Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 8/18/16
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
ALICE IN CHAINS – “Black Gives Way To Blue” (2009)
Alice In Chains is a band that feels like they’ve been around forever. Although they rose to fame during the grunge movement of the early ‘90s, the band actually formed in the late ‘80s. Because they’ve been around for so long, and have released albums in recent times, some may find it surprising to know that they have only released five studio albums in their history.
2009’s Black Gives Way To Blue was the first studio album that the band released since 1995’s eponymous album (the last one with Layne Staley fronting the band). It was Staley’s overwhelming struggles with substance abuse that left the band on extended hiatus from 1996 until a reunion in 2005 (three years after his death). They performed a live benefit show with a number of guest vocalists, before touring with William DuVall in 2006 after he became the permanent replacement for Staley.
Although the band started writing new material in 2006, they didn’t release their first album without Staley until 2009. I’m not sure whether it was serendipity or by design, but the recording of Black Gives Way To Blue was completed on March 18, 2009 (Staley’s birthday).
The title track off of the band’s fourth album was written as a dedication to Staley. DuVall’s vocals, which are reminiscent of Staley’s, gives the band a through line that bridges the extended time between releases. As you would expect (give the subject matter), the song has a melancholic vibe, but it is not nearly as dark as some of Alice In Chains’ early work. Perhaps the light that shines through on this slow-tempo, acoustic track can be attributed to the guest appearance of Elton John.
HUMBLE PIE – “30 Days In The Hole” (1972)
“30 Days In The Hole” has an interesting back story. The song – which is clearly about a variety of drugs and the time that you get in jail for getting busted with them – only received moderate airplay and never charted back in the day. It wasn’t until years later, when AOR and Classic Rock stations started playing the song that it became most well-known. Like the Rolling Stones’ classic “Brown Sugar,” this song takes a serious subject and makes it come to life with danceable rhythms and a joyful vibe that doesn’t exactly coincide with the meaning of the lyrics. It is a distinctly ‘70s song that has the power to make you nostalgic for the time period even if you never experienced it firsthand.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
CLUTCH – “Pure Rock Fury” (2001)
Still considered one of the best hard rock bands around, “Pure Rock Fury” is the perfect description of Clutch. The title track from the band’s fifth studio album rocks in every way. Whether it’s Neil Fallon belting and growling of the lyrics to the song, Tim Sult’s swanky guitar playing, or the pounding rhythm section of Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster, Clutch puts on a great show every time. For those of you that have never seen Clutch live, make it a priority to see them next time they come to town!
DANZIG – “How The Gods Kill” (1992)
From the ashes of the Misfits, Glenn Danzig started Danzig in 1988. “How The Gods Kill” is from the band’s third studio album, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (one of his best albums in my opinion). The album is chock full of gothic themes, and is a lot doomier than its predecessors. The band’s use of quiet interludes throughout the song creates an eerie feeling. Still going strong, Danzig continues to wave the goth/doom metal banner to this day. He recently released an album of cover songs, and rumor has it he will be touring with the Misfits again for a reunion show.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
MAGNUM – “You’ll Never Sleep” (2007)
English rockers Magnum formed in the early ‘70s as the house band at Birmingham’s famous Rum Runner nightclub. They met with commercial success in the early ‘80s and have been faithfully putting out quality melodic rock ever since. They’ve undergone some lineup changes over the decades, but vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist Tony Clarkin have been there through it all. Both are in top form in this number from their 2007 album, Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow. They have a new album coming out this year.
JADED HEART – “Trust” (2004)
Few groups have perfected melodic hard rock like German mainstays Jaded Heart. They’ve shuffled lead singers over the years, but they always seem to find a monster talent to front for them. They have no choice, given the lofty expectations inspired by their original singer, Michael Bormann. He stands out here, against a backdrop of soaring harmonies.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
FIREHOUSE – “Reach For The Sky” (1992)
Like many glam metal bands from the ‘90s, Firehouse gave us good-time music, with solid musicianship and lyrics that were a sign of the times. “Reach for the Sky” was the first single off their second album, Hold Your Fire. Uncomplicated, driving and melodic, this track has a great acoustic lead-in and solo work that will take you back.
GEORGE LYNCH (f. RAY GILLEN) – “Flesh And Blood” (1993)
In the last years of Lynch Mob, George Lynch released his first solo album, Sacred Groove. He used several well-known singers for the effort, but the most notable of the lot was Ray Gillen on “Flesh and Blood” (Gillen tragically died later that year of AIDS). This track has Lynch’s signature locomotive rhythms and wailing solos, but the addition of Gillen’s excellent, soulful voice really puts it over the top.