Saturday 26 September 2015

Review_The AndersonPonty Band - Better Late Than Never

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK) 
25 Sept 2015 
The AndersonPonty Band - Better Late Than Never (2015)

By Gary "Uncle G" Brown 
American Correspondent for 
Twitter @GBrown0816

AndersonPonty Band_Debut Recording_Better Late Than Never (2015)

I press the play button, and the CD begins. Track one, simply called 'Intro', is an overture incorporating music from the careers of the two men that this band centers around. First, there is founding member of the ever popular progressive rock band Yes, singer Jon Anderson. And next, one of jazz fusion's pioneers, violinist Jean Luc Ponty. Finally, (better late than never), they musically unite, something the two have previously talked about and finally accomplished. The journey started over the internet with the duo sending MP3's / demos back and forth to each other, each excited about what the other was doing. Jon singing, adding lyrics to some of Jean Luc's best known instrumental songs. And not wanting to sound like a Yes tribute band, Jean Luc with other talented musicians re-working classic Yes tunes that are known worldwide. In this case, classic numbers that are given a new spin. And for those who might be disappointed now because they are thinking there is no new music, let me put your mind at rest. Oui, their is. So, a little something for everyone. 

Jon Anderson, throughout his over half a centuries time of being in professional music, has worked previously and got to know some of the best professional musicians on the planet. The pairing of himself and Jean Luc, in my opinion, pure genius. The two seem to naturally complement each other. So much so, that Jon's singing in my opinion, now compares in my mind, to his work in the 1990's by ease. A very productive decade for Mr. Anderson, with Yes, and on his own solo material. I believe his voice has consistently recovered since his health scare, some years back. Truth is, at one point, as horrible as it sounds, we almost lost him. Good for Jon, his family and the rest of the world, that he recovered to where his singing now sounds as strong as it was decades ago. Not only that, but his creativity is as sharp as ever. A multi-instrumentalist, and lyricist who with his new band, breathes new life into not only some of his best selling hits while with Yes, but some of the best songs out of Jean Luc Ponty's catalog as well. 

And the REST of the APB

Names I might not recognize because I'm more into rock music, more than I am the jazz scene. Baron Browne (bass), Jamie Glaser (guitar), Rayford Griffin who at one point played with Michael Jackson (drums), and a keyboardist I'm going to have to find out more about soon. The man's playing here, above and beyond, impressed me very much; Wally Minko. And a word of 'thanks' to whoever else was involved in helping make the final product (CD / DVD) that ended up being distributed from this Internet funded (KickStarter) project. The final creation appearing a team effort, and a very good one at that.   


All Yes masterpieces played sound terrific. A swell job presenting them in interesting ways other than being carbon copies of the studio versions played everyday on radio stations all over the globe, including ours. A good example I could cite would be the title song to Yes' second album entitled, 'Time And A Word'. A favorite YesSong of Uncle G's. The Anderson Ponty Band updated version now has a very cool kind of reggae groove to it. It's got killer guitar work on it as well. Demonstrates how solid the song was to begin with, so to totally change up the format, and it still holds up strong. Maybe 'Weird Al' Yankovic should try a polka version? 'Time And A Word' is a popular song with the fans also. And have no fear, because Yes fan favorites 'Roundabout', and 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', are also here. 

Jean Luc Ponty's Music 

I recognize some songs. It isn't that I'm totally unaware with whom Jean Luc Ponty is. You can find him in my home music collection working with Frank Zappa, and the jazz fusion groups Return To Forever, and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Simply put, Jean Luc's playing blows me away. I've always loved the sound of the violin. Over the course of over five decades, Jean Juc is credited with giving the instrument a more modern sound. And that he does! After the song I just talked about, Time And A Word, on the CD, is a track called, Infinite 'Mirage'. The band on this track, can't be any tighter. Jon's addition to Jean Luc's song makes it even all the better. For sure, one of my favorite tracks. 


Using the one to five star rating system, whereas one star means Walmart bargain bin filler, to five stars meaning it's worth spending one's own hard earned money on, Uncle G rates The Anderson Ponty Band - Better Late Than Never … 5 stars! I'm really happy with the CD. Comes with a DVD that I watched once, and really is worth watching again. I'll close by saying how I feel a real studio album of original music would be very welcomed by this band. Nothing too carried away. A strong 40 to 45 minutes worth of new tunes. I can only imagine how wonderous that would be. That I found this project to be a wonderful way of introducing themselves as a group. The older music presented a foundation on which to build a new structure. Enough new material added to make it feel like a new experience. One that you'll want to repeat again and again. Oh, and after viewing the DVD, I can say APB is definitely worth seeing in concert as well. One special evening in my hopefully not so far away future, I will. 

For more information, please check out the official Anderson Ponty Band Facebook Page (and of course their other official social media outlets)

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Re-Print_Neal Smith 1999 Interview_Yahoo Group Glen Buxton Memorial presents ... a re-print of an interview that American Correspondent Gary "Uncle G" Brown helped put together back in 1999. 

