of the Oath album review
Released on: SPV / Steamhammer. Release date: Available now

Axel Rudi Pell in the USA is perhaps a little of an unknown quantity, which is a shame, as the man is an extremely talented guitarist and songwriter.

The guitarist recorded four albums with German rockers Steeler back in the 80’s before setting out on a solo career around 1989, with the Axel Rudi Pell band at that time.

Axel's band has in fact featured some vocalists that many regular readers here, may well know.
Charlie Huhn (Ted Nugent, Victory, Gary Moore, Foghat), Rob Rock (M.A.R.S., Warrior, Impellitteri) and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Soul SirkUS, Journey) have all fronted his band.

To date, Pell has released fourteen studios albums prior to this one, two live albums and there’s also a bunch of compilations too, as well as three live DVD’s, so over in Europe, he’s clearly more than made his mark!

This latest release features a vocalist who’s sung on many of Axel’s past releases, Johnny Gioeli who many people will remember from the band Hardline, who also featured Journey guitarist, Neal Schon. He’s also put his voice to other side projects including a very good one called Crush 40, which is a US / Japanese joint project that has provided a lot of great music to video games and related soundtracks.

This new album from Axel also features the talents of Ferdy Doernberg (Rough Silk) on Keyboards, Volker Krawczak (Steeler) handling Bass and Mike Terrana (Masterplan, Rage, Yngwie Malsteen, Tony MacAlpine) on Drums.

If you’re looking for a bit of a clue what sort of sound Axel is similar too, musically I think his guitar style is very like (Ritchie) Blackmore’s, but musically, there a kind of Rainbow meets Dio and not unlike the heavier style that Europe has adopted in recent years, about it.

Johnny Gioeli' style itself, is pretty unique generally in his vocal, but certainly equal to many great vocalists out there, funny at times he almost takes a Dio style twist and then he’s not unlike a heavier Robin McAuley at times.

Opening gentle intro track ‘The Guillotine Suite’ leads into the ‘Ghost in the Black’ that then rocks out like a good 'un,' with double bass drums pumping away and then there’s magic in the solo’s where Axel trades off licks with keys man Ferdy Doernberg, I love it!

‘Run With The Wind’ is an up tempo catchy gem indeed. Perhaps a nod to the Scorpions here, maybe even M.S.G. Very good indeed!

With ‘Before I Die,’ it is another catchy, pacey rocker and continues to weave the magic captured on this album throughout and you know, Johnny Gioeli’s vocals, like the rest of the band, are right on the money to me.

Title track ‘Circle of the Oath’ is next and starts slow with acoustic guitar, before getting into a seriously rocking groove and Johnny almost gets into a Dio inspired vocal, as musically it’s not unlike Dio era Rainbow at time. It’s funny, but during the acoustic moments, it makes me think of Tesla. Interesting … Axel has a really killer solo here, that’ll take your breath away, I love it. Great stuff!

‘Fortunes of War’ next provides a heavy intro, and then eases back a little through the verses, then the pre-chorus and chorus itself picks everything up again. It’s a another good steady rocker, almost a milder Judas Priest musically, before Axel gets into a harmonic solo, that takes any thoughts of Priest away!

A melancholy start introduces ‘Bridges to Nowhere’ and then the heavy riffs come out, not unlike say Diamond Head, brilliant! It then grooves not unlike Dio but not unlike Diamond Head still. A steady heavy, dare I say though almost a little plodding at times.
I kind of expected it to pick up and it really doesn’t.

‘Lived Our Lives Before’ is really the albums power ballad, with its laid back style. Not bad, not unlike the Scorpions perhaps.

Back to the rock with ‘Hold On to Your Dreams’ steady heavy riffs introduce the track, then through the verse string driven keys, before the pre-chorus picks up the rocks again and the other side of the chorus, the same string sounds, then get into the chugging riffs and it rocks on! It’s a hard edged AOR number generally, kind of not sure quite which way to go. Love Axel’s solo here too though!

Final track here is ‘World of Confusion (The Masquerade Ball Pt 2)’ that starts with choral voices and then, Johnny comes in briefly before a laid back soulful guitar wails, then the band kicks in with the rock again.
This is a epic nine minute monster, that captures everything, including some beautiful solo work from Axel. In the final third of the song, the keyboards provide a symphonic edge and then the drums pick it up and Axel solos out. Good stuff to finish with.

