Archive for Music

ProgPower 2014 - An Experience of a lifetime

September 22 2014

So those of you that follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know this - but last week, I was lucky enough to attend ProgPower 2014 in Atlanta. I made the first ProgPower 15 years ago here in Chicago, but this year's line-up really was a no brainer for me. So we all have our own musical tastes. Mine have shifted in the past 15 years or so. I used to really love the power metal style - think Helloween, Stratovarius, etc. along with progressive - my readers know how much of a Dream Theater fan I am. The past few years have seen me drift from power to metalcore and technical metal/djent. Think Killswitch Engage, Periphery, and the likes. But when I saw the line-up for ProgPower 2014, I had to attend. Here was the line-up: ProgPower XV Country of Origin Need Greece Orden Ogan Germany Leprous Norway Overkill USA Seventh Wonder (playing Mercy Falls in its entirety) Sweden Stratovarius (playing Visions in its entirety) Finland Withem Norway Divided Multitude Norway Voo

The most amazing example of why musical education is so important - Mansfield High School Percussion Ensemble

April 5 2011

Nathan and I were chatting last night mussing about the yellowsphere and I got my daily Google alert for "Dream Theater" - yeah, I know. The first link was to this article - Percussion Ensemble Wins Division Title. I read thru and came to this part of the story:The show was entitled "Goodnight," and featured a dreaming theme. The music in the show featured a medley of songs from progressive metal bands Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment. The band practiced for over six months to perfect the routine. So high school percussion band playing a mix of Dream Theater and LTE. And doing it so well they were winning awards. I had to check this out. So I searched on YouTube and found this: It is seven minutes long but trust me it's worth every second. Talk about being blown away. Interpretive dance from the cymbalists? A drum core that can do marching patterns like no college band I have seen. A guitarist and bass player who were right on target with some of the hardest guitar and

RIP Dimebag Darrell

December 8 2010

Hard to believe it has been six years. We miss you Dimebag ... In remembrance, play some Pantera today. And crank it loud.

When your unpopular tastes become mainstream and how people react to you

September 9 2010

While this entry covers a topic specific to my musical tastes, that is not the focus of this entry. Background: On Wednesday evening, Mike Portnoy quit the band Dream Theater. For anyone who has read my blog or followed me on-line knows that Dream Theater is my favorite band. I don't have a DT tattoo or anything permanent, but otherwise some might call my fandom obsessive. Yes, my birthday gift to myself was a trip to Columbus, OH to see DT perform a one off headlining show during their summer tour with Iron Maiden (and good thing I did). What happened Wednesday was more than just the end of a chapter in Dream Theater. It was a wake up call that what I considered a unpopular passion being far more than I ever realized. I never felt that Dream Theater was popular. It was an edge taste that I shared with many of the geeks of the world. Dream Theater is a geeks band for sure. Musicians loved them, but so did the geeks of the world. I can't tell you how many times I would be chatting wit

The Big Four Live in the movie theathers!

June 21 2010

Do you know who the Big Four are? If you answered that the Big Four were the top four bands in thrash, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, you would be right. And for the first time ever, all four bands are playing on the same concert bill! Europe is getting this amazing line-up - we never get the good concerts here in the states - but someone got smart. Take those high end movie theaters and show this live! $20 bucks for 4 hours of music. Totally worth it - and maybe a once in a lifetime experience. This takes place tomorrow, June 22nd, 2010 - so if you interested, get your tickets. I will be seeing this downtown Chicago and can not wait!

RIP Ronnie James Dio

May 16 2010

If you are a fan of hard rock, you know who Ronnie James Dio is. Today he passed away after a year long battle with stomach cancer. Ronnie will be missed, not only for his voice, but for being one of the nicest men in the business. I wanted to share a something of Ronnie on this blog entry. I thought I would grab a video of him performing, but I found this instead. Here is Ronnie fighting cancer just one month ago. He is gracious to his doctors. His attitude is one of kicking cancers butt and getting back on stage. That didn't happen, but I think the message is one everyone needs to hear.

Iron Maiden Summer 2010 Tour - Supported by Dream Theater

March 4 2010

Summer, specifically July 18th, 2010, can not come soon enough!

5 Years Gone- RIP Darrell Abbott

December 8 2009

It has been 5 years since the terrible murder of Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, the guitar player of Pantera and Damageplan. One of the most innovative guitarist in the metal world, his talent and music is missed. In honor of Dime, crank some Pantera today. LOUD.

Time for another review ... Progressive Nation 2009 (Dream Theater, Zappa Plays Zappa)

September 7 2009

On Sunday, August 23rd, 2009, I had the pleasure of attending Progressive Nation 2009 - and it was a blast! Here are some thoughts about each band: the location was at the Chicago Theater - and thank you to the promoters for picking a location just 3 blocks from where I live. Nice walk home afterwards :-) Scale the Summit Scale the Summit is a modern day Liquid Tension Experiment - a 4 piece instrumental band that just rocks. They have two guitarists and no vocals - but you really don't miss them. Four outstanding musicians that I am sure picked up a bunch of fans on this tour. Big Elf Big Elf is what I would call classic prog rock - with a touch of that 70's hippie flair that makes me run the other way. Mike Portnoy listed their album as one of his top favorite of 2008, but I had a hard time getting into it. Stellar musicians all, the organ sounds and style just turned me off. If you like the old school prog style - think late era Beattles - with a mix of modern day

