Justin Currie hit the top ten as lead singer of Del Amitri with 1995’s “Roll to Me.” That 2 1/2 minute Beatles knock-off merely scratched the surface of his talent. Currie is a prolific songwriter who has a gift for writing incredibly melodic songs that refuse to leave your head. He’s just released his second solo set called The Great War (Rykodisc). Currie talks with Icon Fetch from his home in Scotland on the eve of a tour of the US. He talks about his new CD, how he almost drowned shooting the underwater front cover, and also gives his feelings on the social networking craze.
Sad news this week that one of the all-time great heavy metal voices, Ronnie James Dio, succumbed to stomach cancer. In his honor, we’ve Fetch’d some of his best stuff for you:
Ronnie James Dio – Fetch’d
“Rainbow in the Dark” (Dio solo)
“Man on the Silver Mountain” (Rainbow)
“Heaven and Hell” (Black Sabbath)
“The Last in Line” (Dio solo)
“Long Live Rock n’ Roll” (Rainbow)
“Holy Diver” (Dio solo)
“Lady Evil” (Black Sabbath)
“Mask of the Great Deceiver” (Kerry Livgren)
“Hungry For Heaven” (Dio solo)
THIS IS A LETTER THAT I WROTE TO THE DAYTON DAILY NEWS
I attended the first two concerts of the season (Goo Goo Dolls & Gregg Allman) at Fraze Pavilion over the weekend. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at both shows. But, I have to say that I had something happen to me that has NEVER happened before in my almost 30 years of concert-going: I was asked by the staff to SIT DOWN. I was not drunk, belligerent, or standing on my chair, I wasn’t even flailing about. I was standing up because I was excited by what I was seeing on stage, and I was told that I had to take my seat.
My seats were in the second row of the pavilion, just behind the folding chair section. I turned around and looked back at the crowd behind me. Almost all of them were sitting down. This wasn’t during a slow song or even a new one that no one knows (we all sat down through those), this particular song was “Statesboro Blues,” a highpoint of ANY Allman Brothers show for years (and I’ve been to six previously).
The staff person later apologized and said that she only tells people to sit down when she’s had five complaints. Complaints for standing during a concert? I didn’t see this in the list of Fraze “Do’s and Don’ts” To compare, the night before at the Goo Goo Dolls, everyone stood THE ENTIRE TIME. There were times when I needed to sit down and take a break. I didn’t complain, if I wanted to see, I stood up!
I’m not sure where to direct my anger at this, the people who complained or the staff person that actually listened. Why go to a rock concert if you’re going to sit down the entire time? I’ve been to concerts where the experience has been ruined by that wasted, out of control fan. But, this was different.
Note to those fans who want to sit down the entire time: next time, buy the DVD, and stay home.
Gregg Allman – Fraze Pavilion – Saturday, May 15, 2010
Another great night for a show. It rained in the early evening, but the clouds went away and it ended up being a beautiful night to watch some great music.
First thing I noticed was that Gregg Allman had his hair down. At several of the recent Allman Brothers Band shows, he’s worn his hair in a ponytail. Having his hair down actually made him look younger. The second thing was his voice. Gravelly, but still very strong, probably the best I’ve heard him sound in years.
He began the show with “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin‘” from Idlewild South, the second LP from the Allman Brothers and followed it with his biggest solo hit “I’m No Angel.” And thus began a night which alternated between hits and new material from an upcoming, as yet untitled solo album. In fact, Allman played more hits in one solo night than you might see in several nights with the Allman Brothers Band. “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider,” “Whippin’ Post,” and “Statesboro Blues,” all sounded great. He had a way of re-arranging the classic songs that breathed new life in them.
A welcome surprise was Allman’s take on the Bob Dylan song “Just Like a Woman.” He gave it a tenderness only hinted at in Dylan’s original from Blonde on Blonde. Another nice addition was saxophonist Jay Collins, who added a different element to many of the familiar songs.
Rumor has it that Allman’s forthcoming CD is going to be titled Your In Good Hands With Allman.
Goo Goo Dolls – Fraze Pavilion – Friday, May 14, 2010
Opening night for the Summer Concert Series at Fraze Pavilion in Dayton. Perfect night for a show, cool without being uncomfortable. I remember the Goo Goo Dolls from their punky pop stuff of the early 90’s, and albums like Superstar Car wash, and A Boy Named Goo.
First thing that surprised me was how old many of the concert goers were. I thought I’d be the oldest one there, but wasn’t by a long shot. Second thing I noticed was how I had completely lost touch with this band. I didn’t recognize hardly any of the songs that they played. I’ve never been to a concert where you could hear the crowd talking over the band. That’s how it was when the Goos played anything unfamiliar.
It occurred to me what had happened: the Goo Goo Dolls began life as a punkish pop band that only got played on college radio. Their ballad, “Name,” from A Boy Named Goo, changed all that. Constant MTV airplay rocketed that song into the top five. The band decided to shed their underground skin and embrace the mainstream. Their song “Iris” from the Nicolas Cage / Meg Ryan movie City of Angels solidified this transformation. From this point on, the Goo Goo Dolls became the darlings of Adult Alternative.
