Archive for January, 2013

“It’s not (band) without (original lead singer).”

January 24, 2013

We’ve all heard it before.

“It’s not AC/DC without Bon Scott.”

“It’s not Black Sabbath without Ozzy.”

“It’s not Van Halen without David Lee Roth.”

I can honestly say I don’t understand that mindset, even if, for example, I hated Hagar-era Van Halen. Even if it was different, with every one of those bands you could still hear elements of the band’s trademark sound. With all due respect, I always thought that the thought that “it’s not (band) without (original lead singer)” gave appallingly short shrift to the rest of the band; after all, for example, it was not David Lee Roth and the Van Halens. And we continue to see it even now, with “it’s not Queensryche without Geoff Tate” and “it’s not Accept without Udo Dirkschneider.”

And to the last thing, I have to say, “Really? That’s not the way I’m hearing it.” I saw Accept with Queensryche when they played the South Texas Rock Fest last October. I don’t know about anyone else, but I thought the older Accept stuff fit very well with what the band’s done so far with Mark Tornillo. And he does justice to the older material, to the point that folks like me who didn’t know he was the original vocalist would never had known it had we not done our research. I’ll admit that I am not that familiar with Accept past “Balls to the Wall” and “Restless and Wild,” but Stalingrad is a pretty fantastic metal album in its own right. And as I said before, it seems to fit very well with the rest of their catalog, judging from what I heard in their live set. Not Accept without Udo? I might beg to differ on that point. In fact, seeing what Accept has done with Tornillo as Dirkschneider’s replacement gives me hope for Queensryche as they forge ahead with Todd La Torre. After all, there seem to be a few people still clinging to the whole “it’s not Queensryche without Geoff Tate” bullshit, too.

As one of the Breakdown Room members put it some time ago:

While it is true that a band is the sum of its parts, the exit of one or more members and their replacement with new members does not mean the band doesn’t exist anymore. All those harping about QR being a cover band now because Geoff was fired didn’t open their mouths when DeGarmo left. Nobody said: ‘DeGarmo left and was replaced by Kelly ‘I Fight My Guitar And Still Lose On A Daily Basis’ Gray and later by Mike Stone, so QR is now a cover band’. All across this forum and on other digital news outlets (you know who I mean), people have given more than a few examples of bands who rose to even higher fame after losing their singer for various reasons. And just to illustrate a similar occurrence: Deep Purple existed in five different line ups that had four different singers, but even after Blackmore and Gillan left, they were still Deep Purple. One singer does not a band make, in spite of what Tate himself believes.

Yes, I know, QR is currently touring with a set list that highlights four of the first five records. But they are also in the studio, recording an entire new album, which will hopefully be released soon, and which, going by the Youtube trailer, sounds very much like QR. It may not be sufficient for some, but it is for me.

I don’t know. Why should a band just stop making music if they lose (or get rid of) their original lead singer? I certainly am glad Iron Maiden and AC/DC didn’t do that; in addition to the great original work they’ve done with those bands, Bruce Dickinson and Brian Johnson both do great renditions of the Di’Anno- and Scott-era tunes.  I am given to believe, though, that lo these many years later people are still saying, “Paul Di’Anno is Iron Maiden!”

(We all know, though, that if one person is Maiden, it’s Steve Harris. But that’s ultimately neither here nor there.)

I think Blake Shelton’s the jackass…

January 23, 2013


If I am “Male Vocalist of the Year” that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.

We’ll just leave alone that cute little misconception that those figurative circle jerks (aka awards) mean anything significant…

Here Blake Shelton goes, putting forth the blatantly false idea that real country music fans don’t want the genre to evolve. I don’t know about you, but the main complaint I have with modern Nashville music — yes, I refuse to call it country, and if that pusbag Shelton has a problem with that he can come on down to San Antonio and tell me to my face…where was I?

Oh yeah. The problem with modern Nashville music is that it’s not really an evolution of country as it is a mutation and bastardization of it, with no connection to the genre whatsoever. And you can take Eric Church as a perfect example of this, with his talk about the rock and metal bands he and his contemporaries listened to as they grew up, with nary a word about Waylon, Willie, George, or Merle. On the other hand, anyone who knows country music knows that folks like Willie and Merle, along with later singers like Alan Jackson and George Strait, had always been country music fans. (In fact, Merle Haggard recorded tributes to not one but two country music icons — Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills.) But do you hear any of George Strait’s influence in the music of people like Jason Aldean or Hunter Hayes? No, of course you don’t.

And it’s really odd,  because I can’t think of any other genre that’s evolved through the years to the point that a sizable number of its audience would say “that’s not (insert genre here).” Let’s just take metal, as a f’rinstance. I know (online) a fair number of metal fans, and they’ve been metal fans going all the way back to Black Sabbath. I have yet to hear them deriding any modern metal band as not being true to the genre. And there’s a good reason for that — you take, for example, Iron Maiden’s 1984 album Powerslave and put it up next to Symphony X’s 2011 album Iconoclast, and even with their differences, if you know metal, you’d walk away thinking of both those albums, “Hey, now that’s metal.”

(And even though I can’t stand what Arch Enemy did with Maiden’s “Aces High” and Queensryche’s “Walk in the Shadows,” it’s still pretty hard to argue that even that is not metal.)

On the other hand — let’s just give modern country an unfair advantage, take Rascal Flatts’ eponymous debut album from 13 years ago, and compare it to George Strait’s 1984 album Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.

The George Strait record? “Whoa, that’s country, hoss.”

Rascal Flatts? “So that’s what they’re calling country these days…”

Then there’s the cultural pervasiveness of pretty much any genre of music you care to name. People listen to music as they grow up, they pass that music on to their kids, the cycle starts over with those kids and their own music, and so it goes through the culture as the years go on. (I mean, I know I’m not the only mid-30s guy out there who listens to and likes Alice Cooper and Waylon Jennings.) Given that phenomenon, the statement about the kids not wanting to buy old music strikes me as rather ignorant.

In other words, it’s exactly what we should expect from the likes of Mr. Shelton.

How about let’s not?

January 21, 2013

…or, You go first, buddy:

 In violent world, embrace concept of nonviolence

Not for a second did I consider purchasing a gun for the purpose of self-defense; instead, I became more committed to the theology and philosophy of non-violence.

It’s a noble philosophy, I suppose, but (sometimes literally) fatally flawed — because hey, what happens when you run up on someone who’s not afraid to use violence to get what he wants? I am reminded of what Mike Vanderboegh had to say about Mahatma Gandhi:

“Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi’s theories of “passive resistance” would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass.”

The idea of creating a culture of nonviolence is all fine and good, but let’s face it — it’s not going to happen. As long as the human race exists, there are always going to be the bigger and stronger who run roughshod over the smaller of us who let them get away with it. I wish it weren’t so, but such isn’t any more effective than wishing away a hurricane.

Which reminds me of this bit from Bill Whittle, who says it better than I ever could:

“By any measure of human decency, these (the Jews in WWII Germany — ed.) were the people that should have been helping to lead a ravaged Germany back to respect and prosperity. Yet they were massacred in their millions by brutes and sadists who sent millions to their deaths while listening to symphonies.

“If it is possible to write a clearer lesson on human nature, then I cannot imagine it, nor can I imagine the amount of blood it will take to convince people unwilling to look reality in the face; that reality being that compassion, culture, law and philosophy are precious, rare and acquired habits that must be defended with force against people who understand nothing but force. The great failure and staggering tragedy of European Jews is that they could not accept that some of their neighbors were not as decent, humane and educated as they were. A culture that learned to survive by turning inward simply never was willing to face the reality of what they were up against; namely, that hoping for compassion and humanity from the likes of the Nazis was akin to reading poetry to a hurricane. This denial — and that is the only word for it — is, in the final horrible analysis, a form of arrogance, almost: the refusal to see things for what they are. A people of astonishing internal beauty simply could not look into the face of such ugliness without turning away. And now they are dead.

“And there are many intelligent, enlightened, gentle and good-hearted people today who believe exactly the same thing. If we let this moral blindness continue to gain ground, then they will get us all killed, too. And then who will put their boot on humanity’s neck for the next thousand years?”

Would that someone would ask that to the pacifists among us.

If you piss off the New Jersey RINOs…

January 21, 2013

…you’re definitely doing it right:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed the National Rifle Association’s latest ad in which they accuse President Barack Obama of hypocrisy for sending his children to a school where they are protected by armed guards. Christie called the ad “reprehensible” and said that the NRA should not be “dragging people’s children” into the gun control debate.

Reprehensible, eh? On the contrary. If anything, the NRA’s doing this country a huge favor. It is long past time we addressed the attitudes of those who would proclaim to be our betters in this respect. Since only God knows when, the people calling for more gun control in this country have been doing the opposite of practicing what they preached, from Sarah Brady buying a pistol for her son to Dianne Feinstein procuring a concealed carry permit in California. And now, we have the president of the United States, whose entire family is protected by a heavily-armed Secret Service detachment, once again jumping on the gun control bandwagon. I am reminded of what Dick Heller, the plaintiff in Heller v. D.C., said about D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty:

“He doesn’t walk on the street like an average citizen. Look at him; he travels with an army of police officers as bodyguards – to keep him safe. But he says that I don’t have the right to be a force of one to protect myself.”

You and I both know the president thinks the same, and so do all the other people with armed guards in Washington. It’s long past time to call these motherfuckers out, and if Chris Christie doesn’t agree, well then that just makes him part of the problem, doesn’t it?

(h/t Nicki)

Sunday morning tech musings.

January 20, 2013

So everybody and his brother has been talking about Java and its insecurities in the last week, since the vulnerability in the latest version was discovered and the patch was made available. (It has since come to light that even the patch has holes…) And yes, even the Macs are affected.  All of which made me think…

…what the hell’s the use of having Java on your computer in the first place? I’ll admit I installed it a while back, when I was using a site that required it — but I couldn’t tell you the name of the site if my life depended on it. And Java’s been disabled on both my browsers (Safari & Firefox) for a good while now, and I haven’t missed it. I would have completely uninstalled it by now, but for what I’ve read about it likely requiring a reinstall of OS X Lion. Disabling it will protect your computer for the most part, though.


I am once again amazed at some people’s technological ineptitude. It seems like there are a lot of people out there who think there’s some sort of backup/data transfer fairy that will automatically back up their stuff in case they go off and do something like drop their smartphone in water. But guess what? There is no backup/data transfer fairy, boys and girls. If you don’t do it, it will not get done. Yes, some forms and methods of backup are more automated than others. But you have to set them up to do their thing.  Otherwise, you’re going to be reduced to begging the Geek Squad to get your stuff off your dripping smartphone and paying them an arse-ton of money to do it — assuming they can even do it, of course.

For the record: My MacBook Pro isn’t backed up. I was fortunate to be able to pull everything off my ’07 MacBook after it died. I am aware of the risks I am taking. And they will be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

Shorter Vatican City: Guns for me but not for thee?

January 19, 2013

I will admit, that was the first thing that came to mind as I read this. After all, of course, you and I both know that they’re not going to give up their armed guards. Of course, there was this comment, too:

“Yeah, right. The Vatican is very concerned with children’s safety. Except for rape and sodomy of children by priests. Then, not so much.”

Hitting below the belt? Sure it is. And so what? Is the fact that you fought a fair fight going to be any consolation to you as you stand blindfolded before a shallow grave, waiting for your world to go black forever?

This, so much.

January 18, 2013

Seen on Facebook…


And to add insult to injury, in the words of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard,

“No official has ever lost a day’s pay for precipitating the incineration of 80 people, most of them women and children, in the worst abuse of power since Wounded Knee a century ago. Instead of shame and accountability, the Clinton administration accused the victims of setting fire to themselves and their children, a posthumous smear that does not bear serious scrutiny. It then compounded the injustice by pushing for a malicious prosecution of the survivors.”

Kathleen Parker is wrong…

January 17, 2013

…yet again:

The degree of one’s allegiance to principle apparently depends mainly on who is holding the gun.

No, it really doesn’t. I really don’t know why I expected better from Kathleen Parker than to cast gun rights as the exclusive ideology of the angry, reactionary white man, but I did. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that most of us flying the gun-rights flag these days do it for people of both genders and all colors. Look at all the money the Second Amendment Foundation funneled into fighting for the gun rights of a certain black man from Chicago. All that money came from the very people Kathleen Parker looks down on here.

And you see she cites the opinions of Ronald Reagan as if they should hold any weight at all. Look. I know well that Ronald Reagan was a conservative icon. But that doesn’t make his ideas on gun control any less wrong.

Then there’s this:

Having to stop one’s rampage to reload rather breaks the spell, or so one would imagine.

Translation: “I don’t really know how shit goes down in a mass shooting. And I’m too damn lazy to do my research. So I’ll just talk out of my ass.”

Seriously, I am done with these people. I’m at the point now where I’m just ready to say, “Do you want the guns? Well then, come and get them. And do it your own damn self instead of sending other mothers’ sons to die doing your evil work.”

A sort of guest post…

January 16, 2013

Have blogfodder, but it’s gonna have to wait a bit. In the meantime, there was this well-written bit from The Breakdown Room that I thought worth sharing.

Seven Names which are Important to Queensryche’s Rebirth

• Mike Savoia

If you’ve been surfing the web, and have been keeping up with what the band has been up to lately, chances are you’ve seen some photographs from the band’s shows, time in the studio, or other events.  The credit for these photos belongs to “Iron Mike” Savoia, who shoots the photography for each and every one of the band’s shows, capturing the rabid intensity of the band, the passion of the fans, and somehow holds hostage the energy of each micro-second of time.  His photography is the glimpse we get into the process of this rebirth, and his work does not disappoint.

• Pamela Moore

Sure, she’s been with the band on and off for years now performing vocals as Sister Mary with her unique and notable vocal styling.  However, when the split between the band happened, some wondered what Pamela’s take on the split was.  Our answer came in October of 2012, when it was announced that Sister Mary would be performing with Queensrÿche at the show in Snoqualmie, Washington, and then to everyone’s surprise, she appeared at the show the previous weekend in Lincoln City, Oregon.  Pamela Moore gracing Queensrÿche’s stage was a testament to who the band really is, and in turn she turned in one of the most amazing performances with the band in many years, smiling and laughing; one could see she was relaxed and having a great time.

• Brian and Staci Heaton (The Breakdown Room)

As soon as word broke of the Rising West project, The Breakdown Room were the first people to joyfully spread the news of what was happening.  Since that time, the infamous forum has seemingly been behind the band one thousand percent, and the praise from the fans there has been overwhelmingly positive.  The forum is a beacon of shining light where not only the fans go for uncompromising truth on the happenings of the band, but industry experts as well.  The forum is in fact, so well read and respected (and reviled by others) that many go there for news and information before going to the band’s own website.

• James “Jimbo” Barton

When the guy who engineered two of the band’s top selling albums, Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, and produced the third, Promised Land, steps on board, you know that it adds some old school legitimacy to their new project.  Barton is a very competent producer of considerable talent, and it will be totally awesome to get another creation from a guy who worked with the band when they were at the height of their creative and critical popularity.

• Paul Geary

This is the guy who signed them to AGP/Frontline Management, a company that is renowned throughout the world as a team who takes bands such as Queensrÿche and returns them to their former glory.  This management team has a lot of pull with promoters and will have them booked in quality venues for their tour following the release of the new album.

• Joe Helm

If you’ve seen the incredible new artwork and logo that the band has been using (and you would have to have avoided the Internet altogether to have not seen it) then you would know how important Joe Helm has been.  His blending of metal, skulls, and blue fire have visually returned Queensrÿche to the realms of heavy metal bliss, most notably with the return of the umlaut on the name of the band.  Joe’s artwork screams of metal intensity and gives us all hope for the new direction that the band is taking.

• Chris DeGarmo

You’re probably wondering why this name is on this list.  His name is here simply because he hasn’t said or done a single thing this entire time.  In the same minimalist way that DeGarmo has shaped some of Queensrÿche’s music with his “less is more” approach, hanging back in the shadows is the best thing he could be doing for the band at the moment.  With the claims that this band is incapable of writing their own music floating around, Chris DeGarmo gives more credibility to the band by not stepping in to give his approval or to help them write the new album.  Will we hear from him on a future release? It certainly is possible, but I wouldn’t look for him on this newest album.

And an honorary eighth name

Geoff Tate.

Because he finally put the last nails in the coffin of over a decade of deterioration under his and his wife’s leadership (or lack thereof) by assaulting his bandmates, alienating the fans who gave him a career by putting them down, acting like a Class A jagoff (sorry, been watching Third Watch reruns) with delusions of grandeur in the media even before his sacking, putting out a third rate nu-grunge album containing songs with mind-meltingly bad lyrics, going on tour with a bunch of the worst people who can hold an instrument as if they were real rock stars but can’t play them and putting some of the worst live gigs ever witnessed by mankind.

Let’s face it : if not for Geoff going off the deep end so spectacularly, there might not have been a QR rebirth, so his name should be on that list.

Bonus : anyone looking for something positive to say about him can now say that Geoff did something right for a change.

…Plus, he’s only made it easier for the band with pretty much every single interview he’s done since this all went down. So in his own special way, he is indeed helping things along.

That’s sort of the point.

January 14, 2013

From CBS, via David Codrea:

Sen. Charles Schumer says retailers that sell assault weapons should stop offering them for purchase while Congress discusses gun regulation legislation….

Schumer says Congress is debating the issue, and if measures get passed that limit these type of weapons, it won’t help if more of them have recently been sold.

Won’t help, eh? I think that’s sort of the point. It’s being made obvious just as it was the months leading up to the passage of the Clinton gun ban in 1994 that, as Mike Vanderboegh put it a few years back, “we (are) not buying these rifles to turn them in.”

And let’s be honest with ourselves. That is the endgame here, even if Chuck the Schmuck, much like Eugene Robinson, is too chickenshit to come right out and say it. Why else would Schumer make such a comment? Apparently he thinks gun owners really are that stupid.