Monday, September 29, 2014

Book tour dates for Aerosmith's Joe Perry

Joe Perry of Aerosmith will embark on a 14-stop book tour beginning Oct. 7 in conjunction with the release of his new memoir, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith (S&S; hardcover; Oct. 7, 2014; $27.99).

Full list of dates are below and online here:

Beginning with a foreword by Johnny Depp, Rocks has already earned praise from some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll: “an insightful and harrowing roller coaster ride” (Slash); “rocking Joe Perry ‘rocks’ again” (Jimmy Page); “when I grow up, I want to be Joe Perry” (Gene Simmons). The book features over 100 photographs showing Perry’s life on and off stage.

Fans can get their copy of his official autobiography signed at the following dates and locations:


New york, NY
Barnes & Noble @Union Square
Ridgewood, NJ
Brookline, MA
Brookline Booksmith @Coolidge Corner Theatre
Boston, MA
Guitar Center - Boylston Street
Boston, MA
The Paper Store @ Framingham
Chicago, IL
The Standard Club of Chicago
Arlington Heights, IL
Guitar center - Arlington Heights
Cleveland, OH
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Los Angeles, CA
Barnes & Noble @ the Grove
San Francisco, CA
Guitar Center - San Francisco Proper
San Francisco, CA
Book Passage @ San Francisco Ferry Building
Phoenix, AZ
Changing Hands Bookstore
Scottsdale, AZ
Guitar Center - Scottsdale
Los angeles, CA
Book Soup

Pre-order the book here:

For more information, visit:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Concert review: Fitz and the Tantrums - Riverside, Calif.

During Fitz and the Tantrums' 2013 whistle-centric modern rock chart topper "The Walker," Michael Fitzpatrick sings, "99 miles per hour baby is how fast that I like to go." 

No argument there. 

The Los Angeles soul-influenced pop/rock band's first appearance in Riverside, Calif. on Saturday night was so energetic that the 85-minute show raced by in a flash. The Municipal Auditorium was packed with enthusiastic fans.
Both Fitzpatrick and co-vocalist/percussionist Noelle Scaggs emerged onstage with hands clapping high in the air. They immediately got some call and response action going amid Jeremy Ruzumna's spirited Farfisa organ work on "Get Away." It was the first of 11 tracks performed from last year's impressive More Than Just a Dream.  

That led straight into "Don't Gotta Work it Out," where the band locked into a deliciously soulful groove and eventually increased the tempo. "Break the Walls" was an early standout. "Breakin' the Chains of Love" featured judicious bursts of sax by James King, who alternated between baritone, tenor and alto models (not to mention keyboards and flute) on various songs. "Keepin' Our Eyes Out" contained an entrancing old school soul uplift. Rarely standing still onstage, Fitzpatrick and Scaggs did some dance moves together and sang facing each other during strategic moments of the show. 

"With us, it's all about getting down and dirty," he said, before a hyperactive "Spark." Before the group's jaunty cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," Fitz reiterated that point by talking about sexiness and later, cheating romantic partners - a favorite lyrical subject matter - to introduce the haunting "House on Fire."

photo by George A. Paul
On the latest album, "Last Raindrop" is upbeat and danceable. Here, it was revamped live into a stripped down dramatic ballad, with just piano and subtle sax. The result was captivating. A funky "L.O.V." gave Ruzumna and King another chance to shine. They easily whipped the crowd into a frenzy. 

Come encore time, the infectious "Moneygrabber" saw Fitzpatrick do his usual prodding of everyone to crouch down on the floor, then spring back up and pogo around. Once, I saw them do this at the tiny Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. At least at the Muni, there was slightly more space. A giddy "The Walker" finally brought the spirited concert to an end, complete with a blast of confetti. All told, Fitz and the Tantrums overcame a muddy sound mix and sent concertgoers home on a high note.

Concert review: Social Distortion, Jonny Two Bags, The Whigs - Riverside, Calif.

2011 photo by Armando Brown
Riverside music fans were obviously clamoring for some classic punk rock.

