It’s All In The Spin…

November 18th, 2010 by

– Rock Formats Music Reviews (11.19.10)

By: Michael D. Vogel  

© November 19, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. 

Published in:

Free GothamDecember 26, 2010

Examiner.comDecember 20, 2010


 Elton John & Leon Russell

Song: “If It Wasn’t For Bad

From the release: The Union

Label: Decca

Members: Leon Russell (piano, vocals), Elton John (vocals), Jay Bellerose (drums, percussion), Dennis Crouch (acoustic bass), Marc Ribot (guitar), Booker T. Jones (hammond B3), Keefus Pardini (keyboards) and Darrell Leonard (trumpet)

Producer: T Bone Burnett

Origin: Pinner, Middlesex, England (Elton John) and Lawton, OK (Leon Russell)

Website: and

What you should know: – Leon Russell and Elton John are hardly strangers to Rock radio. Their long standing friendship began in 1970, when Russell attended the debut performance by Elton John at the world renowned Troubadour in Hollywood. “In the later 60’s and early 70’s, the one piano player and vocalist who influenced me more than anybody else was Leon Russell-he was my idol”, Elton John has endearingly professed about his hero. That is a pretty grand statement from the man who was easily one of the most popular musical figures of the seventies. Tulsa native, Leon Russell is American rock legend, who has inspired countless musicians over the decades with his song writing ability, soul searching voice and iconoclastic musical instincts. 40 years in the making, these two mutual admirers have given their respective fans an album that is long over-due. The end result is The Union, produced by T Bone Burnett, who has helped this eclectic duo craft an incredibly tender chapter of music. With so much emphasis on guitar these days, it is the piano oriented sound that makes this pair such a unique presence on the radio. As such, “If It Wasn’t For Bad”, the first release from The Union, is a gorgeous piano ballad featuring Russell’s penchant for crafting clever and thoughtful lyrics combined with the vocal interplay of the duo, that is a prime example of music that transcends easy categorization.

 Rolling Stones

Song: “Following The River

From the release: Exile On Main Street Deluxe Edition

Label: Universal Republic

Members: Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar, tambourine), Keith Richards (guitars), Charlie Watts (drums), Bill Wyman (bass), Nicky Hopkins (piano), Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mizelle (background vocals) and David Campbell (string arrangement)

Producer: Jimmy Miller, Don Was & The Glimmer Twins

Origin: London, England 


What you should know: – If you’ve been jonesin’ for new classic sounding Rolling Stones music, now is the time for your fix. From the album that brought us such classic’s as “Happy,” “Tumbling Dice” & “Torn and Frayed” comes “Following The River”, one of ten previously unreleased tracks from the Exile On Main Street Deluxe Edition release, a reissue of the 1972 Stone’s classic, and in some circles regarded as their finest album and one of the greatest in rock and roll history. The piano-fueled ballad was an instrumental backing track languishing in the Rolling Stones’ archives, but was pulled from the band’s vault and re-recorded with an entirely new lyric for release on the 2010 update of their 1972 album. This soon-to-be classic gem, reflects a much simpler time in music, showcasing the early blues influences of the Stones, while highlighting an incredible maturity and a level understanding of life. As such, this song is really a special moment in time. “Following The River” has that unique, indefinable thing that conveys that love really isn’t fair, easy or always fun – it is what it is and therefore we need just accept it. Recorded in Paris, “Following The River” is highlighted by Nicky Hopkins’ haunting piano, while Jagger sings about the pain of love slipping away. If you like this rediscovered track, you’ll also greatly enjoy the nine others included on the Deluxe Edition. By “Following The River,” you’ll be reminded why you have that irresistible urge to get your fix of the Stones on a daily basis.

 Plain White T’s

Song: “Rhythm Of Love

From the release: The Wonders of the Younger

Label: Hollywood 

Members: Tom Higgenson (vocals), Ken Fletcher (bass) and Dave Tirio (drums)

Producer: Ian Kirkpatrick

Origin: Chicago, IL


What you should know: – The Plain White T’s live in a unique sonic universe. One that is quite different from our own. The fact that they can paint such vivid pictures with lucid lyrics, thick swirling melodies and dense rhythms make the Plain White T’s a celebration of sensation. These five guys from the windy city are an over-night sensation, ten years in the making – literally! With their first release near the turn of the century, Plain White T’s have been quietly building a grass-roots fan-base, all the while honing their unique sound. Their reward, a Grammy nomination! Not resting on these accomplishments, these Chicago natives went back into the studio only to emerge with their sixth and most accomplished record to date. “Rhythm Of Love” continues down the musical pathway that the Plain White T’s garnered a Grammy nomination for when we were introduced to the mega pop-alt. acoustic smash “Hey There Delilah.” With lead vocals from guitarist Tim Lopez, “Rhythm of Love” is melodic yet uniquely textured, a laid back multi-demo, cross-format beauty that will serve as a fine inclusion to their impressive decade old body of work. ^m^


Dwight Twilley

From the release: Green Blimp

Label: Big Oak

Members: Dwight Twilley (vocals, guitars), James Barth (string arrangements, strings,) Rocky Burnette (vocals), John Cooper (mandolin), Susan Cowsill (vocals), Brandon McGovern (guitar and vocals), Bill Padgett (conga, percussion, Michael Webb (accordion on “Green Blimp”) and Bill Pitcock IV (bass, guitar, horns)

