ULI JON ROTH ON GUITAR IN IDAHO ON 10-1-08. PHOTO BY BEN UPHAM.
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ULI JON ROTH- “Guitar Fans Rock to Roth”
By SARAH DE CRESCENZO
The Porterville Recorder
June 24, 2009
While Uli Jon Roth may not be a household name, Central Valley guitar enthusiasts gathered Tuesday night in droves at Exeter’s Orange Blossom Junction restaurant and events venue to witness his musical prowess. In true rock n’ roll style, Roth showed up late, but his fans were willing to wait.
Maybe his biggest fan – Orange Blossom owner and guitarist Doug Long – nearly vibrated with excitement as he discussed Roth’s legendary guitar skills.
“Uli is one of the greatest guitar players in the world,” Long said. Roth, previously the lead singer and songwriter for the ’80s rock band Scorpions, has had a long and varied career.
Following a stint as lead singer and songwriter with the Scorpions, Roth retreated from the music scene and explored different ways of using the guitar to make music, including playing sevenstring guitars in order to hit the highest notes. Roth has performed at the Orange Blossom before, most recently in 2008. That performance, while not a Hendrix tribute like Tuesday’s concert, also incorporated guitar riffs inspired by Roth’s favorite musical legend.
Roth strolled in casually one hour after the slated beginning of the show sporting a sequined black fanny pack, tight black pants, and a blazer and headband in bright red velvet holding back his long locks. Raucous applause and howls of appreciation greeted Roth’s arrival on stage.
Tuesday night’s show, called “In Celebration of Jimi Hendrix”, attracted a crowd of both Roth and Hendrix fans alike. The audience, while mainly made up of ’80s rock fans, incorporated people of all age groups. “We have people from 16 to 60 here to see Uli play,” Long said.
One of the people closer to 16 than 60 was his son, Christian Long, who attended with his friend Randall Shahan. Long – the younger – described his respect for Roth’s musical talents.
He described Roth’s prior performance as a mix between a “German war song” – in reference to Roth’s penchant for incorporating classical music from the likes of Wagner – and “serious hard rock.” When word got out that Roth had arrived, cries of “The king is here!” inspired an exodus of diners from the restaurant tables to the folding chairs set up around the stage. The audience, sitting closely crowded in a half circle around the small stage, were treated to an intimate, live experience as Roth sang and strummed on his electric guitar.
The sound of the guitar echoed warmly throughout the wooden building, as fans cheered and raved about Roth’s song selection. “This set is different [from my last performance] as you would expect from any self-respecting musician,” Roth said by way of introduction. “We’ll do some other songs too, but tonight is about Jimi Hendrix,” Roth added. His rendition of Hendrix’s lesser known “If Six was Nine” inspired a respectful silence as he sang throatily. But, when Roth dove into “All Along the Watchtower,” many members of the audience couldn’t help bouncing around in their chairs along to the catchy tune.
Even when Roth broke a guitar string, his band mates picked up the slack and entertained the audience with Hendrix melodies until the calamity was averted. As Roth returned to the stage, a full house held its breath to see what their musical icon would treat them to next. They weren’t disappointed.
ULI JON ROTH DISCOGRAPHY:
1974 Fly to the Rainbow (Scorpions)
1976 In Trance (Scorpions)
1977 Virgin Killer (Scorpions)
1978 Taken by Force (Scorpions)
1978 Tokyo Tapes (Live Scorpions)
1979 Earthquake (Electric Sun)
1981 Fire Wind (Electric Sun)
1985 Beyond the Astral Skies (Electric Sun)
1991 Aquila Suite
1996 Sky of Avalon
2000 Transcendental Sky Guitar Vol. I & II
2008 Under a Dark Sky
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NEAL SCHON (JOURNEY GUITARIST) LIVE IN SPOKANE, WA. ON 10-7-76. PHOTO/ART BY BEN UPHAM
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“IN THE BEGINNING”
REVIEWS OF THE FIRST THREE JOURNEY ALBUMS…
JOURNEY ALBUM #1
“This is where it all started”
By A. Customer
March 5, 2002
When I was still learning about Journey, I never knew there was any music from the band prior to Steve Perry until I bought the Journey “Time 3″ box set. In it, I found pieces of early Journey when Gregg Rolie was the lead singer and I was instantly captivated. I knew I had to check Journey’s roots out, and “Journey” is one of the first CD’s I ever owned. My dad bought it for me when I got my first CD player.
Journey’s self-titled debut is an amazing album. It is a perfect example of classic fusion rock craftsmanship, and is delivered with a unique variety of twists and sounds. Neal Schon’s guitar is so energizing and full of power. He is truly magnificent, bringing forth an intense, screeching, melodic down-pour of solid rock perfection through his strings to vibrate through your ears and echo throughout your body. Then you have the relentless, thunderous drums of Aynsley Dunbar, thick with jamming effects that work flawlessly with Schon’s guitar to throw you a rock ‘n roll hammering punch like none other. Dunbar never ceases to make you want to bang your head. Gregg Rolie’s vocals are magnificent, intense, and soulful. He is one of the best keyboardists around, and his catchy melodies gel so well with Schon’s guitar, Dunbar’s drums, and of course, the powerful bass of Ross Valory, and the spectacular rhythm guitaring of George Tickner.
