Steve Hunter: Before The Lights Go Out

As Seen On ClassicRockRadio.co.uk

Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017)
Label: DeaconRecords
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

So I’m getting ready to do some typing centering around the subject of Steve Hunter’s newest studio album; Before The Lights Go Out. And how do I prepare, you ask? (cant do bold to show you on messenger but changed this wording) By listening to Alice Cooper’s – Welcome To My Nightmare (1975) of course. When doing write-ups/reviews, I research a lot before saying whatever it is I have to say on the subject. Alice’s first solo record, Welcome To My Nightmare, has always been one of my Alice Cooper (solo) favorites. His work with the Alice Cooper (band) beforehand primed the fanbase to the max. Surprising I never burned out on ‘The Coop’. Remaining a valid act all this time, Alice continues to record and tour. Doing his own thing as usual, and fronting the super popular Hollywood Vampires. That band simply kicks ass! Add to all this, Alice is back working with original band members: Micheal Bruce_Dennis Dunaway_Neal Smith. They made appearances on Alice’s last record, which was produced by Bob Ezrin; Paranormal (2016). The music Alice has done after departing Alice Cooper (original band) is highly worthy of induction into the RnRHoF (Ohio). Alice Cooper (the band) was inducted back in 2011. Steve Hunter kindly stood in for Glen Buxton (RIP). Alice deserves it on his own merits as a solo artist as well. And while still focused on the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Steve Hunter comes to mind. I ask myself:

“Self, several musicians Steve has backed since his involvement in professional music have been bestowed this honor. Why not Steve?”

I contemplated this. In my opinion, which is what I’m here doing btw, and please forgive the rant, but frankly, Steve Hunter, the accomplished musician that he is, should have been publicly acknowledged by those in Cleveland, bookoo years ago. You’d think, if not hope at least … before the lights go out.

I had the honor or being able to write about Steve Hunter before. In one story that I authored for the Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page a couple/few years back, Steve played along with whatever I was doing, and gave me a quote to include. I was so proud of that, and still am. A highly talented guitarist, who played with the likes of Lou Reed (RIP), Tracy Chapman, and Peter Gabriel, just to name a few. Experience and ability that enables Steve to play whatever style is called for on the guitar, and who does so exhibiting a creativity and style that is uniquely his own.

Uncle G discusses Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017 DeaconRecords)

Steve Hunter’s ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ is mostly an instrumental effort except for occasionally hearing Steve’s wife Karen beautiful voice. The album’s guitar heavy, as it should be. Electric and softer tones. Overall the new album has a more mature, seasoned approach if compared to the solo work of other ‘rock’ guitarist out there. Nothing that would offend anyone’s ears. Play it around babies, or old folks. It sometimes boogies, and then also play melodies that only someone who studied the instrument for decades, would only know how to play. And performed comfortably. Like the guitar (and over the years other string instruments; mandolin) was an extension of his physical body. Think the guitar Gods; Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Steve Howe … just to name a few, and expect the same caliber performance from Steve Hunter. Time and time again.

If you like listening to the kind of electric guitar playing, that works its way into your veins while under its spell, then the first track will certainly hook you in as it did me: On The Edge Of Uncertainty. This is what led off the early promo for this album. Steve’s an indie artist, btw. A family affair, Karen (Steve’s wife) is behind the video to this super infectious song. I fell into this track and still have not come up. A new Steve Hunter greatest hit. The audio and video addressing the subject of Steve losing his sight and becoming legally blind; pigmentary glaucoma. Without words, except for the name of the track; On the Edge Of Uncertainty.

Track two, Mojo Man, smokes as much as track one. Another example of a highly skilled musician applying his trade. Joining Mr. Hunter on Mojo Man are guest players Joe Satriani, and Erik Scott. Crank UP the volume and deal with the police later.

Track three is a pretty mellow number; Summer’s Eve. The product was recently given BEST AWARD for ‘down there’. I am not sure exactly by whom. Saw it mentioned on their website. Nice to be appreciated. I would personally agree. Seeing how the opportunity has arisen, I’d like to go on record as a fan of clean and healthy vaginas’. To offer my sincere thanks to everyone who works for Summer’s Eve, past and present. In a way doing the Lord’s work, but without coming out and saying it. Plus Summer’s Eve is all into profit, as any company who desires to stay in business, should be. So no religious overtones. A wonderful line of feminine hygiene products. My personal gratitude, not in song as Steve seemed to do here, but more a public acknowledgment/shout out.

I love track four; Cinderblock. For some reason, I get visions of the backwoods when hearing this. Nothing bad. Someone else hears it, and whatever visions it produces, odds are it’s completely something else. One of many things I dig about instrumental music is that the mind can wander free while interpreting the sound waves heard. Accounts on the listener, but with some, the mind’s eye can sometimes produce scenes like they were straight out of a movie. The brain is rightly stimulated, both music and images blending together to help craft a tale. But nothing like the nightmarish Burt Reynolds movie Deliverance (1972). Even if this song does have a banjo in it (insert smiley face).

Track five is a music video I can see in my mind’s eye. Starts off with a sound of a motorcycle pulling up to a biker bar. Somewhere here in Colorado. On stage, it’s Steve and his band. ‘Softball Deuce’ is the name of the song. As it plays throughout I can see everyone in the bar having a good time. Songs over … the mysterious biker drives away, again with us hearing the sound of a motorcycle.

Next on ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ is an instrumental that’s dedicated to Steve’s wife and called; Tienes Mi Corazón (You Have My Heart). Not a hard rocker. Spanish influenced, and simply beautiful.

Track seven is a lovely tune entitled; Ice Storm. On the quiet side. Thoughts bounce around when hearing with headphones. Wish I stuck with it as a teen and learned to play guitar. Steve’s playing would inspire. Of course, his rockin’ side, but also those quieter moments, as exhibited on this composition.

‘Under The Bodhi Tree’ is kind of Led Zeppelin-ish. Great track! Seriously heavy in places! Helping Steve on the bass is, Andy Stoller. If I had to pick a favorite off ‘Before The Lights Go Out’ … ‘Under The Bodhi Tree’ would be one out of the ten songs that I would have chosen. The other nine would all be contenders as well.

‘The Other Side Of The Coin’ is a pleasant tune from start to finish. Could not be followed by anything better; Happy Trails (Rogers_Evans_Rogers). All songs that appear on Steve Hunter – Before The Lights go Out are written by Steve Hunter, except of course the last; Happy Trails. Karen’s vocals are so right for this country western song of yesterday. Indeed, till we meet again.

“Uncle G” RATES … Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out (2017 DeaconRecords)

Using a one to five-star rating star rating system in which one star back in the day would mean destined for the nearest department store dollar bargain bin, to five stars which would mean it’s the cat’s pajamas … yours truly gives Steve Hunter – Before The Lights Go Out … 5 stars! MR. Hunter is one to keep abreast on. Check out his website and social media accounts. And if financially possible, try to support independent artists like Steve … please buy their products. So to help keep the wheels greased. Motivates and supports future releases. In the case of Steve Hunter, well worth the expense. In my opinion, there isn’t an album that has Steve Hunter’s name on it, that isn’t worth buying. Feel free to add this newest one to the list.

OH … the recording has an excellent sound to it. Rich, deep, textured just right. With good headphones, listening to the whole album is indeed a pleasure.

And I really dig the look of the CD itself. Credited to Karen Hunter/Disc Makers.

Uncle G’s Helpful Web Addresses

Official Steve Hunter Website: www.stevehunter.com

Promotion is done for Steve Hunter by: Glass Onyon PR (www.glassonyonpr.com)

Music Review: Audio Fidelity: Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies (1973_2014)

*Re-Post*
As Seen On: The Audio Fidelity Website

Spotlight: Re-Issue/Re-Master
Artist: Alice Cooper (original band)
Album: Billion Dollar Babies
Producer: Bob Ezrin
Year First Released: 1973
Audio Fidelity Re-Issue/Re-Mastered Release:  2014

As Seen on the main Classic Rock Radio UK website

Review authored by Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816
First Published: ClassicRockRadio.co.uk (main website)
Date: 16 March 2014

Alice Cooper - BDB - Audio Fidelity - front with cover

If I had a list of Uncle G’s Top Twenty-Five All-Time Favorite Rock Albums, then Alice Cooper’s 1973 hit album Billion Dollar Babies would certainly be towards the top of it. Here’s an album that as a teen gave me my own identity. Out of everyone in my inner circle of friends back then, it was I that was into Alice Cooper. Instead of getting turned on, I turned on others. My introduction to Alice Cooper was their 1972 hit song ‘School’s Out’. What’s not to love about getting rid of teachers and textbooks? Check it out, age-wise I was barely out of my single digits. Due to lyrics I identified with and a steady rock beat, I’m like a pat of butter on freshly baked bread. My mind is open and I’m absorbing all I can.

By the Winter of ’73, the album Billion Dollar Babies by the group Alice Cooper is in my record collection. It was purchased for me by adults who later on pretended to be repulsed because I was a fan of Alice Cooper’s music. I’ve remained a listener, pressing on after the band’s demise and until after Alice’s third solo effort Lace & Whiskey came out. If I played Alice Cooper after that, it was original band material only. Alice’s solo records, I really didn’t begin to appreciate except Welcome To My Nightmare in which I consider to this day, one of his best efforts, until he released Trash (1989). After that, I re-evaluated my opinion of what Alice has done since splitting with the original group.