Producer: Dwight Twilley

Origin: Tulsa, OK


What you should know: – Get your boarding passes now, Captain Dwight is coming to take you for a rock & roll ride – Twilley style! Dwight Twilley is a living legend of rock music. Coming of age during the MTV revolution, Dwight has built a name for himself, over his 35+ year career, by producing and performing his own blend of pop-rock music that has always defied the norm. This is no exception with Twilley’s latest CD, Green Blimp; produced and recorded in Dwight’s personal Big Oak studios. Never shy on showcasing his 60’s and 70’s roots, the 12 pop and rock infused tracks are filled with strong melodies and progressive arrangements. The songs are alternatively barbed, ironic, deeply felt and consummately crafted yet completely honest. The end result, Green Blimp is every bit as adventurous in execution as it is in form and content – the distinctive work of an authentic musical poet. The album as a whole is lushly produced and overflowing with rollicking guitars, multi-layered vocals, a steady beat and textured feel that melds perfectly with Dwight’s magnetic voice.  The lyrics of each song are extremely well crafted and perceptive, capturing a sense of urgency and ultimately creating a feeling of immediacy. As such, the Green Blimp will undoubtedly delight Dwight Twilley fans everywhere.

From the opening track, “Get Up”, a straight-ahead, rocking tune accentuated by a driving guitar to “Me and Melanie,” a song that showcases the influences of  the Beatle’s White album, Dwight modernizes his classic sound for a new generation. Even the title track, a lazy melody combining the strumming of a  singular guitar, with an accordion, an instrument seldom heard in rock circles, where Dwight sings of simpler times when you could shed the shackles of reality and get caught up in the music. The album also features Rocky Burnette and Susan Cowsill, of the legendary 1960’s band The Cowsills, who was a member of Dwight Twilley’s band in the mid 80’s. The final track on Green Blimp, “It Ends, ” brings to a close the album much in the same fashion it began, a catchy pop rock infused track with a consistent guitar riff and what will surely become a classic rock & roll lyric – “Just like it begins, the ice is so thin, it ends.”

Album Tracks: “Get Up”, “Speed of Light” “Me and Melanie”, “Let It Rain”; “Doctor”, “Green Blimp”, “You Were Always There”, “It’s Never Coming Back”, “Stop”, “Ten Times”, “Witches In The Sky” and “It Ends” ^m^

Sweet Psychosis

From the release: Tranquilsizer

Label: Unsigned

Members: Maury Zeller (vocals), Tommy Wood (rhythm guitars), Marc Laspina (lead guitars), Dave Sawley (bass) and Jimi Leonard (drums)

Producer: Sweet Psychosis

Origin: San Francisco, CA


What you should know: –Keep your eyes on Sweet Psychosis! This bay-area quintet is TCB (takin’ care of business!). A Top 100 Unsigned Band – as voted by Music Connection magazine, Sweet Psychosis is building a solid following with their 4 track EP Tranquilisizer. Complimenting this effort, over the past year, Sweet Psychosis have had a consistent string of exemplary SRO only live shows, highlighted by a coveted invitation to play at SXSW. Maury Zeller has a big league voice, complimented by the dual interplay of rippin’ guitars from Tommy Wood and Marc Laspina, that makes for a striking center-piece for Sweet Psychosis’ industrial, hard-rock sound. The EP features big and boldly produced songs that feature sizzling guitar solos and biting vocals. Each of the four songs has a driving beat and an engaging hook that will have your head rockin’ for sure!

From San Francisco to Australia, and all points in between – Sweet Psychosis has been building their star one piece at a time, making believers out of rockers the world over. In so doing they have garnered airplay from some of rock radio’s biggest stations across the country. From the opening riffs,, Tranquilsizer rocks with spirit and a high degree of energy that captures the excitement of each song, taking you on a rollercoaster ride of rock ‘n’ roll intensity. Mixing well with the mainstays of both Aggressive and Modern Rock radio, Sweet Psychosis segues well with bands like Metallica, Gorillaz, Radiohead, T-Rex, Bad Religion, Muse and Guns N Roses. Remember the name Sweet Psychosis – they are the kind of band that will seduce the legions of radio programmers who are looking for quality rock that provides style and lands a great big punch! 

Album Tracks: “Sweetest Addiction”, Skoolhouse Rock”, “Pornstar” and “Wayoutosphere” ^m^


© November 19, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at, authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as the entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.

It’s All In The Spin…

October 18th, 2010 by

– Rock Formats Music Reviews (10.18.10)

By: Michael D.Vogel

 © October 18, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved.