Overall a very good album, great vocals, nice guitar work throughout and a strong band backing everything up, good overall album indeed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Official website:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brief Update for Friday April 13th, 2012

Sorry folks, not too much really to share right now, so I guess based on this update, you kind of see where I'm coming from when it's kind of lean on the news front!
Have a great weekend, cheers, Al


New York, NY (April, 2012) — Eagle Rock Entertainment is proud to announce the May 29 release of Foreigner’s Alive & Rockin’, recorded at one of Europe’s most popular Hard Rock fests, the 2006 Bang Your Head Festival in Balingen, Germany.
This 9-track concert, previously released on DVD only (Eagle Rock Entertainment) is now available for the first time on CD.
“My initial musical vision for Foreigner was to combine blues and R’n’B with British Rock and make it sound soulful and authentic,” says guitarist Mick Jones. “I’d grown up in England and had the English influence but I was also inspired by many elements of American music from Mississippi blues to country. Foreigner was the vehicle to get that musical blend across.”

That “blend” was never more evident than on this rockin’ night as Jones — with vocalist Kelly Hansen, drummer Jason Bonham, keyboardist Jeff Jacobs, multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel (guitars, saxophone, flute) and bassist Jeff Pilson — knocked out a crowd-pleasing set that included eight U.S. Top 20 hits including anthems “Juke Box Hero” “Cold As Ice” and “Hot Blooded.”

This most beloved of Classic Rock bands has been serving up the hits for over 30 years. With over 70 million records sold worldwide, they’re second only to Led Zeppelin on the Atlantic Records roster in total album sales. Jones, producer of 10 of Foreigner’s multi-platinum albums, has composed some of the most memorable riffs in rock history. After forming Spooky Tooth with Gary Wright in the early 1970s, he left his native England to move to New York in 1976 and formed Foreigner.

Track Listing:
1) Double Vision
2) Head Games
3) Dirty White Boy
4) Cold As Ice
5) Starrider
6) Feels Like The First Time
7) Urgent
8) Juke Box Hero / Whole Lotta Love
9) Hot Blooded


Twisted Sister's Come Out and Play photographer shares more!

Check out never before seen footage from the 1985 photo shoot of
and the transport of this historic piece of HEAVY METAL history

Photography and Art Direction by: Mark "WEISSGUY" Weiss

You always remember your first! For Photographer Mark “WEISSGUY” Weiss, the first album cover he shot just happened to be TWISTED SISTER’S historic, multi-platinum “STAY HUNGRY.” The 1984 album brought us the two rock anthems "We're Not Gonna Take it" and "I Wanna Rock," which will be performed by the Black Veil Brides at the Golden Gods Awards on April 11, 2012.

How do you top the shockingly memorable image of Dee Snider, screaming and crouching with a rotting giant bone in his clutches? When Weiss was asked to create and photograph Twisted Sister’s follow up album, “Come Out and Play,” it was a no-holds-barred art director’s dream. Weiss concocted a textured manhole cover design that opened to reveal a novel “pop up” mummy-wrapped Dee Snider resplendent with sharpened teeth, emerging from beneath the pavement.

In September of 1985, a 1,000 pound manhole cover was custom-made with the Twisted Sister “TS” logo by Weiss’ dad, who also supplied a fully constructed street in Weiss’ NYC studio, for Dee to emerge from. After the shoot both items remained in his NJ garage for 27 years, until April 1, 2012, when the manhole cover was loaded onto an 18 wheeler for the cross-country trek to its ultimate destination of honor at the Golden Gods: History of Heavy Metal exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, CA beginning April 11, 2012.

The truly heavy piece of metal history arrived last week to be displayed along with other heavy metal artifacts, including several of Weiss’ iconic photographs from the era. These photographs are taken from Mark’s Weiss’ extensive collection of rock’s most enduring images from the “Decade of Decadence.”

Mark Weiss’ collaboration and history with the iconic rockers he worked with almost 3 decades ago comes full circle this year, with the recent completion of Dee Snider’s release, “Dee Does Broadway,” as well as rocker Lita Ford’s new cd, “Living Like a Runaway,” both photographed and art directed by Weiss. Working with two of rock’s legendary performers again, Weiss says, “I have always been there for the artists who were there for me when I began my career. We’ve all had and continue to have, peaks and valleys to overcome in our personal and professional lives. Without their loyalty and belief in my craft, I would have never been able to continue making my rock ‘n roll dreams a reality.”

