Hard rock and metal are not dead, they are just not the norm anymore. With bands like Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, and AC/DC seemingly calling it quits, and Guns N Roses are the main attraction. It has become extremely difficult for new hard rock bands to find that big audience. Slipknot, Korn, and Disturbed, have legions of fans and still put out rockin’ albums but new, fresh, Avenged Sevenfold-like bands are hard to come-by. But, those bands are there, and as they gain attention, so will the fans.
There are bands in the world that can take a hit and keep going. Bands like Deep Purple that have weathered whole lineup changes, and kept making great music, or Aerosmith who came back from the dead after completely imploding. Emarosa want to be one of those bands. Now, I am in no way comparing Emarosa to those 70’s hard rock darlings, but the group has been the victim of a carousel of lineup changes, as well as an overhaul to their core sound. This finds the band in awkward territory, but fans would never know as their new record 131 is one of their better, and most complete albums in recent memory.
A Six-Pack of Questions with Jax
I had a chance to spend some quality time with talented American Idol performer Jax, who is about to embark on a 37 city tour American Idol Live Tour and chat about her music, rock ‘n roll influences and her future.
But I am going to make you wait until next week for the full interview because I am headed out on an important family vacation in about an hour. As a small peace offering to hold you over, we did a quick question and answer for a segment we call RARA’s Six Pack: Six fun, generally entertaining questions delivered in rapid fire sequence. True fans and members of her loyal Jax Pack will already know a bunch of this stuff, but still a fun read.
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Cretin: What’s your favorite place to see a concert in the New York/New Jersey area?
Jax: It’s got to be Madison Square Garden. Got to be.
Cretin: And New Jersey?
Jax: Starland Ballroom (a great venue in Sayreville)
Cretin: How long have you had the @Jax Twitter handle?
Jax: (Laughing) Oh my gosh, not so long. I just got it right before American Idol started, I tracked down this man named Xavier from India at like 4AM, when it was noon his time. I begged him for two years and finally he gave it to me after I told him I was on the show. He was a big fan.
Cretin: I was thinking it would have been impossible for you to be the first person using it, especially with it being the nickname to our neighbors in Jacksonville.
Jax: That’s true and a lot of people named Jackson use it as a name. It was crazy, and I sent that guy and his kids a Christmas present.
Cretin: If you were a huge megastar, what ridiculous food request would appear on your rider?
Jax: I’d have a lot of water, sushi and definitely a lot of Taco Bell.
You can grab Jax’s music on iTunes, including her powerful new single “Forcefield.”
Cretin: Do you have a song that’s a guilty pleasure?
Jax: Yes, for sure. “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from Funny Girl by Barbara Streisand. (With an infectious laugh) That’s a song I jam out to in the car; windows down, full blast. That’s my pump up song to get myself confident before a show.
Cretin: Do you have a favorite Aerosmith song?
Jax: That has to be “Dream On,” it’s a classic. My favorite Steven Tyler song is the new single, “Love Is Your Name,” it’s country and it’s freaking awesome.
Cretin: Last question, what color is that damn dress, my wife and I still can’t agree?
Jax: (laughs) I like that. That damn dress is blue and black. I never saw white and gold. I ordered that from London.
Cretin: My wife sees white and gold.
Jax: (laughing) Why? Not when I wore it, right? There’s no way she saw white and gold when I wore it, that was so blue and black.
Cretin: We need to rewatch the video
Jax: She’ll see the blue and black and then when she looks back at the picture it will be blue and black. It will be ruined forever.
Here’s the video (it’s blue and black)
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It was 25 years ago today…
I just realized that it was 25 years ago that The Simpsons first graced our television screens, then got to wondering what was the music we were listening to back in Bart’s nascent years. As it turns out, it was a damn good year.
(You can click on the title of each selection to sample it on iTunes)
Here’s our RARA’s Farm Top Dozen in reverse order:
12. Whitesnake – Whitesnake – Usually a band eponymously names their first album. For some reason, David Coverdale decided to do it on Whitesnake’s seventh. Who am I to argue? This one was the best of the bunch, and the band’s biggest commercial success. Coverdale’s signature vocals soared on “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love.” Tawny Kitaen writhing on the hood of the car in the “Here I Go Again” video was a nice bonus.
11. A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Pink Floyd – This was really more of a David Gilmour solo album, and the absence of Roger Waters was definitely noticeable. Waters basically said the album sucked, and it was not great by Floyd standards, but “Learning To Fly” and “On the Turning Away” are great tracks. Still some excellent Gilmour guitar throughout no matter what Roger says…
10. Document – R.E.M. – These guys were on top of their game at this point in the 80’s, where everything they produced sounded great as Stipe and crew constantly evolved. “It’s the End of the World…” and “The One I Love” got all of the airplay. “Welcome to the Occupation” and “Finest Worksong” were better.
9. Permanent Vacation – Aerosmith – RUN DMC breathed some air into their deflated sails, but this release from the boys from Boston is what truly welcomed them back into the rock spotlight. Some HUGE hits on this one: “Angel,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Rag Doll.”
8. One Way Home – The Hooters – Yup, I was frequenting the Philly rock bars in 1987, but that had nothing to do with this selection; it’s just a damn good album. Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian wrote well together and paired their vocals fantastically. And our favorite drummer, David Uosikkinen was at the top of his game. “Satellite,” “Johnny B” and “Fighting on the Same Side” were brilliant.
7. Floodland – Sisters of Mercy – Speaking of Philly, does anyone remember The Club Revival? These guys were mainstays at the after hours haunts of the 80’s equivalent of emo (folks like me). This is dark, driving dance rock, featuring “Dominion/Mother Russia,” “Lucretia My Reflection” and the amazing “This Corrosion.” Hey now, hey now now…
6. Diesel and Dust – Midnight Oil – Spinning records in a former life at a mythical place named the Jersey Shore, an Aussie walked in during INXS and told me I need to hear Midnight Oil. He was right and they were the real deal. With “Beds Are Burning,” “The Dead Heart” and “Dreamworld” they caught the attention of lots of ears on this continent.
These Top Five are in a separate class from the first seven on the list.
5. Hysteria – Def Leppard – With Hysteria, the guys from England made a roaring return to the rock music scene after taking a n unexpected hiatus following Rick Allen’s accident that cost him his left arm. They didn’t miss a beeat with this hit album which featured “Animal,” “Rocket,” “Love Bites” and the anthemic “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
4. Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses -The first was this masterpiece debut from Axl and Slash. I’m sure some of you have this closer to the top, but the album was basically half a dozen great songs and half a dozen mediocre. Always loved “My Michelle,” but this one is all about “Paradise City,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle.”
3. Strangeways, Here We Come – The Smiths – Morrissey is a genius, and on this one, may be just a tad less uber-depressing than The Smiths’ other offerings. “Unhappy Birthday,” “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours” only scratch the surface of this deep album. So, step off that ledge and dig into some joyful “Death of a Disco Dancer.”
2. Kick – INXS – Atlantic Records reportedly hated the album and begged the band to can it and start over. Lesson #857 on why we need less record company intervention and more independence for rock musicians. These Aussies had a bunch of good albums, but this was their best and most diverse offering. “Devil Inside,” New Sensation” and Need You Tonight” were huge hits. “Mystify” was the best of the bunch, though, on an album where every song is great.
1. The Joshua Tree – U2 – This one is in The 25 Albums of All-Time, and in my opinion somewhere near the top of the list. “Red Hill Mining Town,” Trip Through Your Wires” and One Tree Hill” are absolutely amazing, and there’s not a soft cut on the album which is woven together perfectly. You amy also have heard of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With or Without You.” Pure Genius!
Let me know what you think by adding a comment below, and click the linked album titles to sample this great stuff on iTunes.