From his debut solo record Welcome To My Nightmare (1975), to the year 2014, there are more pluses than minuses. The man known as Alice Cooper is considered an elder statesman in heavy metal nowadays. Age wise, is well into his sixties and to this day is still more than capable of teaching the younger bands how to rock out as well as putting on one of the highest energy metal shows being offered. There is an occasional ballad thrown in the set list, which is more than welcome seeing how some of his best known songs are just that, ballads. Classics like Only Women Bleed, or I Never Cry. Alice Cooper is currently in the process of releasing a cover/tribute album, and performing shows with Aerosmith and Motley Crew. Not to mention this is right on the heels of charting an original band reunion of sorts with a studio album again produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin called Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011).

Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies (1974) album, and the original band’s last album together Muscle Of Love (1974), is what seriously caught my attention. These records got the repeat plays at social functions. At least the ones I attended. For the record, Uncle G thinks anything in the original band’s catalog is worth having, especially the stuff they did for Warner Brothers. I fell into the albums Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle Of Love likely because they were new at the time when I was seriously focused. I can still remember Alice making the promotional rounds for Billion Dollar Babies on TV. One such time had Alice performing ‘Sick Things’ on a drama/mystery program called The Snoop Sisters. A show about two old tough broads solving crime, Alice was perfectly cast as the leader of a cult. It definitely motivated me to play the album more.

And yes, first it was wax in which I played on an early 1970’s record box. This was modified with the original speakers being disconnected, and then the player being hooked up with better speakers and separated on each side of a bedroom I shared with two older cousins (one in which was a pothead). Why this even matters is that this ended up being one of my first lessons in what stereo really was, and how different sounds were heard from each speaker. Remember, I first grew up with mono.

In the song ‘Elected’, Alice’s vocals mainly come out of one side (left), while the band’s actual music, comes out the other (right). The music could sometimes overpower the vocals. So another lesson learned early on; it was important where and how the speakers were located, as well as how the balance button on the stereo receiver was set.

Next, comes the wonderful world of headphones and a company whose headphones I absolutely fell in love called Sennheiser. Now I could hear every detail. Over the decades, the record player was replaced by better and better stereos. Sound was important to me. I grew up when transistor radios were all the rage. A rock song filled with different sounds, all coming out of this shitty little speaker. Two words, fuck that.

I purchased Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies after first having it on wax, cassette, 8-track, and now I have three different versions on CD, with one being the new SACD mastered by a man with a reputation for being the best at what he does in today’s music world, Mr. Steve Hoffman.

Self confession, I’m NOT a committed one-hundred percent audiophiliac. Due to having too much on my plate as a rule, when I have the free time, I come close. I don’t like to be anal…not as a rule. Sometimes I think they go hand in hand. I’m glad the purists are out there. Needed for archival reasons the most, so many good recordings that now sounded dated, only because they were mastered at a time when technology was at it’s best for being in the twentieth century. My review here might sound slanted a bit. I admit to being an old time Alice Cooper listener, and also to digging better sounding stereo equipment. I’m still dragging my feet in MP3 Land. The only thing I feel should be compressed is waste products, not music. MP3 music brings back the memories of transistor radios with a crappy speaker (broadcast in wonderful mono).

I know the words and music to Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies by heart. I also probably know more than the average Sick Thing when it comes to the band Alice Cooper, and the original bands’ music catalog. I’ve never seen myself as a fanatic though. My association with Sick Things (fans of Alice Cooper) has gone from rather well to horribly wrong. In all that time, I had a few entertaining moments meeting members of the original group and hanging out with them for a spell. I’ve conducted/coordinated interviews with Michael Bruce and Neal Smith. I also did a beer and a cigarette run for Glen Buxton (RIP). I’d like to meet Dennis Dunaway and Alice (formerly Vincent Damon Furnier) one day. So, before you are my credentials for reviewing this SACD. A story that needed to be told, especially if you the reader were so inclined as to like and follow up after reading by buying if you have not already, this new SACD.

For the record, the Alice Cooper band sixth studio album, Billion Dollar Babies, was a team Alice project. All involved from Shep Gordon in management to the album’s producer Bob Ezrin, deserve credit in this being as successful as it was. Plus some additional musicians that played shall we say, a tad under the radar, and contributed to the best of their abilities, such as Donovan, Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner, and the much underrated talents of Mick Mashbir and Bob Dolin, who went on a few years later to form a band called Billion Dollar Babies, with original Cooper members Bruce, Dunaway, and Smith. They did one album called Battle Axe. It would be wonderful if Steve Hoffman could re-master Cooper’s Muscle Of Love and the band Billion Dollar Babies Battle Axe in the same way. Anyway, the BIG secret at the time was that lead guitarist was having health issues. Explains the other hands in the BDB project. All that mattered was the end result, with everyone being a team player focused on making the best Alice Cooper record they could. In an imagined That Metal Show showdown, Billion Dollar Babies would surely be a contender as one of Alice’s best, with or without the original band.

Comparison: I enter as exhibit A the original Billion Dollars Babies CD that Warner Brothers first offered. Exhibit B is the Rhino 2001 two CD re-mastered version. Exhibit C is the new SACD put out just recently by Audio Fidelity. Exhibit A has been played in the presence of Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, and Neal Smith without them saying anything bad about the audio. All discs are in near mint or mint condition. The Uncle G Music Collection is kept up nicely and stored in a dry and cool place. Playback of each disc was done on a real home stereo (Sony – Phillips) and on a Blu-ray player (was lunch time and the living room was more convenient having a meal in then our home office). I would like to make clear…NEVER ONE TIME…was any of these versions of Billion Dollar Babies heard via a computer. Am sure the iTunes version is cool and all, but that’s not really what this is about. First off, it’s considered an honor that a company like Audio Fidelity would be interested in re-issuing any CD. I see it as a way to properly preserve and recreate with newer technology what was not available at the time. In my mind, there is no improving the work Bob Ezrin or all those that helped make this brilliant album did. What Steve Hoffman and Audio Fidelity materialized forty years after the Billion Dollars Babies release, let’s find out.

Alice Cooper - BDB - Audio Fidelity - front (promo)

Uncle G reviews Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies (2014 Audio Fidelity)

The first thing I did was listen to the Warner Brothers CD of Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies. My earliest comparison would be that of the CD to the memories of the Billion Dollar Babies album I grew up listening to. The CD had its advantages. No flipping the album over from Side A to Side B. No skipping anywhere. The stereo mix was the same as I remembered from the album. No difference in clarity that I could remember. I took care of my turntables and records. Back in the 80’s / 90’s my home stereo was made up of either Pioneer or Kenwood equipment. I admit, more convenient to have on Compact Disc. Seems to play/sound the same each and every time.

The original released CD to the Rhino version, I found interesting. Of course, the Rhino edition is presented LOUDER. The re-mastering process isn’t bass-friendly all the time. That can be evident on the album’s closing number, ‘I Love The Dead’. The plus side is a fuller sound in parts, especially in the piano lead homage to transvestites, a show-tune called ‘Mary Ann’.

Wake the kids and gather the folks from the hood, it’s Hybrid SACD Time!! First off, I took care in opening it. Artwork from the album is re-created, and much to my surprise and approval, so is the BILLION Dollar bill that came inside the album that I of course, taped to my teenaged self’s bedroom wall. The one included today is suitable for framing. My SACD was numbered; “Limited Edition 1101.” I took pictures, I was so impressed.

Pressing the play button, the first song on Billion Dollar Babies ‘Hello Hooray’ begins to play. My hand reaches for the volume knob. I turn it up from 2 to 3, and then 4. No distortion. It’s not as much in the red as Rhino’s remastering job. At this point, I have all three versions of BDB in separate CD trays and can pause and play from any of the three, at any time. It’s obvious the SACD is superior and that’s just hearing the first song.

The second track ‘Raped and Freezin’ proves it more. Keyboards in the background are clearer after the 2-minute mark, as is Alice’s vocals all throughout.

Track three is ‘Elected’. Alice’s vocals mostly come out the left speaker and the music mostly on the right. Listening in any format, it was always due to a placement of speakers as to if I could clearly make out every lyric, and even the political banter at the end. It’s all good here on the SACD release. Remember we have two vital ingredients to Alice Cooper; audio and visual. Every word Alice sings is important, for they paint a visual in which the music helps to project. These songs are like tiny plays. It’s theater for the mind. Some might have labeled Alice Cooper art rock because of this, but most just saw them as a hard rock act, even when touring with a guillotine and an electric chair as props. Not exactly the same as Deep Purple being a real hard rock act. KISS was Alice on steroids times four. And what drama they ended up being.

I noticed when all three CDs were in my players that I had three different total times on display. The Rhino / Warner Archives comes in at 41:05 – original Warner Brothers version at 41:08, and the new SACD leads the pack at 41:14. I asked myself why that was.

Easy explanation concerning the extra five seconds between original BDB and the Steve Hoffman mastered one. The Hybrid SACD version kept in the studio banter found before the song, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’. It goes something like this:

“OK I need one more. Tape four Dolby version.”

