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Thursday, 3 September 2009

New Rock Star APPROVED Rock Star Academy T-shirts

New T-shirts are up on the site:
First up we have Tommy & Pamela's Honeymoon Home Movies. Then we have a new AC/DC design with "Welcome To Rosie's Place". Then we have one of my new favourite T-shirts... inspired by and in tribute to my favourite guitarist (along with Johnny Thunders, Marco Peroni and Izzy Stradlin).... the one and only Kiss Spaceman, Ace Frehley. No doubt you have noticed that when Ace wore one of our Dr Keith's Rock N' Roll Pharmacy T-shirts I shat my spleen with sheer delight and uncontrollable pride and joy. Anyway, this tribute is Ace's Space Academy. I just hope you lot love it as much as I do.

Finally though.... how could I possibly top an Ace Frehley T-shirt? Only by Ginger from my favourite band, the Wildhearts seeing AND LIKING our new T-shirt of him. The story goes that we have been the T-shirt supplier of choice for bass superstar and friend to the stars Michael Butler of Rock & Roll Geek fame for some time. Well, Michael was asked to be Ginger's bass player for his recent batch of shows in LA at the El Ray and more importantly at the Viper Room (where DJ, fixer and resident rock chick supreme Chelsea is our now officially the finest of all LA residents). As Michael usually does (because he is an obvious man of taste) he was wearing one of our shirts each time Ginger saw him at rehearsals and at the gig itself. Ginger liked them and asked if he could have one to wear to the Kerrang! Awards (where the Wildhearts went on to collect the Spirit of Independence Award). When we sent him a stack of T-shirts he took a look at the site, said some nice things before wanting to know why we didn't have a Wildhearts one. Obviously the Greetings From Shitsville lyric one was not enough and he wanted an image one. So when your favourite frontman says that, you kinda have to act. The T-shirt went up and I waited for the response.... then it came... GINGER APPROVED



Chuffed? you bet your life I am.


PS - oh yeah, talking of Marco Peroni and Izzy Stradlin, both will be available on our T-shirts VERY SOON.

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Friday, 17 July 2009

Its holiday time

Given that we are now in the middle of July, it is obvious that many people will start to turn their attention to getting away and enjoying the summer sun if possible. The credit crunch may be holding some people back and if you find yourself unable to get away, why don’t you turn up your amps to 11 and let your classic rock and heavy metal heroes transport you to a different time and place?
One of the things about a great summer is that it allows you to get away from your everyday life and experience new things. One thing that many people would choose to do is “Run To The Hills” and what better way to do this than by taking the advice of Iron Maiden. Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson may not have had a summer holiday on their mind when they unleash this song at gigs, and we all know its an unlikely thought for Eddie to have but if it gets you in the mood, then why try to fight it? It may surprise you but Iron Maiden have a lot more holiday advice for any metal head who wishes to soak up the sun. A rallying cry of “Scream for me Long Beach” from the ‘Live After Death’ release may not necessarily be about finding the sun but with a bit of lateral thinking, who can fail to find their mind wandering to the beach and sand.
And when it comes to sand, who better to guide you than Metallica and their 1990s smash hit, ‘Enter Sandman’. This was one of the songs that launched James Hetfield , Kirk Hammett and Lars to a truly worldwide and mainstream audience but although the days of Cliff Burton may have been behind them, Metallica still knew how to rock out and have fun.
Former touring partners and more often than not enemies, Guns N Roses also knew how to throw in a holiday style lyric to their back catalogue and who can overlook the classic ‘Paradise City’? Any location where “the grass is green and the girls are pretty” would be an almost perfect holiday destination and with Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan as your tour guides, who could fail to have a great time? The Jack D may flow freely but you can bet that the amount of girls hanging around would be akin to Led Zeppelin and their Starship days. Great weather and girls really would be the ‘Stairway to Heaven ‘of all holiday hot spots. And if you cant get a lot of girls, get one big one and if you need any advice about how to do just that, who better to ask than AC/DC, who will tell you about ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ and the ways you can have fun on holiday.
So whether you want to spend your holiday in a ‘Purple Haze’ or you just want some quiet ‘Satisfaction’, following your classic rock stars advice when it comes to getting away from it all will ensure you make the very most of your time off.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

For those about to rock...

