Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love

I’m finally doing Van Halen.  Woooooooooo.

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However, I’m going to break it up by album.  So firstly, let us begin with a journey through the early years and the first Van Halen.

Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen were born in Nijmegen, Netherlands and moved to Pasadena California.  When they were kids Eddie started out on the drums and Alex started on guitar, but after sibling rivalry, they ended up switching instruments.

Skip forward some odd years and we have Mammoth.  This was Van Halen before it was Van Halen… if you get what I mean.  But after realizing there was a band in England with the same name, they switched to Van Halen.  David Lee Roth was actually the one who suggested that they rename the band Van Halen.

They started out playing backyard parties and other small time shows, but when the crowds for their backyard shows stretched into the streets, they figured it might be time for a change.

This is when they let Mark Stone go for the reason of, “different interests” and brought in Michael Anthony.  At this point, the line up is:

David Lee Roth: Vocals

Eddie Van Halen: Guitar

Michael Anthony: Bass

Alex Van Halen: Drums

Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for! Van Halen (the self-titled first album,) came out in 1978.  (Along with a lot of other great albums.) This hell of an album sold over TEN MILLION COPIES WORLD WIDE. Goooooo figure haha.

The cover consists of a picture of all four of the members playing a show at the Whisky a Go Go, which is a club/bar thing in California where they were the house band for a while.  (Other bands such as The Doors have played there as well.)

The track listing is:

All these songs are awesome.  Seriously epic.  They’re fun as hell to play too.  When I say “tapping” what do you envision? Well you SHOULD be thinking about Eruption.  Or Eddie.  Either one is fine, but only one will get you full credit herp derp.

I can play the first four songs pretty well. It was my mission at one point to learn the entire album, but life gets in the way.

Overall, I think this album changed music.  I think each member of this band changed music.  They’ve inspired other bands such as Bullet Boys and other 80’s bands such as that.  If you haven’t heard this album you are seriously slacking.  You cant call yourself a lover of rock n roll without, well, loving this album.

It is now your mission to go and listen to this album before the Wednesday.

Now go my children and spread the rock!

P.S. Oh! I almost forgot!  Check this out hahaha it’s from the new South Park, yes it has to do with Van Halen.  http://www.vhnd.com/2013/11/07/middle-east-unites-in-world-peace-celebrates-with-van-halen/

 

 

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The Lotus Eater

Opeth is one of the most amazing bands that I have ever listened to.  They’re definitely heavier than most of the other bands I have written about or will write about, but they also have one of the best clean sounds that I have EVER heard.

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Band Members:

Mikael Åkerfeldt -Vocals, guitar
Martín Méndez -bass
Martin Axenrot -drums
Fredrik Åkesson -guitar, backing vocals
Joakim Svalberg -keyboards, vocals, percussion

Watershed is my favorite album by them.  It was released around the time that Mikael Åkerfeldt was going through a darker time in his life, so this album is definitely darker.  Heir Apparent and The Lotus Eater are my two favorite songs off that album, followed closely by Hex Omega.

I feel like this band doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves.  They are one of the best progressive metal bands that I have ever listened to.  They are from Sweden and are influenced by bands like Celtic Frost, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest.  In fact Mikael Åkerfeldt’s favorite Judas Priest album is Sad Wings of Destiny.  They have a pretty big discography and if you’re just getting into them I recommend starting with Still Life or Watershed.

Another great song that is worth a listen is To Bid You Farewell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm5jDbhMqEA

“I don’t see the point of playing in a band and going just one way when you can do everything. It would be impossible for us to play just death metal; that is our roots, but we are now a mishmash of everything, and not purists to any form of music. It’s impossible for us to do that, and quite frankly I would think of it as boring to be in a band that plays just metal music. We’re not afraid to experiment, or to be caught with our pants down, so to speak. That’s what keeps us going.” ~Mikael Åkerfeldt~

One thing that I really like about Opeth is that they are dedicated to the music they play.  They aren’t in it for the money, they write music they love to play and they do a damn fine job of it.