The album begins with one of my all-time favorite early Journey songs, “Of A Lifetime.” Check out the sizzling and smoking guitar work from Schon, and the jamming drum thumps from Dunbar. Within this feel-good song comes Rolie’s soft, free-flowing lyrics. Ross Valory’s thick, loud bass will give your ears a ride. This is definitely a party-like song, in which true fusion rock talent is shown. They were definitely having a good time with this one.
“In The Morning Day” has always been one of my favorites, because I love the melodic chords from guitarist Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie. Like with “Of A Lifetime,” the song starts out smooth and flowing with Gregg’s soft lyrics, before an eruption of guitars, keyboards, and drums.
“Khoutek” is an instrumental jammer. The main melody repeats over and over behind Neal Schon’s screeching guitar and Gregg Rolie’s swirling keyboards. Schon and Rolie seem to be taking turns showing off their talent and feeding off one another in the song which makes it very unique. Schon, Rolie, Valory, Tickner and Dunbar are fantastic here, even though it’s not one of my favorite songs.
“To Play Some Music” probably has the most lyrics of all the songs. Rolie is a pretty good singer, and it’s just a fun rock song simply about enjoying playing music and bringing joy to people in the process.
“Topaz” is another instrumental jammer and one of my very favorites. Again, the song starts very quiet with some soft Neal Schon chords and Rolie keyboard notes. Then Dunbar eases in with the drumming until the song gets quicker and quicker and then erupts in a groovy rock masterpiece of catchy guitar hooks and chords and drum beats. This song perks me up every time I listen to it.
Journey tones it down a bit with “In My Lonely Feeling (Conversations).” It is probably my least favorite song on the album. It has kind of a ho-hum , blue kind of feel to it. But at the end, the song starts jamming again. Rolie does a nice job with vocals. In virtually every album I hear, there is one song that I can’t find a lot to say about. This one is one of them.
The album finishes with my favorite on the album, “Mystery Mountain.” It is a rocking, free-flowing song that gives you a laid-back feel. I love Rolie’s keyboards in this song, and Valory’s bass really adds to the overall atmosphere of this piece. Of course Schon does his usual flawless guitar work. Rolie provides some atmospheric lyrics as well.
“Journey” is a complete, classic rock-jamming package that started the “Journey” of Journey. While the style is far from the kind of music they performed in the late 70′s and through the 80′s with Steve Perry, as well as the current style with Steve Augeri, it is still an album that is a must for all die-hard rock fans. This is pure rock that will give you a fine dose of ear-candy. These are definitive examples of Journey’s best early work!! Don’t pass this album up!!
By Roger Walker
(Morrisville, PA USA)
January 9, 2001
This review is from: Journey (Audio CD)
I bought the cassette tape of this album years ago, and admittedly was taken aback initially by it; but listening to it now, I am really blown away by it. Picture if you will Rush Meets Pink Floyd: somewhat cosmic lyrics with fantastic instrumental interplay. Listening to organist Gregg Rolie singing, you have to wonder, “Hey, no offense to Steve Perry, but why did they replace this guy?” He had (at least on this debut album) a fantastic voice; and of course his playing on the organ, piano, and synthesizer are a delight as well. Then again, there’s the super percussion work of drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and the great unsung hero of the bass guitar Ross Valory. But the most amazing instrumentalist of the original quintet (yes, there was a fifth member, rhythm guitarist George Tickner, who also co-wrote much of Journey’s early works; but you can’t really get an idea of how good a guitarist the guy was, unfortunately) is without a doubt lead guitarist Neal Schon. You have GOT to hear this album to know what I mean! Yeah, you heard the guy blaze on a lot of Journey and Bad English songs; but he just kicks tail throughout this recording! And, best of all, these five guys played TOGETHER – Schon was egged on in his playing by the interplay of the other guys, and the results are just fantastic. In particular, I recommend “Of A Lifetime,” “In My Lonely Feeling,” and “Mystery Mountain.”
JOURNEY ALBUM #2
“LOOK INTO THE FUTURE” (1976)
“Impressive new turn for Journey”
By A Customer
March 8, 2002
I first caught wind of Journey’s pre-Steve Perry days after buying the “Time 3″ box set, and I rushed to grab up Journey’s “root” albums: their debut “Journey,” this album and their third album, “Next.”
I had to special order “Look Into The Future” a few years ago, and it was well worth the wait! “Look Into The Future” is a great album in which Journey re-captures their melodic, progressive, fusion, hard rocking flavor they exhibited in their first album, “Journey.” This time around, the group presents us with a lot more vocals headed by Gregg Rolie. Rolie does a fine job as usual, driving out his intense, soulful voice out amongst Neal Schon’s power-charged guitar, Ross Valory’s flawless bass, and Aynsley Dunbar’s pounding, energized drums. Virtually every song is a polished work of art, with catchy, rhythmical performances. As with the first album, “Look Into The Future” presents us with plenty of unique twists and a variety of different sounds and jamming, shuffling beats.
