Category Archives: Music

Gnarls Barkley Breaks Rules, Breaks Through

Gnarls Barkley - Run VideoI’ve never heard of Gnarls Barkley, and I probably never would’ve seen their video on MTV (does MTV still play videos?), unless I hadn’t see this on Yahoo today.

And Yahoo wouldn’t have bothered unless Gnarls Barkley had broken the rules (with crazy strobe light effects). They would’ve been just another band trying to breakthrough. It wouldn’t have been home page worthy.

In just catching up on the surface, I don’t think the band intended for their video to violate the Harding Test. It just happened that way, and now we’re hearing about it.

Is there a rule or accepted ritual you could break to get this kind of attention? Not a gimmick, or a ploy, but just good ol’ fashioned pushing of the envelope?

Here’s the video. It’s been viewed 258,000 times. Think that would’ve happened if they hadn’t broken the rules?

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Alter Bridge: The Best Current Rock Band on the Planet

Sadly, I’ve been out of touch with the music scene over the past few years. Most of that has to do with a) my new affinity for talk radio, and b) most new music really, really sucks.

Alter Bridge is bringing me back.

Thanks to my buddy Frank, I’ve seen the light with Alter Bridge. In a world of off-pitch screamers, hard-rocking gurglers, and weak, cookie-cutter riffers, and thumb-twiddling guitar soloers Alter Bridge is combining real talent with great rock songwriting, and it is good.

For those that don’t know, Alter Bridge, in one respect, is Creed without their crazy lead singer Scott Stapp. But that’s not really fair, cuz they are tons better than Creed ever was. Mark Tremonti, guitarist and head riff-meister, is still cranking out the arena-rock-meets-Metallica tunes. And the pocket of Scott Phillips (drums) and Brian Marshall (bass) is solid but nothing to write home about. But what makes Alter Bridge so freakin’ amazing is lead singer/guitarist Myles Kennedy.

Think David Coverdale (Whitesnake, Coverdale/Page) meets Geoff Tate (Queensryche) with a twist Jeff Keith (Tesla). Myles has a voice that soars like the blackbird he sings about, is the more melodic lead guitarist between Tremonti and himself, and, best of all, looks, sounds, acts and rocks like a lead singer should.

You might recognize his earlier work as Marky Mark Wahlberg’s replacement in Steel Dragon at the end of the movie Rock Star.

Frank, his brother Brandon and I went to see Alter Bridge here in Dallas at the Palladium back in October. I was shocked to see how easily Myles translated his vocal acrobatics on the album to stage. He didn’t miss, and I’ve never seen anyone sing as high as he does as easily as he does. The guy rocks, the songs rock, and the band rocks.

Their new album, Blackbird, is one of those rare records that has a minimum of 5 can’t-skip songs. The first 4 rock pretty hard, but for me, the real meat starts around track 5 and lasts through track 10.

The video below was filmed at the concert I was at. I’m sure a clearer version will be coming out (update – here it is) (it was shot professionally for future video use), and when it does, you might even see us close to the stage. This isn’t my favorite Alter Bridge song (that probably belongs to “Rise Today” – see second video below), but it’ll give you an idea of what they’re all about.

Is That Really Van Halen?

Van Halen ComebackGreat news: Van Halen is making a comeback.

Bad news: Yahoo makes the announcement with a picture of David Lee Roth and guitarist Steve Vai, not Eddie Van Halen. Vai was Roth’s guitar player when he left Van Halen and went solo. And he was great in the movie Crossroads.

Tip to Yahoo – I’d like to say it’s a simple mistake to make, but it’s really not. Try to have the guy (Eddie Van Halen) who’s responsible for the name of the band (Van Halen) in the picture.

But it’s still good news, even though I think David Lee Roth is an idiot.

Free Music for Prince = Good Business

Prince - Planet Earth Album GiveawayPrince is giving away LOTS of free music via a newspaper in the UK – full details here. As the article states, ” Prince’s new 10-track CD “Planet Earth” will be included with an upcoming Mail on Sunday, the newspaper’s managing director, Stephen Miron, told Reuters on Friday.”

Seems as though record companies are having a fit at the idea of giving away that many albums. Retail stores are pulling out of contracts. Critics are ranting at the top of their lungs. Record companies are pissed. One record store owner is quoted as saying:

“It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career. It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.”

Here are the reasons what Prince is doing is right, and everyone else is wrong:

  • Prince doesn’t make music for the record stores (the distributors); he makes it for the fans (the customers). And for his own enjoyment.
  • CDs and plastic cases will continue to die. Don’t know if you’ve heard of this little phenomenon called the iPod, but it’s kinda caught on, and it completely negates the record store. Is it sad? Maybe. But it’s reality.
  • I guarantee Prince will sell more of this album than any of his last three. He’s getting huge PR out of this, and huge trial and new exposure.
  • Prince is also launching a 21 night concert series . . . . in London only. Is that fair for the rest of the world? It does make his giveaway make perfect sense.
  • Prince is thinking big picture; the British record dealers/stores are thinking about themselves. In all fairness, many of those record dealers have only themselves to think about, but not the record company. If I had an artist who was willing to give away that many CDs to launch an album, I would be elated. Blogging will start, fan reviews will commence and the word will start spreading. It’s perfect advertising and promotion.

Obviously, you’ll get a completely different paradigm reading this article at the newspaper’s website. It’s being touted as the “world’s greatest newspaper giveaway ever.”

I’m a huge Prince fan, so more times than not, I’m gonna automatically be on his side. But I think this is a great business decision for his album. In many ways, Prince has far outdone KISS in being a true marketing innovator in the music business.

We’ll see where it stands in 6 months. What do you think will happen?

Crossroads Guitar Duel

Something fun – the definitive guitar duel. If you haven’t seen this movie (Crossroads), it’s worth a rent. Especially if you’re a blues fan. Just don’t get it confused with the Brittany Spears movie by the same name.

Ralph Macchio peaked with this one movie excerpt. Steve Vai had only begun. (Props to Ry Cooder, too – he’s one of the main men behind the scenes making Ralph sound good, esp. on slide)

Drifting by Andy McKee

This is Andy McKee – music lovers, prepare to be amazed. By the way, here’s the YouTube link to all his stuff. 

A few observations:

  • Do you think any of us would’ve heard of this guy if YouTube and the rest of the social media world wasn’t there?
  • There are still gifted, original musicians out there! You wouldn’t know it by listening to the radio.
  • He’s not the first to do the two-hand thing like this, but I’ve never seen anyone do this style specifically. Someone early on could have easily told him that’s not the proper way to play guitar. I’m glad he didn’t listen.

Naturally 7 Subway Video

No other way to say this than this video is just cool. Great skills. Don’t know what it is, but something about it inspires me.

Tip o’ the hat to Chris for leading the way – thanks.