Published in:

Free GothamNovember 12, 2010 – November 10, 2010



Song: “Love, Hate, Sex, Pain”

From the release: The Oracle

Label: Universal Republic

Members: Sully Erna (vocals), Tony Rambola (guitar), Robbie Merrill (bass), Shannon Larkin (drums)

Producer: Dave Fortman & Sully Erna

Origin: Boston, MA


What you should know: – Formed in Boston, in 1997, Godsmack have always been an exhilarating force at rock and alternative radio, fast and furious with a no holds barred approach to their music. The first offering from the bands current album, The Oracle, exemplifies the essence of these New England natives. Sully Erna’s vocals deliver with his customary vibrance and conviction. Setting the mood, “Love, Hate, Sex, Pain” begins with a ripping guitar and drum attack, building to a penetrating crescendo of rock & roll intensity. Always a favorite at rock radio, G’smack is back after a 4 year hiatus with their trademark sound – thick, heavy and rockin’ down to your core. ^m^

Alpha Rev

Song: “New Morning”

From the release: New Morning

Label: Hollywood

Members: Casey McPherson (vocals, guitars, keys), Alex Dunlap (bass, vocals), Tommy Roalson (drums), Brian Batch (violin, vocals), Dave Wiley (cello, vocals), Derek Morris (keys, vocals) and Derek Dunivan (guitars, vocals)

Producer: David Kahne

Origin: Austin, TX


What you should know: – The trend at Alternative radio these days seems to be a mixture of hard rock, emo-rock, alternative-metal and pop-alternative. Alpha Rev fit firmly into the latter category, blending delicious texture of ringing acoustics, twangy electrics and melodies delivered in a sophisticated and intoxicating fashion. New Morning is the junior outing by this Austin, TX based group of players assembled from the far reaches of music-land. Produced by David Kahne (Paul McCartney, The Strokes, Stevie Nicks, Regina Spektor), the album leads with “New Morning” as its first radio track. With lush orchestrations and playful acoustic guitar interplays, “New Morning” is no mere jaunt through pop-land though – it has the feel of an accessible pop-rock track without losing its wit and charm that personifies much of today’s alternative music landscape. ^m^

 We Are The Fallen

Song: “Sleep Well My Angel”

From the release: Tear The World Down

Label: Universal Republic

Members: Carly Smithson (vocals), John LeCompt (guitar, mandolin, programming), Ben Moody (guitar, programming, piano, percussions), Marty O’Brien (bass), Rocky Gray (drums)

Producer: We Are The Fallen and Dan Certa

Origin: Little Rock, AR


What you should know: – After a split within the ranks of Evanescence, guitarist Ben Moody began talking with fellow band-mates John LeCompt and Rocky Gray about moving in a different musical direction than was first conceived with Evanescence. Adding to this potent musical equation is former American Idol contestant Carly Smithson, who thoroughly enjoys showcasing her vocal range as a hard-rock crooner. The end result became We Are The Fallen, a reference to Evanescence’s 2003 album, Fallen, proving Moody’s vision of a female fronted hard rock band was not just a one time thing, and that lightning does indeed strike twice. The band originally planned to release two songs for free over the internet every two months and later-on compiling them into a record. There was such an overwhelming response, that the band caught the eye of and ultimately signed with Universal Republic, and an album was released. “Sleep Well My Angel” is the first track from that album Tear The World Down, a flame-throwing cannonball of intensity, driven by gigantic proportions that blasts through the speakers with its gritty vocals and blazing guitar grooves. ^m^


 Robert Plant

From the release: Band Of Joy

Label: Esparanza/Rounder

Members: Robert Plant (vocals), Buddy Miller (6-string bass, guitar), Darrell Scott (accordion, banjo, guitar, mandolin, pedal steel), Byron House (bass), Marco Giovino (drums, percussion), Patty Griffin (vocals), Bekka Bramlett (vocals)

Producer: Buddy Miller and Robert Plant

Origin: Birmingham – Black Country Hills, England


What you should know: – Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy is a Top 10 radio album, plain and simple. Whether its’ a “Tall Cool One” or being “Dazed and Confused,” Robert Plant gets radio airplay for one simple reason, because today’s musical audience identifies his name with one thing – quality rock and roll! Choosing the name of his first band as the album title for his 9th solo effort, rock music’s signature voice follows up his Grammy winning collaboration with Allison Krauss, with Band Of Joy, an album that sings with pleasure. The new CD rocks a little harder than its predecessor, offering more infectious, hook-laden ear-candy that is sure to get you reaching for the volume knob and your wallet when this Band Of Joy visits your town. This is an album where Mr. Plant can compliment his amazing vocals with a showcase of outstanding musicians, including;  Buddy Miller on the guitar and 6-string bass, Darrell Scott taking care of accordion, banjo, mandolin and pedal steel, while Marco Giovino holds down drums and percussion and Byron House rockin’ the bass. Adding to this All-Star cast are the smooth vocal stylings of Patty Griffin and Bekka Bramlett. Filled with rockin’ gems that will surely be staples in Robert Plant’s 40+ year musical career, Band Of Joy features many tracks the exemplify the essence of this group. Songs “Falling In Love Again”, “Even This Shall Pass Away” and “The Only Sound That Matters” showcase the multi-cultural influences that Plant has infuse in his music throughout his career both in and outside of the mighty Zeppelin. The album as a whole guides the listener through a music journey of hope and optimism. Band Of Joy is an upper demo delight that is tailor-made for radio airplay as well as your personal music collection.

Favorite Tracks: – “Angel Dance”, “House of Cards”, “Monkey”, and “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”. ^m^

      Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils

From the release: El Sonido Nuevo

Label: Spark & Shine

Members: Ian Moore (guitar, vocals), Matt Harris (bass), Kyle Schneider (drums) 

Producer: Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils

Origin: Austin TX, via Berkley, CA now residing on the Island of Vashon near Seattle, WA.