Check out the bluesy groove of the opening track “On A Saturday Nite.” Schon and Dunbar do a great job here, and the song is a lot of fun. Check out Rolie’s way groovy piano/keyboard intro. In speaking of fun, you’re sure to enjoy the fun rock of the following track, “It’s All Too Much.” I believe this was originally a Beatles tune, or perhaps done by one of the Beatles. Journey does an excellent cover of this song; Journey-style of course. It’s such a powerfully charged song, courtesy of Schon’s sizzling guitar and Valory’s intese base guitar. The song really jams. But then we’re shifted back to the blues with “Anyway.” Rolie’s vocals are charged and demanding and Schon’s guitar has a free-flowing edginess that makes the song great.
Journey decides to get rough, rugged and rowdy with “She Makes Me (Feel Alright),” and down and dirty rock song crafted to Journey perfection on the wings of Rolie’s energetic vocals, Dunbar’s harsh, shuffling beats, and Schon’s smoking guitar. And if you want more edgy and rowdy rock fun, than set your CD player to track #7, “Midnight Dreamer.” The song is in the exact same ballpark as “She Makes Me (Feel Alright),” and the exact same works of musicianship by Schon, Rolie, Dunbar and Valory can be heard here.
Not only is Gregg Rolie a great classic rock vocalist, but he is also an excellent keyboardist. The intense “You’re On Your Own,” starts out with some melodic but urgent sounding Rolie keybaords and they continue throughout the song. Rolie’s keyboards and Schon’s guitar work so well together here, and Valory’s bass is heard loud and clear.
The next song is my favorite; the free-flowing, progressive, melodic “Look Into The Future.” Rolie’s voice is soulful, free-flowing and smooth as are Schon’s soft guitar chords. Again, Rolie’s thick keyboard swirls and Valory’s base bring the whole package home. This song is almost atmospheric and takes you on a mind “Journey.” The song is unique in that it is soft, contrasted by loud and more rowdy toward the end.
The album ends with a bluesy but rugged number in “I’m Gonna Leave You.” Again, Schon’s powerful guitar is clearly exhibited here as is Rolie’s edgy voice. It fits with the two other rough rock songs I mentioned previously. Dunbar’s drum beats are a jamming good time.
Journey is entertainment galore with the variety and exquisit musicianship they present on this album. You want fun? It’s here. You want edgy? It’s here. You want smooth? It’s here. You want blues? It’s here. This is overall a superb early Journey album, and one to not pass up!!
“AN EXCELLENT FOLLOW-UP TO THE FIRST ALBUM”
By Steve DeMellman
(Phoenix, Az USA)
December 29, 2007
First of all, the only Journey albums I like (and own) are the first four. Yeah, I know Infinity has Perry on vocals, but its a very musical album and I have to admit it grabs me. That said, for the pure joy of listening to beautiful musicianship, the first album is my favorite. Rolie’s vocals are easier to take (and certainly less pervasive than Perry’s) and the rhythm section is as solid as they come. Schon and Rolie’s melodic virtuosity takes the music soaring (like the album cover) while Dunbar fills in all the gaps with his exceptional drumming. On the first album, Kohoutek is a great example of the talent and energy of this band—-that number really cooks. A lot of critics deride progressive rock/fusion as being pretentious and self-indulgent. Actually, I see it as talented musicians exploring their creative urges and striving to reach their potential as artists. For those who prefer to keep rock dumb, there are plenty of three-chord posers out there doing the same-old same-old…..That said,this album, the second from Journey, called Look Into the Future, features the same pre-Perry line-up as the debut release. Greg Rolie sings a little more than on the first album but there is still plenty of tight, tasteful playing without the human voice attached. The title track is a standout. So is the jazzy direction taken in the second part of Midnight Dreamer. Journey fans who are not aware of the pre-Perry period are really missing out on how cohesive these guys sounded.
JOURNEY ALBUM #3
“Starting to lose it here? Not”!!!
By B. E Jackson (Pennsylvania)
January 17, 2009
Updated January 23, 2011-
I’m sorry for originally slamming this album. Actually “slamming” is an exaggeration- more like expressing minor disappointment. However now that I own a copy for myself -and not to mention, a freshly remastered version with superior and louder, cleaner sound quality- I can now approach it in a new light. I now *can* differentiate much of the guitar playing, and I really like what I’m hearing.
The album can best be described like this- the first half is the space rock journey, and the second half is the much heavier and bluesy side. Now this is NO ordinary rock band. Forget the fact the first 3 Journey albums are remarkably different from the Steve Perry years. Just the fact a rock band in 1977 was trying to cross into the mainstream by devoting one side to space rock and the other to blues is a risky, interesting move.
