Archive for Guns N’ Roses

Video Du Jour: Slash

Posted in News with tags , , on February 7, 2013 by 30daysout

Some nice guitar work here, in “Anastasia” by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. It’s off the 2012 album Apocalyptic Love.

Kennedy, who also fronts the band Alter Bridge, is not so much an Axl Rose soundalike as he is a reasonable mouthpiece for Slash’s new music. But when it comes time to warble those old GnR chestnuts, Kennedy’s more than up to the task.

Slash official web site

Wines To Go With The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , on February 18, 2012 by 30daysout

Not quite what we had in mind, Slash.

Editor’s Note: Our L.A. correspondent Randy Fuller is back, with a column especially for the upcoming induction ceremony of new members into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Check out Randy’s cool wine blog Now and Zin.

The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame will induct new members on April 14 in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s the 27th annual induction ceremony, the 27th time rock fans get to yell “It’s about time!” or “Where’s KISS?” With all that shouting, we’re going to need something to soothe our nerves.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2012 inductees and pair a wine with each.

Performer category

Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys have the munchies.

If you’re singing along with “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)” it’s a good bet you’re doing jello shots or drinking beer from a glass with quarters at the bottom. The Beastie Boys’ blend of funky rock, rap and hip hop need not be reserved for the lesser beverages. In fact, Beastie Mike D has dabbled a bit at wine criticism. Not surprisingly, he likes wine with a bit of funk. Root around a bit in the Côtes du Rhône aisle and pop for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. You should be able to find a wine that brings enough funk to get a party started without fisticuffs.

MP3: “Drinkin’ Wine”


Donovan’s music is poetry, a delicate flower at one turn, a handful of psychedelics at the next. His lyrics abound with references to wine, including a lovefest for the “maroon-coloured wine from the vineyards of Charlemagne.” Sounds like a Burgundy is about to be opened. Bonneau du Martray should do nicely, from the Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. You may want to select a white wine, as Charlemagne’s wife is said to have preferred her royal hubby not mess his beard with the red stuff. You are probably a much neater drinker than Charlemagne, though.

MP3: “Lay of the Last Tinker”

YouTube: “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan

Guns N’ Roses

No Axl, it's about ... never mind.

In the mid-1980s, when Guns N’ Roses exploded from L.A. with a balls-out Sunset Strip strut and an Appetite For Destruction, they redecorated a rock and roll landscape that had become rather tired and listless. G N’ R offered up a brashness which made other acts seem like they were mailing it in. You may be tempted to go with a beer for them – a cheap one, in a bottle you can hurl at something – but California has a wine worthy of the Guns N’ Roses brand of excess in old vine Zinfandel. Both winemaker Joel Peterson and his Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel are brash enough for rock and roll.

Y0uTube: “Paradise City”

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Faces in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Finally!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by 30daysout

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland announced yesterday its 2012 class of inductees, and it includes the rockin’ British quintet the Faces. Finally!

The Faces rocked the late 1960s and early 1970s like no one else, including the Rolling Stones.  First known as the Small Faces, the core group of keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist Ronnie Lane and drummer Kenney Jones found themselves at a crossroads when lead singer Steve Marriott left the group.

Salvation came in the form of two new members: guitarist Ron Wood and singer Rod Stewart.  So in 1970 the Small Faces became simply the Faces, and they came on like a bunch of rowdy boozers who just happened to be great musicians.  With Lane (and sometimes McLagan) the group already had strong songwriting, but Stewart and Wood contributed some great numbers too, like the classic “Stay With Me.”

The induction includes both versions of the band. Both Stewart and Wood will become second-time members of the Rock Hall (Stewart was inducted as a solo artist in 1994 and Wood as part of the Rolling Stones in 1989) for the Small Faces/The Faces.

“Well it’s quite a thrill and honor to make it in the Hall of Fame a second time,” Stewart said in a statement. “We (The Faces) were always synonymous with a good party and with this list of fellow artists being inducted I’m looking forward to (it) … and it’s a hell of a good reason to reunite and celebrate with my old mates.”

Other inductees announced Wednesday include Guns n’ Roses,  the Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro and trippy-dippy singer/songwriter Donovan.

Other inductees include Freddie King for early influence; rock promoter Don Kirshner, who died earlier this year, receives the Ahmet Ertegun award; and Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns and Cosimo Matassa will be honored for musical excellence.

The Rock and Roll Hall of fame induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland on April 14.

If you are in or around the Austin area, you can still get a healthy dose of prime Faces by catching a performance of Ian McLagan’s Bump Band.  “Mac” still plays free happy hours (at the Lucky Lounge, next door to Antone’s) and will happily take requests for Faces songs, although don’t ask him to perform any by “Big Nose” (guess who).  It is, truly, the World’s Greatest Happy Hour. He says he’s gonna be there this Thursday, too! McLagan keeps alive the spirit and songs of Ronnie Lane, who died in 1997.  Congratulations on your long-deserved honor, Mac!