When Social Distortion’s concert Friday night at the Municipal Auditorium first went on sale, it sold out in just under an hour. That’s rare, but not surprising since Live Nation started booking a higher caliber of acts after the 1929 venue went through a major refurbishment a few years ago.    
Apparently marking the veteran OC band’s first live appearance in Riverside, leader Mike Ness (pictured above at the KROQ/106.7 FM Almost Acoustic Xmas) said, “this is a beautiful theater downtown. Why’d it take us so long to get here? Oh yeah, we weren’t asked.”

Previously, longtime Social D enthusiasts had to drive to Pomona or one of KROQ's much-missed Inland Invasion festivals at Glen Helen Pavilion in Devore to see them play.

The band’s supercharged 90-minute set here was worth the wait. Perched on the Muni stage were various items you might find for sale at a vintage thrift shop: a stoplight, a ceramic dog that looked like the old RCA Records mascot Nipper, a police officer and a small neon sign that read “open.”

Taking the stage to the strains of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” the group launched  with brawny instrumental “Road Zombie,” from 2011’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. But they barely touched upon it. Instead, a third of the selections came from 1996’s hard-edged White Light White Heat White Trash.

It didn’t take long for a large slam pit and crowd surfing to start full force. “I wrote this when I was 18 years old. I supposed I was an angry young man,” Ness, now 52, recalled onstage before digging way back for “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You).” His electric guitar tandem with Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham was totally intense.

Then Social D continued the look back at 1983 with “Another State of Mind,” another searing song from debut LP Mommy’s Little Monster. Assisted by keyboardist Danny McGough on some tunes, the musicians' backing harmonies on a more recent “Machine Gun Blues” and “Sometimes I Do” were strong. 

The crowd cheered loudly for modern rock radio hit “Ball and Chain,” done here in a slower, but no less effective, tempo.

“Crown of Thorns,” which contains one of Ness' more memorable crunchy guitar lines, was a concert highlight. A lengthy bluesy intro to “Dear Lover” gave way to some wailing lead vocals. 

Prior to doing Hank Williams cover “Six More Miles” – a  frequent set inclusion off Ness’ 1999 solo album Under the Influences – the singer explained that without Williams, “there’d be no Stones, Sex Pistols or Social D.” The upbeat folk song provided a welcome change of pace.

The snarling “Misery Loves Company,” from Ness’ other solo album Cheating at Solitaire, came during the encores, where the front man humorously admitted, “sometimes you just want to stay in a bad mood.” His guitar solo came across effortlessly. Finally, Social D put a lid on the gig with the customary, always exhilarating hit take on the Johnny Cash popularized, “Ring of Fire.”

Wickersham served as the first opening act with a solid half hour set derived from his impressive new solo album Salvation Town.

Released last spring on Isotone/Thirty Tigers Records, the roots rock collection has been compared to early Nick Lowe and Graham Parker.

It features top-notch vocal or musical contributions from Jackson Browne, the Attractions’ Pete Thomas, David Lindley, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, plus Social D bassist Brent Harding and McGough. Producer Dave Kalish sweetened some of Wickersham’s mostly acoustic-driven songs with organ live in Riverside.

Concert standouts included the shuffling “The Avenues” (where Harding and Social D. drummer David Hidalgo Jr. guested on backing vocals); the sumptuous “One Foot in the Gutter,” a yearning, autobiographical “Clay Wheels” (about skateboarding), which featured mandolin; and the reflective set ender “Hope Dies Hard.”     

Following Two Bags was another opening act, The Whigs. The Nashville-via-Athens, Ga. garage rock band formed in '02. Fifth solo album Modern Creation - helmed by esteemed studio vet Jim Scott - arrived last April on New West Records.

courtesy New West Records
Led by Parker Gispert, whose stringy long hair and sunglasses at the Muni made him look like Neil Young circa 1969, the trio’s invigorating 40-minute set proved it really knew how to kick out the jams.