But there’s a cost to this sort of fame. Everyone knew the hits, but when it came to the album cuts, people could care less. Their college radio fans of old would’ve known every track of every CD, but the top 40 crowd only knows the hit that they’ve downloaded from Itunes or heard on the radio.
While some bands throw in a bone or two for the fans that have been with them from the beginning, the Goo Goo Dolls preferred to completely forget their past, playing only “Name” from A Boy Named Goo. Everything else from the evening centered around their post-transformation period. And, why not? I’m probably the only one in the audience who would’ve cared.
Justin Currie called me from his home in Scotland for an interview with Icon Fetch. He’s just released his second solo disc, The Great War, a return to the melodic pop he perfected with his band Del Amitri. For a review of his disc, click here. Among the many topics covered in our conversation, Currie confesses that he almost drowned during the shooting of the front cover photo, for which he is underwater, fully clothed I might add. He also talks about his biggest hit, “Roll to Me,” a top ten smash from his former band in 1995, and his upcoming solo tour that hits the States in June. He also weighs in on the current social networking craze, and on hearing his music over the speakers in K-Mart.
Bad Company – Hard Rock Live (Image Entertainment) – CD review
The inclusion of hits and fan favorites makes this the finest collection of Bad Company songs ever assembled
Name any band from the seventies that’s still around. You can take anyone you want — I’ll take Bad Company. The band’s resurgence over the last ten years or so is nothing short of amazing. At the heart of it all is vocalist Paul Rodgers, who exited the band in 1982. Although the group sauntered on and had hits, it wasn’t really Bad Company. When Rodgers finally returned some 16 years later, he picked up right where he left off.
Rodgers is frequently mentioned as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. Yet, what sets him apart from his peers is that, even at the age of 60, he’s lost none of the muscle and resonance that graced so many of the band’s hits. While there have been other live albums from Bad Company, there are several things that sets Bad Company – Hard Rock Live apart. For one, it marks the first time the remaining three members (Rodgers, guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke) have played together in several years. Bassist Boz Burrell died of a heart attack in 2006. More importantly, this is the finest collection of Bad Company songs ever assembled on one disc. The hits are here, like “Can’t Get Enough,” and “Bad Company,” but the addition of such fan favorites as “Gone Gone Gone,” and “Burnin’ Sky” make this a great overview of a band still in top form. The set includes a DVD of the entire performance as well. — Tony Peters
Justin Currie – The Great War (Rykodisc) – CD review –
Perhaps it is time to give Justin Currie some credit. For almost 20 years, he fronted the Scottish band Del Amitri, guiding them through six albums filled with songs of failed relationships and unrealized dreams, wrapped in gleeful melodies that are as irresistible as the lyrics are bleak.
Therein lies Currie’s true talent; he makes the heartache sound so sweet. He took a sidestep for his first solo album; 2007’s What Is Love For was uncharacteristically maudlin, even by Currie’s standards. And, instead of the usual chiming melodies, most songs were filled with quiet, minor chords played on piano. Well, you might say Currie has let some of the sunshine back in for his new solo album, The Great War (Rykodisc). Sure, the lyrics are still barbed, with titles like “As Long As You Don’t Come Back,” and “Anywhere I’m Away From You.”
But, he’s once again surrounded these tales of misfortune with jangly hooks that promise to linger in your head. The first single, “A Man With Nothing To Do,” could easily fit right in next to Del Amitri’s best songs like “Roll to Me” or “Always the Last to Know.” And, that song contains one of Currie’s signature twists endings in that he’s “waiting to fall in love with you.” A must for fans of well-crafted pop songs. — Tony Peters
Ratt – Infestation (Roadrunner) – CD review –
After sputtering for almost 20 years, Ratt finally has a CD they can be proud of.
It is dangerous territory trying to relive your past. Many bands attempt it, and most fall flat on their faces. Yet, with Infestation (Roadrunner), their first studio effort in 11 years, Ratt has set the “way back” machine to the mid 80’s and turned in their best effort in years.
Really, it’s simple: latter-day Ratt failed because they messed with their formula; whether trying to be bluesy or dancey, either way, it wasn’t what they did best. With Infestation, only their seventh overall, they concentrate on their strengths: crunching guitars, wailing twin leads (with the tasty addition of Quiet Riot axeman Carlos Cavazo), and catchy, melodic choruses, all traits of the band’s best work in the mid-80’s, way before flannel became the rage.
At least some of the credit must be given to producer Elvis Baskette, who resists the temptation to update the glam metal band’s sound. Instead, he captures a group that sounds downright re-energized. The album’s first single, “Best of Me,” is a pop-metal gem, complete with chiming chorus, sadly missing in rock for years. It’s as if the 20 years of hell the band went through actually benefited these guys. — Tony Peters
Just interviewed Bobby Blotzer, drummer for Ratt. He talks about recording their first album in 11 years, Infestation, and the making of the new video “Best of Me“. He also admits being against the addition of Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo joining the band. In addition, Blotzer has just written a new book, “Tales of a Ratt – Things You Are Not Supposed to Know,” and he talks about putting that together.