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My Top Ten CDs List of 2003 for Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone Top Ten By Gail Worley

1. Pre(thing), 22nd Century Lifestyle (V2): An acid-rock masterpiece predestined for obscurity by the untimely death of lead vocalist/guitarist Rust Epic just weeks before the CD’s release date.

2. Steve Morse, Major Impacts 2 (Magna Carta): A legend of instrumental guitar rock pays homage to his own influences. Absolutely essential listening.

3. Ambulance LTD, Ambulance LTD (TVT): Penny Lane is in their ears and in their eyes.

4. Audio Karate, Lady Melody (Label): LA Punk Rock revivalists blend disarming melody and authentic grit with a little help from producer and punk rock legend Bill Stevenson (ALL, Descendents).

5. Josh Todd, You Made Me (Label): Ex-Buckcherry front man and his eponymous new band made one of the year’s best albums while keeping Rock & Roll in the gutter, where it belongs.

6. The Killers, Hot Fuss (Island): This Sin City foursome validated its advance hype, combining the hipster synth-pop of Duran Duran and Ultravox on the most original sounding album of the year.

7. VAST, Nude (FourFiveSix): Arena-worthy Thinker Rock for the Modern Progressive.

8. Jonny Polonsky, The Power of Sound (Loveless): Audiot savant Jonny Polonsky graduates from the School of Rock with straight A’s to show all the whiny brat rockers how it’s done.

9. Doug Gillard, Salamander (Pink Frost/Big Takeover): Flawless Beatles-esque pop that sounds like The Lemonheads meet Guided By Voices without all the substance abuse issues.

10. Green Day, American Idiot (Reprise): Ever wondered what The Who’s Tommy would sound like recorded by Green Day? Here’s your answer.

Reissue: The Clash, London Calling (Sony Legacy): Two words: Bonus DVD.

Rock Stars in the Larval Stage


Guess Who?

From: !! Whiplash! O Mais Completo Site de Rock!

Ian sent me the above link to this Brazilian web zine called Whiplash. Somehow, they seem to have gotten their hands on a huge archive of photos of Rock Stars in stages from mere infancy to teenage years. Each musician or band is archived under a separate link, which actually makes it easier to find a specific person, if you happen to be looking for baby pictures of Steven Tyler.

You honestly will not believe the adorable pictures of Ozzy Osbourne as a toddler posted on this site, and I think someone definitely had the opportunity to raid the baby picture archives of Marilyn Manson’s parents. There’s also some truly squeal-inducing elementary school age pictures of the late Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain that will just break your heart. On the lighter side, I found the world’s gayest picture of Slash (at about age 14) and another one of Paul Stanley that is just as gay as pink suede.

Check out the picture of Green Day drummer Tre Cool (my guess: age five) and tell me he doesn’t still look exactly like that. And last but not least, where the hell did they get a picture of Syd Barrett, who looks to be about 2 or 3 in the photo. Fascinating stuff.

CD Review: Sounds Like Christmas by December People

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December People Sounds Like Christmas

Artist: December People
Album: Sounds Like Christmas
Release Date: October 30, 2001
Label: Magna Carta Records

A studio side-project of various renowned rockers (who, in this scenario, record under pseudonyms), The December People gather every few years to release Christmas-themed novelty music. With Sounds Like Christmas, the group boldly goes where no Christmas album has gone before. Using classic rock tunes by Led Zeppelin, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Queen as a starting point, December People craft a unique voice, working ubiquitous holiday standards into the rock mainframe, with sublime results. “Silent Night” flowing seamlessly from Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”; “Stairway to Heaven” begetting “T’Was the Night Before Christmas”; and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” arranged as “Bohemian Rhapsody” are all both brilliant and heart-felt in their flawless execution. (Incorporating a few bars of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony during that song’s fade is the kind of detail work that makes this an engaging listen). Far from producing a laser-show-flashback of pretentious, Moog-laden space-outs, the various homages are fun to spot. Those weaned on the pomp and ceremony of progressive rock will find that Sounds Like Christmas generates extraordinary enthusiasm for the season.

Official Website: http://decemberpeople.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/decemberpeople/

This article was originally written for Rolling Stone’s Online Magazine. Though Rolling Stone remains in print and online, this article is no longer a part of their archive and have been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.

They Ruined My Reviews and Then They Didn’t Pay Me

For about four years, I wrote a monthly column (and the ocassional short feature or cover story) for this national Indie-rock slanted music magazine that paid shit, when they even paid me, and had weird editorial guidelines like not letting writers use the word “THAT” in any reviews or articles unless it was a quote. WTF?

I put up with it for a long time because, even though the pay was next-to-nada, I could use my column to write about almost any CDs I liked and I figured the national exposure couldn’t hurt my profile. With discipline (and rigid use of the “find/replace” feature in Word) I eventually learned to write without using the word “THAT” even when it made no sense, knowing the magazine would just take the word out anyway, indiscriminately, for their own twisted reasons. The thing is, after four years of this bullshit, I just got sick and tired of having my work ruined. Not to yank my own chain here, but I’m a pretty decent writer. I’ve got nothing against an editor tightening up a feature article or fact checking any of my investigative reporting, but — jesus god! — leave a 250 word CD review the fuck alone, will ya?

I resigned from that magazine last month and, along with the day I bailed on AOL, it was one of the happiest recent days of my life. Since they ruined the last column I wrote (and my friend Frank is all over my ass to add some new stuff to this blog) I decided to reprint two of that column’s reviews here. So they could run free…although I think the word “THAT” is still missing.