That was especially true on the epic “Staying Alive” from 2013’s Enjoy the Company, where Julian Dorio drummed like a madman. At times, Gispert would crouch down on the floor or even accentuate his guitar solo with a high leg kick. The Whigs fared best during the grungy and appropriate “Friday Night,” blazing rocker “Already Young” (key line: “I don’t care what your old man thinks of me”) and “Right Hand on My Heart.”

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Raveonettes concert review: Santa Ana, Calif.

My review originally appeared at

The Raveonettes definitely chose a fitting title for their seventh album, “Pe’ahi.”

It was named after a location on the north shore of Maui that contains a famous surfing break known as Jaws. 

Similarly, the Danish duo’s music often has a dangerous undercurrent, with guitar distortion that washes over the listener like sonic waves.

Together since 2001, the critically acclaimed garage rockers were influenced by ’60s girl groups, Velvet Underground, Suicide and Sonic Youth. They share a stylistic kinship with more recent alternative bands like Dum Dum Girls, the Kills and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Before recording “Pe’ahi,” singer/songwriter Sune Rose Wagner moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where musical partner Sharin Foo resided. Wagner immersed himself into surf culture and incorporated subtle beach elements in the lyrics and music.

Switching longtime producers in favor of Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, NIN, M83), the pair commissioned a string arrangement by TV/film composer Joe Trapanese (“Dexter,” “Tron: Legacy,” “Oblivion”) and used harp and a choir for the first time. The results are captivating as ever. This past July, the album was released without advance notice and is still in the top 20 on college radio’s CMJ chart.

Almost half of the 80-minute concert on Tuesday night was devoted to “Pe’ahi” material – including the first five selections. Shrouded in dim lighting that gave way to strobes, and augmented by a drummer, the band took the Observatory stage to some elegant piano strains.

“Endless Sleeper” launched the hypnotizing proceedings in Santa Ana. Replete with break beats and the musicians’ staccato and fuzz-tone guitar mix, the lyrics touched upon Wagner’s near drowning in Hawaii six years ago. He has called it a subtle nod to the Doors (Raveonettes just recorded that group’s “The End” on a new psychedelic tribute album). A gloriously dense “Sisters” featured a crazed Wagner guitar solo, and “Killer in the Streets” boasted a surprisingly danceable groove.

Wagner seemed to relish the moments when he ceded lone guitar duty to Foo, took the microphone and sang like he was a freestyle rapper. Case in point: the harrowing “Kill,” a true story surrounding his father’s infidelity and alcohol-fueled 2013 death. The film noir soundtrack-styled “Wake Me Up,” reverb-drenched harmonies of “Lust” and gilded guitar sound in “Hallucinations” all proved riveting.

Another new one, “Z-Boys,” found Wagner rhapsodizing about old surfers and skaters, warm California breezes and kids on “forbidden streets with rusty knives.” It came to a standstill for effect before starting full bore again with reverb surges.

Basically content to let the music do the talking, Wagner did cryptically say, “Now we’ve dug our own graves,” before the marvelously poppy “Love in a Trash Can.” Then a minor slam pit erupted in front of the stage. Other standouts included the vulnerable “Uncertain Times,” a haunting “If I Was Young” and blistering assaults “Attack of the Ghost Riders” and “Break Up Girls.”

The encore saw Wagner concentrate solely on vocals, backed by triggered synth for a blissful, vintage New Order-like “Recharge and Revolt.” Then the band played its usual haunting closer, “Aly, Walk with Me.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Melissa Etheridge concert review: Riverside, Calif.

photo courtesy
Melissa Etheridge concluded her summer solo acoustic tour in Riverside, Calif. on Sunday night and made it extra special for fans.

The two-hour concert, held at the Fox Performing Arts Center, was so warm and inviting that it was almost like sitting down for a coffee with the rock singer/guitarist. Coming right on the heels of Etheridge’s next studio album This is M.E., set for release Sept. 30, the excellent show featured guest Neyla Pekarek from The Lumineers on cello and backing vocals for two of the new songs.

This is M.E. includes more experimental music and collaborations with a different crop of writers than usual. It was co-produced by Mark Batson (Dave Matthews Band, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals), Jon Levine and Jerrod Bettis. First single “Take My Number” is at radio now.