What you should know: – Ian Moore has always been a player’s player. Ask any six-stringer and they’ll verify it. Those that have seen him light-up a stage from (insert your city here) all the way to Austin and back, know exactly what it’s like to see a man become one with his guitar, and the beautiful music that comes forth from such musicians efforts. Ian has developed a reputation as a master practitioner of the fret board as well as an unparalleled performer, be it acoustic or electric, tracing back to well before he was selected as Joe Ely’s guitarist. Ian’s 8th solo effort, El Sonido Nuevo continues the efforts he started with the Got The Green Grass CD, a transformation from blues-rocker to singer-song-writer. His much acclaimed guitar work hasn’t been abandoned though; it is just no longer the sole force driving Moore’s songs. This metamorphosis has allowed Ian to push the envelope of his own music comfort zone. As such, El Sonido Nuevo give the listener great insight into the musical brilliance that happens when Ian puts pen to paper by picking up a guitar. Not to be over-looked are The Lossy Coils – who, in their own right, back-up Roky Erickson; Matt Harris (the go-to-guy when the Posies tour) on bass and Kyle Schneider behind the drum kit, who are not a mere back-up band by any means. The album is a demonstration of tremendous musicianship and the result of the melodious magic that happens when Ian puts fingers on his guitar and writes music. Never one to adhere to music styles or trends, Moore has always followed his own muse, which in turn has helped him gain the recognition and favor of such notables as Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon (aka Double Trouble), the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top, as well as Jason Mraz, who has enlisted Ian’s six-string prowess as his guitarist on his most recent tour. Released as two EP’s as well as a complete album, El Sonido Nuevo is nothing short of amazing, documenting Ian’s constant growth as an artist since 2007’s To Be Love. For a singer/song-writer that deserves to be in the upper echelon of guitarists, this new album is a fitting chapter next chapter in the constant evolution of Ian Moore.

Favorite Tracks: – “Secondhand Store”, “Birds Of Prey”, “Hilary Step”, and “Tap The Til“, “Let Me Out” and “Salt Mines”. ^m^

© October 18, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as the entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.

Full Metal Jackie

February 9th, 2010 by

Full Metal Jackie: Certified – The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the 80′s and The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics  






(click on picture to open file)  

By: Michael D. Vogel  

© February 9, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved.  

Published in:       

Fazer – February  9, 2010 – February 22, 2010 – February 10, 2010

Free Gotham – November 18, 2010      


  Defining the best of 80′s metal:

So you call yourself a pure rocker – you know the significance of Megadeth’s “Peace Sells”, well that was easy…what about the song who’s riff was developed because of the guitarist inability to mimic the singer; or the song – a description of a tropical storm, that helped re-launch a legendary band with a new singer? Music has always been about illusion and one’s interpretation of the lyrics. It is there that battle lines are drawn between fans that see a song one way or another, let alone where they rank in the hierarchy of metal-dome. Be careful, metal fans are a precarious bunch – referring to a song incorrectly could result in an extra shot to the dome!  But, armed with a copy of Jackie Kajzer’s ‘Full Metal Jackie Certified – The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the 80’s and The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics in your musical arsenal can only help promote your sonic survival.

Few industries rival the entertainment industry and none more so than those extravagant hard rockers whom unmercifully exploit the trends of popular culture. Back in the forties, music was less amped and more melodic – radio was filled with artists like Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Welk and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. When rock and roll reared its pointed little head in the Fifties, it was only natural that it would grow, blossom and then splinter into its own multi-subgenres. Just as rock and roll was the devil’s music, hard rock and heavy metal became an accessory in Satan’s workshop. Many radio stations and religious figures cried fowl and ultimately banned heavy metal, as extreme influences tried to link it to various youthful indiscretions and juvenile delinquencies. But, as the song goes – “You Can’t Kill Rock & Roll”…

While the rest of the nation was enthralled in the hostage negotiations in Iran, the rising costs of gasoline and Saturday Night Fever, hard rock lovers were gathering in force all around the country, collectively banging their tribal drums – with heavy metal being their way of warding off societies evils.

But not all was as destructive as it may seem. As it often does, the music touched a new generation of fans done with the flower power and disco music of their siblings. Heavy metal was something for teenagers to do that the adults didn’t like nor understand. Maybe it was the loud screaming guitars or maybe it was the piercing vocals – but more importantly it was the vivid imagery that was painted through the potent lyrics of these tunes. Ear-candy not for the faint of heart, heavy metal weaves tales of dragons, sorcerers, far away places and epic battles. In addition rock and roll has always embraced burgeoning sexual fantasies, but heavy metal seemed to push these pipe-dreams, complete with buxom babes, to the extreme. With those ingredients, controversy is never far behind. Whether it is right wing religious groups, political action committees or parental censorship, hard rock has had it fair share of controversy. Yet, heavy metal’s music and lyrics continue to provide the foundation for which the future house of Rock is being continually built on. 

Who better to shed light on this subject then the reigning queen of hard rock, Jackie Kajzer (known internationally as Full Metal Jackie) and her first editorial effort, ‘Full Metal Jackie Certified – The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the 80’s and The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics and The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics.‘ Jackie Kajzer is the developer and host of Full Metal Jackie, a syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of metal music.