Could it be Mr. Ezrin in the control booth? I LIKE rarities, and it sure does sound RARE, for it didn’t appear on the BDB album I had as a teenager. Don’t know why it was included here on the hybrid SACD, but as a purist, I don’t really dig it being there. So much for a perfect 5 star review. The song itself sounds GREAT!! It’s a real hard-rocking drum song, and Alice Cooper’s drummer Neal Smith simply smokes on this one. I CRANKED the volume up listening to it. When I listen to Alice Cooper, so do my neighbors. I can report no other audio ID surprises. I feel weird bitching, but it is what it is. I’m just not used to that being inserted before hearing Neal’s drum intro after the lapse of silence in-between songs. Maybe I’m a tad anal? Because of the type of record this is, I feel it ruins the atmosphere that the songs played before this one set up. The mind should be fully focused, and it kills the concentration. Saying that I must point out that it’s easily re-established once the number starts up.

‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ gives me the opportunity to say that without the songwriting ability of Michael Bruce, the successful writing team of Bruce / Cooper would not have ever existed. Michael Bruce’s real talent is to write music that remains in your head long after the song had stopped playing. Alice knew/knows how to make a song his own by creating words and phrases his onstage character could react to. And here’s how you got one hit composition after another. The same formula is used on Welcome 2 My Nightmare with the newest Bruce / Cooper composition (with the additional help of Bob Ezrin) being ‘When Hell Comes Home’. This is the FIRST a Alice Cooper record charted in the Top 25 since Trash. Congratulations to all involved.

Also worth mentioning in the song ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ is Dennis Dunaway’s bass and how clear one can hear his playing, not only on this song but throughout the whole SACD release. Dennis’ bass work is simply superb. Explains why he was consistently at the top of the best bass player polls in those 1970 rock magazines year in and year out.

‘Generation Landslide’ is the next song and sounds as crisp as I’ve ever heard it. Followed by The Cooper’s heartfelt appreciation to their fans, a rather darker number called ‘Sick Things’. Pay attention, for the work of Glen Buxton can be heard, as can be said on the album’s closer ‘I Love The Dead’. Minor contributions but important ones nevertheless. Would be Glen’s last time working on a Cooper project. Dude’s really nowhere to be found on the originals band next, and last Alice Cooper album, Muscle Of Love.

For the louder I played this CD, the clearer the music became. Enjoyed it to its last lyric and closing note.

Alice Cooper - BDB - Audio Fidelity - Billion Dollar Bill (promo scan)

Rating: Using the one to five star rating system, Uncle G gives Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies (2014 Audio Fidelity) – mastered by Steve Hoffman, 4.75 stars. It’s perfect in every way except well…you know (see above).

Alice Cooper - BDB - Audio Fidelity - back

Date Posted: 2014-03-16T00:00:00

https://audiofidelity.net/press-release/spotlight-alice-cooper-billion-dollar-babies

http://classicrockradioeu.blogspot.com/2014/03/spotlight-alice-cooper-billion-dollar.html

THANK U AUDIO FIDELITY! — *  GB  2017 * 

Music Review: Neal Smith: Kill$mith & The Greenfire Empire

Originally Published: 28 October 2014
Review: Neal Smith – Kill$mith & The Greenfire Empire (2014 Kachina Records)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

 photo Neal Smith - KillSmith And The Greenfire Empire - cover pre-signed_zpshyd9jd99.jpg

I’ve been familiar with Neal Smith since the 1970’s, ever since I got turned on to Alice Cooper. I’m guessing around 1972 when their song ‘School’s Out’ was first released. Stayed a fan until the dismissal of the group. With Alice deciding to keep his solo career afloat after the huge success of his first solo record, Welcome To My Nightmare (1975), the rest of the guys in the Cooper band saw themselves no longer with a lead singer. It was the end of Alice Cooper, the band. Ends up I lost interest in Alice’s solo career pretty much after his follow up to ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’, with 1977’s Alice Cooper – Go To Hell album. As time marched on I’d play the original Alice Cooper band music every once in a while. Anything new with Alice and without the original guys, I just wasn’t interested. Stayed that way for over a decade. In the 1990’s and aided with something called the Internet, I renewed my interest in the runaway vocalist. In doing so, I started getting a new appreciation for Alice’s solo studio offerings. Fact is he’s worked with a shit load of brilliant musicians since 1975. The coolest thing here was that I could also find out and keep up on the other original band members doings as well. Since then I have managed to somewhat kept up.

Glen Buxton passed away back in ’97. His legend has / will live on.

Michael Bruce just weeks ago played a charity show coming out of retirement benefiting foster kids.

Bassist Dennis Dunaway is going strong currently playing with a can’t be missed rock band called Blue Coupe.

With nineteen studio solo albums under his belt, the year 2014 sees Vince / Alice co-headlining Motley Crue’s BIG farewell Tour. Alice’s last new studio effort was a sequel to 1975’s Nightmare and cleverly titled ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’. To this writer’s delight, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith perform on three songs. This makes the first time the Billion Dollar Babies appeared on an Alice Cooper studio album together since 1973’s Muscle Of Love. Nightmare 2 did well, charting all over the world.

Last, but not least is Neal Smith, who has been musically kicking ass and taking names lately. The RnRHoF member (Alice Cooper) just released the third installment to his KillSmith series. On this outing, all songs are written by Neal, and besides pounding away on the drums, Mr. Smith can be heard on keyboards, guitar, and sharing the vocal duties. Titled, Neal Smith – KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire. Now that the intro and history lesson are over, let’s focus on that.

For starters, ‘KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire’ has very cool cover art, with the front of the CD showing an evil glow-in-the-dark green human skull. Would make for a cool poster. I ordered this new CD from Neal’s own personal website. Doing so, he autographed it, which is a super cool added bonus. He does so on every CD ordered, free of charge! A legible signature too, so it compliments the cover, instead of scribble which would take away from it. Cover / Booklet opens up to reveal more cool artwork as well. Important is the two images provided because they are what sets sail your imagination. For like original Alice Cooper music anyway, it’s all theater for your mind’s eye. KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire is a concept album. Nothing I’d share with a seven year old. Neal’s lyrics can be very adult at times, which can lead to questions like; “Mommy, what are junkies, thieves, and whores?”

In a nutshell, ‘KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire’ is a modern day tale about a special ops military hero nicknamed KillSmith, who takes on the most ruthless, ferocious, and just downright evil drug lord named Diablo the Emerald King. A story that happens around the holidays. Emotionally, a roller coaster ride filled with action and suspense, that besides being capable of ripping your head off, simply rocks out.

 photo Neal Smith - KillSmith And The Greenfire Empire - credits_zps4flgbrnz.jpg

Uncle G’s Favorite KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire Tracks:

All of them really. Enlightening story told in various styles of rock music including industrial, heavy metal, and power ballads. Frankly, I can’t say enough good things about ‘KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire’. Don’t know where to begin, for I’m afraid I’ll miss something. Here I go.

Every musician on KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire project did an excellent job (see accompanying image for credits). Am sure it wasn’t easy for any of them because it’s a pretty ambitious project. Neal’s work on here is just outstanding, so only capable musicians need apply. Back to Neal, I love the cool guitar work he does, as well as his keyboard contributions. Plus behind the drum kit, Neal’s drumming is second to none. Either providing a good foundation or having moments that are absolute bat-shit crazy, such as found on the song ‘Pandemonium’. A real killer drum performance here. Overall, the album is more upbeat than mellow. Together, all eleven songs combine for a stunning example of musicianship and storytelling.

I broke this CD in while heading into Houston from Katy, driving down super Hwy I-10 East doing an average 70 MPH and being able to hear the first six songs usually without slowing down. Sunrise Saturday morning. Driving down the city streets trying to miss red lights is where I got to know tracks seven to the end of the disc. I did this on three other days as well. The rest of the time I’d been playing it almost non-stop on my home stereo. Between the lyrics and the superior accompanying music, I’m able to fully understand and enjoy Neal’s return to theatrical rock.

Rating: Honestly this was way more then I was expecting. More than one song sticks in my head, when not actually playing ‘KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire’ aloud. Impossible to say what songs I like best, but the one that caught my attention first was ‘I Want Money’. KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire is solid in both production and presentation. Using the one to five star rating system, where one star sucks through a long straw, and five stars kicks total ass; Neal Smith – KillSmith & The Greenfire Empire get 5 stars easily. Every song a gem. Different musical styles presented so to keep one’s interest. Feet planted firmly in the rock world. Even with such excellent flamenco guitar work as heard on track four, ‘The Killsmith Overture’. Lady Elizabeth Dellinger could sure hit those notes. Blends in very nicely. This song, I would love to see done live, as well as the rest of this new concept album. Perhaps a KillSmith DVD shot in concert over 2 or three nights someplace that could accommodate? I could only imagine the KILLER encores.

Well done Mr. Smith!

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/nealsmith4

http://www.nealsmith.com

Movie Review: Bigfoot (2012 The Asylum)

First Published: 21 June 2015
Uncle G’s After Hours FUN Movie Reviews
Spotlight: BigFoot (2012 The Asylum)
Gary Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

Note: This is a reprint of a review I authored / posted on a B movie discussion website. Date was 02 July 2012.

 photo Bigfoot - dvd front_zpsh0f7ki4x.jpg

My wife and I this past Saturday night, watched the SYFY Channel‘s new original movie; BigFoot. One one hand it was absolutely horrible, and on many levels. Yet on the other hand so cheesetastic, it would be one of those you didn’t want to miss if a fan of ‘B-Movies’.