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Mondo Generator, A Drug Problem That Never Existed

The many and varied side-projects perpetuated by members of Queens of The Stoneage progress along their merry madcap way with the release of the sophomore CD from Mondo Generator. As the three-steps -to-the-right-of-Mr-Bungle spawn of Queens’ guitarist Josh Homme and bassist Nick Oliveri, A Drug Problem That Never Existed (on Mike Patton’s Ipecac records), provides a bit more of a challenging listen than the latest release from label mates, Tomahawk. Nevertheless, the album is not without its unique and special charm. A Drug Problem That Never Existed reunites Nick and Josh with former Kyuss bandmate, drummer Brant Bjork and QOTSA guitarist Dave Catching, adding a little yin energy from chick bassist, Molly Maguire (earthlings?, Yellow #5). Everyone does his or her best to make this aural trip to the loony bin one you won’t soon be forgetting.

From the acoustic, pseudo-folk ballads (“All I Can Do,” “Day I Die”) to Tazmanian Devil-inspired art punk (“F.Y. I’m Free”) listening to this album made me wonder what the hell was going through the mind of whoever wrote “Girl’s Like Christ,” and just what do the lyrics, “Do the headright, baby” even mean? Stick around after Mark Lanegan’s sublime appearance as guest vocalist on “Four Corners,” for a hilariously deadpan commercial promotion of upcoming Ipecac label releases — which may or may not be a joke. Mondo Generator is mainly a studio project, but the group has been known to play random live dates, including a recent NYC slot opening for Tomahawk. Should the band schedule a live performance anywhere near your vicinity, it is recommended you do whatever it takes to make the show. Co-produced by infamous nut job/instigator of the controversial, Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves, A Drug Problem that Never Existed delivers fourteen more reasons why Rehab is for quitters.

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Mensen, Oslo City

Since the apparent disappearance of The Lunachicks and L7, the premature demise of the truly brilliant Betty Blowtorch, and realizing Kittie just plain suck, The Donnas have done an admirable job of spearheading the Chicks Who Rock Like Guys movement. But let’s face the music and dance here: one spin of Oslo City, the sophomore LP from Norwegian garage rockers, Mensen, will quickly separate the girls from the grrrls. Okay, so the band is technically three chicks and a guy –- just like late great British upstarts, Kenickie –- with the inclusion of bassist Rambling Roy. But from the first few seconds of Mary Currie’s bratty vocals and Christine Sixteen (awesome name)’s fierce guitar attack on “Keep Up!,” it’s clear the ladies are running the show. Not to slight the guys at all: Roy’s solid bass backbone and Oslo City’s co-production courtesy of Nicke Anderssen — of Mensen’s GearHead Records label mates, The Hellacopters — add to the band’s serious balls factor. And it’s all good in Oslo City, where the rock slows down once or twice but never, ever stops as Mensen mix and match rock styles with equal finesse. “Bosnia” is as heartfelt and sentimental as a Shangri-La’s tune from the 50’s, while “Piece of My Heart” captures a 70’s punk energy to rival Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown.” With the relentlessly tuneful yet ass-kicking ferocity of “Start Over Again” and “One Way Street,” Mensen revs up the hotrod rock, leaving Sahara Hot Nights to eat its dust.

CD Review: Rock ‘N’ Roll Music by Col. Parker

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Col Parker R and R Music CD Cover

Artist: Col. Parker
Album: Rock ‘n’ Roll Music
Release Date: 2001
Label: V2 Records

In LA’s musically incestuous post-80’s rock scene, the “Supergroup” tag can apply whenever two or more musicians, whose names possess the tiniest bit of marquee value, couple and spawn a project. That said, meet Col Parker is comprised of ex-Guns ‘N’ Roses guitar-slinger, Gilby Clarke, drummer Slim Jim Phantom, bassist Muddy Stardust (LA Guns) and accomplished keyboard mercenary, Teddy Andreadis, that began life as a glorified-bar-band. Rock ‘n’ Roll Music offers an upbeat mix of blues-based rockers and ballads punctuated with Clarke’s inspiring attempts to squeeze every Keith Richards guitar riff into one album, and spiked with humorous odes to decadent lifestyles long-abandoned (“Can’t Get that Stuff,” “Pushing 40 Blues”). Contains zero percent threats to the status quo or insights to the meaning of life. It’s only Rock ‘n’ Roll, but I like it.

Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/gilbyclarkefanpage/

This article was originally written for Rolling Stone’s Online Magazine. Though Rolling Stone remains in print and online, this article is no longer a part of their archive and has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.

CD Review: Beautiful Creatures by Beautiful Creatures

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Beautiful_Creatures_Album_Cover

Artist: Beautiful Creatures
Album: Beautiful Creatures
Release Date: August 16, 2001
Label: Warner Music Group

Like Vikings on a rampage, Beautiful Creatures’ vocalist, Joe LeSte (late of LA glam rockers, Bang Tango), leads his pack of hard rock revivalists on a quest to reclaim rock’s Holy Grail; a feat now unlikely to be accomplished by Axl Rose and his hired Guns. Both “Wasted” and “Stepback” recall vintage G’N’R, with scattered nods elsewhere to strip metal posterboys, Faster Pussycat, and “I Got It All” gets all AC/DC on your ass before the whole thing slides back into the garage. Despite the blues/metal pastiche of their material, the band’s relentless groove gives these songs the feel of a heavy rock rave. Those still jonesing for the glory days of Headbangers Ball would do well to mix a dose of Beautiful Creatures in with their regular diet of Appetite for Destruction, Slash’s Snakepit and Buckcherry.

This article was originally written for Rolling Stone’s Online Magazine. Though Rolling Stone remains in print and online, this article is no longer a part of their archive and has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.

Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/BeautifulCreaturesMusic/