Jackie combines her years of radio interviews and personal insights with the true stories, as told by the musicians who wrote the lyrics of the most influential heavy metal songs of the 80′s. If you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall, learning the inner secrets of some of rocks most famous and notorious songs, straight from the ones who wrote them, then “Full Metal Jackie Certified…” is a must for your music reference library.

Together with co-writer Roger Lotring, the two poured through countless albums, researched numerous radio airplay charts and album sales figures, tempered with the lyrical content of each song, relevant social issues of the time as well as the impact the songs have had on other musicians. And not to be forgotten the all-important question – the continued validity these songs still hold today. 

Where were you when Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released? What fond recollection is triggered whenever you hear Lita Ford’s duet with Ozzy on “Close My Eyes Forever”? Whether it’s recounting the story behind Pantera’s anthemic “Cowboys From Hell” or “18 and Life”, Skid Rows metaphor for the changes that affected ‘Snake’ Sabo’s brother after returning home from military service in Vietnam or even the songs of social consciousness from bands like Anthrax, Full Metal Jackie Certified… gives you an inside look into why the songs you love came into being. As you look through the book, you can’t help but tap your feet and sing along as you move from one head-banging great to the next. Not to be overlooked are also the stories behind other greats like, the lyrics to “Eat Me Alive”, a song Rob Halford calls a spoof but was given a #3 ranking on its ‘Filthy Fifteen’ by the PMRC, Ronnie James Dio’s reflections on the self indulgence of humanity in “Holy Diver” and axe-master Kerry King on the religious cynism in Slayer.

Tracing the history of the decade’s biggest and most influential songs, Jackie weaves a musical tapestry with a plethora of war stories by those who lived it. Ranging from the classics all the way up to modern “alternative metal”, Full Metal Jackie Certified… covers them all. From AC/DC to W.A.S.P., Metallica to Motorhead and Megadeth, Rob Halford to Don Dokken and Pantera to Slayer, through the insight revealed to Jackie, you’ll never hear your favorite heavy metal songs the same way again!  ^m^

About the author:

 Full Metal Jackie Certified – The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the 80’s and The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics and The True Stories Behind Their Lyrics (Course Technology) was co-written with Roger Lotring, photo’s by renowned photographer Mark Weiss and foreword by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. Jackie Kajzer is one of today’s leading voices in metal music. As a developer and host of her own nationally syndicated metal show, Full Metal Jackie, she has hosted in-depths interviews with Ozzy Osbourne, Geoff Tate, Lemmy Kilmister, Dee Snider, Don Dokken and Zakk Wylde among many others. Currently syndicated in more than 22 markets nationwide, Full Metal Jackie continues to be a major influence on today’s metal scene. Additional honors include FMQB’s (national industry trade publication) ‘Metal Host of The Year for the fourth straight year.

For more information go to:


© February 9, 2010. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at, authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as this entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.  


The Rock & Roll Mantra!

September 5th, 2009 by

By: Michael D. Vogel

© September 5, 2009. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved.


So, what exactly is the Rock and Roll mantra?

Well. as the poet Mick Jagger pontificated, “…it’s only rock and roll – but I like it…” (“It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)”, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1974).  

But, in order to truly understand what this means, let’s start with a little story.

Little Stevie was only 10 years old when a man stopped him at a Black Sabbath concert and asked, “Young man, do you accept Rock and Roll as your mantra”?

“Of course I do,” he answered. And with that, the man shouted for all to hear, “Another soul saved by Rock and Roll!”

Is salvation really that simple, though? Fred Durst exclaimed that “…life is a lesson, you’ll learn it when you’re threw…” (“Take A Look Around” Mission:Impossible 2 [Original Soundtrack]/Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, 2000) Following that logic, are we already doomed by the course of action we take, or are we actually liberated by these life lessons? If that is the case, then by understanding and practicing these lessons, are we in reality on the road towards nirvana? Most importantly, what does ‘Accepting Rock and Roll’ truly mean? Many people want the blessings but do not want the responsibility of following and obeying Rock and Roll.

Yet, Rob Halford of Judas Priest said, “…put yourself in our hands and our voices will be heard and together we will take on all the world…” (“Take On the World”, Killing Machine, 1979)

But, as the mighty Zeppelin states if “…it’s been a long time since (you) rock and rolled…a long time since I did the stroll…” (“Rock And Roll”, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971), then maybe you have some reservations. While there are some bands that say things that raise serious questions about what we’ve been taught about Rock and Roll, many people seem to have little or no intention of either following or learning from what the music has taught us. In spite of that, Slayer have boldly pronounced, “…you will be saved at any cost!…” (“Jesus Saves”, Reign In Blood, 1986)

So how can we truly tell if we have been saved? The great philosopher Ozzy Osbourne once said, “…you can’t kill Rock & Roll – it’s here to stay!…” (“You Can’t Kill Rock & Roll”, Diary Of A Madman, 1981) This man has suffered at the hands of many cruel and heartless people, yet he is still with us today – with millions continuing to be influenced by his words and music.