Hugh Cornwell unveils 'Totem and Taboo' album & 'No More Heroes' UK tour

Hugh Cornwell will embark on a nationwide UK tour during October 2012. The concerts will be divided into two sets. The first will feature his eagerly anticipated new studio album ‘TOTEM AND TABOO’ (released August 2012). The second set will see Hugh playing The Stranglers’ seminal 1977 second album ‘NO MORE HEROES’ in its entirety with keyboards added to the lineup.

A ticket pre-sale is launched today (Wednesday 11th April) from followed by a general on-sale on Friday 14th April. Tickets can be ordered from the 24 Hour Box Office: 0844 478 0898, and booked online from and 
Special VIP ticket packages for all shows include sound check entry, meet and greet, exclusive ‘TOTEM AND TABOO’ demo album, and a free poster signed on the night by Hugh.

Cornwell’s highly anticipated new studio album ‘TOTEM AND TABOO’ will be released in August 2012. Recorded at Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago, it was engineered and mixed by Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Pixies).
Hugh Cornwell is the original guitarist, singer and main songwriter in the British punk rock band The Stranglers, he’s enjoyed massive UK and European success with 10 hit albums and 21 Top Forty singles, with classic songs including Peaches, No More Heroes, Golden Brown, Always the Sun, Grip, Nice N Sleazy, Duchess and No Mercy.

Hugh Cornwell: Autumn 2012 UK Tour / 24 Hour Box Office:

0844 478 0898 / Book Online: and

Carlisle The Brickyard (Oct 3) / Aberdeen Lemon Tree (Oct 4) / Glasgow The Arches (Oct 5) / Northumbria University (Oct 6)

Nottingham Rescue Rooms (Oct 10) / Leeds The Cockpit (Oct 11) / Manchester Academy 3 (Oct 12) / Birmingham O2 Academy 2 (Oct 13)

Bristol The Fleece (Oct 17) / Southampton The Brook (Oct 18) / London O2 Academy Islington (Oct 19) / Tavistock The Wharf (Oct 20)

Visit for further details.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brief News Update for Thursday April 12th, 2012

Hi folks,
Sorry, it's a brief update, just too much personal and dayjob stuff going on, to give me any more time to post here.
So, here you go.

Hey, don't forget about the current giveaway here, for free online guitar lessons, courtesy of
There is honestly, no catch and it's to get one years free subscription to, so what are you waiting for?!
One lucky reader here will get it, make sure it's you!
Full details of what to do are in yesterday site update, link here:

Thanks, keep on rockin'!


Canada's longest running rock trio Rush, have unveiled details of its highly anticipated new album, “CLOCKWORK ANGELS.” This is the first new collection of original material in over five years and their first studio release via Anthem/Roadrunner records.
“CLOCKWORK ANGELS,” the band’s 20th studio album, will be released on June 12th.

The recording of “CLOCKWORK ANGELS” began in April 2010 with Grammy Award winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Deftones) – who also collaborated with the band on their last studio album, 2007’s “SNAKES & ARROWS.” Rush co-produced both records. The first two songs, “Caravan” and “BU2B,” were completed during that first session at Nashville’s Blackbird studios and performed nightly during the wildly successful Time Machine Tour, which ran from June 2010 to June 2011. Work on “CLOCKWORK ANGELS” resumed in the fall of 2011 at Revolution Recording in Toronto after the tour’s finale, with additional strings (arranged by David Campbell) recorded at Hollywood’s Ocean Way Studios earlier this year. Lyrically, “CLOCKWORK ANGELS” chronicles a young man’s quest across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy as he attempts to follow his dreams. The story features lost cities, pirates, anarchists, an exotic carnival, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.
Editor's note: Check out the animation activity on the band's site, it's brilliant!

The novelization of “CLOCKWORK ANGELS” is being written by science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson in collaboration with Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart.

Incidentally, Classic Rock magazine in the UK have a Rush fanpack available for Pre-Order, which will get you the new album a week BEFORE it's official release date!
Details here:

Rush will herald the release of “CLOCKWORK ANGELS” with a new single “Headlong Flight” landing at rock radio on April 19th.

Details of a full-scale North American tour to support the new album will be announced shortly.