Discography:

Orchid (1995)
Morningrise (1996)
My Arms, Your Hearse (1998)
Still Life (1999)
Blackwater Park (2001)
Deliverance (2002)
Damnation (2003)
Ghost Reveries (2005)
Watershed (2008)
Heritage (2011)

My favorite part about the band is the constant switching between the types of guitar.  Songs like Burden or The Lotus Eater switch between classical guitars (nylon strings,) to electric guitar, to acoustic guitar.  If I could sing (which I cant) I would want to have Åkerfedt’s voice.  He has a pure voice, great range, and even his metal vocals are flawless.  The drumming is absolutely fantastic as well.  The drum fills and transitions are mind blowing and the technical difficulty of Martian Axenrot’s drumming I think rivals that of John Bonham (my favorite rock drummer.) [That’s a bold comparison and I’m not even worried about it.]

The band wouldn’t be the same without the guitarists (go figure…), but let me be more specific.  Åkerfeldt’s writing and masterful playing combined with their old guitarists or Fredrik Åkesson’s equally masterful playing (on Watershed) makes the band.  They have a really unique sound and that is due in a large way to the guitarists.

There isn’t really a great and accurate way for me to describe this band in writing.  I can play To Bid You Farewell, but unfortunately I don’t have the time or materials to record it and post it to this blog, so I encourage you to give them a good listen.  Not just one listen, but ALL THE LISTENS.  This is really a phenomenal band and I hope you all enjoy their music as much as I do.

Links!

The Lotus Eater (Watershed)

Face Of Melinda (Still Life)

Windowpane [Live] (The Roundhouse Tapes)

Black Rose Immortal  (Morningrise)

Feel free to comment on my posts! I encourage people to share what they know or argue with me as well!

And You and I

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I honestly don’t know much about Yes, but they definitely deserve a shout out. I kind of recently got into Yes. It took a minute to really get the feel for the music, because there is NO WAY you can listen to a song by Yes just once and hear everything that’s going on.

Chris Squire is an amazing bassist, I know that his sound has influenced lots of bassists today. He is definitely one of the driving factors of the band.

Steve Howe is a phenomenal guitarist. I didn’t expect the guitar to be that complicated, but I definitely underestimated it. Howe is an interesting guy, I heard that he was a pretty big pothead and he would often wander off and play guitar when stoned haha. Any Yes song is a testament to how great of a guitarist Howe is. His playing is fast, smooth, complex, and just all around great.

Rick Wakeman is fucking awesome. When you think about rockers from the 60’s and 70’s playing multiple keyboards at once, that’s this guy. Siberian Khatru is a perfect example of that. The keyboard solo right before the guitar solo is one of my favorite keyboard solos ever. I really wish I could say more about him, but if anyone is reading this comment and add some info!

Bill Bruford and Alan White are both great drummers. It’s not easy to play drums to progressive rock. But these guys make it look easy. The complexity of what they do is beyond me. I am not a good drummer, but I think drummers now a days should definitely check these guys out.

Frontman Jon Anderson is as my buddy said “The definition of a flower child.” His mannerisms almost say it as much as his lyrics do, but if you really listen to the lyrics you will hear the story.

I saw Yes over the summer and even though it wasn’t all the original members I will never forget that concert. They played The Yes Album, Going For The One and Close To The Edge. Whew, it was intense. I was in the seventh row and even though they’re getting pretty old they KILLED it! The new front man, Jon Davison did a really good job. Every time I listen to Yes and the song changes I always think about how they would change songs at the show. I definitely give that concert a 5 out of 5 stars.

Here’s a link to my favorite Yes song. Siberian Khatru

Another link to check out if you’re just getting into the band! Yours Is No Disgrace

Thanks for checking out another post on The Rock Lounge! See you next time.