Now I will be the first to admit that the songwriting on side one doesn’t leave as much of an impression on me as side two. Some of the songs on the first side feels a bit TOO dreamy which means, occasionally, the songs feel unfocused and lack direction. This only occurs *sometimes* however. It definitely does not occur on the pop/rock classic “Spaceman”. That’s one really beautiful and sad vocal melody right there. Drifting through space alone and feeling depressed. Yup, that’s the atmosphere the song contains.
They even resemble the Magical Mystery Tour-era of the Beatles with the vocal melody in “People”. Listen to THAT excellent song. The next two songs sort of blend together in my mind as relatively aimless attempts at space rock, but they do eventually build into some excellent guitar work, so that makes up for it. Unfortunately “Here We Are” ends too soon because that guitar solo surely deserves a few extra minutes!
Now get THIS! The second side is totally insanely heavy rock and roll, some of it bluesy, some of it not too far off from resembling the classic period of Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. NOW you see what it’s totally insulting when people refer to Journey as “housewife music”. Yeah, don’t even get me started…
“Hustler” is a really interesting take on the heavy blues rock genre. I love that guitar riff, and the guitar solo is *amazingly* heavy. The title has a vocal melody that is perhaps the best one on the entire album. Who can possibly hate THAT vocal melody? Seriously, who? The guitar playing in the very beginning of “Nickel & Dime” almost resembles that famous song “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens- these are a few of my favorite things” (I honestly don’t know who created that song, by the way) before suddenly EXPLODING into an electric guitar dreamers idea of a perfect heaven. “Karma” is a fairly messy and hard to distinguish blues/hard rock way to close out a wonderful album, but it is improving with more listens.
Yes Journey’s Next has improved dramatically for me thanks mainly to the better sound quality of the remastered version. Now here’s my older review, which you shouldn’t take seriously but I’m leaving it up anyway just in case you (the readers) may be in the same situation as me concerning a struggle to get into Journey’s Next. This is now officially a 5-star album (though I DID actually give it 4 stars originally, it’s honestly even better now).
Journey’s Next really shows signs that the band was about ready to change into a more commercial direction. The songwriting doesn’t quite hit the same point of excellence for me. I can’t remember how most of these songs go when the album is finished, especially the heavier parts of the songs. That doesn’t mean they’re bad songs or anything, because every song on here has its moments.
The vocals just don’t quite hit the same high point that the ones from the debut and Look to the Future did. Also, some of the vocal melodies feel like they rush along at a sloppy pace. Maybe it’s just me.
BUT, the guitar playing is really really good, and that’s why I’m giving the album a pretty decent score. Plus, the music still SOUNDS good because it’s mid 70′s hard rock with an experimental edge. The band is still pretty good here. I just feel a bit letdown with the songwriting compared to the previous two albums.
“Next” Is Awesome!!! True Classic Journey”!!!
By A Customer
March 10, 2002
I had to special order this CD a few years ago, and ever since I got it into my hot little hands, I’ve enjoyed this early Journey gem very much. This is the last album recorded by the band before Steve Perry joined. It is much like their second album “Look Into The Future” and it seems like Journey never runs out of new musical ideas to deliver to our ears. “Next” is every bit as unique as their debut, “Journey” and “Look Into The Future.” Like with the first two albums, Journey engages in powerful, sizzling creativity, and brings us a whole new set of interesting, thuderous, beats which makes you want indulge in the excitement of air-drum, air-guitar, and air-keyboard playing. Neal Schon’s guitar is just as mean as ever; full of life and bustling with activity. The fascinating, melodic charges come out at you, and are as vivid as ever. Aynsley Dunbar’s drums are as rowdy and strong as all get out. Ross Valory still proves he’s one of the best bass players around, and the voice of Gregg Rolie is a perfect fit as usual, gliding and roaring out with the amazing musical sounds. His keyboards are superb just like on the first two albums. He is never a disappointment. “Next” gives a hard-nosed, rough, rugged, melodic feel that is like no other. Songs like “Hustler,” “I Would Find You,” “Next” and “Karma” fall into this category especially. Highlights on the album are the catchy fun rock of “Spaceman,” the dreamy, melodic, free-flowing “People,” my favorite song; the edgy melodic guitar and keyboard clad “Next,” and the swirly rapidness of “Nickel And Dime.” This is a fun album with fun twists and catchy riffs. It is a partying rock album that will always be timeless!!
1976 Look into the Future
1981 Captured (Live)
1986 Raised on Radio
1996 Trial by Fire
2005 Live Houston 1981
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JAMES YOUNG (JY) OF THE BAND STYX PLAYING IN SPOKANE, WA. IN 1977. PHOTO/ART BY BEN UPHAM.
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“CYCLORAMA REVIEWS” (2003)
“STYX HAS BEEN AROUND AWHILE BUT STILL HAVE THE ENERGY TO GET UP AND GO”
BY DAVID YONKE
THE SALINA JOURNAL
MARCH 19, 2003
Progressive rock band Styx is like a finely tuned race car that’s been around the track a few times but still has plenty of get-up-and-go, says the group’s guitarist-singer Tommy Shaw.
