12 Riffs of Christmas GWAR – Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend

screen-shot-2012-12-20-at-1-03-42-pmGWAR – Stripper Christmas Summer Weekend (from the album Bloody Pit of Horror, 2010 Metal Blade) There are many different Christmas traditions around the world. For example, in the Ukraine, trees are decorated with spider webs because according to legend a “magic spider” will spin webs of gold and silver for the less fortunate. People in the Czech Republic are taught not to eat anything on Christmas eve until a large feast is prepared in hopes to see the “golden pig” appear. In Iceland, there are thirteen troll-like Santa characters that come down from the mountain during the holidays to bring children gifts or rotten potatoes, depending on the child’s behavior. If you are in the band GWAR, you celebrate Christmas in the summer, over a whole weekend, with strippers. It may not be conventional, but who is going to argue with those guys. I have also included a video of GWAR doing some caroling. Ho Ho Ho.

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas EAZY E – Merry Mutha**uckkin’ X-Mas

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Eazy E – Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas (from the EP 5150: Home 4 Tha Sick, 1992 Ruthless/Priority Records – Not exactly your typical Christmas carol, but perhaps the greatest Holiday story ever told? The late, great Eazy E (N.W.A.) and a cast of friends let us know what they want from Santa, and what he’s gonna get in return. This is not for the kids, as it features some pretty nasty lyrics, but how else can Eazy tell us about Christmas in Compton? It was a silent night, it was a Holy night

T.

12 Riffs of Christmas SPINAL TAP – Christmas With The Devil

May I proudly bring to you, a collection of my favorite non-traditional Christmas carols. Each day I will share a song, just to fill your Holiday season with cheer. Behold…12 Riffs of Christmas!

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Spinal Tap – Christmas with the Devil (from the album This is Spinal Tap [re-release], 2000 Polydor).  I could not think of a better way to begin the 12 Riffs of Christmas than the worlds greatest fiction band; Spinal Tap. This is Christmas through the eyes of Nigel Tufnel (Christoper Guest), David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer). This is what happens to X-Mas when you turn the amps up to eleven. If you have not seen the mock documentary This Is Spinal Tap, you probably won’t appreciate this as much of those of us who have seen it. None the less, even the Devil gets lonely during the holidays. Spend some time with him.

T.

In 50 Words… Redemption of the Devil (2015)

In 50 (or so) Words

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Redemption of the Devil (2015)
Directed by: Alex Hoffman
Starring: Jesse Hughes
Vice Media

This documentary follows a year in the life of charismatic front man for the band Eagles of Death Metal, Jesse Hughes. He is many things; wild-man, political activist, worshiper of women, ordained minister, and father. Leading up to Hughes’, aka Boots Electric, fortieth birthday, he is preparing to record a new album, play solo shows, record his radio shows, and most importantly, trying to reconnect with his son.

As a big fan of EODM, I was looking forward to watching Redemption of the Devil. To me, Jesse Hughes has always come off as a cock-sure and confident rock n’ roller, with a desire to live up to the legend that comes along with that lifestyle. He is that, and so much more. The film is very candid, and of course there are moments that it seems the man called “Boots Electric” is playing it up for the camera. After watching, I don’t believe that is the case. Hughes has a bombastic personality, and his views and opinions mirror that. There is also another side to Jesse Hughes; devoted son who honors his mother’s beliefs by becoming an ordained minister, as he tries to tone down his hedonistic ways. He is also a tortured father, who desperately wants to see his son after being estranged for a year. At some points during the film, I thought to myself how amazing it would be to live this lifestyle, which were counter-balanced by the realization that things can sometimes slip through your fingers and the fun is not all it is cracked up to be. I really enjoyed Redemption of the Devil, and because of this, I see “Boots Electric” as a human being, and not just the charismatic wild-man you see on stage.

4 Bloody Moons

4/5 Bloody Moons

T.

Riff of the Day (Nov 19) Clutch – X-Ray Visions

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Clutch – X-Ray Vision (from the album Psychic Warfare, 2015 Weathermaker Music) The lead single from these seminal rockers latest studio album,  Psychic Warfare, is dynamite. Big riffs and a sing-a-long chorus make this song pure Clutch. Is there a better front man in the business than Neil Fallon? He is cool without trying, and possesses one hell of a beard. Having kept the band together without line-up changes for 20 years, these guys deserve more credit than they get. Psychic Warfare is real, and it is magic.

T.

