Bachman & Turner: Bachman & Turner

RIYL: Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Guess Who, Aerosmith

If you dig classic rock, but are sick of hearing the same Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Steve Miller Band tunes, sometimes it’s nice when one of these acts releases something new after all these years.  Sometimes it’s not nice, but that’s a comment for another review.  In this case, we have Bachman & Turner’s debut album, but it’s not really a debut.  They were the two front guys for ‘70’s rock institution Bachman Turner Overdrive, a band that created some of the greatest, well, classic rock tunes in history – “Takin’ Care of Business” and “Ya Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” being among the biggest.  So after a few decades, Randy Bachman was working on a solo album and asked Fred Turner to sing a few songs, and the rest is history.  But here’s the thing: aside from more strained vocals, this stuff is almost as good as the stuff they released in the ‘70s.  It’s not a band trying to sound current; it’s Bachman and Turner being Bachman & Turner. The album is a complete set of 12 songs, but a few stand out: the rocking “I’ve Seen the Light” and gang-vocal driven “Rock and Roll is the Only Way Out,” as well as “That’s What It Is,” which sounds a bit like Bachman backed by Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren; and “Moonlight Rider,” which has a Clapton-esque feel and could have easily been a hit in 1976.  These songs are timeless, the duo’s playing is timeless, and this just may give classic rock radio a few new songs to add to the format.  (RBE Music/Fontana 2010)

Bachman & Turner website


Sons of Sylvia: Revelation

RIYL: Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Rascal Flatts

Don’t blame brother trio Sons of Sylvia if they are a bit pigeon-holed into the country music genre, because that’s not what they are. Sure, the band won a talent competition that led to a deal with 19 Recordings, and one of the band members was a backup singer in Carrie Underwood’s band, but their debut, Revelation, is no more country than Bon Jovi or Bret Michaels. Oh wait….yeah, there is much crossover these days. Let’s just say this is a rock album with moments of twang and leave it at that. And as debut albums go, this is a pretty strong set. The trio is led by singer Ashley Clark and the trio writes together with the help of folks like OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, who happens to be their cousin. And while Ashley has a strong voice, one of the drawbacks is that he tries too hard to show it off. The album opens with “John Wayne,” and this is the country rock song Bon Jovi couldn’t seem to write, but with too many vocal acrobatics a la Adam Lambert. But it’s a good one, as are most of the tracks on here. “Love Left to Lose” is a powerful gang-vocal anthem, “50 Ways” could find its way onto an Aerosmith album, and the current single, “I’ll Know You,” is pure pop power ballad. But the best track of all is “Song of Solomon,” a slowly building gem in which the vocal acrobatics are more appropriate. All in all this is a solid debut and this is a band that could have an extremely bright future. (19 Recordings/Interscope)

Sons of Sylvia MySpace Page


Vince Neil: Tattoos & Tequila

RIYL: Mötley Crüe, Buckcherry, Steel Panther

Vince Neil has always been one of those frontmen that makes up for his lack of traditional singing talent with tons of style and swagger. Throughout the peak years of Mötley Crüe’s commercial success, his high-pitched vocal style served the band’s glammed-up take on hard rock well. Though the group still packs arenas, it’s obvious that all of the years of out-of-range screaming and squealing have taken its toll on Neil’s vocals. He was never the strongest live performer, but these days, listening to Vince live is like hearing a cat being tortured.

It’s no surprise that anticipation for a Vince Neil solo record isn’t all that high. But here we are – 15 years since his last full length record, 1995’s Carved in Stone – and the bleached blonde singer is back with Tattoos & Tequila, his third studio album. With that much of a gap between albums, you would expect the guy to come to the table with a lot of new material, but Tattoos & Tequila features nine covers and only two original songs. Things start off shaky with the title track, which is a weak attempt by Neil to attract Active Rock radio program directors. Written and produced by the usually reliable Marti Frederiksen, the track’s overly processed drum sound and stock stop-and-go riffs sound like something Hinder or Buckcherry would have relegated to B-side status. Luckily, things turn around on the next cut, a faithful version of Cheap Trick’s power pop standard “He’s a Whore.” Jeff Blando’s crunchy guitar tone is the perfect bed for the song’s sweetened melody lines and earworm of a chorus.