Ian McLagan official website

YouTube: “Tin Soldier” by the Small Faces (with P.P. Arnold)

YouTube: “All or Nothing” by the Small Faces

YouTube: “Stay With Me,” by the Faces

YouTube: “Maybe I’m Amazed” by the Faces

Rock and Roll Identity Crisis

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2011 by 30daysout

Axl Rose with guitarist DJ Ashba, ostensibly Slash's replacement - is it really GNR?

Walking into Houston’s Toyota Center for the big Guns N’ Roses show last week, we overheard people asking each other incredulously: “Slash is NOT with them???” Well, no. The guitarist left in 1996, on not-so-friendly terms with lead singer Axl Rose. As did pretty much all of the other original band members. So who was playing that Friday night in Houston?

Was it Axl and a bunch of no-name scabs? Hardly – this version of Guns N’ Roses can certainly deliver the goods and is totally worthy of the name. But what happens when other popular rock groups hit the road with just one or two original members in tow? Is it still the same group we know and love?

Lynyrd Skynyrd's current guitar lineup includes (from left) Rickey Medlocke, Sparky Matjeka, original member Gary Rossington and bassist Robert Kearns.

Just a week before GNR, we saw Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top in Austin. Skynyrd has had more attrition than any other rock band in memory, after a plane crash that killed original lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister and backup singer Cassie Gaines. Other original members have also died or retired; the current Skynyrd lineup contains only one original member, guitarist Gary Rossington.

Skynyrd became stars in 1973 with their debut album, so the crash meant that the classic lineup was in the national limelight for only about four years. The new Skynyrd lineup has been together, with various members, since 1987. So is it Lynyrd Skynyrd? Probably it’s a really good tribute band – paying tribute to itself.

In some cases it’s clear cut: it can never be the Rolling Stones unless Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts are involved, but if John Fogerty hired a new rhythm section and toured as Creedence, why not? If Van Halen tours with David Lee Roth, the only person who may dispute the authenticity would be Sammy Hagar, sitting in his living room. Classic ’70s bands Foreigner and Journey hired new lead singers and have both re-recorded their old hits – Walmart shoppers picking up the new CDs probably don’t know, or don’t care.

It gets stickier with bands with well-known, or even beloved, members playing behind the lead singer. Can Bruce Springsteen tour without Clarence Clemons and still call it the E Street Band? Heartbreaking as that may be, that’s probably what he will do. If Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston hit the road next year, can they still call themselves the Beach Boys? Probably. The Kinks? Only if Ray and Dave Davies are both on board.

What's Bruce Springsteen gonna do without Clarence Clemons?

Some years ago David Gilmour fronted a Pink Floyd lineup that included original members Rick Wright and Nick Mason, but not Roger Waters. It worked for millions, if not for Roger. The Who have been diminished by half, but Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend still sell a lot of tickets under the Who banner. If Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones can talk Robert Plant into a tour, Led Zeppelin will most certainly pack ’em in.

And I suppose that’s what it all boils down to: will the audience accept a lineup that isn’t original? Ask Axl Rose, while he’s counting the gate receipts from the current Guns N’ Roses tour, and the answer is yes – in some cases.

– Denny Angelle

YouTube: Guns N’ Roses playing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in Houston (the sound is horrible, but you can see it was a crowd favorite).

This one’s MUCH better – “Welcome To The Jungle” on 11/17 in New Jersey

Live: Guns n’ Roses, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , on November 5, 2011 by 30daysout

Axl Rose brought his new-version Guns n' Roses to Houston Friday night.

Wow, if there was ever a case of a rock band being much better than expected/advertised, Guns n’ Roses on Friday night in Houston fits the bill. After hearing endless warnings that leader Axl Rose would take the stage with a “tribute” band of half-ass nobodies, the Guns n’ Roses franchise I witnessed is worthy and rockin’.

Three guitarists! Including Richard Fortus, top, and flashy DJ Ashba, bottom. That's bassist Tommy Stinson (from the Replacements!) in the middle.

Oh sure, Slash is sorely missed but the guitar work of flashy stand-in DJ Ashba goes deeper than the beat-up top hat. Time and again, Ashba stood atop a speaker or other onstage prop and squeezed mighty riffs out of his Les Paul that I’m not sure even the Slashster could conjure. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed, who’s been with GNR at least since the Use Your Illusion days, wasn’t as visible a link to the past as he could have been but it was nice to have him around as well. Likewise with bassist Tommy Stinson, who was a founding member of Minneapolis punksters the Replacements – he got a spotlight too, and he rocked the Who’s “My Generation.”