Album Tracklist:
1. Caravan
2. BU2B
3. Clockwork Angels
4. The Anarchist
5. Carnies
6. Halo Effect
7. Seven Cities Of Gold
8. The Wreckers
9. Headlong Flight
10. BU2B2
11. Wish Them Well
12. The Garden

Official band website:

Axl Rose out of Rock and Roll Hame Of Fame Induction

Yes, it seem the man has one goal in life and that is to snub and annoy as many people as he possibly can in his lifetime!
Not content with being a prima donna in making fans wait every night for at least two hours, before Guns 'n' Roses will hit the stage, Axl Rose has now made a big song and dance about not wanting to be or have his name associated with any induction of the band, Guns 'n' Roses into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Axl Rose has issued the following statement / letter to one and all on his decision to pull out of any 'personal' involvement with G'N'R's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N' Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,

When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N' Roses were to be inducted it'd be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.

Since then we've listened to fans, talked with members of the board of the Hall Of Fame, communicated with and read various public comments and jabs from former members of Guns N' Roses, had discussions with the president of the Hall Of Fame, read various press (some legit, some contrived) and read other artists' comments weighing in publicly on Guns and the Hall with their thoughts.

Under the circumstances I feel we've been polite, courteous, and open to an amicable solution in our efforts to work something out. Taking into consideration the history of Guns N' Roses, those who plan to attend along with those the Hall for reasons of their own, have chosen to include in "our" induction (that for the record are decisions I don't agree with, support or feel the Hall has any right to make), and how (albeit no easy task) those involved with the Hall have handled things... no offense meant to anyone but the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn't appear to be somewhere I'm actually wanted or respected.

For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It's their show not mine.

That said, I won't be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N' Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of "Guns N' Roses".

This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp's perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I'm sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I'll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don't intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision. Since the announcement of the nomination we've actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, "damned if I do, damned if I don't" scenario all the way around.

In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the 'Appetite ...' or '... Illusion' lineups, I've publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing's changed.

The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of "for the fans" or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and DJ Ashba.

Izzy came out with us a few times back in '06 and I invited him to join us at our LA Forum show last year. Steven was at our show at the Hard Rock, later in '06 in Las Vegas, where I invited him to our after-party and was rewarded with his subsequent interviews filled with reunion lies. Lesson learned. Duff joined us in 2010 and again in '11 along with his band, Loaded, opening in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, with the exception of Izzy or Duff joining us on stage if they were so inclined somewhere in the future for a song or two, that's enough.

There's a seemingly endless amount of revisionism and fantasies out there for the sake of self-promotion and business opportunities masking the actual realities. Until every single one of those generating from or originating with the earlier lineups has been brought out in the light, there isn't room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion.

Maybe if it were you it'd be different. Maybe you'd do it for this reason or that. Peace, whatever. I love our band now. We're there for each other when the going get's rough. We love our fans and work to give them every ounce of energy and heart we can.

So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn't owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another's, or in this case several others', expense.

But hey if ya gotta then maybe we can get the "no show, grandstanding, publicity stunt, disrespectful, he doesn't care about the fans" crap out of the way as quickly as we can and let's move on. No one's taking the ball and going home. Don't get it twisted. For more than a decade and a half we've endured the double standards, the greed of this industry and the ever present seemingly limitless supply of wannabes and unscrupulous, irresponsible media types. Not to imply anything in this particular circumstance, but from my perspective in regard to both the Hall and a reunion, the ball's never been in our court.

In closing, regardless of this decision and as hard to believe or as ironic as it may seem, I'd like to sincerely thank the board for their nomination and their votes for Guns' induction. More importantly I'd like to thank the fans for being there over the years, making any success we've had possible and for enjoying and supporting Guns N' Roses music.

I wish the Hall a great show, congratulations to all the other artists being inducted and to our fans we look forward to seeing you on tour!!


Axl Rose

P.S. RIP Armand, Long Live ABC III

From the above, I would say it seems all too clear that there's one specific name that Axl fails to mention anywhere, that of a certain Slash. Sad ...
Guessing Axl is jealous of the success and respect that Slash gets these days.
Axl, you could do yourself a favour and perhaps learn from how Slash treats his fans and maybe you'd get more respect, but I extremely doubt that will ever happen! 

