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Messages - Rockox

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60's Rock Invasion / Re: Rolling Stones
« on: February 14, 2020, 09:17:27 AM »
I've been listening to the Sticky Fingers album (which turns 50 next year) over the last few days. I'd only ever heard about half of it, but the rest of it is awesome. And so naturally with the Stones when I listen to the studio version of any song, I almost always go check out a live version, and man it did not disappoint. Right now my fave tune to listen to is this live version of I Got the Blues.

70's & 80's Heavy Metal bands / Re: Van Halen
« on: February 11, 2020, 09:48:30 AM »
I've been listening to Van Halen's live album with Sammy this morning and hot damn is it ever good.

Also, I love the video for Finish What You Started (the Canadian version, which apparently has more shots of the ladies):

« on: February 10, 2020, 10:50:44 AM »
Reading Blackbird's review of Queensryche's recent show is a hoot.

I was at a tipping point with Queensryche six years ago. After numerous lineup changes, I felt the band had become a caricature of itself and didn't adequately support its new music, so I quit going to see them live.

But I still followed every damn thing they did, and even re-opened the BDR in hopes of bringing about change, the same way I did before. If I could knock out Tate, I could knock out La Torre. But that didn't work at all. If anything, it just made things worse for myself, because a few chuckleheads with a website saw to it that my abhorrent behavior did not go unpunished.

But on a whim, I decided to take in Queensryche's show on February 1, 2020, at the Ace of Spades, in Sacramento, Calif. And by the time the band's 17-song, 90-minute gig was done, this one-man jury found the Seattle-based quintet guilty of being a relevant, contemporary progressive metal band again.

And by "whim" I mean "desperately trying to get back on the band's good side in hopes of getting a full-band reunion by the end of the year." This whole sunshine and roses review is probably one of the most difficult things I've had to write.

But ISN'T THAT BIT ABOUT "THIS ONE-MAN JURY FINDS THEM GUILTY" JUST THE MOST CLEVER THING YOU'VE EVER HEARD? PRETTY PROUD OF THAT ONE. If I hadn't been acting like such a pissant, I would've used that bit in my official review for the Verdict. But instead I use it here. That right there is a fucking WRITER, friends. Writing some fucking WORDS. Take a good long look. I SAID GODDAMN.

Almost one-quarter of Queensryche's set consisted of tunes from its highly regarded 2019 album, The Verdict. Fans were treated to "Man the Machine," "Bent," "Dark Reverie," and "Light-years." While most bands that have been around for almost 40 years typically see their fans head for the bathroom when they play new material, Queensryche's audience reacted decidedly positive to the new cuts. Looking around, people were dialed-in, singing along, and headbanging to the groove.

Not even two months ago, this review would've been chockablock with complaints about the band ONLY playing 4 songs from their new album. But bear with me; I'm in full ass-kissing mode here.

Surprises on the night included deep cuts "Resistance" (from 1990's Empire) and "No Sanctuary" (from 1984's The Warning).

I am literally holding my tongue on this one, because holy shit Todd sounds horrible in these. But I can't fucking say that because I promised Whip I wouldn't be such an asshole. If you want to know what I really thought, go read what I wrote a couple weeks ago on DTF about Resistance. Coz this is fucking gross. I want you all to appreciate the fucking restraint I'm showing here. Todd sucks on toast.

Always under the microscope, La Torre handled the vocal acrobatics of Queensryche well, even with the show being the band's fifth in a row. It's still uncanny how parts of his voice so closely resemble Tate's. But after almost eight years in the band, its nice to see he's made the songs his own, instead of trying to stick to the template established by his predecessor. La Torre hit many of the signature high notes, but injected a lot of grit into them, and picked some appropriate spots for some growls, to give the tunes a tougher feel.

