26 October 2006

Could Be Cool...

...but then, Dehumanizer wasn't -- maybe because Bill Ward didn't play drums on that one?

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Black Sabbath boys are back, as the new band Heaven and Hell. Guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and singer Ronnie James Dio—former members of British metal supergroup Black Sabbath—are forming the band named after their 1980 hit, according to their publicist. They plan to launch an international tour next year.

“The fans have been wanting to see this for years and years. Now was just the time,” publicist Maureen O’Connor said Wednesday.

Original Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne said in a statement that he wished Iommi and Dio well, and he made it clear there was still only one Black Sabbath.

“Tony Iommi and Ronnie Dio are working on a project together which has nothing to do with Black Sabbath. There is only one Black Sabbath,” Osbourne said in the statement released by publicist Lathum Nelson.

“Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill will be touring late next year along with a new Black Sabbath album,” Nelson said. “However, Ozzy wishes Tony and Ronnie much success in their project together.”

Since its formation in 1969, Black Sabbath has undergone numerous member changes and reunions.

Dio, who replaced Osbourne as part of the band’s early ‘80s lineup, has been recording new songs with Iommi in England, O’Connor said.

14 October 2006

Tower Collapses

Tower Records is going out of business.

This is not news in the strictest sense of the word because it was announced October 6, but I think the situation merits an editorial in the inimitable DMBYSC manner you know and love.

So, Tower is closing its stores. For many years, Tower has been a destination store for music nerds like me. I've visited Tower stores in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New Orleans, Dallas and, most frequently, Nashville. Yes, I've led a rich and full life. "Liberty Bell? Fuck that shit, let's go to Tower and check out the imports."

Jen and I were in Nashville Oct. 6-8 visiting Tony and Sarah. We were driving around when we saw some fool wearing a sandwich board that read, "Tower Records/Store Closing/Up to 30% Off All Merchandise," along with some miniscule fine print. So off we went to check out the store and see if there were any great deals to be had. There weren't, because practically everything, including CDs, was a mere 10% off. I ended up buying a Madness comp because a) I'd seen that Maxwell House commercial that uses "Our House" and I had the song stuck in my head and b) it was stickered at $9.99, which was incredibly cheap for Tower, and with 10% off, I got it for under $10 (just barely, but still).

And that's what killed Tower, I think. I'm so used to seeing new CDs priced in the $8.99-$13.99 range that whenever I dropped into a Tower store over the last few years there was always a moment of sticker shock when I'd see all the new CDs "on sale" for $15.99 or whatever. I'm all for supporting independent music stores and the like, but I'm also all for supporting myself, so if I can find something cheaper at Target, Best Buy or online, I'll buy it there. It's a no-brainer.

Many of the articles and obituaries that have flooded the interwebs since the big announcement have focused on the sales clerks and their deep musical knowledge, painting pictures of helpful Tower employees roaming the store, striking up conversations with shoppers, making recommendations and turning them on to artists they might not have otherwise discovered, which never happened to me -- all the Towers I visited were populated with snotty hipster douchebag assholes straight out of central casting who would sulk behind the counter as if chained there, dressed in their too-tight "vintage" t-shirts purchased pre-distressed at Urban Outfitters, just so painfully mortified that they had to mingle with people who might actually listen to something other than Deerhoof or Panic! At The Disco or whoever Pitchfork told them was hip that month. Consequently, I mainly bought magazines and toys -- yes, toys -- from Tower and I bought my music online (or I got review copies straight from the publicist, hee hee).

But still. I feel depressed that Tower has bitten the dust. This is an instance where the phrase "the end of an era" genuinely applies.

13 October 2006

Listen Up

Oh, sweet music. Here's what I'm listening to "professionally."

Mastodon Blood Mountain: Awesome music, retarded lyrics about abominable snowmen, dragons and tree people. Plus, it’s a concept album. Thankfully, the lyrics are mostly unintelligible, but it’s hard to take a band seriously when they geek out so hard. Review should run in LEO soon.

Pinebender Working Nine to Wolf: These guys sound like Low, if Low played metal. Dense slabs of rock that crawl along at a pace best described as glacial. I love it. I have no idea what the title means.

Planes Mistaken for Stars Mercy: Their name makes them sound like emo douchebags, but they aren’t. Kinda metal, kinda hardcore, but not metalcore. Hard to describe, but I’m gonna try (in LEO, so I can get paid).

I seem to have been pigeonholed as "the metal guy." There are a lot worse things to be pegged as, but naturally I consider myself to be a multifaceted jewel and shit; I can appreciate (or dismiss with authority) music of all kinds.

02 October 2006

Rock and Roll Hell

Kiss guitarist turned down by Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ex-Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent lost a Supreme Court appeal Monday in a dispute over royalties with his former bandmates.

Justices declined to consider lower court rulings dismissing Vincent's claim that he is owed royalties for his contributions to the heavy metal band's 1983 album Lick It Up.

Vincent, whose real name is Vincent Cusano, played with Kiss from 1982 to 1984, co-writing "I Love it Loud," "Lick it Up" and other songs.

The case is Cusano v. Klein, 05-1492.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

"Klein" would be Gene Klein (nee Chaim Witz), a.k.a. Gene Simmons, FYI.

From what I've read on the interwebs -- which are, of course, the most trustworthy and accurate source of information anywhere, ever -- Vinnie Vincent is a real pain in the ass. He also should have read his contract with Kiss a little more closely. Simmons would sooner cut off his own dick than enter a business deal that doesn't favor Simmons.