And Axl – oh boy, Rose is still the consummate showman. I was thrilled to see him do that trademark Indian war-dance hop-step twirl thing with the mic stand, and he wailed convincingly throughout the show, even though the Toyota Center mix buried his vocals a little.

But there were moments when his banshee howl cracked through the rock thunder of the band, and those were the best of the night: “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Rocket Queen,” even “Chinese Democracy,” which opened the set.

The band honored its influences with two covers of AC/DC (“Whole Lotta Rosie” and “Riff Raff”) as well as classics GNR have turned into standards: “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” Spotlights on the three guitarists (Ashba, Richard Fortus and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal) continued the trip down memory lane: Fortus rocked the “James Bond Theme,” Thal offered a screaming “Pink Panther Theme.” Ashba got esoteric with his original instrumental “Mi Amor” which led into a rousing “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Not to be outshone instrumentally, Axl played some piano and plunked out some Elton John in the form of an instrumental “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” While he was seated at the keys, Rose then wailed a smashing “November Rain.”

You callin' this a 'tribute band'???

Notorious for long delays before coming onstage, GNR emerged at a decent hour (about 10:30 p.m.) and played a nearly three-hour set of 26 songs before coming back for a lengthy five-song encore. The usher for our section reminded us at one point, “The bar’s open till 1:30.” And when we were leaving the venue, an employee sent us off with a cheery “Good morning!”

With Guns n’ Roses still ringing in our ears, it certainly was.

Sorry my photos are so crummy, but they were sort of an afterthought at this show.

Axl with Bumblefoot playing to the crowd.

Axl Rose with a different hat this time.

Thank god for that little platform on stage right - without it I'd have no photos!

YouTube: “Sweet Child O’ Mine” at Toyota Center (I shot one too, and although my video is better the audio really sucks.)

Live: Ozzy Osbourne, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by 30daysout

Ozzy Osbourne gave us our money's worth in Houston

Under a nearly full moon, Ozzy Osbourne came to Houston near the beginning of his 2011 tour and thankfully the big white night light was the only moon we saw last night at Toyota Center.  Last time we saw Ozzy, in 2007 during Ozzfest, he mooned the crowd after one of his ballads.  But he didn’t have to do that Tuesday night – he turned in a 2-hour-or-so set heavy on the Black Sabbath classics that satisfied pretty much everyone in attendance.

At age 62, the Ozzman seems to be in pretty good shape, remaining in motion during his entire time on stage.  When he wasn’t singing he was egging on the audience – “Let me see your hands, you f**kers!” – and doing his clapping-side-straddle-hop thing like some deranged heavy metal high school gym coach.

Watch out for that foam-shooting fire hose!

Nice to hear some lesser-known Ozzy classics, like “Shot In The Dark” and “Road To Nowhere” (from his album No More Tears).  It was even more nice to hear six Sabbath classics, including “Fairies Wear Boots,”  “Rat Salad” and “Into The Void” alongside the more predictable “Iron Man,” “War Pigs” and of course “Paranoid.”  Ozzy doesn’t so much sing as he sort of screams, so when his voice is off it’s only until he can hit that hand-waving chorus.

It helps that Osbourne has behind him a stellar metal band, including his long-time bassist Blasko and veteran keyboard whiz Adam Wakeman (son of Rick, from Yes).  Drummer Tommy Clufetos is new – he played with Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie, among others – and sizzling guitarist Gus G. is now scaling the fretboard in place of Zakk Wylde.  They get their spotlight time to give Ozzy a rest, but the 10-minute keyboard/guitar/drum solo fest was pretty much the only time Osbourne was off stage.

Dripping wet from his foam firehose and buckets of water that he dumped over his head, Ozzy ripped into the homestretch of his show with “I Don’t Want To Change The World” and “Crazy Train” then just stayed on stage for the encore, “Mama I’m Coming Home” and closer “Paranoid.”

Worshipping at the feet of guitar god Slash

The night was a solid package, particularly with ex-Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash and his band serving as opening act.  Starting their set a full 10 minutes before the listed opening time, the band – with singer Myles Kennedy, moonlighting from his regular band Alter Bridge – offered up selections from Slash’s 2010 solo record as well as Velvet Revolver and Guns favorites.  You can’t beat the knockout punch of “Nightrain,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the Velvets’ “Slither” and finally “Paradise City.”  What an opener!

At a time when dollars are dear and concerts tend to fall low on the list of normal priorities, it’s nice to see veterans like Ozzy Osbourne and Slash giving some bang for your buck.  They turn in a spirited show, leaving pretty much everyone satisfied.  Even without Ozzy’s “moon” I got my money’s worth.