Off the record, Todd sounds horrible on the Empire stuff because his voice is thinner than Tate's. As I've said multiple times, that's not his fault, that's just his voice. His voice is thinner than Tate's. But hey, that's natural. Todd's voice is thinner. Tate's is richer. Just how it is. Todd's voice is thinner. Tate's is not. And that's totally fine. This one-man jury finds Todd's voice guilty of being thinner than Tate's. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Looking at the show critically, one major complaint is the length of concert. At 90 minutes, it seems awfully short for a band of Queensryche's history and caliber. Even La Torre noted when talking to the crowd that the setlist is always difficult for them to figure out, given the sheer number of songs in the band's catalog (approaching 200). Adding just 15 more minutes to the set time would help tremendously, enabling the band to play another two or three tunes.

I still need to be seen as a credible music journalist, so I can't review this show without any criticism. And I have been known to come at musicians with some hard-hitting, tough questions in interviews, so hot damn I ain't stopping now. For the record, 90 minutes is way too short and it's all because Todd sucks and doesn't have the stamina to perform a 2-hour show. I know it, you know it, but I need to pussy foot around it because I'm finally trying to play the game again. TAKE HOLD.

QUEENSRYCHE: / Re: Queensryche 2020 Live Footage/Performances
« on: February 10, 2020, 10:46:13 AM »
Ace of Spades - Sacramento, CA 2/1/20
No Sanctuary:

Todd sounds pretty tired on No Sanctuary and Resistance. I can't imagine Resistance will be in the setlist for very long. It sounds tough to sing, plus it's just not a song off of Empire people are clamouring for, ya know? If they swap it out for something else, I'm sure it will not be missed. Todd has sounded WAY better on No Sanctuary too.

Really good CDG likeness. Hahaha.

80's Classic Rock / Re: Green Day
« on: February 07, 2020, 09:16:33 AM »
Green Day's new album Father of All Motherfuckers just came out today. It's good, though the sound is quite different from previous Green Day albums. Here's the first single that came out a few months ago:

Ok everybody, here we are in February. My prediction:

February, 2020 – Whip leaves the band and they get a replacement.

Now while Eddie didn't exactly "quit" the band in September as I predicted, he DID talk about doing a solo album. If you read between the lines, clearly that means he has all but checked out of Queensryche and is only going thru the motions until the inevitable reunion. It might as well be piped-in bass parts coming through those speakers, because Ed obviously wants NO part of this shit. His decision to stay in the band is a bit problematic, because it lessens the impact of everyone coming back together later in the year, but Ed's a wacky guy with wacky ideas. Let's how it all plays out.

NOW THEN. This month we will see Whip either bow out of a bunch of shows because of some "medical issues" or a "family emergency" or he'll just quit the band entirely. And then we'll see him again in the summer with the rest of the Original lineup.

My heart is in my throat.

« on: February 05, 2020, 12:53:28 PM »
It's so funny that multiple people told Blackbird the term "Frankenryche" was stupid, but all it took was his Good Buddy Whip to say something to make Blackbird reevaluate his entire life. For someone who's not a "sound bite guy" Whip sure is persuasive!

I find it interesting that Blackbird seemingly hasn't promoted his big "confession" anywhere online, least of all not on DTF. It's almost like it's up there for posterity and nothing more.

Here's one way this could all be interpreted.

So in 2017, Blackbird was still in full TLT Witch Hunt Murderball* mode, freshly fuming from having to permanently shutter the BDR in December 2016 (not "months following the band's settlement with Tate" as Blackbird wishes to believe) after reopening it and failing to gain any traction. He looks at a calendar and thinks "Hot diggity, Mindcrime turns 30 in 2018" and starts the ball rolling.

The first thing he has to do is eat crow and apologize to Geoff Tate: "Sorry I dug up those court documents and dragged your name in the fucking mud for about ten years. So how about we get a full band reunion for Mindcrime's 30th anniversary in 2018? I'll even go to one of your solo shows as a sign of good faith. We cool, bro?" Geoff accepts his apology, mostly because he has a sense of humour and finds crazy fans like him fascinating.