This is what Rock and Roll is all about. It is not about piercings, tattoos, or the clothes you wear. No, it’s about your heart and your soul! If you care more about your clothes or hair or how much money you have in the bank, you will not be saved by Rock and Roll!

How will we know when it’s time for Rock and Roll to save us, then? Phil Anselmo of Pantera blatantly offers that it is really just “…a lesson learned in life – known from the dawn of time…” (“Walk”, Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992). In the end though, when you are ready, the music will know. As Robert Plant so eloquently sermonized,”…your stairway lies on the whispering wind…” (“Stairway to Heaven”, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971). The music can see within your soul and know if you truly love Rock and Roll!

When exactly is the time coming, then? The time is now, according to Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. “…the time is right for you to stand on your feet and answer the call!…” (“The Last Command”, The Last Command, 1985).

So if you follow the music then Rock and Roll will show you the way! “…so it is written, so it shall be done!…” (“Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son”, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, Iron Maiden, 1988)


(*Excerpts taken from PistOn’s ‘Saves’ EP, 2000^m^



© September 5, 2009. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at, authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as the entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.


What’s Old Is New Again – Alternative radio’s move towards harder edge music

March 1st, 2009 by





(click on picture to open file)   

By: Michael D. Vogel   

 © March 1, 2009. Michael D. Vogel. All Rights Reserved. 

Published in:  

Radio & Records MagazineMarch 13, 2009 December 17, 2009  

All AccessDecember 18, 2009  

Free Gotham – November 9, 2010  


Dave sat at the stoplight waiting for the light to change. As he pressed each button in his row of preset stations across the dial, he quickly settled on the local alternative radio station. The disc jockey was engaged in a very excited segue about the upcoming set of music, including alternative radio staples Metallica, plus Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC.   

Quickly glancing at the dial to confirm his format choice, Dave proclaims, “What’s old is new again!” while fumbling for the volume knob on his car stereo. The cyclical nature of this axiom holds true for so much of our lives, especially the music we listen to. Long before the days when rock radio fragmented, album oriented rock (AOR) was the source for all things with loud screaming guitars and bands like AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses ruled the radio airwaves. The main factor with heritage artists, especially to a younger crowd, is cultural relevance. Some bands have it and others don’t. You can’t go into a mall anywhere in America and not see a black t-shirt with a hard rock band logo on it. Heritage artists such as Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC and Metallica help bolster a station’s gold library by bringing a connection between the old and the new. These records are over 10 years old and in most cases help to attract the higher male demographics, which are so important for the Alternative format.   

“Right now we are at an interesting time with alternative radio,” says Rob Goldklang, VP of Alternative Promotion for Warner Bros. “So many stations in the panel are different from each other. You have 3 groups of stations. Active leaning, more alternative leaning, and right down the middle. This can be good because if a record develops in one area and becomes a big hit, it can cross to all 3.”   

Capitalizing on the momentum of heritage bands like Metallica and AC/DC has opened doors for a new class of harder edge alternative rock bands. “Avenged Sevenfold is a perfect example,” continues Rob. “The first single was a big record for both alternative and active rock radio. By the time we got to our 3rd single, ‘Scream,’ the majority of stations supporting the record were Active Rock, so we put all the emphasis on that format. In the end, we achieved a top 10 track at both Active Rock and Alternative radio. By proving it at Active Rock, it opened up new doors for us.” But how far can alternative radio go? Some say that too many rock bands can dilute the counter-culture, non-commercial aspect of the alternative format. “Not to say you can’t play bands like Seether, Apocalyptic and Shinedown,” offers Montecito FM alternative KJEE/Santa Barbara, Calif., PD Eddie Gutierrez, “but you just want to play maybe two of the best rock records that are available.” Joe Guzik, VP of rock formats for Columbia Records adds, “I feel there is an under belly of cool, new truly alternative artists that will change the game yet again. Death Cab, Kings of Leon, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, to name a few, are breaking through and will lead a new alternative renaissance, speaking to a whole new generation of alternative radio listeners.”    

Labeling music as “alternative” says Wikipedia, is often difficult because of various applications of the word, “alternative” can describe music that challenges the status quo and that is also “fiercely iconoclastic, anti-commercial, and anti-mainstream.” Although there is no set musical style for alternative rock as a whole, The New York Times asserted in 1989 that the genre is “guitar music first of all, with guitars that blast out power chords, pick out chiming riffs, buzz with fuzztone and squeal in feedback.”   

 With a sound true to their influences of post-industrial white noise combined with a heavy metal grind, Nirvana’s surprise success helped usher in a wider acceptance of alternative rock, which ultimately opened the doors for even heavier alternative bands.   

“The (alternative) format is a living, breathing representation of new generations,” says Guzik. “We used to live in musical tents – the Cure kids couldn’t like Metallica and vice versa. That was over with the advent of the digital age. As a listener, you have access to it all. Programmers realize they need to keep surprising their audiences. The format is wide and each decade or so it will begin to lean to another direction. Currently, it seems the swing has left a hole for classics.”   

Music has evolved since the days of AOR and the rock formats have split, catering more specifically to each sub-genre. Today’s younger generations are tech-savvy and have a constant hunger for new music. Add to this equation the mass proliferation of file sharing via the Internet, where any new and unreleased music is a hot commodity. And when you’re talking about artists such as Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and AC/DC, it is nothing short of a major musical event. So, for heritage artists whose roots run deep, the musical pendulum swings to all sides of the demographic spectrum.   