I think for fans of G'N'R, this may really be a diss on them, even if Axl doesn't think so, the way the message and legal 'reference' / address is worded, kind of makes it very difficult for the rest of the band members, to go ahead and have any kind of induction, as Axl indicates, he wants no mention of his name, if any induction of the band goes forward ...

In a funny kind of twist, the much respected rock radio and rock TV show host, Eddie Trunk has backed Axl on Twitter and Facebook saying, 'Don't get all these people saying Axl denying Hall induction is a snub to his fans? You need a clueless club to tell you Guns is iconic??'

Sorry Eddie, I think you don't get it from the fans standpoint ...

Personally it doesn't bother me in the slightest about G'N'R, although I do recognise what a huge impact both 'Appetite for Destruction' and 'Use Your Illusion 1 and 2' had on rock fans and simply on album sales alone, it speaks massive volumes towards justification for their inclusion to the R&RHOF

Maybe it's a blessing if the rest of the guys don't do it and it allows for someone like Deep Purple or Kiss to be inducted or even someone like Journey for that matter?

One thing is for sure with Axl, the drama never ends! 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

News Update for Wednesday April 11th, 2012

Hi folks,
Wow! Great news for AOR fans, Journey fans in particular here in the US, read on for all the info!

OK, as previously mentioned about a month, the prize giveaway with courtesy of is back on and it couldn't be easier ...
Yes, free online guitar lessons for ONE year, for ONE lucky winner!
Full details at the end of today news items.
OK, to the news, have a great day folks,


JOURNEY is returning to the road on July 21 for their 2012 tour kick-off in San Bernardino, California at the San Manuel Amphitheatre with concert dates through December. Special guests Pat Benatar featuring Neil Giraldo and Loverboy will appear on most tour dates.
Scheduled 2012 tour information is listed below.

Tickets for some concerts are already on sale with additional onsales starting Friday, April 13, at all the usual online, phone and physical retail outlets, including select Walmart Ticketmaster locations across the country.

Since its formation in 1973 in San Francisco, JOURNEY has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 gold and platinum albums. The band's Greatest Hits album is certified 15 times platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified album holders. Journey was awarded the prestigious "Legend Of Live Award" at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards in honor of the band's significant and lasting contributions to live music and the touring business, and in acknowledgement of their commitment to the fans and the art of performing live.
The 2011 Eclipse World Tour was of the band's most successful tours ever, drawing nearly a million fans and ranked in the Top 15 Tours of the year. 2011 also marked the 30th anniversary of the band's seminal anthem, Don't Stop Believin', which was honored as the top-selling digital classic rock song in history by Nielsen SoundScan. The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

PAT BENATAR AND NEIL GIRALDO changed the face of music forever when their debut album, 'In the Heat of the Night,' exploded in 1979. Pat emerged fearless, fighting and forging a path for future female rock stars around the world. With Neil's innovative vision creating the signature "Benatar" sound, hits like Heartbreaker, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Love Is A Battlefield and We Belong led to platinum album after platinum album. Benatar won an unprecedented four consecutive GRAMMY Awards, as well as three American Music Awards, establishing her as one of America's leading female rock vocalists. With over 30 million albums and 19 Top 40 singles to their name, Benatar/Giraldo remain a rock 'n roll powerhouse today, selling out concerts and wowing audiences, after more than three decades of making music together.

With trademark red leather pants and bandanas to match their huge rock sound and high-energy live shows, LOVERBOY has sold more than 10 million albums and earned multi-platinum plaques for albums such as their self-titled debut LP, Get Lucky, Keep It Up and Lovin' Every Minute of It. The string of hits include the band's smash anthem Working For The Weekend, as well as Hot Girls In Love, Turn Me Loose, and Lovin' Every Minute Of It. Loverboy's continued pop culture relevance is alive and well in 2012, with recent references to the band in episodes of NBC's hit show '30 Rock' and Comedy Network's popular 'Regular Show.'
Members of Journey will be attending the premiere of Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey, a new documentary that tells the real life rock-n-roll fairy tale story of Arnel Pineda, who was discovered on YouTube to become the band's new lead singer. Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey, a film by director and producer Ramona S. Diaz, is a rare behind-the-scenes look at Pineda's early life's struggles and the challenges involved in becoming front man for one of America's most beloved rock groups. The documentary premieres April 19 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City and also will be shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival 2012 on May 3.

