By Clarence Yu MR. Big, the hard rock supergroup that formed in the 1980's and yielded the hits "To Be With You" and "Green Tinted Sixties Mind" has reunited. The band is comprised of bassist Billy Sheehan (of Talas and David Lee Roth Band fame), guitarist Paul Gilbert (formerly Racer X), drummer Pat Torpey (formerly of The Knack) and singer Eric Martin. The group debuted with their eponymous album in 1989. This album laid the groundwork for their distinct sound: crunching, shredding guitars, precision-pounded drums, booming bass and raspy melodic vocals. Soaring choruses combined with crunch delighted fans of the band the world over. Wait. This sounds like almost every other band that blossomed out of the 80's under the rock/heavy metal genre. What differentiated Mr. Big from other bands of their time was the fact that all of the members had previous successful careers in their own right and that all of them had a knack for writing pop-sensible songs. Eric Martin's (who had a semi-successful solo career beforehand) vocals were rough but really melodic, as if he could pass off as Steven Tyler's younger brother. Pat Torpey was renowned as an excellent session drummer in his own right, outside of the rock circles. Sheehan and Gilbert in particular, known for their work as guitar virtuosos, had a chance to show their songwriting skill, and it showed. Their follow-up album Lean Into It (1991) yielded the number one hit (albeit acoustic) "To Be With You." With the onset of grunge, the band's popularity waned in the United States; however they maintained their popularity in other parts of the world, most notably in Japan, where their fan base is tremendously huge. Paul Gilbert left the band in 1997, replaced by another guitar virtuoso, Ritchie Kotzen (ex-Poison). The band recorded two more albums with Kotzen which were released to the Japan market before finally calling it quits in 2002. Rising tensions and solo ventures (as with all others) reportedly caused the break-up. However, the fact that they lasted this long as a supergroup was testimony that this was no fly by night effort. As of February 2009, the band had announced their reunion with all the original members intact. A tour of Japan is scheduled for June 2009, followed by a possible release of a live DVD. With so many rock revivals, reunions and cross-unions happening, Mr. Big might be riding on a bandwagon, but they are certainly worth your ride as well. Catch this YouTube video of their recent Japanese promotional TV performance of their 1991 song "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy," and you might catch my drift.
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By Clarence Yu AS reported on Rolling Stone Magazine, the long-awaited new album from Aerosmith has been delayed yet again. The band is citing several "health problems" as the reason for this delay. In lieu of releasing the new album, the Bad Boys from Boston are gearing up for a US summer tour with fellow veteran rockers ZZ Top, after which the band will either resume production or release the album. Hardcore Aerosmith fans might be disappointed at these turn of events, as the band has not released a full album of new material since 2001's Just Push Play. However, they may be in for a treat, as the prospect of seeing them co-headline with the great ZZ Top is quite exciting. Both bands straddle the same rock/bluesy genre, and have always been respected for both their image and their musical output and creativity. Similarly, both rock bands have touched on the disco/rap genre, with "Legs" from ZZ Top and "Walk This Way" from Aerosmith scoring big on the contemporary scene. Wouldn’t it be great to see both bands on stage jamming both songs as an encore? One can only hope. The good news is that Aerosmith is still keeping Brendan O' Brien on board for producing duties. O' Brien has proven to be the en vogue rock producer of the moment, and it's not just a fad: he’s worked his way up the hard way, producing Pearl Jam in the 90's and serving as engineer on several landmark records such as, coincidentally, Aerosmith's 1994 release Get A Grip. Currently, his work on AC/DC's Black Ice and Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream has reinvigorated both artists and have put them back on top at the cream of the crop. It almost seems that O' Brien has somehow replaced the late, great Bruce Fairbairn as THE eminent rock producer (Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Aerosmith). At any rate, whenever Aerosmith releases the new album, it should be worth the wait, and should usher in a new era in the band's long and storied career. Eight years without any new release is the longest dormant time that Aerosmith has ever had now.