Yes, its time to salute all of those people that are about to rock as AC/DC’s latest trip to the UK is coming to a close after wowing fans all over the UK. Some people may not be aware but the Young brothers owe a large part of their success to the Scottish upbringing they had and there are some who claim the band to be another graduate from the Glasgow music scene. It is more likely to say that the band are Australian due to the massive impact shown by original lead singer Bon Scott but Malcolm Young and Angus Young will always carry a little bit of Scottishness where every they go.
And one place they are going to is the ‘Highway To Hell’ but their legions of followers will go anywhere the band heads to, so there is sure to be a warm welcome waiting for them. AC/DC may lack the class or finesse of some acts like Radiohead or REM but when it comes to giving the people what they want, nobody does it better.
Bon Scott may be the original livewire and a major reason why so many fans fell in love with this tight rock n roil outfit but Brian Johnston hasn’t served the band and the fans too badly either. Johnston stepped into the breach bravely, after the untimely death of Scott, who left the world too early like Hendrix, Cobain and Joplin. In fact, when you consider how many fantastic singers have been taking from the world of music at a young age, you cannot help but feel anger at the fact that James Blunt appears to be allowed to live on without any issue or concern. It would certainly be beautiful if someone was to end James Blunt reign of misery. No matter the song, Blunt is always moaning and whinging, which is not something that could be said about Brian Johnston.
Simply put, Johnston is a mans man, who likes to drink and knows how to treat women. Led Zeppelin may have raised the bar with their Groupie antics and turns on the Starship in the 1970s but when it comes down to working class no-nonsense boogie, Johnston reigns supreme.
Of course, rumours are growing that AC/DC will bow out next year, never to return. With artists like the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen seemingly able to tour for ever, there is some doubt cast over whether next year will finally see Young hang up his schoolboy uniform for the very last time but if he does, the world will become a much sadder place. Any band who conjured up songs like ‘Highway To Hell’ or ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ deserve to be remembered fondly and even if Angus and the boys are heading for their final hurrah, it can only be hoped they go out with an almighty bang. And as the band never appears to be too far away from their trusty cannon, causing a bang is not something that AC/DC tend to struggle with.

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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The financial doom is all down to Angus Young & AC/DC

Yep, that's right, AC/DC and not bankers nor capitalist politicians are the real harbingers of economic doom - at least according to the Guardian. It has something to do with the fact that the last time an AC/DC album topped the charts we were in a similar state of financial woe.

As self-confessed bleeding heart leftie, I can be found reading the Guardian on most mornings with my cuppa tea, but today they delved into Daily Mail territory. No, they didn't tell us that gay, hoodie-wearing, paedophile immigrants are stealing your identity whilst pushing the price of petrol up, but we are getting equally as tenuous. OK, it was written with a certain sense of tongue in cheek, but still....

So here we have some choice excerpts:

"Those keen to draw wider inferences from its success might note that the last time AC/DC made No 1 in Britain, the country was on the brink of recession. Back In Black, the album that marked their commercial breakthrough and went on to become the second biggest-selling of all time, was released in 1980, just as inflation had reached 20% and unemployment inched towards 2 million.

When the economy recovered, AC/DC's popularity receded, albeit becoming merely immense instead of phenomenal: their "flop" 1985 album, Fly On The Wall, still sold more than 1m copies, a not unimpressive figure, but a fraction of Back In Black's 30m sales or the 5m copies that Black Ice sold in the last seven days.

But right on cue the album that returned the band to its heyday was The Razors Edge, released in 1990 - just as Britain headed towards its last recession."

It then went on to say something about people looking for 'simpler' forms of entertainment during economic hardship.

The article is then backed-up with a neat little time-line as further evidence:

"1973: AC/DC form in Sydney, Australia.
Economy: Start of the oil crisis, which saw the price quadruple

1980: AC/DC release breakthrough album Back In Black
Economy: Inflation in UK reaches 20% and unemployment nears 2 million

1990: AC/DC score comeback with The Razor's Edge
Economy: Recession in UK imminent

2008: AC/DC top UK album charts
Economy: Biggest world recession in decades looms"

You can read the whole of Alexis Petridis' article at GuardianUnlimited

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Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Great Gig Debate - Wish you were there?

There is a post on http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/ asking visitors to vote on the greatest ever live band. I gave this a quick thought and it got me to thinking what a daft question it is. You can ask what you think the greatest band is or what the greatest single, album, live album etc is as you can listen to all the evidence and judge from there. But even if like me your gig count is probably north of 200 shows, how can anyone judge this unless they have been to 1000s – and even then, they haven’t been to everything. Maybe one of the top photographers can judge or a leading journo, but even then they are bound to be prone to a bit of showboating – after all if you have a reputation to maintain, few people are going to say that Status Quo at Cambridge Corn Exchange in the mid-90s was better than Led Zeppelin at Knebworth, even if they did find themselves nodding off during the JPJ’s bass solo, but could have happily kept Rocking All Over The World for many more hours.

So I thought about it from my point of view…..