“When you play a lot of shows, you’re bound to get really good and tight,” he says. “We’re constantly tearing it apart, tweaking on it every night, like a race car. I think Styx 2003 is the best that the band has ever been, and who would’ve thought?”
Even Shaw is shocked by Styx’s longevity. The group traces its roots to 1964, when it played the Chicago nightclub scene as the Trade Winds. It changed its name to Styx in 1972 and Shaw Joined the band in 1975, when the group first hit the Top 10 with the soaring power ballad “Lady.”
From 1977 to 1984, every album the band released sold between 1 million and 3 million, spawning such radio hits as “Come Sail Away,” “Fooling Yourself (the Angry Young Man),” “The Best of Times” and “Babe.”
Like the mythological river that Styx is named after, however, the band’s path has been one of many twists and turns. Styx’s original drummer, John Panozzo, died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage in 1996, and in 1999 the group made the decision to replace original keyboardist Dennis DeYoung, who suffers from the energy-sapping disease Epstein-Barr Syndrome and was unable to endure the rigors of lengthy concert tours.
“In 1999, we were faced with either hanging it up, or taking some drastic measures and going forward,” Shaw says. “We bit the bullet and made the very difficult decision to carry on without Dennis.”
The lineup now features Shaw, original guitarist James Young, Glen Burtnick on bass, Lawrence Gowan on keyboards/vocals and Todd Sucherman on drums. Chuck Panazzo, the original bassist and brother of the late drummer, recorded two songs with Styx on its latest CD, but is not joining them on tour.
Styx recently released its 22nd album, “Cyclorama,” with an eye-popping cover by graphic design guru Storm Thorgerson. Shaw says the band was amazed and encouraged by the creative freedom it received from Tom Lipsky, president of CMC/Sanctuary Records. “James Young and I met with him a year or two ago and he said, ‘Assume there is no radio support. Don’t worry about hit singles. Make the record for yourselves and your fans.’ JY and I thought, ‘Did we hear this right? Did we hear what we thought we heard from the president of the record label?’”
That kind of support “took the shackles off,” Shaw says. “It freed us from the past. And the first song we did was ‘One with Everything,’ which is one of the most progressive Styx songs ever done. It’s about seven minutes long, goes through three different time changes, and every type of Styx style.” Ironically, Shaw says, the new disc is getting more interest from radio than anything Styx produced in years.
“Take a ride on the Cyclorama”
March 6, 2003
By “wildy_h” (Cohoes, NY United States)
Bands that have been around for 30 years just don’t break new ground. It doesn’t happen. If a band has had the mixture of talent and luck to still be making music 30 years after their first release, there is rarely much interest in breaking new ground, as their hits and fan favorites will easily fill a two hour concert.
Nobody told Styx.
Oh, they know. They just don’t care.
Cyclorama is perhaps the best Styx album in the history of the band. At the very least it is the best recording proffered by Styx since The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight. For the first time in 25 years this is a Styx album through and through, from the opening rumble of Do Things My Way to the last strains of “Life of a Stranger” (a much too short hidden track at the end of the disc.
This is the first Styx album without founding member Dennis DeYoung. This may turn off some long-time fans, but the infusion of Lawrence Gowan and the re-infusion of Glen Burtnick have revived the energy and mojo that caused Rolling Stone magazine readers to crown Styx “the Best Band in the World” in 1981.
The album opens with “Do Things My Way”, a rousing Tommy Shaw rocker that evokes classic Styx sounds while sounding cool enough to play on any Modern Rock station you could name. “Waiting For Our Time” (the first single, again sung by Shaw) follows and brings Styx clearly into the twenty-first century, but will please Styx fans old and new. “Fields of the Brave” is the first offering on the album from new member Larry Gowan, and evokes the magic that Dennis brought to the early days of Styx. This may well be the most poignant and beautiful song Gowan has written in his long career, and is destined to be a classic.
Cyclorama takes an interesting turn with track four, “Bourgeois Pig”, which is something of a soliloquy with Billy Bob Thornton on lead vocals, and leads into “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye”. Glen Burtnick sings his way into Modern Rock/College Radio heaven, while still retaining Styx signatures all over it. Next is James Young on vocals for “These Are The Times”, an amazing song written about JY’s brother. Styx then slows it down a little with a love song, “Yes I Can”. Tommy Shaw and Glen Burtnick duet on a beautiful love song that will make those missing DeYoung melt. Next is “More Love For the Money”, the second of two offerings from Lawrence Gowan, evoking thoughts of classic Styx and Queen all at once.
One more near-ballad, “Together” picks up the pace a bit with Tommy at the microphone, leading into an amazing arrangement of the Styx classic “Fooling Yourself”, with background vocals by none other than the legendary Brian Wilson. This beautifully eerie trip back in time results into a slingshot into today with Captain America, where James Young proves that he is woefully under-represented in the vocal department. This song could be a classic in today’s international environment, and could easily be a song of inspiration for US troops overseas. The song reprises some of the musical base of “Miss America” and takes the deep cynicism of that earlier offering and turns into a message of hope for the future.