YOU might be wondering how that blog title relates to music. But that was the same question posed by band members of this new Supergroup, called Chickenfoot. A side project of former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and (okay I didn't believe this until I read it), guitar god Joe Satriani. I've already heard two songs from their still unreleased album. Verdict? Imagine Hagar's familiar falsetto screams and wails amid the rockin' riffs of Joesat, Michael Anthony and Smith. (Okay, I must admit I thought I was listening to a VH song). I've heard "Soap on a Rope" and "Down the Drain." The "uuuhs" and the melodies do remind me of Van Halen, perhaps especially with Hagar on vocals. Now, how do you take a band whose name sounds like a joke, seriously? Well, they're not.
It's a silly name for a band -- and album -- that kicks a donkey's a^& six ways to Sunday and back again. Maybe that's because long before the four men who comprise Chickenfoot came together they already filled the pages of rock history with enough individual mind-blowing chapters to boggle the mind. The news that they've pooled their inordinate talents to one collective whole quickly spread across the Internet last year (and perhaps that crazy name helped just a little). The fact that they've succeeded artistically beyond anyone's wildest dreams (except perhaps their own) is all the more reason to celebrate.In any case, this is a band that you wouldn't want to miss.
By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net THEY describe their music as “rebellious, live and organic.” An indie garage-rock/post-punk band (yes a mouthful) with influences from the Beatles, the Libertines, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, among others, the Charmes believes they have what it takes to stand out. Formed in 2006, the Charmes is now working on an album. It was formed by long-time friends Brian Josef (vocals and guitars), JB Bulan (lead), Jerome Abello (drums) and Jino Manalo (bass later replaced by Jiggers Vergel de Dios). They all went to the same high school. The Charmes disbanded but later reunited. So the story went: Josef pursued a solo career recording for Sony BMG. He was later nominated as best new male recording artist in Awit Awards. He, however, missed the band and his friends, thus they came together. Josef composes most of the songs. He says personal experiences inspired his songs. Together with the band, they collaborate to fill in the missing gaps, such as rhythm and melody Though this may sound cliché, Josef believes that “being ourselves and just doing great music” is what really matters to them. This is also the reason why the band plays original songs more than covers. The Charms is still working on their album so as of now, you may check out their demos and gig schedules at www.myspace.com/thecharms.
FILIPINO rock band Hale holds a recent a gig meant to raise funds for some charitable organizations. Watch this video report by INQUIRER.net production specialist Janie Octia.
By Agence France-Presse LOS ANGELES -- Lynyrd Skynyrd pianist Billy Powell, one of the longest-serving members of the 1970s supergroup, has died aged 56, the band announced on its website Wednesday. Powell, a survivor of the 1977 plane crash in Mississippi that claimed the lives of six people including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, died on Tuesday, the statement said without giving further details. "Beloved pianist for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, Billy Powell, passed away last night," the statement said. "The family and band request your respect and understanding during this difficult time. Thank you." According to celebrity news website TMZ.com, Powell died in the southeastern state of Florida. The Texas-born Powell worked as a roadie for Skynyrd during the group's early years before his keyboard skills were noticed by Van Zant during preparations for a concert. He appeared on the band's debut album and was part of the group's meteoric success through the next four years, a period which saw them produce classic rock anthems including "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird." Powell was seriously injured in the 1977 plane crash that decimated the group, killing Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines. Powell rejoined the group in 1987 for a tribute tour.