Riff of the Day (Nov 15) Kyuss – Un Sandpiper

Kyuss – Un Sandpiper (from the B-side of the Gardenia single, 1995 Elektra) In my opinion, this song features the quintessential Kyuss line up of John Garcia (vocals), Joshua Homme (guitar), Scott Reeder (bass), and Brant Bjork (drums). Un Sandpiper is a great example of the sound these guys created in the California desert. If this song does not have your head bobbing two seconds after the drums kick in, you are probably hearing impaired. The impact this band has had in my personal listening habits can not be measured. Kyuss has spawned many amazing bands, and their influence is undeniable.

Riff of the Day (Nov 12) 3 Inches Of Blood – Battles and Brotherhood

3 Inches Of Blood – Battles and Brotherhood (from the album Here Waits Thy Doom, Century Media Records, 2009) Sadly, 3IOB played their final show this past weekend in their home town of Vancouver. For the past ten years, these guys were the premier Canadian metal band. They have shared the stage with some of the biggest heavy metal acts in the world, and I was fortunate enough to see them on play on three occasions. I would love to dedicate Battles and Brotherhood to 3 Inches Of Blood. Thank you for the years of keeping metal strong in Canada and beyond. Thanks boys! Crank this son-of-a-bitch up.

T.

Five Favorite Doom/Stoner Guitar Players

Top 5 Favorite – Doom/Stoner Guitar Players

Heavy music is a fine art, and guitar is the brush that puts the finishing touches on the work. I have been a player for some years now, and I am forever gaining inspiration from many bands and genres. Doom and Stoner are my go to styles of rock, and many players influence my guitar playing. I have chosen four players and one guitar team as the guitarists that have influenced me the most over the past few years. I have had the opportunity to see these bands/artists play, and they are among the biggest reasons music burns in my soul. In no particular order, here are my five favorite Doom/Stoner Guitar Players

Matt Pike (Sleep, High On Fire) When it comes to bottomed-out, guttural riffs, Matt Pike is a beast. His current band, High on Fire, is a force to recon with as they continue to make heavy duty albums. Always shirtless on stage, Pike was also part of seminal stoner metal forefathers Sleep. He is also responsible for the constant ringing my ears. I got a little to close to the stage during a HOF show a few years ago.

Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity, Down) As part of arguably my favorite band Down, Pepper is responsible for some of the riffs that get stuck in my head every day. He has been part of Down and C.O.C. for twenty five years, and has even done a little jamming with Metallica. Also the lead vocalist for Corrosion, and a New Orleans bar owner, Mr. Keenan is quite a renaissance man. Not to mention, one hell of a guitar player.

Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) I would go to hell if I did not include the legendary guitar player for the original doom band, Black Sabbath. Iommi drop-tuned his guitar to make the strings loose, and subsequently easier to player with his severed finger tip. Out of necessity, a new genre of music was born. He does not jump around on stage or play fifteen minute solos. What Iommi does do is play riff after riff of songs that changed the landscape of music. He sold his soul for rock n roll.

Buzz Osborne (Melvins, Phantomas) Without Buzz Osborne and the Melvins, our generation may have not seen Nirvana, or a lot of grunge bands of the time. With dozens of studio albums under his belt, “King Buzzo” is a diverse and intense musician, whose influence can be heard through out the scene. The Melvins have been a constant in a forever changing world for almost thirty years, and it is always refreshing to hear new material. A friend of mine once touched Buzzo’s arm at a show. Buzz gave him a menacing glance and walked away without saying a word. It was terrifying, but brilliant.

J.D. Cronise and Kyle Shutt (The Sword) Age of Winters and Gods of this Earth are two of my favorite albums of the last ten years, with some of the best guitar riffs to match. I love this band, and see them every time they come to town. Cronise and Shutt are an amazing team that are both equally responsible for the guitar groove of the Sword. The sound of the band is evolving, but the first two Sword albums will always have an impact on my own sound. Give a couple dudes a Les Paul, and amazing things can happen.

T.

Riff of the Day (Nov 10) Guns N’ Roses – Night Train

Guns N’ Roses – Night Train (from the album Appetite For Destruction, Geffen 1987) If you were a teen in the Eighties, you possessed a cassette of Appetite For Destruction,or had a friend that owned it. Everything about this record screamed rebellion. The attitude, the fashion, the notorious behavior; Guns N’ Roses was rock n’ roll. No album in the history of earth had a bigger impact on my life than this polarizing masterpiece. From top to bottom, the finest debut album, and arguably best pure rock record ever. These guys all came to Los Angeles, dirt poor and full of spite, and rendered an album that will always be timeless. Whatever has transpired between Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy, and Steven over the years can never tarnish the impact of Appetite for Destruction.