With these types of films, lack of money usually affects the whole production. It’s what happens when as a filmmaker, you dream of having a budget in the millions, and instead you’re asking actors to work for scale because you don’t have the budget to pay them properly like what they might get if they do another production. Money is important. Pays the rent. The best people to hire, asking too high a figure to even be considered. Plenty of good films are still made under these circumstances. I’d label Bigfoot a horror film, but in all actuality, this Bigfoot movie plays more like a comedy. And as far as cash goes, I’m sure the film profited like every other movie The Asylum makes. Laughing all the bank as the old saying goes.

Note: The Asylum does seem to have a working / winning formula going on. Nowadays the makers of TV’s hit zombie show, Z Nation, and of the popular Sharknado franchise. Also, as evident, I did buy the BigFoot Blu-ray ($5.00 at Walmart)

In a starring role, the Brady Bunch’s Barry Williams. I have always had the impression that Mr. Williams seriously, could not act his way out of a paper bag. He seems to have only mastered after decades in the entertainment business, only a couple moods to be in while playing his parts; happy or stressed. When I say happy, it’s more or less how one would appear naturally if in a good mood. Having a spring in their step. Remember the Brady Bunch characters? They were a lot of time, all nauseously like that. My guess would be the iconic family show would be how Barry learned acting skills such as this.

When I say stressed, it’s uptight. In one scene he’s dialing a cell phone. Imagine doing so using all your fingers. Looking like a spider is coming down for the kill. I looked at my wife and said; “he’s not calling anyone doing that.” I asked myself, I said; Self, how hard could it be to pretend to be dialing a phone so it would look like you were really doing it? A method actor would for real, dial the damn phone. This guy instead has magic fingers, he could just wave over the phone keyboard, and then it magically connected to the person he wanted. Meantime, my wife told me he looked constipated. I mentioned maybe he should perhaps eat more fiber. Not that Williams heard me. His role was that of a musician whose seen past success, and who is now an environmentalist. His supporters, a small group of young attractive women. In the beginning of the movie, they chain themselves to heavy equipment vehicles. Trees have to be removed so to make room for a big concert, that’s being promoted by the local radio station.

Enter The Partridge Family’s Danny Bonaduce. He isn’t much better an actor than Barry Williams. Between the two he would be the better thespian. At least he displays more than two styles of which to deliver his lines. Could have been the roles they were portraying? Williams a no nonsense environmentalist. Bonaduce, a local DJ, and opportunist. Not that far a stretch for Danny, seeing that’s what he pretty much does in real life.

Classic rocker Alice Cooper makes a cameo. One of the funniest parts of the movie, by the way. Giving Grandpa Manson his due, one of the better performances in the film, as well. Alice been dying on stage for decades now. Kind of has it down to a science.

BIGFOOT: This is all done by computer effects. Not that hard to find in the woods, I would imagine seeing that the creature would be over four stories tall. Think the Nancy Archer role in 50’s B science fiction film, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Now with LOTS more hair. Add to that the creature HATES all people.

I did love the way BigFoot killed its victims. My favorite way; picks them up and bite their heads off. For variety, others he would throw great distances. Stepping on people like bugs was also a way it dealt with those it didn’t like. This of course provided for moments where seriously bad actors could hold their hands up and scream pretending the monster was right there, and seconds away from being pounced on. Then oozing between Bigfoots toes. Like I said; cheesetastic.

Special Effects: The Bigfoot monster, wasn’t the worst. For other special effects were just downright laughable. Such as, the helicopters that were helping hunt Bigfoot. all appeared to be like toy models. I’ve seen better in Godzilla movies by the way. You can tell the actors when doing these scenes had a green screen behind them. And very little if any, experience acting with any believability at all. Was that obvious. They might as well threw their fake guns aside, and started dancing the jig. Certainly I would have enjoyed that more than watching people who claim they were actors, barely get through their acting assignment.

Other actors were involved that you might know their name; TVs WKRP Howard Hesseman, and independent film studio, Full Moon Features Meridian actress; Sherilyn Fenn. I didn’t recognize the 47 year old Fenn, at all. She has that middle aged lady look to her now. Which is cool. We all get older. When a younger woman, she was very beautiful. Posed in Playboy. Done several films and television shows, over the years. Her acting skills nowadays, on the same level as Williams. At least judging by this performance. So much so that I was hoping throughout the movie that Bigfoot would get them both. The 72 year old Hesseman did the best among the three playing a small town mayor.

The Good News: The director had to have done this whole production, tongue-in-cheek. Directed by actor Bruce Davison. As an actor, he’s given much better performances than the ones he’s directed here. I love to see a clip of just scenes of Bigfoot killing people. Another got killed when Bigfoot threw a port-a-potty on them. It’s really a borderline comedy. Think of it as that, and the popcorn flick actually improves some. Which helps because the script’s only other functional use is being as an aide to assist house train a puppy.

 photo Bigfoot - dvd backing cut_zpsoygs9zlr.jpg

Out of a ten star rating, I give this film made by The Asylum, six stars. That’s being kind. It does have a fun cast, if not anything else. I blame the director and those behind the scenes for not capturing the full potential of what it could have been. More care with the overall special effects, making them just a tad more believable, instead of cartoonist, and I feel the movie could have been potentially a better looking film. And not so much the Bigfoot monster. This was actually the star of the film. It’s a keeper. For down the road I see endless possibilities with the Bigfoot character; Bigfoot Vs. 2-Head Shark with the winner going against Mega Piranha, a 2010 Asylum film that also starred Barry Williams.

 

 

Interview: Neal Smith (1999)

Re-Print_Neal Smith 1999 Interview_Yahoo Group Glen Buxton Memorial

ClassicRockRadio.co.uk presents … a re-print of an interview that American Correspondent Gary “Uncle G” Brown helped put together back in 1999.

In honor of Neal Smith’s 68th birthday (23 Sept 2015) … an opportunity to read a interview where questions were asked by fans (GBM Group Subscribers). Neal’s responses (in which he did in a day) … CLASSICK! So good, that it was deemed a shame for them to be lost, and never seen again.

Enjoy!

In memory of Glen Buxton and those who participated with the online interview that are no longer with us — Rest In Peace.

11/14/99

Q & A

#1) from Janice B.
What is the order of the different houses that you guys lived in California?

Q.#1) Hey Janice!
You have to remember that I came to California to stay with my buddies, “The Nazz” until I could find a band to join in LA.

The first house that I lived in with the guys, was in Santa Monica, late summer of 1967. Then in September, the guys asked me to join the band. The next move we made, was to Topanga Canyon in the spring of 1968. The Topanga Canyon house is where we changed the name of the band to “Alice Cooper”, and met Shep Gordon and Joe Greenberg. Then we moved to “Hollywood Hills”. This home was owned by actor John Phillip Law, who I saw at the “Chiller Show” last year in NJ. And the last place that we lived in LA was for only two weeks, thank God! I will never forget the address it was 2001 Ivar Street. It was the worst location. I had a 2nd floor apartment, outside of my window was a view of oncoming traffic coming right at you and then curving away on the “Hollywood

Freeway”. There was no way a human being could ever sleep in that place. Then sometime in 1969 we left LA for good.
Thanks, Neal!

#2) from Barbara H.
I want to ask Neal if there is any chance that some of the songs from the Midnight Daydream CD might make it into video, as this is the best way to be seen in today’s younger generations eyes. The music has so much potential, and to do this I feel that it would bring you guys to the eyes of MTV and VH1 and that in fact would boost sales tremendously if any one of the songs were to hit home.

 photo Bruce Cameron - Midnight Daydream - cover_zpscna4sgtc.jpg

Q.#2) Hey Barbara!

I have already offered my services to the “powers that be”, with the “Bruce Cameron Project”, regarding anything, including a music video to promote Bruce’s music. I would be very happy to help and I agree with you 100% on the impact these efforts would make, but the final decision is not up to me.
Thanks, Neal!

#3) from Brett Cooper

Taking the entire Alice Cooper history into account, which part do you feel is most misrepresented or misinterpreted by the media/public and deserves to be clarified?

Q.#3)

The only thing that should be completely and 1000% understood by the media, the public, and the entire entertainment world, is the fact that every idea and every concept from the very beginning of the Alice Cooper Group, throughout our entire career was a total collaboration of brainstorms from 5 friends and very talented artists: Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Alice Cooper, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith. END OF STORY.
Thanks, Neal!

#4) from TVTGKELLY

Hi Neal::

1). According to Alice he has very fond memories of the Psychedelic Supermarket circa 1968? What are your memories of this place?

2). Where and how does one get the newly released “Platinum God” and are you satisfied with all the music that you have recorded on this?

3). When do you plan to do next tour, and or more recordings?

Q.#4/1)

To tell you the truth, I just remember hanging out at the Psychedelic Supermarket and I think that we rehearsed there several times. It was ok, but you must remember I wasn’t too crazy about LA hippies and freaks, but it was certainly a time capsule for the 60’s!

Q.#4/2)

At present the only place on the planet you can order “Platinum God”, is at (www.nealsmith.com), along with other products from the “Neal Smith Classick Drummer Collection, drum sticks, photos, mousepads, T-shirts, etc.

Q.#4/3).

At present I have no plans to play in public or tour. As far as recording, I don’t have any plans right now. I am in the studio a lot and hope to be recording again in the near future. There’s a lot of recording that I would like to do.
Thanks, Neal!

#5) from Jon
The Lansley Emporium
The Alice Cooper Allegedly
http://www.jollyjon.co.uk:

Have you seen the early pix of you that Skip Ladd let me post at the Lansley Emporium ACG page? What is your favorite recollection of those The Night Riders, The Laser Beats, and The Cloth Of Many Colors days?

Q.#5) Hey Jon!

I do not recall seeing early photos at this specific site, but I’m pretty familiar with a lot of old photos of bands from my High School days, I still have many of them. These were great days, I just loved to play as much as possible, whenever and wherever I could. And of course, it was always a great way to meet members of the opposite sex! At this point the only thing I can remember about the Night Riders is that I had a really big bass drum, a surfboard, I played “Wipe Out” every night and had lots of fun. The Laser Beats were the Night Riders with a singer, that actually I never really liked at all, but we won some battle of the bands I played “Wipe Out” a lot and had some great times. I can’t believe you mention the sacred “Cloth of Many Colors”, no one knows about that band as well it should be. We only did 2 shows and we opened for the “Nazz”, I was the lead singer and frontman (no drums). Our bass guitarist Roger, was the x-sax player from the Night Riders & Laser Beats, he played a fur covered fender bass and Skip played lead guitar. Skip was the only really cool thing about the band. We had a drummer and I don’t know his name. Thank God we only played two gigs, the world would not have been ready for “The Cloth”.
Thanks, Neal!

#6) from Tom Callanan

1.) What Alice Cooper songs are your particular favorites – in terms of how
they have held up over time and your own contribution / playing?

Q.#6/1)Hey Tom!

Some of my favorite “ACG” songs are: Black Ju Ju, Ballad of Dwight Fry, Sun Arise, Caught In A Dream, Hallowed Be My Name, Killer, Halo Of Flies, Loony Tune, Grand Finale, Alma Mater, Sick Things, I Love The Dead, Billion Dollar Babies, My Stars, Generation Landslide, Elected, Muscle Of Love, Man With A Golden Gun, Slick Black Limousine, Unfinished Sweet, Public Animal #9.

My contribution to these songs, was first and foremost as the percussionist of the band. I love songs with well produced drums being played as an instrument, not as a glorified metronome. Although music production has come a long way from when we first began recording, I think that the rawness and urgency of our music has held up till today. I would love to record new songs with Alice, Michael and Dennis with today’s technology.

2.) To my ears, 1971 represents the ‘high water mark’ for great hard rock music / bands, in terms of fresh sounds, great playing / production and prolific writing. In retrospect, most of the ‘movements’ that ensued (Bruce, Aerosmith, G&R, new wave, punk ska / reggae, speed/thrash/death metal, Seattle bands) have been pretty much press repackaging, with little true musical innovation. Other than U2 and Metallica, what bands / time period since – do feel has had the same concentration of originality and punch as the period that produced ‘Who’s Next’, ‘LITD / Killer’, ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘LA Woman’, etc., etc. Is this an accurate summation?

Q.#6/2)

I have to agree with your analogy. For whatever reason the music of that time period, although it was very diversified, it was very creative with a killer energy that spread all across the “Rock World”, creating many classic rock records!

3.) Other than Neal (sic??) Pert, Stewart Copeland and Sean Kinney – who I feel have obviously been influenced by your recorded work (the playing swings as well as rocks, songs have signature ‘riffs’ , wide variety of styles) are there any post-ACG drummers that you feel you’ve influenced heavily or you are impressed by? In the same vein, are there any post ACG bands where you have felt your drumming would be a great fit – or really love to sit in with?

Q.#6/3)

I have no clue if I have or have not influenced any contemporary drummers, but the drummer of the 90’s I like a lot was the first drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins, which is the only band I can think of that I’d like to play or record with. I think they helped bring percussion out of the doldrums of the 80’s, accept for AC/DC.

4.) If the ACG had the opportunity to record just one new single, what do you imagine it would sound like, who would you want for an ideal producer – and from a personal standpoint – would this be a good or a bad thing to do?

Q.#6/4)

Hypothetically, I would like the music of a new ACG single to be somewhere between “Elected” and “Schools Out”, total energy and excitement! Part of our musical formula was our 6th member Bob Ezrin. Bob would be my first choice as producer for any ACG recording project. I love to work with people who challenge me and push my creative limits. As far as a new ACG single being a good or bad thing to do would depend on the reason to record. If done in the right spirit, I don’t know how it could be a bad thing to give the “Alice Cooper Group Fans” of the world what they have been waiting for, for many years.

5.) Every rock critic rates Ringo Starr as a lousy drummer. As one of the greatest drummers ever in rock, do you have any reaction to that?

Q.#6/5)

Ringo is actually one of my early influences along with Charlie Watts, in that style of drumming. Without Ringo the Beatles would have never been the same, Ringo is Great!

6.) Jack Douglas has gone on record with some nasty comments about the ACG – while praising Aerosmith. Given the fact that Aerosmith imitated the ACG sound for most of their first two albums and used many of the same studio musicians uncredited – on albums from that period, this seems grossly unfair, if not bizarre. Jack produced MOL with most of the same writers and musicians used on the incredibly successful LITD, Killer and SO – yet was unable to get a hit to follow a Number One album. It seems obvious that Jack was unable to pull the band together with the same success as Bob Ezrin, in terms of selecting material and providing true direction. Jack’s comments about the band were nearly identical to those used by Phil Spector (whom he also has trashed in the press…) in talking about The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ – which was considered a failure in the same manner as MOL. Do you agree that the momentum lost on MOL was a result of toying with a successful formula – and that the ACG could’ve rallied for an ‘Abbey Road’, with Ezrin at the helm? Do you have any idea how the other ACG members feel about Jack’s comments? ….Thanks for all of the great music!

Q.#6/6)

First of all Jack Douglas and I were and have always been friends. I am not familiar with what he has said about the ACG, if it was negative, well Jack was probably just drunk (only kidding Jack). As far as MOL, I like that record a lot. The title song MOL, is one of my favorites and always kicks ass live (great drum part). As a group and a unit we may have hit a creative wall because of constant touring, writing and recording. While writing MOL the music was coming from all over the place without a conceptual direction which wasn’t a bad thing because Alice, Michael, Dennis and I were all writing individually as usual. We probably should have all taken some time off, recuperated a started fresh. We did finally the following year, but then never got back together again.
Thanks, Neal!

#7) from Bryan Erickson

1.) What took so long for Platinum God to get released?

Q.#7/1) Hey Bryan!

I was not going to release “PG”, because I didn’t have enough songs to complete the album. I had 6 songs and needed more, plus I hate my voice. Last summer “1999”, I found two lost unfinished tracks in my studio, so I decided to finished them with the help of Richie Scarlet. But it was really the fans who convinced me to release the album. I still hate my voice, but I’m very happy with “Platinum God”, eighth wonder of the world!

2.) You sang every song on that album. Did you ever sing on recordings elsewhere, or with The Flying Tigers or Neal Smith Band?

Q.#7/2)

The only other recording that I sang on was “Rock n’ Roll Radio” (single version) off of B$B/Battle Axe. I also sang “Rock n’ Roll Radio” live with Flying Tigers.

3.) Are they any recordings of The Flying Tigers and/or NSB?

Q.#7/3)

There are some studio recordings of Flying Tigers and NSB, but the energy is not there like in the live recordings.

4.) Are you writing a book as implied at the GBMW Q&A, or was that just a joke?

Q.#7/4)

If I ever write a book it will be SEX, DRUMS AND ROCK N’ ROLL, no one would get out alive in my book, it would all be about SEX not all of this other boring crap.
Thanks, Neal!

#8)

from Jan Kjellin

1. After the break-up of the band and the various other musical projects you were involved in, how did the change from rock music to real estate come about and was it a difficult change for you?

Q.#8/1) Hi Jan!

With the success of Love It To Death, I had a little extra pocket change laying around so I invested it into a property in Arizona. Within 2 years I tripled my initial investment. In the early 80’s I went through a divorce and had to sell my home in Connecticut and met some great people that helped my become interested in a field that I was already familiar with. It is a great career because I still can make time for my music. It was not that difficult of a change for me, I love business. I’m a Libra, I need the balance of music and business.

2. I’ve just ordered my copy of ‘Platinum God’ and would be interested in knowing if this is the original, “untampered with”, 70’s recording or if it has been remixed, re-recorded or anything like that?
Q.#8/2)

Six songs on “Platinum God” are the original 70’s mixes, I digitally mastered these songs. The first song “Maneater Deadly To Her Prey” and the seventh song “The Sea’s A Maneater”, have new vocals and new lead guitar tracks. I discovered the bed tracks (music only) for these two songs in my studio this summer. They are the 70’s recordings of basically the same song, but a fast version and a slower version. The slower version being the original speed for “The Sea’s A Maneater”. I took the faster version and wrote a totally new song. I had to go into the studio to add vocals and Richie Scarlet added great lead guitar to both songs, and the album was finally finished after 25 years.
Thanks, Neal!

#9) from Mariann M.

1.) Just wondering…what did you do with yours Rolls Royce(s) from the ACG days?

Q.#9/1)Hi Mariann!

I had two Rolls Royce’s, a 1962 Silver Cloud II and a 1929 Phantom I. I sold the Silver Cloud when I was running out of garage space, and I had to sell the Phantom to raise money for my lawyers during my divorce in the early 80’s. Selling the Phantom really hurt!

2.) I just got Platinum God…and liked it immediately…How do you enjoy singing?

Q.#9/2)

Let me put it this way, I like playing my drums much more than singing. I’m not crazy about my voice, but I have a lot of fun singing!

3.) Speaking of…my copy had a signature as well – how many of these have you signed so far?

Q.#9/3)

Initially, I have signed about 1000 of the first copies.
Thanks, Neal!

from G.Brown (Coordinator Yahoo Group Glen Buxton Memorial)

Neal, Songs like “Ballad Of Dwight Fry”, “Halo Of Flies”, “Alma Mater /Grande Finale”, “My Stars”, “I Love The Dead”, “Unfinished Sweet”, “Battle Axe – Sudden Death – Winner”, and the song you end your new solo release with “Platinum God”, are very progressive…a lot of great musical moments. Do you prefer performing songs where the emphasis is more on the music, or the words?

Q.#10)Hey Gary!

As a songwriter music and words go hand in hand. They are equally important together. But while performing live, music is my overwhelming priority.
Thanks, Neal!

#11) From: Mark H.

Hello Neal, I saw you in concert at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. back in 72 or 73. You are the reason I started playing drums and I still do today. You have the whole package style, looks, talent. Do you remember that show coming out into the stadium in a Rolls Royce I believe? Is there any way I can get an autograph? Thanks, Mark

Q.#11) Hi Mark!

Yes, I do remember our show at “Three Rivers”, it was a great night. I tried to buy the Rolls Royce, but it was not for sale. As far as autographs, new releases, etc., you will have to check out my website; http://www.nealsmith.com
Thanks, Neal!

#12) from Dan L. Gherna

I’ve always considered the real estate and rock ‘n’ roll professions to have similar attributes, in terms of salesmanship, professionalism, and promotion. Do you see the similarities? How does your rock ‘n’ roll background help you relate to clients/customers?

Q.#12)Hey Dan!

Interesting question, an analogy of the rock n’ roll and real estate professions. I have not only been asked this question before, but I have made several comparisons myself. Obviously completely different, but they have some things in common. One example is image and dress very important in both fields. Marketing yourself can be one of the most creative and fun aspects of real estate and it goes without saying, the same is true in the music business. Attitude must be positive and energetic. Act professional like you eat, drink and sleep you profession because to be successful, as a musician or a realtor, you have to be consumed by it. Be masterful and knowledgeable of your profession, and always be aware of trends and changes. Both professions offer the same opportunity for men and women, which I think is and has been a very important aspect of each profession in my opinion.
Thanks, Neal!

#13) from Jeff Pike

Neal,

I am curious to know exactly how Billion Dollar Babies (the band) came together and what the overall vibe was while the band was together. Also, what was the final straw for the dissolving of the band. One more thing, I have been trying to find photos and any video of Billion Dollar Babies in
concert for years. You wouldn’t happen to have any tucked away that you might be willing to publish would you?

Q.#13)Hey Jeff!

After Michael Bruce’s (In My Own Way), Alice’s (Welcome To My Nightmare) and my (Platinum God) solo projects the ACG was to reform and do a new album. Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and I got together in Connecticut and started writing new songs for a new ACG album, but it was never to happen. So we stayed together called ourselves “The Billion Dollar Babies”, got a record deal and recorded “Battle Axe”. We were professional and the band was very up and energetic for recording and touring. “Billion $ Babies/Battle Axe” went on tour, but we were having problems with management, and shortly thereafter we broke up. As far as the B$B/Battle Axe show, to my knowledge there is no video of that great show.
Thanks, Neal!

#14) from Erik

Hi, Erik from Sweden here:

The photo of you on the cover of the “Platinum God” album is great. Tell me a little about it, when it is taken? Is it done especially for the album?

Q.#14)

Hey Eric!
The photo with me wearing the zebra skin was taken in the Canary Islands in 1972 by Eillot Holceker. We came down from London to write the last song for the ACG album, Billion $ Babies and the song we composed was “Generation Landslide”, one of my favorites. We did a photo session, group and individual photos as usual. This zebra skin shot was just taken for fun with no special purpose in mind. The concept for “Platinum God” has been the same from the beginning in the mid 70’s, but I did not think of the cover art until I recently finished all of the music. The “Platinum God” cover with the vintage photo and new artwork, works perfectly with the concept. And then I included some photos inside, that I thought the fans would dig.
Thanks, Neal!

#15) from Tim Stradling

At the GBMW99 Dennis talked a little bit about new music being written with he and you, and that he had been speaking with Ezrin possibly looking for his thoughts on it. Can you comment on this?

Q.#15/1)Hey Tim!

I’m not sure of what your conversation with Dennis was exactly about, but Bob Ezrin is always looking for new musical material for the movies that he works on. So once in awhile we send music to Bob.

2) I also know there was some recording done with Joe Bouchard of BOC last year, and the CD is available. Do the two of you play on the Bouchard CD, or do you just have songwriting credits?

Q.#15/2)

Joe Bouchard’s cd that you’re referring to is “The X-Brothers”. Dennis and I did not play on it but we wrote or co-wrote a few songs on the cd.

3.) Could you tell us a little more about these two projects? Specifically who else is involved, their style, and when they may be available?

Q.#15/3)

The only project that Dennis and I are involved with off and on is with Joe Bouchard. We have written about 3 albums worth of songs in the last year or so. The only music that we have recorded to date are some original Christmas songs that may or may not be available by Christmas. They would be on Joe’s brother Albert’s label “Cellsum Records”.
Thanks, Neal!

#16) from Frank

Any chance of you returning full time to performing? Do you think there is any chance of the original Alice Cooper members recording together again?

Q.#16)Hi Frank!

In this world anything can happen. There’s no on who loves to play live more than I do, but I would really have to like the musicians that I play with. Since I don’t have to play, I have the luxury of waiting to play with musicians that I like. If it’s recording or touring, the original ACG would
never do anything together unless all four of us thought it’s the right thing to do.
Thanks, Neal!

#17) from Jeff Rondeau

1) I’d like to compliment you on your drumming style present on all the original ACG recordings. You and Dennis made a great and creative rhythmic team. Instead of just holding down the bottom end and keeping a beat the both of you contributed greatly to the compositions and above all helped make all those songs permanently etched in my brain. Who were your early influences and what, if anything, was carried over into your own playing?

Q.#17/1)Hey Jeff!

My early influences were Gene Krupa, Sandy Nelson, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Ringo, Charlie Watts and last but not least Alex Dunthart and John Barry (producer).

Carry overs to my music: Krupa and Nelson solo tom-tom work, i.e.. Black Ju Ju and Slick Black Limousine. The great fills of Baker, i.e.. Under My Wheels. The great grooves that hold verses together like Ringo and Watts, i.e.. Caught In A Dream and Still Got A Long Way To Go. Mitch Mitchell’s hi-hat work, i.e.. Killer (intro). Keith Moons energy and showmanship, i.e.. Black Ju Ju. John Barry’s use of percussive dynamics and diversity, i.e..Halo of Flies, Killer, Unfinished Sweet, Grand Finale, Man With A Golden Gun. Alex Dunthart’s flawless snare technique, Second Coming. Just a few examples.

2) Did you manage to hold onto your old Slingerland’s ( the chrome set? ) and if so, do you play them currently?

Q.#17/2)

I still have all of my drums, well over one hundred drums all total. I am currently restoring the chrome Slingerland and it looks great, but I do not play them. I have a double kick birdseye maple Gretch set I play now.

3) After all you’ve contributed rock music do you still actually practice or is time too hard to come by these days? Thanks for the opportunity to ask these questions Neal.

Q.#17/3)

Dennis and I play a lot with Joe Bouchard (from BOC). We try to get together at least once a week to play and write songs. We have written about 3 albums worth of music in the past year and we’ve done a little recording also. If anything is released, information would be on my web site.
Thanks, Neal!

#18) from SkiBum91

Neal, can you give any insight on the Song “Hallowed By My Name”? How it came about or anything. It is somewhat similar to “Second Coming” in it’s religious reference and was wondering if you and Alice thought about doing something along that line together or if you both came up with your songs totally unaware of the other. Also, the way Dwight Fry blends right in from the end of SC, was this Bob Ezrin’s idea or one of you guys?

Q.#18)

Yes, I composed the words and music for “Hallowed Be My Name” and Alice wrote “Second Coming”, they were two separate songs and stood on their own merits as did every other song on “Love It To Death”. I had a very religious upbringing and that influenced “Hallowed Be My Name” as well as “Apple Bush”, that I wrote on “Pretties For You”. As I’m sure was the case with Alice’s “Second Coming”. The two songs were conceived separately, as a matter of fact, I never thought about their similarities until you mentioned it. I would guess that Dwight Fry into Second Coming was Bob’s idea but I don’t know for certain.
Thanks, Neal!

#19) from Kevin Landreneau

Hi Neal, With the new music from you and Michael on the Cameron CD (excellent by the way ), Michael being active the last few years writing new music, performing, ect….your just released CD Platinum God, the reunions I’ve been hearing / reading about the last couple years, and Dennis playing in public after being out of sight for a while, is there any hope for a Billion Dollar Babies reunion? I was thinking this would be an excellent opportunity to perform the newer songs, plus maybe give some new life to the Billion Dollar Babies tunes. I was also thinking if not a tour, maybe just a show that could be taped for the fans who could not make it. Can you comment?

Q.19/1)Hey Kevin!

There is always a possibility of anything happening, but the reason for most of the recent reunions with Michael, Alice, Dennis and myself have been in Glen Buxton’s memory. At this point I can not even speculate on anything above or beyond that point. I would do anything for Glen’s memory or for the Alice Cooper Group fans of the world.

2.) Speaking of Dennis, How is he doing, and how is his playing these days?

Q.19/2)

Dennis is awesome as always! He was the highlight for me playing at Cooperstown for the “GBMW”. Dennis and I try to play once a week we usually play with Joe Bouchard (from BOC). He is feeling great and playing even better!
Thanks, Neal!

#20) from Sandra Brown

Hi Neal, What involvement did you have in putting together the boxset ( The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper )?

Q.#20/1) Hi Sandra!

Alice and I got together in 1992 and first discussed putting together the boxset. I then talked to one of our oldest friends at Warner Brothers Records and that was some of the first efforts to get the idea out there. It was a seven year project and after that point I was not to involved. As the boxset was being designed, I helped with a few photos from my personal collection and comments about the songs for the book in the box set. I think it came out great!

2.) What did you think of the show VH1 did on you guys ( Behind The Music )?

Q.#20/2)

I was happy that the VH1 show had dedicated at least half the show to the ACG, I was very unhappy that there was no mention of Glen Buxton and believe me there was plenty of room to cut some stuff that had nothing to do with the band, to make mention of Glen. By the way if there would have never been a Glen Buxton there would have NEVER been an Alice Cooper Group.
Thanks, Neal!

#21) from: Vic

Neal, I live in Waterford/ Pontiac, Michigan… My brother Curt has pointed several times at an old warehouse building on Brown Road off Joslyn & I-75… He said you guys practiced and/or recorded there…? If so, do you remember the album/year that you where there, and a little history on, how you came about finding the place?

Q.#21)Hey Vic!

It is possible that the building that you are referring to, could be the barn that we rehearsed in when we all lived on Brown Road in Pontiac. If it is the same location, we lived there 1970 to 1971 and rehearsed for “Love It To Death” and “Killer”, with Bob Ezrin in that very barn. And to tell you
the truth I have no idea how we found the house. Most of the time my sister Cindy and Alice’s girlfriend Cindy, would usually look at homes and properties for us. Without a photo I can not be sure, but chances are that it is the same place.
Thanks, Neal!

CHECK OUT (WWW.NEALSMITH.COM) FOR PLATINUM GOD, OUT NOW!

The end…The Glen Buxton Memorial Mailing List ( GBM ) 1999.

Coordinator; Gary Brown (update: Twitter @GBrown0816)

Book Review: Dennis Dunaway Autobiography

First Published: October 15, 2015
Revised: 04 July 2016
Uncle G’s FUN Book Reviews
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

Book Title: Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group (2015)

Author(s): Dennis Dunaway and Chris Hodenfield

“In fond memory of Glen Buxton 1947-1997”

Ordering old school via phone, ‘Good Records’ in Dallas Texas USA, took my order, and a few days later Dennis’ book arrived. I had already seen a picture of the book on Dennis’ official Facebook page. First impression was I liked the cover photo, and that the book had eleven words in its title. If on Facebook and being asked if it was a good title or not, I’d press the ‘like’ button. It clearly gets the point across that this was a book written (with help from C.H.) by the original bass player in Alice Cooper. The one, the only, Mr. Dennis Dunaway.

Now notice that Dennis has the word ‘group’ after Alice Cooper. It helps separate from Alice’s ongoing solo career that started when Vince jumped ship (management in tow) in ’75. Since then Alice has had an overall successful solo career that began with the mega successful ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ album. An interesting catalog of albums followed. In 2015 we find Alice doing a side project, as part of a supergroup called ‘The Hollywood Vampires’ that just released their debut, self titled album. Frankly, I feel Alice deserves RnRHoF induction, on his solo career alone. Good for him he’s already inducted, and rightfully so for being one fifth of the Alice Cooper ‘group’. Which is where getting back to the book, this story ends. Admitted into the RnRHoF back in 2011. The ‘group’ since then has shown it still has some punch left in them which was apparent at a recent 2015 reunion show / appearances in Dallas Texas (Good Records). Glen was of course missed, but Alice, Neal, Michael, and Dennis played an eight song set that proved something is still there. I personally would luv nothing better than a new 40 to 45 minute Alice Cooper group concept album, and after it’s release, a tour. If not wanting to embark on a full size tour, maybe just a handful of shows so to be professionally recorded; Audio & Blu-ray. From my lips to God’s ears, there is still time left.

Dennis’ recalling of events, lays out exactly how the Alice Cooper group came about. The vast majority of the certain to be, if not already, best seller chronicles mostly up to ’74’s Alice Cooper Greatest Hits album. Superb cover artwork by Drew Struzan on that one btw. For the ‘group’ this was pretty much the end. On record the ‘group’ would not play again and it would be minus GB, until Alice’s follow up to Welcome 2 My Nightmare; Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011).

Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group. Dennis Dunaway’s personal recalling of his life. A very interesting one indeed. Successful with other bands since his Cooper days, and successful in life with a wife and two kids that has certainly kept him well grounded.

I personally never met Dennis, but I know Michael Bruce, and Neal Smith. I also had the honor of hanging with Glen Buxton when he was in Houston, back in ’97. I sat at a table with him and a few others after the Billy Blues show, and was amazed at how well he held our attention. I got to ask him anything I wanted. The dude was so cool and laid back. He sat there attentively as each of the three of us spoke, and then when finished he’d reply. Actually, he used the free time by reaching in and out of this black medicine bag he had with him. In the middle of long answers he’s reaching in, grabbing a can of beer or a cigarette, and not miss a fucking beat. He gave responses in great details. Wonderful stories about The Doors, and Kiss.

I made a beer run for GB back when he did the record show appearance, and a cigarette run (Old Gold or Basic’s 100) when at Billy Blues. Least I could do for one of my all time guitar heroes.

One of the coolest and then saddest things ever in my life … the Area 51 show, at what would be GB’s last ever public appearance. When it came time for the Cooper’s anthem ‘School’s Out’, I got to stand directly in front of Glen, as he played those all too famous, first opening guitar notes. A week later, Glen Buxton was dead. I still get choked up when I think about it too hard. My last memory of GB is him being in the back seat of a car, and exchanging pleasantries back and forth. In the rain, the automobile sooner or later pulled away. I believe it was Jeff Jatras (manager of Michael Bruce ) who seven days later told me Glen passed away.

One fanboy moment I had with GB was giving him a tee shirt. Right before the Area 51 show was to start. Was surprised and honored he actually wore it on stage. An attitude shirt I had specially made in Daytona Beach, Florida a few years before that. I never wore it. Hung on a hanger in my bedroom closet. Would scare mothers and children. It read on the upper arm sleeve; “Sticks and Stones may Break my Bones, but Whips and Chains Excite me”. On the front of the black tee-shirt; “What are You Staring At Dickhead!” I forget the rest.

 photo Area 51 - Glen wearing tee-shirt I gave him GB - 2_zpsismtp9gl.jpg

Photo: GB wearing Tee Shirt I gave him.
October 12, 1997 @ Area 51 in Houston Texas USA
Left to right: Neal Smith, Richie Scarlet, and Glen Buxton

My real regret is that I never asked to have a picture taken with him. My wife got him to sign a couple things. Treasured items now.

 photo Area 51 Show - in person autographs - Buxton_Bruce_Smith_Scarlet - flier_zpsez5mizre.jpg

Photo: Flier for the Area 51 Show.

Speaking of the Houston appearence, Michael Bruce’s manager told me that he would send posts I authored on Sick Things (a public Alice Cooper Internet Discussion Group) about Michael’s playing, to Neal Smith. To help get him interested in coming to Houston which he did, along with GB. Dennis gives him credit for the ’97 reunion, in which I do as well. It would have never have happened without his persistence. As for the record, and sorry if it’s a spoiler, but Mr. Dunaway was ill at the time, and could not participate in the ’97 Houston original Alice Cooper ‘group’ reunion. Alice wasn’t there as well. It was never believed he would show up anyway. Michael, Neal, Glen, with the help of Ace Frehley’s bass player, Richie Scarlet, and a local Houston musician playing keyboards and helping with backing vocals, John Glenn could not have done any better. For the short time they practiced, and played together, the five of them ended up a pretty tight band. These guys ROCKED! Weather wise in Houston, all during this time, it rained cats and dogs. A contributing factor I believe to Glen’s demise.

Michael Bruce once told me it was always better to take the high road, or whatever you could fit in your pockets. Only kidding! Luv U Bro’! TONS of memories. R.I.P. MB manager; Jeff Jatras (1957-2011). Truth is the man was a true scumbag the majority of the time. Killed himself in 2011. Sad in a way. Many that knew him who upon hearing news of his passing were quoted as saying; “Good riddance!”

 photo Jatras - Headstone_zpsxmfknocm.jpg

Photo: Jeff Jatras – Headstone

Dennis’ new autobiography, Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group. Recommend reading, so say I.

Official Dennis Dunaway Book Webpage

http://www.dennisdunaway.com/book/

Thanks to Bryan Erickson, webmaster of www.glenbuxton.com for permission / use of photo.