WHO says students and teachers cannot jam together? In fact, some have decided to form a band. Known as Jeez!, this band was formerly called “The Faculty of JLDDG.” It is composed of Reagan Maiquez, Giselle Hernandez, and Nicolo Masakayan --instructors from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Paul Fonte, an alumnus of UPLB and Kit Manlangit, a UPLB Civil Engineering student. Maiquez started the band in September 2007 with Hernandez, Masakayan and Manlangit after being inspired by the song “Pero,” which Hernandez sang for him. “Pero,” which Maiquez wrote, immediately became the band’s first song. Every Friday, the band plays at Baan Thai, a Thai restaurant in Los Baños. But their performance during First Philo Night, a culminating class activity of Philosophy students in the university on September 20, 2007 was what they considered their first gig. After a year, the band was renamed Jeez! It was also in 2008 that Fonte joined the band who played the bass. Manlangit took the drums, Masakayan the lead guitar, Hernandez the vocals and Maiquez the other guitar. Maiquez, however, left the band this year. Hernandez and Masakayan says the Beatles and the Eraserheads inspire their music. This year, Jeez! is planning to cut an album under the tentative title, “Love, flirt with me, please.” The album will include seven songs: Pero, Takbo, Finally (Chinese Noodle Soup), Meatless Diet, Love is Evol, Idlip and Love Rains. Most of their songs tackle the different perspectives and stages of love, according to Fonte.
THEY formed around the time the Eraserheads disbanded. Thus, they christened themselves after one of Ely's female characters. Ang Bandang Shirley, however, is no E-Heads tribute band. They were brought together by a common love for Canadian indie supergroup Broken Social Scene. But they do love Ely, Marcus, Buddy and Raimund. In MySpace, they likened themselves to BSS "if they listened to the E-Heads, a happier Jeff Buckley with Dong Abay's street smarts, Sugarfree's heart inside the baby of Radiohead and Feist." They do channel that BSS spirit and vibe. Fortunately for us, though, not all eight of them came to our acoustic session or else we would have been scratching our heads figuring out how to fit them in our tiny studio. Here's Owel, Selena, Ean and Joe singing a few songs from their recently-released album "Themesongs" Check out more stuff about the band (including Ean jamming with +/- (Plus/Minus)) on their Multiply page. Also, here's the video for the first single off the album "Themesong".
By Marjorie Gorospe “Friendship is the secret why we’ve come up with good music,” Filipino rock band BOK76 says. Calling each other “bok,” which means “brother,” the band’s members have been together for at least nine years – all in the name of music. Also known as “Bonded on Kinship,” this Filipino band is composed of Erwin Bautista (vocals), Donini Montealegre (guitars/vocals), Jay Castelo (drums/percussion), Owee Nicolas Paz (bass) and Elwynn Dayrit (guitars). Bautista and Montealegre have been together since grade school. The two had been “rivals” in many competitions but eventually they became friends. According to Bautista, the band's music reveals each member’s experiences. Montealegre composes most of the songs while the rest of group adds other elements to complete the music. “Don is the band genius. His ideas inspire the group,” Bautista says. The band has released its album “Revelations,” which is composed of 12 tracks, including the band’s latest singles “Last Kiss” and “Traydor.” “Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga traydor [We’re thankful to all traitors],” Montealegre jokingly says. This song was among the most requested songs in gigs in local bars. “Traydor” has also been the band’s ticket to local radios. As I listened to their other songs, the band’s lyrics are often sad portrayals of life. Most of their singles tackle bitterness. BOK76, however, have happier music. Their influences vary from new wave, rock, blues, metal and Japanese, says Bautista. “We just want to reveal that BOK76 is here and we exist,” Bautista says. BOK76 is set to release a music video of a new single “Sa Panaginip,” which is due this December.
JUST like Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda, Filipino indie band Workshop is making waves on YouTube, a popular online video sharing website. Apparently, American rock band Firehouse -- yup, that 80s rock group that popularized songs like "I Live My Life For You" and "Love of a Lifetime" -- has noticed a Workshop cover of their song "I Live my Life for You" on YouTube. In this video interview with INQUIRER.net executive editor Leo Magno, Workshop recalls the story of how Firehouse discovered and even acknowledged their performance, as the American rock band decided to embed their video on their official Firehouse MySpace page.