A Tale Of Two Versions of Two Bands

One aspect of 80’s music that fans often detest is the inconsistency within band lineups. Just about every front man in 80’s hair metal has at one point in time let their ego get in the way of the fans and the band. This ultimately leads to having two versions of the bands that we grew up loving as well as sowing division amongst their fanbase. This week’s blog looks at why two versions of Great White, and Queensryche exist and why bands tend to do this to their fans. This is a tale of two (versions of) two bands.

  1. Once Bitten Twice on the Road with Great White
Great White with Mitch Malloy on vocals.

In 2011, Great White singer Jack Russell announced a new version of the iconic 80’s band called Jack Russell’s Great White. The other members of the original line up of the group claimed that Russell did not have the necessary rights to start his own version of the group. Prior to this announcement, Jack Russell has had issues with substance abuse that prevented him from being in the original version of Great White. The members of Great White made it clear that Russell had to get off drugs including Xanax and Prednisone before rejoining the group in 2012.

 

 

 

 

Jack Russell’s Great White

After a year of legal battles, the group reached a settlement regarding the rights to the band’s names. Jack Russell was allowed to tour under the Jack Russell’s Great White moniker while the rest of the band were allowed to record under the name Great White. Currently the original version of Great White has been touring regularly with a new singer in the form of Mitch Malloy. They have released 2 LPs since the naming rights issue. 2012’s Elation and 2017’s Full Circle. Jack Russell’s version still tours regularly as well with a tour starting at the end of April and has released 3 LPs since their inception.

 

 

  1. Queensryche

For progressive metal band Queensryche, their sound has become well known during a thirty-year stint on the road. The group has released well known singles such as “Jet City Woman” and concept records such as 1988’s Operation Mindcrime. The group like many from the 80’s, has had to battle relevancy once the 90’s came around. During this time guitarist Chris DeGarmo, one of the bands primary song writers quit. The band then began coincidentally releasing underwhelming records and had a revolving door of guitar players to fill that void.

 

Despite declining album sales, the group was still a massive draw at concerts. For singer Geoff Tate, Queensryche became a family affair. His wife managed the band, and his daughter oversaw merchandising. While seemingly everything on the outside was fine, the members began to resent Tate over how much control he had over the band.

Queensryche Front Man, Geoff Tate

In 2012 Geoff Tate made it public that he was unhappy with the direction of the band and audience turn out for their concerts. In 2012’s Rocklahoma festival, he publicly addressed the audience telling them that “they suck” due to poor participation. Things got worse from there and during a show in 2012, Geoff Tate drew a knife on his band mates. This incident came after they fired Tate’s wife and daughter from the band.

 

 

 

Following Geoff Tate’s Departure, the group reformed as Rising West, fronted by Todd La Torre. The new group was a success bolstered by the lack of Tate’s presence and song writing that was described as “a return to form” for the new version of Queensryche.

Rising West, featuring members of Queensryche and new vocalist Todd La Torre

Rising West, after having successfully integrated Todd La Torre into the lineup changed their name back to Queensryche. This did not sit well with Tate, who made his own version of the group featuring a revolving door of 80’s hair metal legends. A Washington judge in 2012 allowed for Tate to continue using the Queensryche name as well as the original members. While confusing for fans, both the La Torre Version and the Tate version have been churning out records regularly since 2012.

 

 

 

 

For the 1980’s, it was a decade strife with big egos, and even bigger separations of core members from their respective bands. Queensryche and Great White proved that rock and roll while fun, does have its moments of sheer hubris that result in these great bands being torn down by ego and pride. These two bands are not the first example of this happening but will also not be the last.

Aged Like a Fine Wine: Rock Stars Who Dabble in Making Wine

For rock stars, life is all about what happens when the lights go on and they hit the stage. Though what happens when those lights dim, and those legends must return home? Some continuously write songs; others live a normal life. However, for a select few being home can cause immense boredom. The only way they pass the time is to start a hobby. One of the more popular hobbies amongst rock and roll legends is dabbling in making wine. In this blog we will see who has the best wine of the rock legends.

 

Cliff Richard: Mistletoe and Wine

For Cliff Richard, he was one of the first rock stars to dabble in the world of wine. Richard owns his own vineyard called Vida Nova. Richard had sampled his own wine in a blind taste test with Gordon Ramsey. Not knowing it was his own, Richard called the wine “a bit harsh” following the tasting. Despite Richard’s own review, the wine has gone on to receive multiple positive reviews from critics. Cliff Richard’s wine currently boasts a 5-star review on Amazon.

 

 

 

Mick Fleetwood’s Seven Wonders Include Wine Making

Alongside being a gifted songwriter, world class drummer, and humble human being, Mick Fleetwood also makes his own wine. Mick Fleetwood does not own his own winery or vineyard; he instead works with different winemakers on the east and west coast. He produces several varietals and distributes them on his own label, Mick Fleetwood’s Private Cellar. One of his wines includes a Cabernet Sauvignon rated 4.4 stars out of five on Vivino.com

Wine’s Made by Mick Fleetwood

 

Maynard James Keenan’s Living “Vicariously” as a Wine Maker

Despite being in several hard rock bands, Tool and A Perfect Circle, Maynard James Keenan has a soft spot for wine. After he moved to Arizona in the mid-nineties, Maynard opted to start his own winery. He opened the Caduceus Cellars and Tasting Room in 2009. The first of his wines were released in 2004 and his vineyard has appeared recently on “Sammy Hagar’s Rock and Roll Road Trip” series on AXS TV. Keenan’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has a rating of 4.2 stars on Vivino.com.

 

Jon Bon Jovi’s Runaway with Wine

In 2016, Jon Bon Jovi and his son teamed up for the ultimate father son project, to create a special kind of rose. The wine was created a year later, originally titled Hampton Water, and was reported to have been sold out prior to its release. The wine making bonding session paid off as the wine had been on Wine Spectator Magazines list of the best of 2018. Vivino.com has the Jovi families wine ranked at a 4 out of 5-star rating.

 

Sting’s Message In a (Wine) Bottle

Aside from making millions off of both Police and solo records, Sting has created some wine of his own. Putting his own money towards a vineyard in Florence, Italy, Sting released four bottles of wine named after his own songs. One of which includes a red wine called Message in a Bottle. This wine is made up of a complex aroma of cherries wild blackberries and spices. The wine was rated negatively amongst tasters on Vivino.com giving Stings wine a 3.8 out of 5-star rating.

 

 

AC/DC Wants You to Have a Drink on Them

The members of AC/DC collaborate with various winemakers to make their own mark in the world of wine. The classic hard rockers have a Cabernet Sauvignon called “Highway to Hell”, “Hell’s Bells” a Sauvignon Blanc, “Back in Black” a Shiraz, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” an orange blossom Moscato. Despite being one of the most critically acclaimed bands in the world, their wine fails to live up to the same reputation. Vivino has their wine reviews average at 3.1 out of 5-star rating, making them the lowest rated wine from rock stars on this blog.

 

With the weekend coming and you wish to sample some wine, feel free to check out these hand-crafted wines by your favorite rock stars. Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite of the six if you have tried them. If you recommend another that was not listed, put your suggestion of wine made by rock stars in the comment section below.

Musicians Turned Actors

With the upcoming Foo Fighters movie Studio 666 coming out this week, the Popradio77 blog is going to look back at a list of musicians turned actors. This list will include what films they starred in and how successful each of them are in acting in comparison to their careers in music.

 

#1 Sting

Before the role will get recast in the long-awaited sequel, Gordon Sumner was cast as Feyd Rautha Harkonnen in Dune. Despite selling millions of records both solo and with the Police, Sting made a name for himself in film. He also appeared in The Who’s Quadrophenia movie as the King of the Mods. Since then, Sting has stuck to the world of songwriting as many of his other films he appeared in fell by the wayside.

 

#2 David Bowie

One of the more prolific filmographies of any musician, Bowie managed to star in several successful film and TV roles. His most notable role on film is Labyrinth, starring opposite of Jennifer Connelly. He has since then appeared in animated features such as Arthur and the Invisibles and SpongeBob SquarePants. Other notable appearances include his roles in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and a cameo appearance in Zoolander. Despite an impressive resume, Labyrinth is what David Bowie is remembered for in comparison to his other cinematic works.

 

#3 Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield as Dr. Noah Drake

Already blessed with great songs, Springfield made each of his TV and film appearances as memorable as the timeless hits he crafted. For Rick Springfield his fame as an actor came about when he starred as Dr. Noah Drake. A role he took because he thought no one would buy the Working-Class Dog album. Springfield however was proven wrong when Jessie’s Girl became a hit. He played the role of Noah Drake for 2 years while subsequently touring behind the record he had one point written off. He also starred as a twisted version of himself in the David Duchovney series Californication. He even had a recurring role on True Detective in which he played a psychiatrist during season 2. Each of Rick Springfield’s roles received recognition for his acting abilities, making Rick Springfield one of the more talented rock stars turned actors.

 

#4 Madonna

Madonna in A League of Their Own

Despite being in over 27 movies and having married both actors and directors, Madonna’s film career never got the praise or recognition she wanted. Madonna starred in high profile films such as Dick Tracy and A League of Their Own in which she received critical praise. However, for her roles in Body of Evidence, her performance was critically panned, and the film was a box office flop. Other reviews have cited Madonna’s acting abilities as “wooden” or that she comes off as “trying to hard”. She may have more volume in terms of movies made, though her success in film is few and in between.

 

 

#5 Ice Cube

While not an artist at the station, Ice Cube is a prolific musician turned actor. Having appeared in the influential rap group N.W.A., Ice Cube tried his luck at acting following the groups breakup. Appearing in hits such as Friday,Anaconda, Barbershop, and 21 Jump Street. Ice Cubes films have been both box office success’s and critically praised. Compared to his musical output, Ice Cube works better as an actor than as a solo artist.

 

 

#6 Flea

Flea as Douglas Needles

For bassist Flea of the 90’s supergroup The Red Hot Chili Peppers, he has appeared on some of the most successful films of all time. Call it luck or just having a good agent, the Chilis bass player has appeared in several high-profile films. For Flea, he is known as Douglas J Needles, Marty Mcfly’s rival in the Back to the Future film series. He appeared in The Big Lebowski as one of the Nihilists that harassed The Dude throughout the film. Recently he appeared in Baby Driver as Eddie No- Nose. On the animated side of things, he had a recurring role on the Nickelodeon series The Wild Thornberry’s. Critically, every film Flea has been in has been a box office success and The Wild Thornberry’s went on for 6 seasons and it has had two spin-off movies. This makes Flea the second most successful actor turned musician on this list.

 

#7 Meat Loaf

The Bat Out of Hell singer is also a prolific actor in his own right. He first appeared onscreen as an actor in the Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975, giving the world the song “Hot Patooti”. His most notable work includes his role as Robert Paulson from Fight Club. While his filmography may not compare to the likes of the other stars on this list, Meat Loaf always makes his roles stand out.

 

#8 Elvis Presley

The musician turned actor had string of successful films in the 1950’s and 60’s. For the King the films he starred in initially focused on incorporating his music and aspects of Elvis’s larger than life persona into his movies. Gradually Elvis fell into a groove starred in more mature films. This process involved phasing out his music and letting Elvis play a character rather than just a version of himself. Elvis’s movies largely did will from a critical and box office standpoint making him a star onscreen and off.

 

Honorable mentions

#9 Ozzy Osbourne

 

 

Does it count if the actor plays himself? Well, for Ozzy Osbourne the exception is made as each of his cameos across multiple movies have been nothing short of memorable. Most notably he appeared in Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky in which he appeared at the last second to save the day. Of course, who can forget his appearance in Austin Powers. The Blizzard always gets straight to the point with his cameos.

 

#10 Keith Richards

Keith Richards, the inspiration for Captain Jack Sparrow.

The real-life basis for Captain Jack Sparrow. Keith Richards was brought on to the Pirates franchise in the third film as Sparrow’s father. Richards would go on to play Sparrows father in 3 other subsequent Pirates sequels offering sage advice to Jack prior to the start of his adventures.

Top 5 Musician Cameos in Rock Music History

When attending a concert, it is always a thrill to see the band perform the songs you came to see night after night. Even more thrilling is seeing a guest, whether from another band or simply one of the friends of the band perform on stage. These collaborations happen in response to a shared love of music between the musicians. They start life on the record and eventually creep their way into a live setting. The following is a top 5 list of the greatest musical cameo appearances of all time, whether on recorded form or in a live setting.

#5 Bluesy Huey Lewis

Before Huey Lewis was the anchor of a great live show with The News. He dabbled in playing harmonica and was known as Bluesy Huey Lewis. He ended up collaborating with Irish rock legends Thin Lizzy on their Live and Dangerous. Huey would end up ripping an amazing harmonica solo on the track Baby Drives Me Crazy and is even name dropped by front man Phil Lynott during the band introductions.

 

 

 

#4 Session Musician Jimmy Paige

Tom Jones with Jimmy Paige

Before he was known as the reason every musician were to pick up a guitar, Jimmy Paige started his career as a session musician. He made the rounds during the late 1960’s working for record producer Shel Temply. Paige performed on a version of the Who’s “I Can’t Explain”. However, Pete Townshend didn’t want Paige to appear on the final track. Paige also famously appeared on records by the Kinks as well as Marianne Faithfull’s “As the Tears Go By”. He even ripped the famous guitar solo in Ton Jones “It’s Not Unusual.” So even before Led Zeppelin, he still got inspire legions of fans, just in different genres other than hard rock.

 

#3 Billy Gibbons is Having Fun

Billy Gibbons with Queens of The Stone Age.

From the opening riff of La Grange, Billy Gibbons has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of guitar driven rock music. Billy over the years has taken the music side of the business less seriously. Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and lifelong ZZ Top fan hired Billy for his track titled “Burn the Witch” a song in which Gibbons played guitar and sang on. Gibbons would go on to collaborate with Homme many more times over the years and even lending some high-pitched vocals to a track on Homme’s Desert Session’s EP. Gibbons, having produced some of the greatest rock records of all time, is now at a point where he can just have fun and play music with his friends like Homme.

 

#2 Dave Grohl on… Just About Everything

Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl

While not a featured artist on Popradio77, you can’t turn on the radio without hearing a song Dave Grohl appeared on. Grohl is an avid music fan, having collaborated with the likes of Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Mick Jagger and more. Grohl turned in a prolific resume of cameo appearances on records. Whether just playing drum, bass, or guitars Grohl helps make a record pop and give the audience a much-needed jolt of energy on a song. This can be found on the collaboration with members of Nirvana and Paul McCartney with Cut Me Some Slack.

 

 

 

#1 Rick Astley and the Foo Fighters

While I just covered the Foo Fighters front man, Rick Astley’s appearance at a Foo Fighters live show will always go down as one of the greatest spur of the moment collaborations of all time. Having only rehearsed Never Going to Give You Up backstage, the group were stunned to see Rick Astley on the bill as well at the festival. Astley watched from the side of the stage and Grohl offered him to come up and jam Never Gonna Give You Up. The live performance below was one for the books.

How Can You Afford Your Rock and Roll Lifestyle?

When we think of musicians, we think of them as gods who can get away with anything because they play the songs that we love night after night.

Clip from Motley Crues’ The Dirt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQpKdxLWc_0

However, there is one side to the music business that is often overlooked: the cost of living the Rockstar lifestyle.

As Ringo Starr famously sung, “it don’t come easy” and when being a musician in a rock band, the cost of keeping a band on tour never is. Rock stars make a lot of money, and they can only do that by going out on tour night after night. From when the day they started touring in the 1980’s to today, tours were always a high end and costly productions. This blog compares what it was like to tour as Motley Crue in the 80’s to what it would cost to produce a Crue Tour today.

 

 

 

The path of destruction left behind by Motley Crue.

For a band like Motley Crue going on the Theater of Pain Tour in 1985, the cost of hotel stays for the entire band and, managers and stage crew would be $755,375. When compared to Motley Crue going on tour in 2022, adjusting $755,375 for inflation, hotel stays on a modern-day tour would cost at least $2,000,000 for everyone in their touring party. That is, if they don’t burn the hotel room down by morning, which would add additional costs to their already pricey stay.

 

 

 

On top of touring, when traveling in a rock band you have to have great insurance. This covers damages to property and to members of the band. An example of what touring insurance would cover would be for if a band member were to pull a Keith Moon and drive his.her car into a pool. In 1985, that stunt would require a hefty insurance package for touring artists. An insurance package to cover an amphibious vehicle test or other related incidents in 1985 would cover up to $2,643,812 in damages. For Motley Crue to pull off stunts like that, today’s insurance packages would cover up to $7,000,000. Hopefully as older men in their fifties, they have learned to slow things down a bit.

 

Tommy Lee’s rotating drum kit.

On top of managers having to watch out for Motley Crue, there is another crew that needs to be constantly taken care of. The stage crew are the ones responsible for setting up and take down massive stages and make it possible for bands like motley Crue to go on and perform every night. In 1985, paying a complete stage crew to set up, take down and transport everything including Tommy Lees rotating drum riser would cost $5,854,115. Paying a stage crew to help a major rock band like Motley Crue today would cost $15,500,000 to have on hand for an entire tour.

With all of these expenses, you are better off not being in a rock band. The cost of touring to hotel stays to damages are astronomical. Alongside the headache of dealing with managers who are annoyed with a band like Motley Crue’s antics, as a fan you are better off paying for a ticket to see them live.

The total cost of living as a touring artist in 1985 would be $9,253,302. In 2022 combining the high-end prices, the total cost to be able to tour is $24,500,000. The message, just pay to see Motley Crue unless you can afford to live as Motley Crue.

 

 

The First Song

When you first put on a record, it’s always that first song that grabs us. It shocks our musical taste buds and makes the listener want to everything there is to know about the band. The first song on a record should give the audience a good clue as to what the sound, the feel, and what the concept of the album is about.

The Beatles managed to hook listeners from the start of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. While the first song and title track of the album may not be the best on a record that features such tunes as “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Fixing a Hole” or “A Day in the Life”. The first song on the record sets the tone for what is to follow.

The song introduces the concept, Sgt. Peppers are a fictional version of the Beatles, and the album itself is supposed to be the group playing “live”. The track sets the tone for the entire record and the record never lets up from there in terms of quality content.

While the first song on the record could be used to introduce its concept, the first song could also mark a transition in sound. For the Who and their album Who’s Next, “Baba O’Riley” dramatically changed groups sound forever. Known for short punk rock songs like “I Can See for Miles” and “My Generation”, the Who shifted focus in direction with this record.

Continuing the theme of making another “Rock Opera” album like Tommy, guitarist Pete Townshend thought that a change in sound was needed. Despite wanting to make new songs, fans had wanted to have The Who to keep playing “My Generation.” Pete Townshend decided to make their new material stand out from what was recorded before. To get the sound he wanted, Townshend made “Baba” impactful as the first track by using an instrument new to The Who, the synthesizer.

The addition of the instrument marked a sonic change for the band. It set the tone for the record to follow, which included more operatic and grandiose sounding songs. These titles included “Bargain”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “The Song Is Over”. Almost all of which featured the use of the synthesizer. The record even featured a wider vocal range from singer Rodger Daltrey, who received help from a vocal coach during the Tommy sessions. All these recording experiments helped change the direction of the band which allowed them to produce some of classic rocks well known hits. This all happened because The Who decided to experiment with their sound and fundamentally alter the course of their career as a result.

 

The video below describes what it feels like to listen to the song for the first time:

The first song off a record is the most important because it sets up a lot of things. It can describe the concept, introduce a sense of wonder, or even change the sound of a band forever. The first song is the one that grabs you and once it does, you want to hear and know everything else the band has done. What is a first song from a record that really got you hooked onto a band or a discovered that it changed the sound from an older group?

 

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