Music Review: Hollywood Vampires – Hollywood Vampires (2015)

First Published: 03 May 2016
Spotlight: The Hollywood Vampires – The Hollywood Vampires (2015)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter @GBrown0816

After Alice Cooper released the sequel to one of his most popular solo records, Welcome To My Nightmare (1975) entitled ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’ back in 2011, my hope was that it would be followed up by a tour. One that would include the three other original surviving members of Alice Cooper (1969-1974); Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith. Reason being because they were included on the Nightmare 2 album. Three different tracks. But that never happened. Instead Alice toured like he’s done since separating from the original members of Alice Cooper, with his own band. In my opinion, the three strongest tracks on Nightmare 2, was the ones written and performed by the surviving founding members of Alice Cooper (RIP Glen Buxton), and performed again as a group. Their first time doing so since 1974’s Muscle Of Love album. And not that the rest of ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’ sucked. The track, ‘I Am Made Of You’, contains some excellent guitar work by Steve Hunter, and is one of the best solo tracks in my opinion that Alice has done in ages. The album was touched on live, and that’s about it. Next came talk of a covers record, in which quite frankly I really wasn’t that excited about. Not until it expanded / grew into what we have today. The debut album of; The Hollywood Vampires.

The Hollywood Vampires self titled record that came out last September, is very much a Alice Cooper project. Produced by longtime associate; Bob Ezrin. The same man who dared recently to voice aloud what I thought was constructive criticism of rap music’s, Kanye West. Of course that flew over like a lead balloon, as one would expect from Mister Kardashian, and his homies. Bob Ezrin, who was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame twelve years ago, is also a songwriter, and plays the piano / keyboards extremely well. On the Hollywood Vampires album, Mr. Ezrin plays keyboards / piano, gets partial writing credit for three tracks, does backing vocals, is credited as producer, and also gets partial credit again, this time for helping mix the recordings. A studio wizard, whose work and dedication to his craft helped sell millions and millions of records worldwide.

The idea for this concept album originated from what lyricist Bernie Taupin labeled a; “drinking fraternity”. A bunch of famous guys who putting their celebrity aside, would meet up to see who could out drink one another. All heavy drinkers / alcoholics, whose reputation for partying preceded them. Didn’t take long for the Grim Reaper to start picking them off, one by one. Not all mentioned in this tribute to their memories died because of a result of abusing King Alcohol. The Beatles, John Lennon for example, was assassinated by a crazed fanatic on the 8th of December in 1980. Rumor had it back in the day, John was capable of being a very sloppy drunk. Yet it’s said the last five years of his life he spent raising their son Sean. Am thinking he didn’t do so in a constant drunken stupor. One can conclude that if not for the asshole who shot him multiple times, that John Lennon might be still alive today.

Back in the seventies / eighties, I had my own battles with the bottle. Ends up some of us cleaned up our act some, while others unfortunately didn’t. I loss my Mother who was a professional musician due to her drinking, when I was seven years old. Worked in bars. You’d think I know better, yet I went through and survived the DT’s, back when I was just twenty four, after a decade of consuming any and all booze I could get my hands on. Withdrawal almost killed me. Made me learn to respect the bottle, and of course it’s contents. Alice took on sobriety after damn near dying. Lucky for him because many try, and fail.

Uncle G Reviews … The Hollywood Vampires (self titled debut album)

Starts off with a very cool spoken word track entitled ‘The Last Vampire’, by the late actor; Sir Christopher Lee (1922-2015). Both Johnny Depp (guitarist for The Hollywood Vampires), and Alice Cooper worked with him in the Dark Shadows film they did together back in 2012. One of my all time favorite movie actors. His body of work with just Hammer Studios is simply outstanding. Who else but he could take the role of Dracula made famous by Bela Lugosi, and profitably make it his own? The opening track … ‘The Last Vampire’ … excellent intro!

Next we get one of two original songs on the Hollywood Vampires album, called; Raise The Dead. Along with ‘The Last Vampire’ it helps set the tone for everything that follows. Here’s the first track one gets to hear actor / musician Johnny Depp play guitar, and do backing vocals. That to me was a curiosity. My good friend Charles Zittle (drummer for Generation:landslide) informed me before I really dug into this release that Mr. Depp is actually quite a skilled guitarist, and was into playing guitar before becoming famous for his Hollywood roles. News to me. Listening to this album, I found what Charles told me, very much on the money.

Next comes eleven tracks of not just cover songs, but songs that speak the name(s) for whom they were picked. Every track is enjoyable to listen to. Some rock harder than others. Most of the compositions picked, people will recognize pretty quickly. Here’s a few highlights:

01.) My Generation: Having The Who’s drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo’s son) playing drums on this track, is icing on the cake here. Always been one of my favorite Who songs. The song’s a nod to the original Who drummer Keith Moon (1948 – 1978), who was a Hollywood Vampire back in the day.

02.) Whole Lotta Love: I always dug Alice’s harmonica playing, and if you do too, then you’ll seriously dig this track. Also joining Alice on vocals is former AC/DC singer, Brian Johnson. The Hollywood Vampires version of the Led Zeppelin classic, has five guitar players, and again we have Zak Starkey pounding the skins. On bass, Kip Winger. All involved make it one of the coolest covers, being that it’s not an exact copy of the original. Dedicated to Led Zeppelin’s John Henry Bonham who died of alcohol poisoning (1948-1980). Came close to doing that myself, more than once.

03) Come And Get It: Written by the Beatles Paul McCartney, and made a hit by the band Badfinger. Released in the States in 1970, it charted on Billboard’s Top 10. This version is nothing short of being blessed, having Sir Paul’s participation; vocals, bass, and piano. Sharing guitar duties; Johnny Depp and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. On drums, the very talented, Abe Laboriel Jr (Sir Paul’s regular drummer). Hollywood Vampires producer Bob Ezrin joins in on backing vocals. Worth repeat plays for sure.

04.) Jeepster: A fun rocker credited to Hollywood Vampire Marc Bolan (1947 – 1977), and made a hit by the band, T Rex. Includes a standout performance by singer Alice Cooper, who by the way, shines throughout the album. Another feather in the cap for the long time musician. Already inducted in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland Ohio) for his work with the original Alice Cooper band, I say it’s about time he was acknowledged for his solo work. Should be just a matter of time before we see him on the ballot again.

05.) School’s Out / Another Brick In The Wall part 2: Amazing how closely School’s Out sounds like the original. Seeing how aging didn’t change anything, we have three other people who participated on the 1972 hit School’s Out, involved here; Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums), and producer Bob Ezrin, who helps out here musically along with Kip Winger doing backing vocals. A tribute to Glen Buxton, original lead guitarist for Alice Cooper who passed away back in 1997. Noticeably absent from participating on this Alice Cooper group reunion; Michael Bruce. Main songwriter, rhythm guitarist, and keyboardist for the band. Still very much alive, and who recently came out retirement debuting his new band; Michael Bruce Force. Note, I believe it’s Michael that is referred to in the last page of the Hollywood Vampires booklet that comes with the CD. Found listed with a bunch of other names under; “Johnny and Alice wish to thank.” It’s reads; “Mike Bruce”. Those who know Michael, know that he seriously dislikes being called, Mike. So perhaps a typo, or maybe it’s another person entirely? Regardless, always nice to at least hear Mr. Dunaway, and Mr. Smith on a record that includes Alice again.

Pink Floyd’s mega hit ‘Another Brick In The Wall part 2’, gels perfectly with School’s Out. Alice has been including the mix (School’s Out / Another Brick In The Wall part 2) in his live show for some time now. A natural to appear on this record. The Pink Floyd number, a tip of the hit I imagine to deceased Pink Floyd members, Syd Barrett (1946 – 2006) and Richard Wright (1943 – 2008). Guitarists on this track include Slash, whose a long time Alice Cooper fan.

Original Track – My Dead Drunk Friends: Over four minutes, this is an excellent closing number. Just as the first two tracks did their job setting the scene, My Dead Drunk Friends, does a superb job ending the album. Containing a serious message in it’s lyrics, the song takes a more humorous approach in it’s delivery, both lyrically and music wise.

Uncle G Rates … The Hollywood Vampires (self titled 2015 album)

Using the one to five rating system, whereas one star means it’s downright horrible, to five stars in which means one is safe to spend their hard earned cash on it, I rate The Hollywood Vampires debut album … (a Neal Smith drum roll please) … 5 stars!

For a mostly cover record, this kicks ass! Due to it’s storyline / presentation, it’s not just another “tribute” / “cover” album. Is a wonderful introduction to the group.

The live Hollywood Vampire shows critiqued by critics and fans alike that I have read so far, have all been good. The band smoked on television debut at this year’s Grammys. The group played a new song called, As Bad As I Am, that comes with the new deluxe version of the Hollywood Vampires album, and as a tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister (1945 – 2015), the Motorhead song, ‘Ace Of Spades.’

In closing, my hope is to see another Hollywood Vampire album follow. A super group for sure, even if hard to get everyone together, the effort I’m sure would be worth it. A mixture of cover / original material would be fine. And I’d also like to see these guys live. Catch them on the road if you can. Should be a solid night of entertainment / hard rocking.

For additional information on The Hollywood Vampires, please check out their official website @ www.HollywoodVampires.com