Transatlantic releasing "The Whirlwind" on 10/27/2009

August 26 2009

Great News for Transatlantic Fans!: TRANSATLANTIC — the progressive rock supergroup featuring DREAM THEATER's Mike Portnoy, MARILLION's Pete Trewavas, THE FLOWER KINGS' Roine Stolt and Neal Morse (ex-SPOCK'S BEARD) — will release its long-awaited third album in October 2009. "The Whirlwind" is described in a press release as "a 77-minute piece of music that is sure to satisfy the band's legions of fans that have patiently waited almost the entire decade for the reunion of these four musicians." "The Whirlwind" will be available in two formats: * A regular-edition single CD of the entire 77-minute epic as well as a 2-CD special edition containing a bonus disc with eight newly recorded studio tracks (four new TRANSATLANTIC compositions and four cover songs) The track listing for the special edition is as follows: Disc One: The Whirlwind Disc Two: 01. Spinning 02. Lenny Johnson 03. For Such A Time 04. Lending A Hand 05. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed (GENESIS) 06. A Salty Do

Dream Theater’s "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" sells 40,000 copies in it’s first week, places in top 10 of US Charts

July 1 2009

So pretty cool news for Dream Theater: The new album from DREAM THEATER, entitled "Black Clouds & Silver Linings", sold 40,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart. Commented DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy: "This is truly amazing.... that after almost 25 years together, this band is still growing and progressing and doing bigger and better numbers than ever... I can't think of many bands that can claim that. Plus — a progressive metal album with four songs over 12 minutes in the U.S. Top 10??? (wedged between JONAS BROTHERS, EMINEM and HANNAH MONTANA!) Hell must've frozen over!!!! (This must be a first of its kind...)" DREAM THEATER's last CD, "Systematic Chaos", opened with 36,000 units in 2007 to enter The Billboard 200 chart at No. 19. 2005's "Octavarium" premiered with 27,000 copies to debut at No. 36. In addition to the standard-version CD, DREAM THEATER's tenth studio album, "Black Clouds & Si

Dream Theater Cover #4

June 9 2009

The third of six cover songs by Dream Theater has been released, take your fingers from my hair by Zebra. Mike Portnoy talks about the new cover song here:

Dream Theater Cover #3

June 2 2009

The third of six cover songs by Dream Theater has been released, Odyssey by The Dixie Dregs. Mike Portnoy talks about the new cover song here:

Dream Theater Cover #2 - Medley of Queen Songs

May 26 2009

The second of six cover songs by Dream Theater has been released, a medley of Queen songs. Mike Portnoy talks about the new cover song here:

First of Six Dream Theater Covers - Stargazer by Rainbow

May 19 2009

One of things that Dream Theater is doing in conjunction with the release of "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" is released six cover songs - one each week starting now until the release of the CD. You can purchase it today on iTunes or get a CD with all of these in the special edition.

Time for another review ... Anvil: The Story of Anvil (and why you must see this!)

May 17 2009

In the midst of the summer movie blockbuster season, there is this little documentary called Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Let me tell you - it might be the best movie you see all year. It is the most moving, inspiring, and telling story about always trying to make your dreams come true while living in reality. Anvil is a hard rock band that helped create the sound known as 'Thrash" - they came before the "Big 4" - Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth. While all four of those bands have had levels of success, Anvil has not. While their 1982 album "Metal on Metal" is still considered one of the best albums of rock. But how many of you know about Anvil? Even heard the name? Most have not. This movie is not about a heavy metal band. It is about two friends who are on a journey to fulfill a dream. Two men who met as kids, still best friends. You hear about their journey and you see how much bad luck they have had. It is a story of two fathers, husbands, and men who live a normal midd

Dream Theater’s "A Rite of Passage" Video

May 8 2009

How the music industry is changing ... bands release singles on Guitar Hero and Rock Band

April 15 2008

So while the music industry tries to get a handle on the reality that digital is here and iTunes is the new king of sales, we have bands trying new ways to get their singles heard. First, we have Motley Crue releasing their new single on Rock Band: LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a nod to the ascendancy of video games, rock 'n' roll bad boys Motley Crue will become the first group to release a new single through Rock Band, said the developer of the wildly popular game. "Saints of Los Angeles," the first single from the group's upcoming album, will be available for download for 99 cents beginning on Tuesday via Microsoft Corp's Xbox Live Marketplace and on Thursday via Sony Corp's PlayStation store, said Viacom Inc's MTV Games. In "Rock Band", gamers play along to songs with controllers shaped like a guitar, drum set, or microphone. The game is sold for about $170 for consoles such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It competes with the similarly popular "Guitar Hero" series, made by Activisi

For the metalheads ... Fuse TV’s Talking Metal brings us Turtlehead

March 20 2008

This is for the metal music fans out there, as well as the Dream Theater fans. Fuse TV's Talking Metal show gets together musicians to jam on classic metal songs. This jam, by the band "Turtlehead", is of the song "Overkill" by Motorhead. The members of the band? Bobby Blitz from Overkill singing, Frank Bello from Anthrax on bass, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater on drums, and the two hosts playing guitar. In a world where "mashup" is something we hear used daily, this is a great one :-)