Various guitars were lined up on one side of the Fox stage. The other had a grand piano and a couple of handheld drums that Etheridge manually used to loop a backbeat for each song. Lava lamps and scarves draped around everything added to the cozy vibe.

Clad in a black top and shiny silver pants, Etheridge strolled onstage and began the 14-song set strumming an acoustic guitar for a rousing “Bring Me Some Water” (her Grammy nominated top 10 AOR radio hit from 1988) and did some gritty vocals.

Taking a poll of which fans hailed from Riverside and beyond, Etheridge marveled at the magnificence of the Spanish Colonial Revival style Fox building, built in 1929. She reminisced about how she used to play a Pomona lesbian bar in the 1980s before landing a recording contract and how even back then the freeway drive from Long Beach was killer.

Before creating a rhythm for pleading love ballad “Mercy,” the artist affirmed that all the music would be “natural and organic,” meaning nothing was pre-programmed. An earthy “Don’t You Need” had a quiet intensity and found her playing harmonica, then layering electric guitar on top of the acoustic.

Longtime enthusiasts probably tried to guess which song would come next by the drum beats Etheridge crafted, but it wasn’t easy. Grabbing a double neck guitar, she proceeded to do the slinky riff rocker/title track off 1989’s Brave and Crazy.

Pekarek added subtle cello to the riveting new ballad “Who are You Waiting For,” which Etheridge originally penned for her marriage vows last spring to Linda Wallem in Montecito, Calif. Performing on the piano with vocals nearly whispered, you could almost hear a pin drop in the venue.

The spirited “A Little Hard Hearted” found Pekarek providing wordless counter vocalization. Etheridge performed on acoustic guitar and wailed away. “Every time I play this, it makes me happy,” she admitted before doing hit single “Come to My Window.” Always electrifying live whether she’s with a band or not (the same held true of “I Want to Come Over” later in the set), fans sang along loudly to the seductive empowerment lyrics and gave a standing ovation.

Returning to the piano for stark Joan Armatrading cover “The Weakness in Me,” Etheridge said she used to play it at that Pomona club and then humorously added: “I also used to play Juice Newton’s ‘Queen of Hearts’ there and some guy had a heart attack. He was the only one there. It’s true!”

Another strong new track, “Monster” was driven by swampy slide guitar work and harmonica (on the album, it contains soulful female backing vocals).

Finally, she implored fans to go “spread some joy this week” and did a brawny, extended “I’m the Only One,” totally belting the vocal. Come encore time, Etheridge played frequent concert closer “Like the Way I Do.” Giving it a passionate delivery, she vigorously strummed an acoustic guitar for the 10-minute epic.

Simply astounding. 

Upcoming full band tour dates:

11/02/14 Mashantucket, CT Grand Theater at Foxwoods
11/04/14 Philadelphia, PA Merriam Theatre
11/05/14 New York, NY The Town Hall
11/07/14 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
11/11/14 Durham, NC Durham Performing Arts Center
11/12/14 Morgantown, WV Clay Concert Theatre/WVU Creative Arts Center
11/14/14 Cleveland, OH PlayhouseSquare
11/15/14 Chicago, IL Cadillac Palace Theatre
11/16/14 Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Theater
11/18/14 Washington, DC Lincoln Theatre
11/19/14 Virginia Beach, VA Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
11/21/14 Jacksonville, FL Florida Theatre
11/22/14 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
11/23/14 Sarasota, FL Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
11/25/14 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
11/26/14 Atlanta, GA Atlanta Symphony Hall
11/28/14 Pompano Beach, FL Pompano Beach Amphitheatre
11/29/14 Fort Pierce, FL Sunrise Theatre
12/01/14 New Orleans, LA Saenger Theatre
12/02/14 Houston, TX Bayou Music Center
12/04/14 Austin, TX ACL Live at the Moody Theater
12/06/14 Thackerville, OK Winstar Casino
12/07/14 Tulsa, OK Brady Theater
12/09/14 Mesa, AZ Ikeda Theater
12/11/14 Santa Ynez, CA Chumash Casino
12/12/14 Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre