Monday, January 09, 2012

Forget what I said about bleeding ears

Sometimes you just need the mellow.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sweet: Jawbreaking Bubblegum

Sweet don't get the respect that they deserve. Was it the early "bubblegum" hits, the "glam" look that they helped shape, or the overuse of cheesy synth hooks that contributed to this lack of respect? I don't know, really. Whatever the case, they were talented musicians, had good songs, and didn't take themselves at all seriously. That makes good rock and their influence can be heard and seen from KISS to Crue--a good or bad thing, depending on your tastes.
First video: "Turn It Down".
Second video (in full glam mode): "Hellraiser".

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Sounds of Radiation

Normally, it is silent. Coming from the machine it buzzes and you can taste it on your tongue. It neither rocks or rolls. It will burn you to a crisp and make you sleep. But through a machine for healing it just buzzes until you're done.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's been even longer

I've not been listening to much heavy music. I have been listening to some punk: Stiff Little Fingers, Undertones (really not punk), and my neighbor's dog's artful whining--very post punk. Mostly, I've been listening to playful psychedelic music like early Floyd, Animal Collective, and my neighbor's dog's artful whining--takes on a whole different meaning when tripping.

Cancer has taken me away from dark music. I have enough blackness growing in me at the moment. I have enough toxicity coursing through my veins. I think loud music will always have a place, so I am still all about the dB's--which is a good group, btw.

So, in closing, I hope to do a feature soon on current loud music I've been into. For the few that have ever ventured on this blog, I think you deserve something new.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gee, golly wizz! It's been awhile. Here's what loud stuff I am listening to right now...

Diamond Head, the "White Album". Favorite track: "Am I Evil?" Why that one sounds familiar: Metallica covered the song and Lars Ulrich got inspired to start his own metal band after hanging out with Diamond Head for a couple of months in 1980. Thus, Metallica was Diamond Head's golden child. Diamond Head is either a metal band playing really good hard rock, or a hard rock band struggling to play heavy metal. Their singer sounds like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.

Mastadon, "Blood Mountain". Favorite track: "Colony of Birchmen". Yeah, I know it is the popular choice and I don't care. This whole CD is HEAVY! Ok, another awesome track from this album is "Capillarian Crest". It isn't dredged in Satanic crapola, either. The 120 dB's credo is anything that takes you and beats the hell out of your senses and these guys do it well--in a way that is original as well.

Dissection, "The Somberlain". Favorite track: "Black Horizons" Why? Because once in awhile I need to be scared...very scared! Look for the post in the archives that Vera did on this group and you will know what I am talking about. Beware of the messages in these songs--these guys meant everything they said and actually went about proving it.

King Crimson, "Starless and Bible Black". Favorite song: I lump the last three songs into one menacing trio, "The Mincer", "Starless and Bible Black", and "Fracture". These guys were exploring very dark and intense material with this lineup of Robert Fripp (guitar), John Wetton (vocals/bass), David Cross (violin), and a very powerful Bill Bruford (percussion). I know that the violin player seems a bit out of place but it seems to make all the sense in the world when you are listening to a band named after old Beelzebub.

Celtic Frost, "To Mega Therion". Favorite song: "Necromantical Screams". Oh, these guys are totally demented thrash metal and their album art is offensively cool. Some consider them to be of the "first wave" of black metal, but I think their first incarnation "Hellhammer" (not the drummer dude of the same name who came later on to play for Mayhem) was where that distinction came from, not so much Celtic Frost. CF were just plain grating and explored weird ideas not normally found in metal--such as using a brass band in some songs. Their middle period was truly dire. Their drummer took over and kicked Tom Fischer and Martin Eric Ain out of the band. That was a big mistake and it nearly ruined Celtic Frost forever, playing hair metal in hopes of getting rich. Celtic Frost reunited with the classic lineup and made a huge comeback in 2006 with "Monotheist". This comeback more than made up for the dreadful music that had almost ruined them for good.

I would add some punk in here but I haven't listened to punk in a long time. It just isn't punk season for me yet.

Play it loudest!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, December 31, 2006

I will build a T-Wreck in his honor

One of my hobby gurus died on Saturday, December 23rd, 2006. Ken Fischer was the Strativarius of the guitar amp world.

He worked for Ampeg in the 60's and got his business going by hot-rodding guitar slinger's Fender, Marshall, Vox, and Messy Boogers (Mesa Boogie) amps. In the early eighties, while his fix-it and mod-it business was booming, a guitar slinger came into his shop and needed his Marshall Plexi Super Lead 100's sweetened up. After getting that sorted, the dude wondered if just having Ken make him an amp from scratch would be better. It was. Ken made him the finest guitar amp that he ever played through. That amp's name was Ginger, after the buyer's wife. If someone is selling Ginger right now and you are an interested buyer, plan on taking out a mortgage on your home. I know that some of his original amps go for tens of thousands of dollars now.

Anyway, Ken started up his own amplification company Trainwreck Circuits, after his biker nick-name "Trainwreck". His first model was the "Liverpool", second "Express", and third "Rocket". Ken carried on the tradition of giving amps names instead of serial numbers. Seeing how he worked with each client to make an amp according to his client's specific needs, all these different named amps are in fact unique. So, collectors are looking not just for a Trainwreck Express, they are looking for a Ginger, a Rose, a whatever.

Ken had developed many health problems since the late '80s and his amp building pretty much ceased in the '90s. This is when his willingness to share his knowledge really helped the world of music. So many great amp builders were inspired by this man and his knowledge, resulting in a renaissance of tone. Ken spent the last years of his life as resident Wizard for Komet Amplification. If you play electric guitar, you need to sample the sound clips of those amps. Start saving your pennies, though. Those amps are not cheap.

My dream was to have Ken personally make me an amp. I wanted there to be a "The Grunt" amp legacy out there with collectors drooling at the possibility of owning it over my dead body. It wasn't to happen. Well, in honor of Ken, I will learn my craft and build a Wreck of my own. I know it won't be as good, but I will try to channel his spirit when I form those big Mallory capacitors and watch the thing come to life. Maybe I will have a few hundred dollars to spend on a full compliment of Mullard 12AX7's and EL34 electron tubes to really get things cooking. I will start bit by bit. I really want to feel connected. That was Ken's philosophy on what an amp should do: be connected to the player, roar like a mother, have a rich harmonic complexity, and clean up nicely with a roll of the guitar's volume knob.

RIP, Ken.