Skid Row were certainly the most consistent live band I ever saw. Between 88 and 93 I must have seen them 8 o 9 times and they were outstanding on every occasion. Aerosmith were brilliant most of the times I have seen them, but a bit predictable on others. Love/Hate were another fantastic live experience in the early 90’s and deserved full marks every time I saw them, same with the Wildhearts and Wolfsbane, while Motley Crue ranged between "could do better" and possibly the best gig I have ever been to when I saw their secret ‘Four Skins’ show at the Marquee (you can see me on their Anarchy In The UK/USA video). The Foo Fighters at Wembley this year when they wheeled on Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones was a phenomenal gig - if for no other reason than I expected it to be no more than an OK show. Then you have Bruce Springsteen, a man that puts more into a concert than I have ever seen from anyone else, but by the same token The Ramones tended to put in 45 minutes and then sod off (although on the Adios Amigos tour they did put in 2 hours plus) so does that make one a better live band than the other? Does any of this make any of them better than Led Zeppelin or Queen? Maybe not, but how can I tell as I never saw Queen or Led Zep?

Then of course there are Guns N' Roses that if I went on their performances in 1988, were amazing. However, if I go on seeing them at the back end of the Use Your Illusions tour then they were dreadful. Then as an Axl solo project they were arguably tighter than at any other time I saw them, but could I say Guns N’ Roses at Hammersmith in 2007 (or was it 2006? I forget, time flies when you get older) with only Axl from the original line was actually a better gig than when Slash and Duff were still on-board?

But if I had to nail my colours to one band holding better live memories for me it is AC/DC. Great indoors at theatres and arena, while at Donington they were simply magnificent. But is that nostalgia speaking or was that show that AC/DC recorded for their AC/DC Live at Donington album and video actually one of the greatest gigs ever?

I have been to a lot of gigs, but not nearly enough to judge this sort of thing. There again I am probably better placed than the kids that went to see Green Day at Milton Keynes poll a couple of years back and then voted it as Kerrang! Magazine's greatest ever concert. I am sure Billie Joe and the boys were pretty damn good if you were there, but if that genie popped out of the lamp and said "Alex, last wish, now choose a gig you wish you had been at" then I doubt it would have been that. So that is probably the point I am getting at – that the poll should be "What gig do you wish you had been at?"

I might say The Who at Charlton Athletic, but was that because of my dad banging on about how great it was or because it was their finest moment? Would I choose Woodstock, Monterey Pop, Isle of Wight or Altamont because of their cultural significance? Seeing Bruce Springsteen at Hammersmith in 1975 as he toured Born To Run would have to come close to the top. With the likes of Freddie Mercury, Bon Scott and Phil Lynott dead before I was able to see them, how could I pass that sort of opportunity by? The Rolling Stones at the Marquee, The Beatles at the Cavern, Sex Pistols at the 100 Club or New York Dolls at Max’s Kansas City may or may not have been great shows, but should I choose one of them for their ‘I Was There’ bragging rights? I wouldn’t say no to seeing Elvis or The Rat Pack in the Las Vegas prime either, but would they be top of the list? There is a chance that I would correct one of my few regrets in life – when I passed on a ticket to see Nirvana at the Astoria because a girl I was trying to bang wanted to see Slayer and Mind Funk at Hammersmith (no, since you asked, to make matters worse I didn’t get a result with the girl)

I have no idea and it would be a struggle if such a situation arose, but if anyone knows of a genie then I would happily take on such a task.

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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

More moaning about touting scum

A few times I have posted about what scum ticket touts (scalpers to our American friends) are. Yet again I am going to bang on about them following the release of AC/DC tickets. OK, I got lucky and have fan club standing tickets for the first show at the O2 Dome. But I really feel for those that couldn't get ticket because of touts being allowed to pre-buy so many tickets and flog them on to fans.

I am also pissed off that with tickets for the supposedly fan club orientated standing area will now be full of the Johnny-come-latley idiots that are only going because it is the 'hottest ticket in town'.

It will get worse on Friday too when Metallica at the O2 tickets are released.

A number of these touts are low level opportunists making a few quid on eBay or trying to subsidise their own gig going - I don't approve and think these folk need a slap, but they are a TINY percentage of the problem. The real issue is how some tout bastard has been able to get 20 standing tickets for the gig as well us front row for every other major show. Someone knows who is supplying them. Is is the promoters touting their own tickets? Is is someone at the venue taking the piss? Is it someone at See Tickets or Ticketmaster with a nice little earner on the side? hey, I have a contact at a London venue that has been able to sort me out with tickets to shows in the past, so it is not unreasonable to expect others are turning what is effectively doing a friend a favour into a cottage industry.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter or indeed any information I would love to hear from them. If you are touting lowlife, let me have you justification (if I didn't do it then someone else would is not a valid reason, neither is that you are doing a service or that it is a free market and you can do what you like, but happy to listen to your arguments)

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