Rehearsal footage of Van Halen

I have no doubts this tour is going to kick all sorts of 1984 ass, but now there is video proof that things are going well in the Van Halen camp. Would it be nice to see Michael Anthony performing and the complete original lineup together on the same stage? Hell yeah, but Wolfie seems to make a decent substitute on bass even though he looks a tad bit like a fish out of water. Oh well, who cares? I’ve got my tickets for the Cleveland show on October 10 and the countdown clock hanging on my wall.

Rehearsal footage of “Beautiful Girls”

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Rehearsal footage of “Panama”

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Rehearsal footage of “Unchained”

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Ha ha! David Lee Roth kicking Zakk Wylde off the stage.

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Soundtrack of My Life – Torry Castellano (The Donnas)

Ever hear a song that reminds you of a very specific time and/or place in your life? I asked Torry Castellano of The Donnas if there was song from her past that brought back memories. Her answer?

“November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses.

In Torry’s own words:

“Every time I hear ‘November Rain’ I think about how I went and saw them on tour with Metallica. It was a really crazy time because I was super obsessed with Metallica. And I loved Guns N’ Roses. Faith No More was supposed to open but they didn’t, for whatever reason. Body Count played that show which was pretty exciting too.

I was going with a group of guys, and one of them I had a huge crush on, and that, of course was a big huge part of it. Not of me liking the bands, but a big part of the memory. We were going to leave a few minutes early from school but then we decided to just cut half of the day. We left and went to the concert and it was incredible. They played ‘November Rain’ and Slash was going to go up on the piano for his guitar solo and it took him a really long time to get on the piano because he had probably had a few drinks or whatever. People had to help him get up there. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome!’

I got home really late from the concert. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to and I had so much fun. I probably smoked pot for one of the first times – I was 14 or something. I got home and the school had called my mom and been like “Is it okay that you’re daughter skipped these classes?” I totally got grounded, which sucked, because there was a dance coming up and I was hoping that the guy that I liked would ask me out to the dance but that never happened.

So that’s what I think of when I hear ‘November Rain’.

The Donnas new CD Bitchin’ is in stores now. Check out the video for “Don’t Wait Up for Me” over on

The Stenographer’s Alibi

Last week I ran an interview with Via Audio, this great new band from Boston/New York. Though there is a shared vocals responsibility in the band, it’s Jessica Martins who really does the most work and it’s her pleasant voice which will attract listeners to the music. I’m not really sure what the story is behind Martins’ side gig, The Stenographer’s Alibi. The best I can tell, it’s an outlet for some material she’s worked on that may not fit into Via Audio’s stuff but that she didn’t just want to toss away. A cursory search of “The Stenographer’s Alibi” on Google yields only MySpace bulletin results from bands who have played shows with Martins.

On her MySpace page, Martins makes 4 songs available to download, all of which are nifty little pop ditties that recall artists such as Fiona Apple (“Valley of Junipers”), The Postal Service (“Naps4Maps”), St.Vincent (“3D”), and The Beatles/Beach Boys (“Oh Blah Wee”).

Download: The Stenographer’s Alibi – “3D”, “Naps4Maps”, “Oh Blah Wee”, and “Valley of Junipers” (ZIP file)

Check out this video: Oh Blah Wee

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Free music Friday

Some good stuff this week. Nice of the fine folks at Nettwerk to give away a 5-song live EP by Great Lake Swimmers. New Andrew WK??? Soft revisits shoegazing rock from the early ’90s while Weedeater’s stoner rock is sure to get you high. I only wish I was as wild about Ha Ha Tonka’s name as I was their music. And then you’ve got Billy Corgan’ s favorite new band, Celebration. See, good stuff indeed.

Great Lake Swimmers – Live From the Church of the Redeemer EP (5 songs, .ZIP file)
Blitzen Trappen – “Sci-Fi Kid (40 Thieves Remix)” (MP3)
Andrew WK – “Perforated” (MP3)
Soft – “Higher” (MP3)
Division Day – “Ricky (Tandemoro Remix)” (MP3)
Ha Ha Tonka – “Caney Mountain” (MP3),  “St.Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor” (MP3)
Weedeater – “God Luck and Good Speed” (MP3)
Celebration – “Evergreen” (MP3)
Scout Niblett – “Kiss” (MP3)
Grizzly Bear – “On a Neck, On a Spit” (MP3)

Are you downloading any of these songs? Have any thoughts? Feel free to leave comments.

Track 3 – “Signs” by Corporate X

Chicago’s got a rich tradition of giving birth to bands that mix electronic elements into a traditional rock sound. Corporate X is the latest Windy City band to seamlessly blend these sounds into a rich and ornate soundscape with hypnotic female vocals (thanks to Christine DeLeon) and a hip-hop element as evidenced on the band’s forthcoming debut release, Surrender (in stores and on the web October 16). The man responsible for most of the sounds on the EP, Casper Xavier, took a few minutes to answer a few questions about the third track on Surrender, “Signs”.


Is track 3 representative of the whole CD?
I would have to say that “Signs” is very representative of the entire CD both lyrically and musically. While “Signs” is considered more of a “Power Ballad” in structure, it still retains the power and message that is conveyed throughout the CD which deal with issues of life, love, loss, longing, and finality through reflection and growth of the everyday person. Thus, the title Surrender.

What’s the story behind the song – from the lyrical content to the way it was written and recorded?
Track 3 is a special song for us. Traditionally I would write the music and Christine would write the vocal and melody on the finished tracks. But it wasn’t so with this song. “Signs” was initially met with resistance in that the musical structure started out a bit more basic and a lot more sensibility than what we were writing at the time. So it ended up on the backburner while Christine concentrated on better produced songs in our arsenal.

But something about the song kept eating away at me and a voice kept saying “this is the one”. So I took a gamble and wrote some lyrics that were reflective of issues we were having in our everyday struggles of life. Lyrics about being able to recognize the signs that most of us fail to see everyday. The signs are all around to help us through those struggles. You know, kinda like that feeling of intuition we all get when we encounter the forks in the road of life.

I reluctantly recorded a melody in my basement studio and showed Christine. That’s when it all clicked. Being able to recognize the potential of the songs Christine shifted into full gear, smoothed out the melody, grabbed the mic and cranked out an amazing performance. A lot of those original recordings are still on the mastered versions. Ironically to our surprise, “Signs” was the song that was first picked by our producer and then label, to be the single.

Was there a particular reason you placed this song in the #3 spot on the track listing?
There was no real thought to the placement of “Signs”. We metaphorically just threw the songs in the air and that’s where it landed. It just seemed the right spot in the whole “feel” of how the songs should progress throughout the CD. It has always lived in the number 3 spot.

Buy Surrender by Corporate X.