“‘Rock N Roll Train’ tested as a power track for us back in November,” says Clear Channel alternative WEND/Charlotte PD Jack Daniel. ” It was important that we not ignore a rock act that just sold four million records…. and at Walmart to boot!”   

“Currently, new artists have taken a turn for the heavier rock guitar side, but that has been going on for many years now, and that too will change,” Guzik says. “The new metal bands ushered a change in the format over a decade ago. Every generation comes of age and wants to own a sound.”   

So, exactly how far can alternative radio go in playing artists who are considered the corner stones of rock radio? How far can it borrow from the past and how are these AOR staples being rebranded for a whole new generation? Additionally, with limited outlets for the heavy sounds of hard rock, has alternative radio now become the format for this counter-culture genre?   

Welcome To The Jungle

The state of Alternative radio is healthy and musically evolving. Both core and new artists are breaking, format lines are being crossed and music is reaching a wider scale than ever before. Artists that were considered core to Alternative radio ten years ago have now become fixtures at multiple mainstream formats. “Right now I think the alternative format is in a state of flux, that’s not to say we are not going to be play a new No Doubt or 311 record,” KJEE’s Gutierrez says. “But those artist’s are no longer exclusive to just alternative radio. These artists have hit it ‘big’ and crossed over to multiple formats.”   

Rock & Roll Train

“What we can’t do is go back and start playing their back catalog music, especially if we have a competing Active or Classic Rock station in the market” Daniel adds. “In the case of Metallica, WEND plays all the Metallica and always has as part of our recipe, so of course we play the new stuff. But everything does have its limits. We will not dip into older AC/DC or Guns N’ Roses because it’s not keeping true to our ‘new rock’ focus.” 

For Whom The Bell Tolls

“I think it helps to hear current music from the heritage artist’s that we started with,” Gutierrez says. “We are not bringing in too much heritage rock, but we have also been playing Guns N’ Roses and Metallica for over six years. We still play a lot of records in our gold category too that we played when we first started the station in 1994. We like the idea of being a West Coast alternative station that stays true to the format.” 

But the reach and impact that video gaming and the social networking platform that these provide has also helped to rebrand these artists to the alternative radio audience “You can’t pick up a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game and not be exposed to a cross pollination of classic rock and new rock artists,” Daniel remarks. “Rock no longer has an ‘older folks like classic rock’ and younger folks like ‘new and alternative’ mentality. Radio programmers need to finds ways to not bash one or the other because there’s a good chance your listeners are diggin’ both.”

Shoot To Thrill

It is no coincidence then that both Metallica and AC/DC have their own video game while the Gunners “Shackler’s Revenge” was released via the Rock Band game prior to the release of Chinese Democracy. “AC/DC is a great example,” Columbia’s Guzik points out. “Our main campaign to engage alternative radio listeners involved creative contesting around the release of the AC/DC – Rock Band video game. We also rolled out a successful Internet campaign, called ‘Show Me Your AC/DC.’ We created a site to upload creative and public uses of the AC/DC logo to win a trip to a private show. The response was fantastic from alternative radio.

For Metallica, the campaign was quite similar. “When it comes to heritage artist it all depends on what, as a label, we are doing to continue to keep the artist relevant” says Goldklang, “Metallica recently had their highest chart position at alternative. ‘Mission Metallica’ was developed a year before Death Magnetic’s release, which helped bring old and new fans into the process. We had several different configurations to purchase the record, plus hours of footage, live shows, contests, old and new photos, even bringing fans into the writing process of the record. Throughout this were ties directly into radio as much as possible. It was massive and none of it would have been possible if we didn’t have a band and management company that understood their culture and knows the value of tying into radio.”  

Chinese Democracy

Qualitative research has been able to provide a focused reflection from the core audience helping to define exactly where the line is, “The trick is to be as ‘mass appeal’ as possible while still pleasing the core,” Daniel says. “For us the core sound is ‘guitar driven rock.’ AC/DC is more widely received by our core than the Flobots, for example. Our ‘left of center’ is closer to center than that of L.A. or even Atlanta.” 


From the label perspective, Guzik says, “The online polls and research seem to suggest that the traditional format sound vs. substance argument is no longer applicable. In the end, a hit will stick and your auditorium tests years from now will say you should have played it all along.” 

The Judas Kiss

Cultural relevance also plays a major factor as well. “It’s all about continuing to stay relevant. Working with radio, continuing to deliver content whether you are on or off cycle” states the WB’s Goldklang. For bands like Metallica, working with radio to deliver exciting content is the key. From in-store appearances, to basement performances, radio festivals and a forthcoming video game, Metallica has always been a front-runner in pushing the band’s boundaries while delivering compelling content to their audience.

When asked what sets some heritage artists apart from others that get them played at alternative radio, WEND’s Daniel says, “I think it boils down to the popularity of the artists. Metallica is huge, where as other artists are much more niched and ultimately not right for the station.” KJEE’s Gutierrez adds, “For us, I think its personal taste. We feel that Metallica fits into the format nicely for the Santa Barbara audience.” 