VIP Packages for the 2012 tour will be available through VIP Nation, including premium seats, exclusive merchandise and more. For more information please visit Journey is also teaming up with to offer fans some of the best seats in the house for this tour to benefit outstanding charities helping to make wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. These exclusive seats will be available only at
Scheduled 2012 Tour Dates (more to be announced):

July 21: San Bernardino, CA - San Manuel Amphitheater
July 22: Stateline, CA- Harvey's Outdoor Arena
July 24: Paso Robles, CA - Main Grandstand, California Mid-State Fair
July 26: Cheyenne, WY - Cheyenne Frontier Nights
July 28: George, WA - Gorge Amphiteatre
July 29: Spokane, WA - Northern Quest Casino Amphitheater
August 3: Salt Lake City, UT - USANA Amphitheatre
August 6: Sturgis, SD - Buffalo Chip Campground Amphitheatre*
August 15: Canandaigua, NY - Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
 August 17: Louisville, KY - Freedom Hall
August 18: Des Moines, IA - Grandstand, Iowa State Fair
August 24: Woodlands, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 25: Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
September 18: Youngstown, OH - Covelli Centre
September 21: Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
September 22: Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center

*This concert features Journey and Loverboy.
**This concert features Journey.

Official weblinks:

Coroners report on Ronnie Montrose rules that guitarist shot himself

What a really tragic twist in the death of Ronnie Montrose, after the initial story that we all learned or were informed, revealed that he had died of prostate cancer, which had made no sense to many, who had understood that the man had beaten the cancer.

Then another story came out that Police were investigating the possibility of another cause of death ..., that now appears to be accurate following San Mateo County coroners office revealing that the guitarist died from a single, self inflicted gunshot wound.

This was posted in the San Francisco Chronicle, also it's been posted in Rolling Stone magazine, on Billboard and in the UK's Classic Rock magazine.

Links to those stories:

Sad indeed. RIP Ronnie Montrose ...

Some brief news items

Queen it seems, will still play live shows with Adam Lambert, following the cancellation of the huge Sonisphere gig they were scheduled to play this summer.
It seems they will now play two shows at London's Hammersmith Apollo, possibly early July, according to Classic Rock magazine, not yet confirmed at at this time.
Apparently they will also play in Russia, with two shows, one in Moscow and one in Kiev.

Rock of Vegas is an annual rock festival on the streets of Vegas, scheduled to take place this summer in downtown Las Vegas and the shows will free! Now there's a first for Vegas right?!

Artists mentioned so far include Styx, Night Ranger, Twisted Sister, Warrant, Vince Neil, Dennis DeYoung, Bret Michaels, Skid Row and Asia featuring John Payne - The other Asia!
The story and details were posted at

Yngwie Malmsteen is to open the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods! - Tonight!

Revolver Golden Gods will broadcast live on all XBOX game consoles as well as Revolver's Facebook page starting at 3pm EST / 6pm PST on Wednesday(Tonight!), April 11th, 2012.

Go here for details of a direct link to watch:

Official artist website:

And finally ....

Yes, here we go folks, read on!

"April Guitar Master Class and Chambers of Rock Giveaway"

Hey folks, want to learn how to play guitar online?
No catch, the folks at simply want to make this really easy for you to win, but only for ONE person only, yes really!

No question to answer, honest!

Simply send me an email to with the subject line saying: "I want the lessons!" and enter to win 1 year of full access to Guitar Master Class - online guitar instructional web site and music community.

Details about the prize: is a dreamworld essentially for guitarists or aspiring guitarists who are looking to learn more, start from scratch or ..., well, just go and check the site out and you'll see what I am talking about.

Yes indeed, Chambers of Rock and are pleased to be able to offer, one very lucky reader of 'Chambers of Rock' a years subscription at as the prize.

This is something that would normaly cost you $110 (USD) for the year, but it's coming up for grabs, right here at Chambers of Rock during the month of April!

Rules are simple, be the first reader to email me, saying "I want the lessons!" and you could be the lucky winner and who knows, future rock guitar hero!!
Good luck and have a great week, cheers, Al "

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Michael Thompson Band – Future Past album review

Michael Thompson Band – Future Past album review
Released through: Frontiers Records. Release date: Available now.

Michael Thompson is one of those truly talented musicians who got a couple of lucky - deserved! - breaks, after starting out studying at Berklee College of Music, alongside jazz fusion star Pat Metheny.
The breaks came by securing major touring gigs with Joe Cocker and Cher, before then really focusing on his own solo career.
His 1989 Geffen records Michael Thompson Band release 'How Long,' was an album that pulled in a few serious players from the AOR world, including vocalists Bobby Kimball (Toto) and John Elefante (Kansas) and also drummers Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons, Frank Zappa) and Pat Torpey (Mr Big) and other special guests too.
It was a classy AOR album, if mostly restrained and not too rocky an affair, but still very good nonetheless.
Since that release, he became an artist very much in demand playing alongside the likes of Cher (Again), Michael Bolton, Madonna, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain and many, many more, but sadly more or should I say less of the rock material …, until now!
Sure, he has released a couple of other solo albums in ‘The World According to M.T.’ and ‘M.T. Speaks,’ but both of those tend to follow the more soulful, even funky and jazz directions he’s taken at times, no less musical though.

There’s no doubt in my opinion though, that the man is back to his finest AOR ever, with this new album.
‘Future Past’ is for me, a very, very slick AOR album and with vocalist Larry King (Soleil Moon) and no, I’m not talking about the TV guy, but instead he’s a vocalist that has elements of many name vocalists and I didn’t want to draw comparisons, but at times he does sound like a rockier Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), perhaps even a little like Stan Bush too, maybe hints of Jimi Jamison (Survivor) too. Backed by Khari Parker on drums and Alan Berliant on bass who both play their parts so well here!  

This new album opens with ‘High Times,’ which is without doubt a tasty AOR slice of melodic rock! Brilliant, slick vocals, nice hooks and a great solo here too.
Good opener for me, without any doubt.

‘Can’t Be Right’ starts with an interesting riff and then it seems to ease back through the verses, before most certainly picking up the tempo and edge – Yes, edge! – in the choruses and then the solo rips things up nicely too. Brilliant stuff!

The title track ‘Future Past’ is next and it’s again, perfect AOR, Michael Thompson’s overall sound often reminds me at times of Steve Lukather (Toto), perhaps not as jazzy on this album, but some signature time changes do make for variety here.
This is class, without doubt.

‘When You Love Someone’ is an excellent power ballad, what more need I say, seriously, nothing says more and the song really speaks for itself. Excellent!

‘Here I Am’ has moments of being one of those songs that really reminds you of something else, so without doubt it has that big, catchy feel in the chorus about it that just grabs you again and again. You'll be singing this one, again for sure!  

To be honest, I hate to say this but ‘Beautiful Mystery’ does the same for me, as I think of Tears For Fears meets Mike and the Mechanics. A slick and smooth AOR hit single or should be for sure and then it gets an up tempo Toto like feel about it. Love it!

‘Break Me Down’ opens not unlike something by Journey initially and then it’s almost Richard Marx like, as laid back acoustic guitars kick in for the initial verse and then it picks up to give us a nice mid paced pop rocker, in the best AOR way possible.

The laid back intro to ‘End Game’ is a little misleading, before picking up in the pre-chorus and chorus, then eases back through the verses. It’s multi layered bliss, again not unlike Toto. Nice stuff indeed.

‘Gypsy Road’ next starts acoustically and then picks up a little more and then just grows more and more, loads of vocal harmonies and then hits a flourish of instrumentation, with a lovely guitar solo to sweep you off your feet. Great song!

A haunting intro that leads into a funky riff, introduces ‘Can’t Miss,’ which then just completely grows into AOR magical bliss once more!
Great harmonies and a hook-line that’s killer, so good, it’s like one of those gems Russ Ballard would write and the guitar work here just grows and grows.
Seriously, throughout the album the guitar work is stunning. Seriously, well played Michael!
‘Fight For Your Life’ is certainly an emotional closer, strong lead and harmony vocals really raise the standard on this immense power ballad to wrap things up.
This is such a well-crafted album, a musical gem if you ask me, excellent vocals throughout, both lead and harmony, with instrumentation that is so slick, it’s magical.
I really can’t say a bad thing about this release at all, perhaps maybe just a little more punch would've been nice at times, but otherwise, it’s just great!
Does every song have an absolutely killer catchy chorus, not always and maybe not instantaneously, but there is nothing here I don’t like and after a few plays, you’ll hear something else to make you think, yes, that’s class!
Rating: 4.75 out of 5

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