Your occasional source for heavy metal, progressive rock and hard rock coverage. Whenever I feel like it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

King's X for Dr. King

King's X: dUg Pinnick, Ty Tabor, Jerry Gaskill

King's X have been one of my favorite bands ever since Gretchen Goes to Nebraska and faith hope love by king's x. Their music started running through, in, and over my head.

Today is Martin Luther King Day, and Dr. King might have approved of this powerful Texas rock trio, with two white guys and one black guy, making powerful, profoundly spiritual music (to little acclaim) for over 35 years.

If you don't listen to King's X, or if you just know "Over My Head" or "Dogman", check 'em out--they still kick ass.

Nice guys, too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Total Progressive Rock Indulgence (from Topographic Oceans)

The album cover from Tales from Topographic Oceans. Painting © Roger Dean/Rhino Records
Just for the hell of it, I'm posting all four parts of Yes' super-epic Tales from Topographic Oceans. Released in 1973, this double album (with one song on each side) is the epitome of progressive rock excess. However, the following tour (which featured the band playing the album's 90-minute length in its entirety didn't exactly catch fire with Yesheads wanting to hear "Starship Trooper" or "Roundabout."

I'll even admit that my first copy of Tales, (a cassette, and my last-ever purchased at the late lamented Village record store It's Only Rock & Roll) was difficult for me to understand. I'd listened to albums like Relayer and Close to the Edge, but the soundscapes and musique concréte of Topographic befuddled, confused and irritated.

What helped me finally understand Yes' biggest album was a live performance by Steve Howe from his album Not Necessarily Acoustic. Playing acoustic and electric excerpts from this magnum opus, the Howe recording gave me a "crib", a "cheat sheet" if you well to help understand the larger album. Today, careful listening reveals glorious melodic writing and some of the best work this classic line-up of Yes ever recorded. Enjoy.

Part I of "The Revealing Science of God"

Part II of "The Revealing Science of God"

Part I of "The Remembering (High the Memory)"

Part II of "The Remembering (High the Memory)"

Part I of The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)"

Part II of The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)"

Part I of Ritual (Nous sommes de soleil)"

Part II of Ritual (Nous sommes de soleil)

We call this--EXTREME music

Or...getting your ass kicked by four dudes from Boston.
Paul Geary, Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Cherone, Pat Badger
Footage of Extreme from the Beacon Theater in 1993 performing the epic "Cupid's Dead." Filmed during the III Sides to Every Story tour. Saigon Kick opened--a bill that was like chocolate meets peanut butter. I was there, and I will never forget this performance.

Part I of the song including Paul Geary's drum solo.

Part II of "Cupid's Dead" exploring strange new uses for a trumpet--and a microphone.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holy 2112! The Rush Petition Returns!

Rush: Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart.
Photo © 2010 Anthem Entertainment

Rush are going back on tour this year, with dates planned in North America and Europe for the 2011 edition of the Time Machine coming to an arena (hopefully) near you.

This means that the Rush Petition site is back up and running, a fan-based initiative to tell Geddy, Alex and Neil what songs we Rush fans really want to hear them play. The petition excludes songs played live since the 1990 Presto tour--which, incidentally was the first time I ever saw Rush.

Considering that the 2010 leg of Time Machine included my three favorite Rush songs ("Presto", "The Camera Eye" and "Marathon") which were all on my last petition submission, I had to change my picks up.

Here's the five songs I want to hear. And yes, I factor in whether "the boys" might be interested in playing them live, which means it's unlikely that they'll ever do "Tai Shan." Sigh.


1) Cut to the Chase
2) The Big Wheel
3) High Water
4) Totem
5) Cinderella Man

And here's the top 5:

Song Title Number of Votes Popularity
Jacob's Ladder 833 41.7%
Hemispheres 492 24.6%
Middletown Dreams 381 19.1%
Kid Gloves 331 16.6%
A Farewell To Kings 315 15.8%