Slash setlist: Ghost/Sucker Train Blues/Mr. Brownstone/Back From Cali/Rocket Queen/Nothing To Say/By The Sword/Nightrain/Sweet Child O’ Mine/Slither/Paradise City

Ozzy setlist: Bark At The Moon/Let Me Hear You Scream/Mr. Crowley/I Don’t Know/Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)/Suicide Solution/Road To Nowhere/War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)/Fire In The Sky/Shot In The Dark/Rat Salad (Black Sabbath cover; Gus G. & Tommy Clueftos solo spots)/Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)/Flying High Again/I Don’t Want To Change The World/Into The Void (Black Sabbath cover)/Crazy Train/Mama, I’m Coming Home/Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)

Ozzy Osbourne official website

Zin and the Art of Vomiting

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2009 by 30daysout

UPDATED: With more fine wine toonage, thanks to our readers!

My very good friend Randy Fuller has a really cool blog that is not about rock and roll.  It’s about wine, but he wrote an excellent piece recently on rock and roll wines.  Actually, it’s about good wine in bottles with rock and roll labels – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is there, so are the Rolling Stones, and even a Woodstock poster bottle.  As I said, very cool, and you can read it here.

I’ve known Randy for many years now, we went to college and high school together and even back then I knew him as a wine connoisseur. My tastes in wine ran mainly toward the red, namely Ripple Red and Thunderbird Red Label.  Randy had a more adventurous palate, seeking out the exotic and poetically named Annie Green Springs.

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30 Days Out (From Christmas): Rockin’ Stocking

Posted in 30 Days Out (From Christmas) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2008 by 30daysout


Day Three – OK, confession time: I really hate Christmas songs.  But after you start plowing through them and you hear one that doesn’t pop up on the radio about every five minutes, it gets kinda fun listening to some of them.  I said SOME of them.  So, to keep this 30 days thing from growing too tedious, here’s a holiday stocking of some random tunes that caught my ear today.  Thanks to our L.A. correspondent Randy Fuller for compiling these on a mix CD about two or three years ago.

MP3: “Christmas Lullaby” by Shane MacGowan

MP3: “All I Wanna Do Is Shag This Christmas” by the Bellrays

MP3: “Counting The Days (A Christmas Polka)” by Marah

MP3: “Funky Christmas” by James Brown

MP3: “Jungle Bells” by the Blue Hawaiians

MP3: “We Three Kings” by Rev. Horton Heat

MP3: “Christmas Is For Mugs” by Graham Parker

MP3: “Christmas Blues” by Gatemouth Moore

MP3: “Cool Yule” by Louis Armstrong

MP3: “White Christmas” by Guns N’ Roses (Maybe it’s Guns N’ Roses!)

Review: “Chinese Democracy,” Guns N’ Roses

Posted in Review with tags , , on November 19, 2008 by 30daysout


Can this really be the most anticipated rock album of all time?  Chinese Democracy, fifteen years in the making and delayed many times, finally arrives (exclusively at Best Buy stores) this weekend.  And the $64,000 question: is it any good?  Well, it ain’t bad.  The title song kicks off the album and after a buildup of nearly a minute’s worth of people babbling in Chinese and siren sound effects, the guitars kick in.  Guns N’ Roses frontman/mastermind Axl Rose is back with his trademark yowl, and “Chinese Democracy” is a standout rock tune.  “Shackler’s Revenge” continues the rock ride with some nice distorted guitar soloing Tom Morello-style.  “Better” is the album’s second single (after the title song) and it wouldn’t be out of place on, say, Use Your Illusion I.   

The rest of the album is all over the place – there are choirs, string sections, wild solos from about 30,000 guitarists (I tried to count how many different guitar players are credited but I kept losing count – and yeah, that Buckethead guy is here).  Chinese Democracy has more than its share of WTF? moments: “Madagascar,” while not a bad song, has some clips from Martin Luther King Jr. speeches as well as sound bites from movies like Cool Hand Luke and Mississippi Burning.  Huh?  “Street Of Dreams” (also known as “The Blues” to you downloaders) is a rough ballad that begins with a piano solo straight out of the Elton John songbook.  

But there are also certainly some moments of rock grandeur: “There Was A Time” has an epic feel to it, as its guitars shred against a synth orchestra backing, while “IRS” and “Riad N’ The Bedouins” benefit from their lean, relatively stripped-down approaches.  Certainly this is an ambitious album – it could be Axl Rose’s Pet Sounds – but it ultimately can’t live up to the hype.  What could?  Nevertheless, Chinese Democracy is a listenable album, one that rock fans shouldn’t mind seeing under the tree this Christmas.   

Stream the entire album here (Guns N’ Roses MySpace page)

Guns N’ Roses official website