Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy Birthday MICHAEL HUTCHENCE (video)

#michaelhutchence #inxs #rockfile 
Michael Kelland John Hutchence (22 January 1960 – 22 November 1997) was an Australian musician and actor. He was a founding member and the lead singer and lyricist of rock band INXS from 1977 until his death in 1997.
Hutchence was a member of short-lived pop rock group Max Q and recorded solo material which was released posthumously. He acted in feature films, including Dogs in Space (1986), Frankenstein Unbound (1990) and Limp (1997). According to rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, "Hutchence was the archetypal rock showman. He exuded an overtly sexual, macho cool with his flowing locks, and lithe and exuberant stage movements". Hutchence won the 'Best International Artist' at the 1991 BRIT Awards with INXS winning the related group award.
His private life was often reported in the Australian and international press, with a string of love affairs with prominent actresses, models and singers. Hutchence's relationship with UK television presenter Paula Yates began while she was divorcing musician and Live Aid organiser, Bob Geldof. Hutchence and Yates had a daughter in 1996.

On the morning of 22 November 1997, Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room in Sydney. His death was reported by the New South Wales Coroner to be the result of suicide. In 2000, Yates died of a heroin overdose. The couple's daughter was placed in Geldof's custody with her half-sisters.

source: wikipedia


Monday, January 20, 2014

VIDEO GAMES are good for you! (video)

#videogames #rockfile
I am old enough to have played Pong when it was new, so a gamer for more than 40 years.  Some days I do not play at all, but most I try to squeeze in a hour or so. I totally believe this has helped keep my brain active and exercised over the years. (I also thank the fact that creativity is a huge part of my profession. And that I have read hundreds, if not thousands, of books.) 

Like the video says, too much of anything can be bad, even broccoli and water. But, it turns out video games can be beneficial. It sure is nice to be right sometimes.

So, be diverse in the things you do. And when you have time, pick up a game and work that brain of yours!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy Birthday TREVOR RABIN (video)

 Happy Birthday Trevor Rabin!

In 1989, I had just taken over a rock station in Augusta, GA and got a call from Trevor to thank me for adding his solo record. This wasn't an interview or anything, he just called the office line out of the blue. (I know the label put him up to it but it was still very cool.) We had a great chat and I learned a lot about post 70's Yes and his possible new career in film scores. (He has since scored over three dozen!)  A nice, humble yet incredibly talented guy whose deserves the success he's had. (-'] #rockfile #trevorrabin

Trevor Charles Rabin (born 13 January 1954) is a South African born musician, best known as a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the British progressive rock band Yes 1982–1994, then as a film composer.

Rabin was born into a family of classical musicians in Johannesburg, South Africa, where his father Godfrey was lead violinist for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and also a lawyer. Educated at Parktown Boys' High School in Johannesburg, he took formal piano training before discovering the guitar at age 12.

Rabin's early influences included Arnold Schoenberg, Tchaikovsky, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. He also dabbled with progressive and heavy rock with his first band, The Conglomeration, as well as joining the prominent anti-apartheid rock band Freedom's Children for a year in 1972. During this same period, Rabin became a highly sought after session guitarist and bassist, playing with many jazz bands in South Africa. When Rabin fulfilled his obligation to the South African Army at age 19, he served with the entertainment division.

Along with a budding solo career, Rabin began working as a producer, having already began his career as a session player at age 16. With the growth of the Punk scene in the late '70s, power-pop and hard rock music had fallen out of fashion in England. Neither of Rabin's first two solo albums found any commercial success. He began looking for more fertile ground for what would be characterized in the U.S. as album-oriented rock (AOR).

In 1981, he released the album Wolf, co-produced with Ray Davies of The Kinks. Manfred Mann's Earth Band members Chris Thompson and Manfred Mann made vocal and musical contributions to the album. Wolf marks Rabin's first collaboration with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and session drummer Simon Phillips. Following the release of the album, Rabin severed ties with Chrysalis Records as he felt they did little to promote the album.

In 1981, Rabin moved to Los Angeles and signed with Geffen Records. He briefly recorded new material with a rhythm section consisting of future Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and bassist Mark Andes, who would later join Heart. Some of these demo recordings developed into the Yes songs "Hold On" and "Make It Easy".

Although Geffen Records dropped his contract in 1982, Trevor Rabin kept composing material for his projected fourth solo album in Los Angeles. As a keyboardist, he also considered touring as a session player for Foreigner. During this time, Rabin auditioned with the prog-rock supergroup Asia in the run-up to their first album. Prior to that, Rabin was to have been part of a proposed supergroup with future Asia members John Wetton and Carl Palmer and also ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

While in London, he met bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White, longtime members of Yes, who had experienced their own difficulties following the apparent demise of the band in 1981. Liking each other's ideas, Rabin, Squire and White began collaborating under the name Cinema in early 1982. Later on they enlisted original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye to complement their live performances.

Produced by yet another former Yes member, Trevor Horn, what was to become the 90125 album came together over eight months in 1982. During his time in Los Angeles, Rabin had written several songs that formed the project's nucleus. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" evolved into a riff-oriented song that Horn seized upon as a potential single.

The new Yes would meet with critical and commercial success, though not without some harsh criticism from fans of earlier incarnations of the band. Both "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Leave It" became major hits, with "Owner" being the band's only #1 single in most major markets including the US. Along with heavy airplay of several other tracks, this helped propel 90125 to six million sales between 1983 and 1985, making it the most commercially successful of all Yes albums. Yes also received a Grammy award in 1984 for the instrumental "Cinema". The band toured behind the album, in a series of well-received concerts across Europe and the Americas.

After the 1988 Big Generator tour, Anderson left Yes for the second time, though his departure would prove short-lived. Trevor Rabin expressed a guarded neutrality over the split between Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, who briefly led rival groups consisting of Yes members. Squire held the Yes name, which now encompassed himself, Rabin, White and Kaye; Anderson formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – a line-up he felt better represented Yes. A lawsuit between Arista and Atlantic Records ensued.
While this legal wrangling was in progress, Rabin completed his fourth solo album (which was to be his last for over 20 years), Can't Look Away, released in 1989. The album's lead single, "Something to Hold On To", earned a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video and topped the AOR charts for two weeks.

Following the 1994 tour, Trevor Rabin resigned from Yes to become a soundtrack composer. Rabin has scored over three dozen films which include: Bad Company, Con Air, Homegrown, Armageddon, Jack Frost (in which Rabin appeared onscreen in two scenes), Deep Blue Sea, Gone in 60 Seconds, Remember the Titans, The 6th Day, The Banger Sisters, Kangaroo Jack, Bad Boys II, The Great Raid, Exorcist: The Beginning, National Treasure, Coach Carter, Glory Road, Snakes on a Plane, The Glimmer Man, Flyboys, Gridiron Gang, Hot Rod, The Guardian, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, 12 Rounds, G-Force, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Along with several Grammy nominations and one Grammy win, Trevor Rabin also has received eleven BMI film score awards, and has received a lifetime achievement award from the Temecula Film Festival.

source: wikipedia


Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Birthday JIM CROCE (video)

#jimcroce #rockfile 
My parents were big fans and we learned to sing his songs in school. I was 7 when his career was cut short but I remember the impact it had. His music lives on. R.I.P. Jim.

James Joseph "Jim" Croce (January 10, 1943 – September 20, 1973) was an American singer-songwriter. Between 1966 and 1973, Croce released five studio albums and 11 singles. His singles "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and "Time in a Bottle" were both number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
On Thursday, September 20, 1973, during Croce's Life and Times tour and the day before his ABC single "I Got a Name" was released, Croce, Muehleisen, and four others were killed when the chartered Beechcraft E18S he was traveling in crashed while taking off from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Others who died in the crash were charter pilot Robert N. Elliott, comedian George Stevens, manager and booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose, and road manager Dennis Rast. Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches and was flying to Sherman, Texas, for a concert at Austin College. The plane crashed an hour after the end of the concert.

source: wikipedia


Friday, January 3, 2014

My Favorite Music of 2013 (video)

#music #bestof2013 #favorites #rockfile
Each year, compiling the list of my favorite albums is one of the hardest blogs to create. This year, I started with the largest list of possibles ever and wound up with 49. Since I did not really want to rank them, I used the amount of times I listened to each artist/album this year to determine the order for the top 20, the rest are in no particular order. Albums released later in the year and the ones with fewer tracks (especially EPs) have a harder time ranking high this way but in my opinion all of these are worth adding to your music collection.

While I may feel some albums are "better" than others, the truest telling is what I actually listened to the most. I have used to track my personal spins since 2006. The vast majority of my listening is either lossless files on iPhone/iPod through audiophile headphones or lossless files through my PC with iTunes and Klipsch THX certified monitors. 


(I apologize if the page loads slow, there are 20 videos.)

Gemini Syndrome - "Lux"

Haken - "The Mountain"

Karnivool - "Asymmetry"

Steven Wilson - "The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)"

 Heaven's Basement - "Filthy Empire"

Dead Letter Circus - "The Catalyst Fire"

Bruce Soord With Jonas Renkse - "Wisdom Of Crowds"

Caligula's Horse - "The Tide, The Thief & River's End"

The Mars Chronicles - "The Mars Chronicles EP"

Letlive. - "The Blackest Beautiful"

Katatonia - "Dethroned & Uncrowned"

Sound Of Contact - "Dimensionaut"

Riverside - "Shrine Of New Generation Slaves"

Queensryche - "Queensryche"

Nothing More - "Nothing More"

Leprous - "Coal"

TesseracT - "Altered State"

Jolly - "The Audio Guide To Happiness (Part 2)"

Thought Chamber - "Psykerion"

Fates Warning - "Darkness In A Different Light"

Byzantine - "Byzantine"
Intronaut - "Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)"
Aeon Zen - "Enigma"
Daybreak Embrace - "Mercury EP"
Boil - "aXiom"
Monster Truck - "Furiosity"
Big Wreck - "Albatross"
Protest The Hero - "Clarity"
Anubis Gate - "Sheep EP"
Dream Theater - "Dream Theater"
Spock's Beard - "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep"
The Winery Dogs - "The Winery Dogs"
Serenity - "War Of Ages"
Sevendust - "Black Out The Sun"
Pearl Jam - "Lightning Bolt"
Nine Inch Nails - "Hesitation Marks"
AEtherfallen - "Revelation's Eternal"
Ra - "Critical Mass"
Korn - "The Pardigm Shift"
ASG - "Blood Drive"
The Flower Kings - "Desolation Rose"
Red Line Chemistry - "Tug Of War"
A Pale Horse Named Death - "Lay My Soul To Waste"
Long Distance Calling - "The Flood Inside"
Alter Bridge - "Fortress"
Avenged Sevenfold - "Hail To The King"
Black Sabbath - "13"
Alice In Chains - "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here"
Aeon Zen - "Self Portrait EP"

Live Albums

Muse - "Live At Rome Olympic Stadium" & Blu-Ray
Anathema - "Universal" & Blu-ray
Rush - "Clockwork Angels Tour" & Blu-Ray
Metallica - "Through The Never Soundtrack"
Flying Colors - "Live In Europe" & Blu-Ray
Devin Townsend Project - "The Retinal Circus" & Blu-Ray
Iced Earth - "Live In Ancient Kourion" & Blu-ray

Special Mention

Rush - "Vapor Trails (Remixed)" - This album needed remixing badly and this new version is the best we are going to get. Much improved over the original mix.

Blu-ray/DVD Audio Audio

Universal just released a whole new line of Blu-Ray Audio titles but I have not had a chance to hear them. 

Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing - The deluxe edition of his stellar third solo album set a new bar for sonic clarity in hidef audio on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Yes - Close To The Edge - Steven Wilson's remix makes the work sound fresh. One of my all-time favorites. DVD and Blu-Ray

Steven Wilson - Drive Home - A video EP about an hour long is better than most full releases from other artists. Blu-Ray
Van Morrison - Moondance DVD Audio

Jethro Tull - Benefit DVD Audio

Dream Theater - Dream Theater DVD Audio


Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Favorite Movies of 2013 (video)

#movies #bluray #bestof2013 #favorites #rockfile
The last few years I have been thinking about merging this list.  I am seeing fewer and fewer in the theater and more at home. Blu-ray technology coupled with a high end plasma display means few theatrical presentations beat our home system. Add the ability to pause for bathroom breaks and now we mostly head to the cinema to see "event" films and save everything else for home viewing.  Therefore, my list of favorite movies of the year tends to lean towards the fantastic.  

(Notice I did not say best movies of the year, favorites are movies I will re-visit. Most "serious" award winning "best of the year" films would make up a different list and most of those I only need to see once.)

For pure popcorn entertainment, Pacific Rim was the forerunner to becoming my favorite film of the year. Then I saw Gravity. 90 minutes of truly gripping, dramatic entertainment and a new benchmark for realism in special effects. The science may not be 100% but no other movie affected me as much as Gravity.

Pacific Rim 
One of my favorite directors made a tribute to the giant monster (kaiju) movies I loved as a kid...and kept it fun throughout. A perfectly executed confection that goes down easy and stands up to multiple viewings.

Star Trek Into Darkness 
J.J. Abrams upped the ante with his second reboot movie and I was totally entertained. After watching it a couple of times, I have enjoyed it even more and I am looking forward to their continuing mission.

Evil Dead
 Most remakes/reboots suck, this one doesn't. As brutal and gory as the original was in it's day, this is Evil Dead for a new generation. One of the most visceral horror films of the year and not for the squeamish.

The World's End 
A great way to end a trilogy of funny tribute-ish films, first zombies and slacker friends then buddy cops and now, old friends and alien invasion. If you enjoyed Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, this is a no brainer.

This Is The End 
While I am really tired of most of the raunchy comedies of the last few years, this one is really funny. Lots of inside jokes and over-the-top humor, most everyone can find something to laugh at in this one.

Warm Bodies 
Dark, funny and kind of sweet take on the zombie genre.

Sound City
 Dave Grohl's directing debut and one of the best rockumentaries ever. I am called Rockfile and I learned things in this movie and was thoroughly entertained the whole time.

The Wolverine 
Almost exactly the Wolverine film the fans have been asking for. Check out the unrated, extended version for an even better flick, bub.

Iron Man 3
 After the weak second film and the stellar Avengers, I knew there would be a little disappointment going into this movie. The surprise? Very little disappointment! Shane Black crafted an Iron Man movie that almost tops the original.

Even with it's flaws, this is one of the best sci-fi movies of the year. Beautifully filmed, it's not the new classic it hopes to be but it is still worth a watch.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 
On a lot of year end worst lists, I had a blast watching this movie. In a world where hobbits, young wizards and superhero movies rule the theaters, this tongue-in-cheek film was called silly and unrealistic. Duh, people, that is the fun of it. A worldwide hit, the sequel is in the works.

The Croods
 My biggest surprise of the year. Winning free tickets for a pre-screening a month before release, I entered the theater ready to be bored for the next 90 minutes. Boy, was I wrong! Sweet and sassy with dynamite animation and 3D, this was my favorite animated film of the year.

Thor: The Dark World 
I was a minor Thor fan growing up, mostly because I loved The Avengers, but I enjoyed the first movie more than I expected. Like Thor, the sequel continued to create a more fantasy oriented superhero film than Iron Man, Hulk or Captain America. Loki steals the show again and I am looking forward to what happens next.

Man Of Steel 
Christopher Reeve will always be Superman, much like Sean Connery will always be 007. I like the other guys who have played the roles but the first one you see, usually sets the tone. (I think Daniel Craig has been terrific as 007!) That being said, I loved the darker, more serious tone of the new Superman. It wasn't perfect but it was the most fun I have had with the character since the first movie.

World War Z 
While I love the book, this movie has nothing to do with it. That out of the way, we heard so much negative about this movie while it was being filmed, and re-filmed, no one thought it would be as good as it turned out to be. Before Gravity, this was my pick for most intense theatrical experience.

I still need to see: The Hunt, Elysium, Upstream Color, Mud, Don Jon, Rush, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, A Hijacking, Mama, Turbo, Riddick, Spring Breakers, Holy Motors, The Lone Ranger, Pain and Gain, Before Midnight, Only God Forgives and several other movies and shows from 2013.

My Favorite Blu-rays of 2013

Pacific Rim 
Perfect picture and sound. Your new reference disc.

Star Trek Into Darkness 
Like the 2009 Star Trek Blu-Ray, this is another movie to show off your home theater.

Muse: Live at Rome Olympic Stadium 
A lot of beautifully filmed concerts were released this year but this show was shot at 4K (4 times the resolution of 1080p and the format most movie theaters show movies in.) and looks amazing. The band gives one of it's finest performances and the crowd knows ever word. I get those "live performance chills" you get at a real concert when I watch this.

Iron Man 3 
Fun flick, great picture and sound!

The Devil's Backbone (Criterion Collection) 
Great movie gets the Criterion treatment.

One of the best movies of 2012 got two versions on Blu-Ray in 2013, get the collector's edition for all the extras.

A beautifully filmed 2012 movie got a near perfect transfer.

 A documentary filmed in 4K, pure natural eye candy.

Schindler's List 
Unlike a lot of Universal classics this one got a near perfect transfer.

 Some really amazing 3D shots were among many things that made this much better than it should have been. Closer to the comic than the easily-forgotten-after-this Stallone version, this deserves a sequel.

Django Unchained
 Pure Tarantino and a great transfer.

One of the best scary flicks of 2012 got a superior transfer in 2013.

Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition 
Still not perfect, this new transfer does look better than the movie originally did in theaters.

Prince Of Darkness 
A John Carpenter guilty pleasure got a nice transfer and extras.

 The longer cut doesn't add much but I was thrilled to have this Toby Hooper thriller on Blu-Ray.

In The Mouth Of Madness 
Another John Carpenter classic and a decent transfer.

Other 2013 Blu-Rays worth a spin in your home theater:

Cloud Atlas

Seven Psychopaths

Rebel Without A Cause

The Hobbit 3D

Life Of Pi 3D

Wreck It Ralph 3D

The Right Stuff

My Favorite TV on Blu-Ray of 2013

Breaking Bad Complete Series
Game Of Thrones Second Season
Hannibal Season One

Dexter The Complete Series 
Arrow The Complete First Season
Archer Season Three
Fringe The Complete Series
Star Trek The Next Generation Seasons Three Four and Five
Doctor Who Series 1-7
Mad Men Season Six