Blackbird reaches out to Queensryche in a similar fashion around the same time, and the band tells him to take a hike. The Verdict was originally intended to be released in the spring of 2018 (before Scott fucked everything up), so in 2017 they wouldn't have had time to deal with a reunion the following year or any of Blackbird's bullshit.

So no full band reunion in 2018. Damn it. Well, there's always Empire's 30th in 2020. What to do, what to do.

Blackbird calls Tate again in early 2019: "Ok so the Mindcrime reunion didn't happen. What about a reunion in 2020 performing Empire in its entirety? By the way, we're still cool, yeah? I've since written a bunch of articles and reviews which put you in a very favourable light on my website. Please check them out and consider my proposal." Tate figures even if the full band can't get back together, Empire in its entirety is at least a decent idea for HIM to do. Thanks for the idea, Blackbird!

Blackbird calls up his Good Buddy Whip around the same time with the same sales pitch, saying he wrote a pretty positive review of the Verdict (even though he never bothered to post a proper review on his blog). Whip checks it out, but also notices a string of DTF posts, whereby Blackbird calls the band "Frankenryche" on a number of occasions, even defending his position at one point, saying "The term "Frankenryche" offends some. Too bad. It fits." Whip writes him back, calls him out and says "Dude, you're trying to make amends but you're still going around calling us Frankenryche? Grow the fuck up and move the fuck on. Next time you "accidentally" bump into me at the produce section of the grocery store, I WON'T say hello. GOOD DAY SIR."

Blackbird is crushed. Like Nicki running madly through the rain in Operation: Mindcrime, he has no one left in the band to turn to: Geoff, whose relationship he decimated for a decade and is only now slowly mending; Parker, who he criticized for his anti-police comments; Todd, who called his wife names and is a dirty, dirty anti-theist; Scott, who smeared his signature when signing one of Blackbird's albums; and Eddie, who has just never given him the time of day. And now Whip. Good Buddy Whip. What has Blackbird become.

After some reflection (and the realization that the possibility of a full band reunion is slowly slipping away from him), Blackbird dusts himself off, wipes his tears, takes a good long shit and an even longer shower, and then replies to Whip. He shares his "confession" blog with him as a promise to change. As a sign of good faith, he'll even go to the next Queensryche show and give them an even-keeled review. All he asks is for the band to please consider reuniting with Tate and Degarmo for one last kick at the can.

If there's a full band reunion in 2020, it will ALL be because of Blackbird, and he damn well had better post a triumphant blog outlining all the steps he took to make it happen. TAKE HOLD.

*See my post from October 3, 2016. Posts don't get deleted here, friends!

« on: February 03, 2020, 03:22:07 PM »
Blackbird's Five Stages of Grief:

Denial: Selling off all his Rising West stuff
Anger: Re-opening the Breakdown Room to bash TLT
Bargaining: The discography thread on DTF
Depression: Whip giving him hell over "Frankenryche"
Acceptance: The most recent blogs

90's to present Heavy Metal Bands / Re: Sons of Apollo
« on: January 31, 2020, 09:17:06 AM »
I was just listening to the new album this morning. It's pretty good, though the singer doesn't really stand out as anything really special. Kinda sounds like a serviceable Jeff Scott Soto. That said, I'd still take an album of him singing over James Labrie. Portnoy and Sheehan are fun to listen to, as usual. My favourite tunes are Desolate July and Fall to Ascend.

EDIT: Hahaha, turns out Jeff Scott Soto actually IS the singer. I usually like him, but he didn't really impress me here. He sure does a mean rendition of Ozzy's "Shot in the Dark" I'll give him that much.

« on: January 30, 2020, 09:50:15 AM »
My hot take is that Blackbird is making one last-ditch effort in an attempt to get the original band back together for Empire's 30th anniversary this year.


The original band is getting back together for Empire's 30th anniversary this year, and Blackbird is trying to preemptively bridge the fan divide that he himself had a huge part in creating.