While many agree that the alternative format will remain centered in guitar driven music, Guzik believes there is a new perspective on the horizon, showing that cyclical nature of things still holds true – that what is old will be new again. “I actually think the format is slowly going to move way from the harder edge,” Guzik says. “There is an underbelly of new artists with keyboards, and female-fronted vocals that will change the game once again. And how nice will it be…. shows that actually have girls in the audience again.”  

While heritage rock artists and hard rock itself can be seen as somewhat limited in range for alternative radio, its influence has been felt across many musical and demographic boundaries. But, in order to understand the present, one must have a good grasp of the past. As such, radio programmers and their audiences look to bands and artists from the past that provides a natural appeal to the audience seeking the alternative. In 1999, Morrissey helped to compliment Moby. In 2009, it becomes bands like AC/DC, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses to reflect the past that brought about Slipknot, Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold.   

And as the light turns green and the first notes of the soaring guitars pulsate through his car speakers, Dave ponders this axiom a little more and responds to the unstated question, and with a nod to himself, he answers silently – “works for me!” ^m^  


Photograph credit: Jack Daniel, Rob Goldklang and Joe Guzik.   


Paradise City

In recent years, as Alternative radio has skewed harder, artists traditionally regarded as heritage Active Rock artists have increasingly found a home at the format. Here’s a look at the songs by AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Metallica that have spent time on the Alternative chart since the beginning of 2000. All airplay data is complied from Broadcast Data Systems monitoring of terrestrial radio stations airplay across the country.   


Monitored Radio Airplay  

Artist/Title: Date: Peak:  

AC/DC “Rock N Roll Train” 10/24/08 No. 25  

Metallica “Cyanide” 3/13/09 No. 19   

Metallica “The Day That Never Comes” 10/3/08 No. 5  

Metallica “St. Anger” 6/6/03 No. 17  

Metallica “I Disappear” 6/16/00 No. 11  

Metallica “No Leaf Clover” 12/24/99 No. 18  

Guns N’ Roses “Chinese Democracy” 11/14/08 No. 24

Vital Statistics:

KJEE/Santa Barbara, CA –  

WEND/Charlotte, NC –

Columbia Records –    

Geffen/Interscope –  

Warner Bros. –   



( and

Line-Up:                                                                 Origin:  

Brian Johnson – Vocals                                     Melbourne, Australia   

Angus Young – Lead Guitar  

Malcolm Young – Rhythm Guitar  

Cliff Williams – Bass  

Phil Rudd – Drums 
About The Current CD:

Black Ice –  AC/DC’s seventh album over all, in a career that has spanned more than 35 years. It is the 10th album for Brian Johnson and the bands first release on Columbia Records.    


Black Ice  (Columbia, 2008)  

Stiff Upper Lip  


AC/DC Live  

The Razor’s Edge  

Blow Up Your Video  

Fly On The Wall  

Flick Of The Switch  

For Those About To Rock We Salute You  

Back In Black (Epic, 1980) 

Highway To Hell (Epic, 1979) 

Power Age (Epic, 1978) 

If You Want Blood, You Got It (Epic, 1978) 

Let There Be Rock  (Epic, 1977) 

High Voltage (Epic, 1976) 

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Epic, 1976) 

TNT (EMI, 1975)  

’74 Jailbreak  

Produced By:

Brendan O’Brien   




Guns N’ Roses


Line-Up:                                                                Origin:  

Axl Rose – Vocals                                                Los Angeles, CA   

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Guitar   

Richard Fortes – Rhythm Guitar

Daren Jay “DJ” Ashba – Guitar

Tommy Stinson – Bass   

Frank Ferrer – Drums   

Dizzy Reed – Keys   

About The Current CD:

Chinese Democracy – 15 years in the making, the long anticipated Chinese Democracy is Gun’s Roses 6th studio album and first release under the new band line-up.    


Chinese Democracy (Gefen/Interscope, 2008) 

The Spaghetti Incident  (Geffen, 1993) 

Use Your Illusion I & II  (Geffen, 1991) 

Lies (Geffen, 1988) 

Apetite For Destruction (Geffen, 1987) 

Produced By:  

Axl Rose & Caram Costanzo   






Line-Up:                                                                Origin:

Kirk Hammett – Guitar                                      San Francisco, CA   

James Hetfield – Vocals & Guitar 

Robert Trujillo – Bass   

Lars Ulrich – Drums   

About The Current CD: 

Death Magnetic – is the 10th album by the bay-area rockers; showcasing seven-minute epics laced with piercing vocals, roaring guitar-riffs, deafening solos and booming double bass drums. It is the first album produced by Rick Rubin, who is Holy Grail for heritage artists looking to reconnect with their early sounds. 


Death Magnetic (Elektra, 2008) 

St. Anger (Elektra, 2003) 

S&M (Elektra, 1999) 

Reload (Elektra, 1997) 

Load (Elektra, 1996) 

Metallica (Elektra, 1991) 

…And Justice For All (Elektra, 1988)

Master Of Puppets (Elektra, 1986) 

Ride The Lightning (Elektra, 1984) 

Kill ‘Em All (Elektra, 1983) 

Produced By: 

Rick Rubin  


Warner Bros 


 © March 1, 2009. Michael D. Vogel. All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at, authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as this entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.