The words innovative and iconic are muchly overused when describing bands in the twenty first century. Both are very much words that apply to New York Dolls. A band that championed excess and trashiness in every sense, they ushered in a sleazy style that joined The Stooges in laying the groundwork for punk, but also providing a core influence for the likes of Motley Crue and the LA glam metal scene that dominated MTV during a decade long after the Dolls first burst of stardom had burnt out.
In the summer of 2019, Dave Grohl hinted at the possibility of a second Them Crooked Vultures album. At that point, it had been a whole decade since the supergroup’s debut release, but fans had never quite given up hope of a return. Grohl’s comments only served to fuel the rumour mill and in many ways it’s a pity nothing more materialised, as a brand new work involving John Paul Jones at that time would have outshone all of Jimmy Page’s non-existent efforts to mark Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary.
When Van Halen first appeared on the live scene in the late 70s, they revolutionised hard rock. Artists like Led Zeppelin were playing mammoth live sets, dominated by huge solos and many other rock acts were seeming just a little…tired. Van Halen’s combination of volume and energy was said to floor any act they were invited to support. Just one listen to their self-titled debut album makes it easy to see why.
The power in ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’ and ‘On Fire’, combined with the jaw dropping ‘Eruption’ – during which guitarist Edward Van Halen pretty much reinvented what was considered “cool” at the time – still makes that record a thrilling listen decades on.
For many years, Marillion fans had to make do with the ‘Recital of The Script’ and ‘Grendel/Web’ VHS tapes for their fix of early Marillion live footage. Thanks to the internet, further footage promoting ‘Script For A Jester’s Tear’ later surfaced, including a brief clip from The Marquee, but this footage from the Danish Roskilde Festival might just be the most exciting yet.
It captures Camel drummer Andy Ward’s brief time occupying the drum stool, making this a vital historical document. Ward automatically gives the performance(s) a little more energy than Mick Pointer was able (though still not quite enough if Steve Rothery’s expressions are anything to go by on occasion), but anything lacking musically is more than made up for by a ridiculously boisterous audience being tackled by Fish in a fearless mood.
Richie Kotzen is such an underrated musician. For a lot of people, he’ll be best known as having been the guitarist with Mr. Big and Poison, but a trawl through his extensive solo catalogue will uncover all kinds of musical treasures.