Moving into the final phase of the album, Styx continues to wow you with “Killing the Thing That You Love”. This Glen Burtnick vocal may well be the most controversial song on the album for long time Styx fans. Some have pointed to lyrical coincidences that make it sound as if it is directed at former member Dennis DeYoung, but the song was written in 1994 by Burtnick, who was not even a member of the band at the time. Regardless of who or what it was written about, it’s an amazing song, worthy of the Styx name. Next up is a new Prog classic, “One With Everything”. This is the song that old time Styx fans have been waiting for since The Grand Illusion. It rocks hard, and in between it slips into dreamy musical landscapes that are far beyond the ability and reach of the mere-mortal bands regularly “scene” on MTV, VH-1, and MuchMusic. The last listed track, Genki Desu Ka, plays over a drum loop developed by Styx drummer Todd Sucherman. The title means “how do you feel” in Japanese. It’s a feel good meditation in much the same vein as the closing of Pieces of Eight, “Aku-Aku”.
But they’re not done. Oh, no.
I forgot to mention the background vocalists on “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye”. They would be none other than Tenacious D. They also contribute a short skit in which they talk their way into getting onto the album, involving Tommy Shaw. It’s good for a chuckle, and is somewhat reminiscent of old Cheech and Chong. And finally, “The Chosen One” (sic) is an untitled, unlisted track at the end that might serve as a dedication to the heroes of 9-11. This entirely vocal snippet is much too short, and is a beautiful elegy to leave on the palates of Styx fans, as it suggests that Cyclorama is not a one-time spike, but perhaps the beginning of an entirely exciting and musically fulfilling in the life of Styx.
Whether you’ve loved Styx from days of old, or hated them with a passion, or never heard of them at all, this is an album that is worth your careful attention. In this day and age of corporate radio and mass-production rock music, Cyclorama is an amazingly organic aural experience.
Sit back and relax. Styx is about to blow you away.
“The Carrot Hath Been Delivered – Not Dangled”!!
March 13, 2003
By “psychosy” (Monroe, MI)
Can STYX survive without Dennis DeYoung? That is the question.
The answer to that is an emphatic YES THEY CAN!!
“Cyclorama” returns STYX to their heavy metal/prog rock roots and it rocks hard! From the first track to the last, the CD is jammed packed with their strongest and best studio recording they’ve done since “Paradise Theater”. “DO THINGS MY WAY” is a strong opener that’s radio friendly. Has a sound somewhat akin to a Damn Yankees tune but a chorus that’ll remind  Styx fans of such vintage albums as “Equinox” or “Man Of Miracles”. WAITING FOR OUR TIME is an acoustic pop rock style tune sporting a sound simular to something off of “Crystal Ball” but a powerful “Pieces Of Eight” style harmonized rock chorus and deep Creed-like chords keeps up the pace. “FIELDS OF THE BRAVE” and “MORE LOVE FOR THE MONEY” are the two tunes sang by Gowan and they are amazing – think The Beatles meets Queen!!Glen Burtnik’s “KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE” comes right of left field blazing like a Blink 182 inspired monster. However, the real gems on Cyclorama are YES I CAN which has hit single written all over it, the prog rock magnum opus ONE WITH EVERYTHING, and the 7 minute “Grand Illusion-esque” head-swirler entitled “THESE ARE THE TIMES” sung by JY, which is an oddity considering that except for “Snowblind”, JY’s songs seldomly stand out and define an overall Styx CD.
Overall, “Cyclorama” returns STYX to the rocking band they once were yet it’s powerful enough to make them relevant today if only they get the attention and exposure they truly deserve. It’s a CD that proves a truth that some might argue with or find very hard to accept – STYX can indeed survive without Dennis DeYoung. In fact, I’d go so far as to say his departure helped the remaining members come together and returned STYX to what attracted fans long ago – hard-hitting, fist pumping, ROCK AND ROLL. What we have here is an unexpected treasure. The energy and vigor explode, and their creativity as a whole unit make “Cyclorama” – when compared against the last few releases sporting all new material (Brave New World, Edge Of The Century, and Kilroy Was Here) – beats them all hands down.
A timeless classic in the making!
1973 Styx II
1974 The Serpent is Rising
1974 Man of Miracles
1976 Crystal Ball
1977 The Grand Illusion
1978 Pieces of Eight
1981 Paradise Theatre
1983 Kilroy was Here
1984 Caught in the Act (Live)
1990 The Edge of the Century
1997 Return to Paradise (Live)
1999 Brave New World
2001 Styxworld Live 2001
2002 Live at the Rivers Edge
2003 21st Century Live
2005 The Big Bang Theory
2005 Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings
2006 One with Everything (Live)
2011 Regeneration Volumes I & II
2012 Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Live
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GREAT JUMPING JETHRO'S...LIVE IN PULLMAN, WA. ON 3-5-77. PHOTO BY BEN UPHAM.
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BY DAVID L. BECK
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
AUGUST 14, 1976
The original Jethro Tull was a 17th century English agricultural reformer. The current Jethro Tull are English rock and roll performers, dedicated to the proposition that the form is capable of considerable, if not infinite, variety. Their concert Friday night in the Salt Palace was superb.
One aspect of the bands excellence is simple musicianship — that, and versatility. A rock musician, no matter how adept on his instrument, is necessarily going to be limited in his ideas if his only exposure is to rock. Jethro Tull have quite clearly gone beyond that; and these “outside” influences show both in their solo work and in the structure of their ensemble performances. They even toss in a snatch of Beethoven, and do it without condescension, infusing the already enormous power of the man’s music with the ferocity of rock.
Attention to Pacing…
But there is another aspect to Jethro Tull’s success, and that is their
attention to pacing. This is in a sense theatrical, not musical, but it is
vital, I think, in sustaining interest over an hour and 40 minutes. The
group takes more care to vary its dynamics than any other I can remember, from a quiet guitar to a blaring organ fugue to raw rock, moving from the one to the other without pause and with great skill.
Even without Ian Anderson, this would be a first-rate band. With him, they are something else again. He is prodigiously talented. He writes all, or almost all, of the material. He sings all the leads. He plays lead acoustic guitar. He is the world’s greatest rock and roll flute player — admittedly not a major category. And he is also a joy to watch, with his rolling eyes, maniacal grin, and carefully choreographed movements; he has great hands.
Anderson has, to use a much abused word, charisma. He can play a 15 minute unaccompanied flute solo for a young rock audience and make them love it; indeed, they clapped their hands in time when he slipped into, of all things, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” and they cheered when he inserted a few bars.. Of his gently swinging little “Bourree.”
No Jazz Band…
But this was not a jazz crowd, and Jethro Tull is not a jazz band, though the one may be capable of appreciating, and the other of playing, jazz. The secret of it’s the tension between the delicacy of the flute and the raw amplified power that stands behind it, waiting to crash down like thunder; when it does, the release is exhilarating.
In addition to Anderson, the band consists of Martin Barre, electric guitar; John Evan, pianos; Barriemore Barlow on drums and John Glascock on bass, with a man I presume is David Palmer sitting in on keyboards sometimes and contributing a brief sax solo.
(Fashion note: Anderson wore a sort of flash denim biker’s outfit, and
the others wore stripes; but Evan, Evan over there on the piano, Evan
wore —’ I can hardly write it — a suit and tie. What is this world coming to?
The current tour, unlike previous ones which largely promoted the most recent album, was aptly described by a Tull publicist as a “Best Of” tour — an amalgam of pieces from all the Tull albums, including the new one, “Too Old to Rock’n'Roll— Too Young to Die.”
The opener was a band called Star Castle, which was passable when simply playing rock, embarrassing when imitating the Crosby, Stills, and Nash vocal sound, and on the whole, boring.
JETHRO TULL DISCOGRAPHY:
1968 This Was
1969 Stand Up
1972 Thick as a Brick
1972 Living in the Past
1973 Passion Play
1974 War Child
1975 Minstril in the Gallery
1976 Too Old to Rock & Roll, Too Young to Die
1977 Songs from the Wood
1978 Heavy Horses
1978 Bursting Out Live
1982 Broadsword and the Beast
1984 Under Wraps
1987 Crest of a Knave
1989 Rock Island
1991 Catfish Rising
1992 A Little Light Music
1993 Night Cap
1993 Box Set
1995 Roots to Branches
1999 J. Tull Dot Com
2003 Christmas Album
2004 Live at Isle of Wight 1970
2005 Aqualung Live 2005
2007 Live at Montreaux 2003
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STEVEN TYLER AND JOE PERRY OF AEROSMITH ROCK THE CROWD IN SPOKANE, WA. ON JULY 26, 1978. PHOTO BY BEN UPHAM.
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AEROSMITH- “SHAKES EAR DRUMS”
BY DENISE TESSIER
THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
JUNE 30, 1977
I had wondered if there existed another man walking around somewhere who is somewhat like Mick Jagger, but unknown. He does exist, but is already so famous he’s protected even from the press. He is Steven Tyler, lead vocalist and prancer in the very hard rock group Aerosmith.
Aerosmith and second-billed group Nazareth filled Tingley Coliseum Tuesday night to near 13,000 capacity and literally shook ear drums. It’s hard to keep from comparing Aerosmith with the Rolling Stones. They have the drive and strength of a great group; every member is incredibly strong on his instrument. And then there’s Tyler, prancing about in a tight leopard-skin outfit with matching coat and long tails, swinging flowing ribbons of scarf and tautly running his hands through a cat-like mane. He even has the Jagger mouth, a gorgeous creature.
The only problem Tuesday night was the PA system, cranked up quite a bit too loud, which is unnecessary with Aerosmith; they don’t need to cover anything up. But aside from eardrum pain, the show was extraordinary. Aerosmith opened their set with an original “Back in the Saddle” that would have curdled cowboy Gene Autry’s blood. Tyler’s voice consistently approaches a scream, but is incredibly powerful and contained. Nazareth’s lead singer Dan McCafferty,on the other hand, had screamed so harshly it pained the listener’s vocal chords.
Unlike most concerts, the Aerosmith song lineup was unpredictable and shot off unceasingly — clever, raunchy, but clear — the ultimate rock and roll. After they had done the hits — “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Sick as a Dog” — it seemed the one hit left would be saved for last. But after “Walk This Way” they remained on stage for a version of “Rattlesnake Shake,” reminiscent of but surpassing Spooky Tooth’s version. (Strange, but they warned that this was a song we’d probably never hear from them again, though it was the climax of the set.)
What could be left for an encore? “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” with piercing freight engines from Joe Perry’s electric guitar, and a fabulous,
screeching “Helter Skelter” that was as good as the Beatles could ever do. Would you believe Perry even resembles Bill Wyman of the Stones?
January 13, 1973 Aerosmith
March 1, 1974 Get Your Wings
April 8, 1975 Toys in the Attic
May 3, 1976 Rocks
December 1, 1977 Draw the Line
October 1978 Live Bootleg
November 1, 1979 Night in the Ruts
August 1, 1982 Rock in a Hard Place
November 9, 1985 Done with Mirrors
April 1986 Classics Live
June 1987 Classics Live Vol. 2
September 5, 1987 Permanent Vacation
September 8, 1989 Pump
April 20, 1993 Get a Grip
March 18, 1997 Nine Lives
October 20, 1998 A Little South of Sanity
March 6, 2001 Just Push Play
March 30, 2004 Honkin’ on Bobo
October 25, 2005 Rockin’ the Joint
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JOHNNY WINTER AND FLOYD RADFORD LIVE AT WINTERLAND ON APRIL 30, 1976. PHOTO BY BEN UPHAM.
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“CAN A WHITE MAN SING THE BLUES”
BY MICHAEL BENNETT
THE GREAT BEND DAILY TRIBUNE
GREAT BEND, KANSAS
AUGUST 20, 1971
Can the white man sing the blues? Johnny Winter, an albino stomp-n-shout guitarist, can but he says it’s not the same as Lazy Lester or Lonesome Sundown did it. And it probably never will be.
“When the life style changes, the music’s not goin’ to be the same, because it was an emotional music that was kinda spawned in poverty, depression and ignorance.” said Winter, a wispy, drawling Texan with silk fine, flowing hair. “And once the people got out of that, it got to be like an intellectual thing: ‘Well, okay, the blues is part of our heritage so we’re going to keep doing it, but they won’t feel the same way about it. “It changed a whole lot from the time people were doing it in Mississippi. They moved to Chicago and the postwar Chicago blues was a completely different music, a completely different blues than the milder, softer Delta-type blues.
“It might not die. it might live on, but it won’t be the same way it was.”
Winter was weaned on blues and rock ‘n’ roll records in Beaumont, a sleepy Texas town just northeast of Houston. “I learned a lot from a black disc jockey at a black station in Beaumont called KJET radio” he said. “This guy had a show called the Bon Ton show. Bon Ton Roulle. The Good Times Roll. He called himself Parent—Clarence Garleau was his real name—or Bon Ton and he used to play all his own records. “I used to call him up and ask him to play things for me. I met him in a music store one day—I was teachin’ guitar and I was about 16, pickin’ up a tittle extra bread. “He came in and I recognized the sound of his voice, never had met him, and I started playing one of his tunes. It flipped him out. “In those days, the white people just didn’t dig that kinda stuff. “But if black people really knew you were diggin’ it or interested in it, it turned them on. “He was really extra nice, man. I’d go out on gigs and he’d make sure nobody killed me or anything and let me play with the band. He really helped me a lot.”
Winter served his apprenticeship with Johnny and the Jammers, Gene Terry and Downbeats, and I and Them, playing small beer and brawl bars throughout the South. He more recently has made four albums for Columbia Records, each of which has sold over a quarter of a million copies. The most recent, “Johnny Winter and Live” is selling the best of the four. “Man you wouldn’t believe some of the Clubs. Louisiana was where it was really heavy and it was just exactly like Easy Rider, exactly, man. “People would come up ‘Hey, man, play “Midnight Hour.”
JOHNNY WINTER DISCOGRAPHY:
1968 The Progressive Blues Experiment
1969 Johnny Winter
1969 Second Winter
1970 Johnny Winter And
1971 Live Johnny Winter And
1972 Roadwork (with Edgar)
1973 Still Alive and Well
1974 Saints and Sinners
1974 John Dawson Winter III
1976 Captured Live!
1977 Nothin’ But the Blues
1978 White Hot and Blue
1980 Raisin’ Cain
1984 Guitar Slinger
1985 Serious Business
1986 Third Degree
1988 Winter of ’88
1991 Let Me In
1992 Hey, Where’s Your Brother?
1992 Scorchin’ Blues
1998 Live in NYC ’97
2004 I’m A Bluesman
2009 Johnny Winter Anthology
2009 The Woodstock Experience
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