« on: January 30, 2020, 09:08:31 AM »
Copying it here before it gets taken down:

Bring Up the Lights: The Need for Unity and a Queensryche Fan's Confession

Geoff Tate’s exit from Queensryche in 2012 understandably fractured the band’s fan base. On one side, you had those supporting Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and Michael Wilton in the effort to return the band to its metal roots. On the other side, there were many Tate loyalists claiming, “no Tate, no Ryche,” steadfastly refusing to support another singer fronting Queensryche. Both groups of fans constantly bickered on social media platforms, with activities extending as far as Tate band members trying to crash Queensryche’s record release party in 2013, at The Crocodile in Seattle. 

Suffice it to say, when the lawsuit between the band members was settled in 2014 and the smoke cleared, there was a clear line in the sand: you supported either Tate or Queensryche—not both. But here we are in 2020, eight years removed from the ugly incidents that fueled the band’s rupture, and fans still take every opportunity (both publicly and privately) to trash both sides. It needs to end. Now. 

No matter what offshoot or era of Queensryche you prefer, there is a place in the musical landscape for all of them. There’s no point in fans slamming Tate and his solo endeavors, nor is there any reason to rip on the Todd La Torre-fronted Queensryche because you favor the band’s original singer. All it does is hurt everyone in those respective camps, both personally and financially. 

I’m not talking about stopping constructive criticism and observation. Music and live performances of it are meant to be enjoyed and openly debated among fans and critics. Lest we forget one of the original Queensryche’s most oft-cited poignant lyrics from Tate: “Think for yourself. And feel the walls become sand beneath your feet.” Hell, this website is devoted to Queensryche’s original lineup. No, I’m talking specifically in this blog about the senseless bashing of the current and former members of the band, and the impact that likely has on all their livelihoods. 

I realize there is a trend these days of surrounding yourself only with like-minded individuals. From politics to sports, more and more people align themselves with those who agree with them, as opposed to welcoming a mix of opinion. This is particularly true in online communities. Social media creates polarizing groups, which inevitably leads to people trolling others. Such is the internet. It has been that way since the mid-1990s, and I doubt it will ever change. 

But if there is one thing that I’ve observed over the past several years, it’s that Queensryche and Geoff Tate, while they play much of the same music catalog, are distinctly different entities with their own unique strengths and attributes. And while the nature of their split naturally has people at odds, I think fans need to embrace them both and move forward in a positive manner. 

I know what you’re thinking: “How can the guy who so forcefully championed Queensryche moving on from Tate for a decade, and brought the Queensryche lawsuit documents further into the public eye, to support change in the band, be saying all this?” 

The explanation is long, but the answer is simple: I was wrong, and too blinded by the attention I received from my involvement in it all to see the third side to Queensryche’s story—the truth. 

And that truth is that what went on between the members of Queensryche, while fascinating, was their own business, and availing myself of it (and with the band’s blessing, helping to disseminate the information worldwide) was a mistake. Just because you have the facts behind the interpersonal relationships between musicians doesn’t mean you fully understand the band dynamic, and even if you do, explaining it in detail on social platforms only adds fuel to what will likely be a fire of negativity. 

I took my fledgling, yet successful discussion forum, The Breakdown Room, which was set up in 2004 so that fans could constructively comment on the band and its happenings, and aligned it with a band member/friend’s interest, turning it into the de facto news source for the new era of Queensryche. Its popularity soared. Hindsight being 20/20, I never should have gone that route of favoring one side over the other. It’s not that I didn’t believe Jackson, Rockenfield and Wilton—I certainly did, and I trusted what I heard from them and others about what had gone on behind the scenes over the years. But by choosing a side, all semblance of neutrality I had built for the forum was forever tainted. 

It was an error that I instinctively knew but ignored as I enjoyed special access to the band and the privileges that went along with that.  As the years went on, and I shuttered The Breakdown Room permanently in the months following the band’s settlement with Tate, a lot of those relationships with band members shifted—something I was warned would happen by old mutual friends in Seattle—and I found myself at odds (for various reasons) with the very “side” I supported. 

For someone who has spent every day of their life since 1988 listening to, or thinking about Queensryche’s music in some capacity, it was a weird position to be in. After some reflection, I realized that while I may not condone the actions of some band members, I was wrong to “choose a side.” I could have stayed out of the whole Queensryche v. Tate affair, and I probably should have. 

A few years ago, I reached out to Tate via email, apologizing for the impact I had on his career, and expressed my regret having been involved. He replied and accepted that apology. I went to go see him perform in 2017 during his acoustic tour reworking Queensryche classics and found myself truly enjoying the show. Sure, it’s not the same as the original five-member lineup of Queensryche, but nothing really is. But I had a nice time and have tried to catch him when he’s in town ever since. 

I repeated that apology with members of current Queensryche as well. Admittedly, due to a variety of reasons that I don't need to discuss here, that was more difficult. And like any person trying to make a change in how they do something, I mis-stepped occasionally. 

For example, in early 2019, I had early access to Queensryche's latest album, The Verdict, and did a quick first reaction post on a message board about it. The observations I made about the songs were fair.  In subsequent postings, however, because Rockenfield was no longer with them and the band was down to just two original members, I started referring to Queensryche jokingly as “Frankenryche” due to the band replacing parts. Not too long after, Wilton read what I had said and called me out on it, saying he didn't appreciate the commentary, and if I didn't like what the band was doing, to just “move on.” 

That was an eye-opening moment for me. Wilton was right, and it made me take another look at not only what I said, but how and where I said it. There was no need for me to slight the band publicly for changes they needed to make. All that did was bring negativity to the Queensryche name. The post should have only been my constructive thoughts and balanced opinion on the music I had listened to. Period. 

I say all this as context for my main point—people slagging on Tate or on Queensryche need to let go of their biases, reconsider their negativity, and move forward. It's a lesson I unfortunately learned way too late, costing me years of enjoying the music and performances from the band I'm most passionate about. Like me, you may favor a certain era. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there's room enough for both Queensryche and Tate's musical entities to co-exist. Wasting time on social media trolling one side or another (and fellow fans) is ultimately self-defeating, and further tarnishes Queensryche's legacy.

QUEENSRYCHE: / Re: Queensryche 2020 Live Footage/Performances
« on: January 29, 2020, 12:22:01 PM »
Good lord dude, don't hurt yourself.  ;D

I finally watched/listened to both sets as well (thanks for posting them, NJF). Tate is early enough into his touring schedule that I hope he can tidy up some of the problems he's having (or at least had during this particular performance). Most if not all of his set is downtuned from the original recordings, and some songs sound better than others in this regard, but he's still (understandably) struggling in a few areas. I hope he realizes that some "money notes" are really not necessary – or frankly even expected – for him to deliver a solid performance. Who knows, maybe he didn't give himself enough time to rewrite some of the original melodies and he's just going for broke. I think he could really benefit from leaving a few higher passages out in order to maintain his voice. Moments like after the "London" solo is a good indication of what I mean, where he blasts out an impressive high note but then beefs it on the rest of the song. I think his performance here is relatively solid, though with a little work, he could make it something really special.

As for the band, kudos to that drummer for stepping in and keeping everything going. There's certainly a ton of stuff that is missed, but that's expected if he only had 3 goddamn days to learn everything. That said, I think this drummer is better than a few other drummers Tate has toured with, hahaha. The rest of the band is serviceable and sound as good as you can expect them to. Sometimes it seems like the band is singing backups fairly well and other times there's a little too much obvious playback for my tastes. I'm sure it all sounds better live.

It's a bit better than I was expecting, but there are for sure some things Tate could do in order to help deliver a better performance. Hopefully he gets those things ironed out so he can really knock one out of the park.

QUEENSRYCHE: / Re: Queensryche 2020 Show Reviews & Tour Discussion
« on: January 28, 2020, 02:18:22 PM »
Have a great time tonight!

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