All of the cover songs were produced by Neil and Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees), and they do a stellar job of giving the vocals a pop sheen that recalls Mötley Crüe’s Elektra Records years. Anyone remotely familiar with Vince’s early influences won’t be shocked to see some of the artists he chose to cover here. The Sweet, Sex Pistols, and Scorpions are all represented on Tattoos & Tequila, and while nothing particularly new is done with them, they still make for a fun listening experience. The most shocking part is the strength of the less conventional hard rock material. Perhaps it was his co-producer’s experience from working on the wonderful covers album Influence from Shaw Blades — Jack Blades’ project with Styx guitarist-vocalist Tommy Shaw. Even when Vince takes on Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas,” the meat and potatoes arrangement and revved-up rhythm during the signature chorus, reinvents the song into a Sunset Strip-styled rocker.

Covers of Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” keep close to their original ‘70s incarnations, but there’s something intriguing about listening to Neil’s snotty vocal delivery driving them. The other original song, also produced by Marti Fredericksen, was penned by Mötley’s bassist Nikki Sixx and is called “Another Bad Day.” It’s the kind of mid-tempo ballad that would have been massive on Dial MTV circa 1988. It’s also easily better than anything Neil or Sixx have put on an album in years.

So much for expectations. Who would have thought that a Vince Neil covers album would be this enjoyable? Even one out of the two original tracks is a keeper – and we all know how bad the songs they usually throw on these collections are. Now, we’re not saying that you should go out and catch a Vince solo show anytime soon – but if you dig old Crüe and the golden era of Aqua Net rock, Tattoos & Tequila would be a worthy addition to your CD collection. (ElevenSeven Music 2010)

Vince Neil MySpace page


Steven Tyler enters rehab for addiction to painkillers

Steven Tyler

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler is in the news once again. Tyler has checked himself into rehab in order to treat an addiction to prescription drugs and painkillers. On a happier note, he is dedicated to rejoining the band.

Per Rolling Stone:

In an exclusive statement to Rolling Stone, Tyler also addressed his bandmates’ recent allegations that he demanded a two-year break from the group: “I wish to set the record straight and say that I have read reports of a rumored two-year hiatus and want to be clear that this is completely false and I will enthusiastically be writing, recording and performing with Aerosmith as soon as things are handled.”

In November, Whitford told RS he believed Tyler “doesn’t act like a sober person,” adding, “I’m not hanging with the guy, but his history of drug abuse is well documented.” Tyler fell off the stage during a South Dakota show in early August, forcing the band to cancel the remainder of its injury-plagued summer tour. At the time, Tyler told Rolling Stone he resented implications that the accident occurred while he was intoxicated. “The easiest thing in the world is to say he’s drunk or stoned,” he said. After the tour was canceled, word of strife within Aerosmith began to leak out; in early November, Tyler told a reporter he was taking time off to work on “Brand Tyler” and his bandmates responded by announcing they were beginning to search for a replacement singer.

Here’s hoping he takes care of this problem. An Aerosmith without Steven Tyler singing is an Aerosmith fans will abandon.


Lenny Kravitz will not sing for Aerosmith


With Steven Tyler preoccupied with his “Brand Tyler” project, the other members of Aerosmith are reportedly looking for a new singer to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band. Lenny Kravitz was rumored to be the frontrunner, but the “American Woman” singer has confirmed on his Twitter page that, since Tyler is a family friend, he wouldn’t accept the offer.

Kravitz had been linked to the role amid ongoing speculation about Tyler’s future with the group.

However, in a message on his Twitter page, Kravitz said his friendship with Tyler prevented him from ever taking the singer’s place.

“As much as I am flattered that Aerosmith’s camp would consider me to front the band, Steven Tyler is a family friend, and no voice could ever take the place of his,” he wrote.

“I hope the band stays together. They are classic.”
Tyler’s position has been in doubt ever since the frontman broke his shoulder after falling off stage in August, prompting the cancellation of Aerosmith’s US tour.

Aerosmith is in a serious bind. They won’t recruit a singer nobody’s hear of because album and concert sales would suffer. Also, they won’t record or tour with a slew of famous singers because that’s admitting they need Tyler. What to do?