Posts Tagged ‘kerry king

07
Oct
10

And the 2011 inductee is…the Beastie Boys?

I felt compelled to comment on the newly announced inductee’s to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2011.  One of the main acts is the Beastie Boys; talented yes, but deserving?  I’m not really sure.

I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys in high school and college; although I must admit that at this point in my life I absolutely dread when I hear “Fight For Your Right”; however, I do remember it as a pivotal song in my early adolescent years that contributed to the legitimacy of Rap as a form of artistic expression.

With that said I still find myself at a crossroads with regard to the recent announcement that the Beastie Boys will be inducted into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  First of all, clearly the hall of fame should be “The History of Music Hall of Fame” and not Rock and Roll. Clearly the Beastie Boys are not a rock act, however they may have contributed some influences to the evolution of todays rock music, but only slightly if so.  Actually, if I were to think of a contemporary band that has incorporated both Rap and Rock and would be more deserving of this award I would consider bands like Rage Against the Machine or perhaps 311; clearly these bands have played a larger part in influencing todays Rock/Rap style, no?  Sorry, but the Aerosmith / Run DMC doesn’t count folks, actually that is probably the tipping point for any respect that I had for either of those groups (makes me cringe just thinking back, yuck!).  Yes, Kerry King of Slayer did play guitars on “Fight For Your Right” and “No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn” but I think he has contributed more to Rock than the album Licensed to Ill.

What the Beastie Boys DID do was change the social perception of Rap;  Rap was  no longer restricted or defined to be performed by African-American artists. White kids (and further, Jewish White kids!) could participate as well, and be taken seriously.  Although I’m not sure how much of the African-American community ran out to by anything they have released.  The Beastie  Boys clearly expanded the diversity of that form music as a whole.  Acts like Vanilla Ice, may have inspired some at the time, but as we all know who lived in the 80’s, that reality came crashing down in full form and very little respect was earned in the end. 

When the Beastie Boys originally entered the scene with the realease of Licensed To Ill (1986) I thought they were more of a goof act that was attempting to disassemble the Rap stereotype, intentionally or not.  Clearly after the commercial success of the Licensed To Ill and the release of Pauls Boutique (1989) they were for real, and clearly were intent on making their mark in music business.  Pauls Boutique, although not the strongest follow up album initially,  has become a landmark album for the band and is probably the most popular by hardcore fans if asked today.

Check Your Head (1992) was a much stronger album and in my opinion did much in revitalizing the band after the lukewarm reception that Pauls Boutique initially received.  Subsequent albums have been successful, actually every one going Platinum or multi-Platinum in the US.  Although they have sold millions of albums and touched the lives of many, perhaps inspiring some successful bands today, I still don’t feel that inducting them into the Hall of Fame is still deserving, if it is, ahem, a true “Rock and Roll” hall of fame.  Actually, we know that it isn’t and perhaps my blog entry should be more about bashing the Hall of Fame rather than the Beastie Boys, which is not my intention.

It has been noted that the RR Hall of Fame inductions are kind of a joke; they are not basing their decisions solely on those groups who influenced bands of today, rather on bands that will draw attention (and a crowd at the ceremony) and ultimately increase funding towards its expansion and growth.  There are so many groups from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s that paved the road for todays music scene and will never be recognized;  the Canadian band Rush (third all  time in album sales under The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!) are not worthy of being inducted this year, but the Beastie Boys are? Huh? It just doesn’t smell right in my opinion.  “Popularity” is what reigns supreme in the induction process and not bands that no longer draw a crowd or are no longer household names.  It’s sad but true, and perhaps the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has seen its sustainability and longevity in having to take the low road and cater to popular music of today rather than yester year.  Granted they have inducted some old timers, but its often rare.  Oh, don’t forget that LL Cool J is being inducted as well, great.

What are your thoughts about the induction process?

13
Aug
10

American Carnage Tour: Not for Faint of Heart

“You can’t kill the metal.  The metal will live on.”  —Tenacious D

People fell into the pit, a holy war began and it was raining blood in Glens Falls on Wednesday night.  The American Carnage Tour, featuring Testament, Megadeth and Slayer, brought its thunderous assault to Upstate New York, leaving a satisfied crowd of metal-heads in its wake.  This event was supposed to take place 6 months ago, but Slayer vocalist/bassist Tom Araya needed back surgery.  It seems the delay only made the fans more bloodthirsty, and the arena was pretty packed.  These three veteran speed/thrash metal bands played a very good show, although some technical issues kept it from being a great show.

Testament has never achieved the worldwide success that Slayer and Megadeth have, but they do have a well-deserved devoted following.  Lead singer Chuck Billy, a looming figure with giant frizzy hair, nearly died about 9 years ago from a rare form of cancer.  But following chemotherapy he has beaten it into submission, and seeing him back on stage rocking hardcore was a good thing.  They played a few newer songs which were good, but it was their classics that had the crowd moshing madly. “New World Order,” “Into the Pit” and “Practice What you Preach” still sounded great after nearly 25 years, with Billy’s voice not missing a beat.  Original guitarist Alex Skolnick, who left the band for a while, rejoined Testament 5 years ago and sounded terrific on Wednesday, leading the charge on “Dog Faced Gods” and “3 Days in Darkness.”  The one negative aspect of Testament’s performance was sound-related – the guitars, at times, sounded very muddy and unclear, making it tough to really hear their signature grinding riffs.  But overall their short set got the crowd pumped for what was to follow.

Megadeth has undergone many lineup changes over the years, with the one constant being its founder, guitarist/singer Dave Mustaine.  Megadeth peaked in 1990 with its masterpiece album “Rust in Peace,” and the band has graciously decided to play that album in its entirety for this tour.  Musically, it was amazing.  “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” “Hangar 18” and “Take No Prisoners” catapulted the crowd into the rafters.  Hearing the guitar solos played with such precision after so many years was impressive.  But Mustaine’s vocals were another matter.  They were sporadic, at best.  You just couldn’t hear him singing.  At first I thought it was an issue with the microphone, but after a while it was clear that he simply wasn’t singing into the mic most of the time.  Perhaps he wasn’t able to hit the higher notes and just decided to shy away; whatever it was, it really brought the set down.  Luckily most of the crowd knew the lyrics, so the words were sort of floating around the arena, but it would have been nice to hear Mustaine actually singing.  Following the “Rust in Peace” album they played a few newer songs like “Headcrusher” and “Trust,” of which I am not a fan, but the crowd was rockin’ out. They closed with their classic “Peace Sells,” sending everyone into a tizzy.  It would have been a really solid set were it not for the vocal absence.

Slayer has to be one of the most uncompromising bands of all time.  They have been churning out their evil speed metal for almost 30 years now, with no attempt to mainstream their sound or kowtow to any trend.  Their lineup has remained solid (other than having several different drummers), with Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman handling the guitars and Araya on bass and vocals.  They banged out a couple of tunes from their new album “World Painted Blood” before playing their entire “Seasons in the Abyss” album, which like “Rust in Peace” was released in 1990.  “Seasons” is not Slayer’s best album, but it has some sure-fire classics and some of the deeper tracks are terrific.  The ferocious “War Ensemble” kicked it off, and throughout other tunes like “Blood Red,” “Dead Skin Mask” and the title track, King and Hanneman were trading blistering solos while Araya thumped the bass and howled away.  They closed with the expected classics “Raining Blood,” “South of Heaven” and “Angel of Death,” but sandwiched in there was a very unexpected oldie-but-goodie “Aggressive Perfector.”  There were no technical issues with Slayer – just bruised and bloodied bodies in the mosh pit.

It was nearly 4 hours from start to finish, and although the sound issues were disappointing, it was good to see these bands still cranking out the hardcore metal.  It really highlights the lack of good metal being made these days, generally speaking.  These songs will live on forever as classics of the genre, and it was a treat to see them live while we still can.

The American Carnage Tour gets 3 out of 5 stars!




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