In honor of Neal Smith's 68th birthday (23 Sept 2015) ... an opportunity to read a interview where questions were asked by fans (GBM Group Subscribers). Neal's responses (in which he did in a day) ... CLASSICK! So good, that it was deemed a shame for them to be lost, and never seen again. 


In memory of those who participated, and are no longer with us -- Rest In Peace. 


                                                   NEAL SMITH

#1) from Janice B.
What is the order of the different houses that you guys lived in California?

Q.#1) Hey Janice!
You have to remember that I came to California to stay with my buddies, "The Nazz" until I could find a band to join in LA.

The first house that I lived in with the guys, was in Santa Monica, late summer of 1967. Then in September, the guys asked me to join the band. The next move we made, was to Topanga Canyon in the spring of 1968. The Topanga Canyon house is where we changed the name of the band to "Alice Cooper", and met Shep Gordon and Joe Greenberg. Then we moved to "Hollywood Hills". This home was owned by actor John Phillip Law, who I saw at the "Chiller Show" last year in NJ. And the last place that we lived in LA was for only two weeks, thank God! I will never forget the address it was 2001 Ivar Street. It was the worst location. I had a 2nd floor apartment, outside of my window was a view of oncoming traffic coming right at you and then curving away on the "Hollywood

Freeway". There was no way a human being could ever sleep in that place. Then sometime in 1969 we left LA for good.
Thanks, Neal!

#2) from Barbara H.
I want to ask Neal if there is any chance that some of the songs from the Midnight Daydream CD might make it into video, as this is the best way to be seen in today's younger generations eyes. The music has so much potential, and to do this I feel that it would bring you guys to the eyes of MTV and VH1 and that in fact would boost sales tremendously if any one of the songs were to hit home.

Q.#2) Hey Barbara!

I have already offered my services to the "powers that be", with the "Bruce Cameron Project", regarding anything, including a music video to promote Bruce's music. I would be very happy to help and I agree with you 100% on the impact these efforts would make, but the final decision is not up to me.
Thanks, Neal!

#3) from Brett Cooper

Taking the entire Alice Cooper history into account, which part do you feel is most misrepresented or misinterpreted by the media/public and deserves to be clarified?


The only thing that should be completely and 1000% understood by the media, the public, and the entire entertainment world, is the fact that every idea and every concept from the very beginning of the Alice Cooper Group, throughout our entire career was a total collaboration of brainstorms from 5 friends and very talented artists: Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Alice Cooper, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith. END OF STORY.
Thanks, Neal!

#4) from TVTGKELLY

Hi Neal::

1). According to Alice he has very fond memories of the Psychedelic Supermarket circa 1968? What are your memories of this place? 

2). Where and how does one get the newly released "Platinum God" and are you satisfied with all the music that you have recorded on this? 

3). When do you plan to do next tour, and or more recordings?


To tell you the truth, I just remember hanging out at the Psychedelic Supermarket and I think that we rehearsed there several times. It was ok, but you must remember I wasn't too crazy about LA hippies and freaks, but it was certainly a time capsule for the 60's!


At present the only place on the planet you can order "Platinum God", is at (, along with other products from the "Neal Smith Classick Drummer Collection, drum sticks, photos, mousepads, T-shirts, etc.


At present I have no plans to play in public or tour. As far as recording, I don't have any plans right now. I am in the studio a lot and hope to be recording again in the near future. There's a lot of recording that I would like to do.
Thanks, Neal!

#5) from Jon
The Lansley Emporium
The Alice Cooper Allegedly

Have you seen the early pix of you that Skip Ladd let me post at the Lansley Emporium ACG page? What is your favorite recollection of those The Night Riders, The Laser Beats, and The Cloth Of Many Colors days?

Q.#5) Hey Jon!

I do not recall seeing early photos at this specific site, but I'm pretty familiar with a lot of old photos of bands from my High School days, I still have many of them. These were great days, I just loved to play as much as possible, whenever and wherever I could. And of course, it was always a great way to meet members of the opposite sex! At this point the only thing I can remember about the Night Riders is that I had a really big bass drum, a surfboard, I played "Wipe Out" every night and had lots of fun. The Laser Beats were the Night Riders with a singer, that actually I never really liked at all, but we won some battle of the bands I played "Wipe Out" a lot and had some great times. I can't believe you mention the sacred "Cloth of Many Colors", no one knows about that band as well it should be. We only did 2 shows and we opened for the "Nazz", I was the lead singer and frontman (no drums). Our bass guitarist Roger, was the x-sax player from the Night Riders & Laser Beats, he played a fur covered fender bass and Skip played lead guitar. Skip was the only really cool thing about the band. We had a drummer and I don't know his name. Thank God we only played two gigs, the world would not have been ready for "The Cloth". 
Thanks, Neal!

#6) from Tom Callanan

1.) What Alice Cooper songs are your particular favorites - in terms of how
they have held up over time and your own contribution / playing?

Q.#6/1)Hey Tom!

Some of my favorite "ACG" songs are: Black Ju Ju, Ballad of Dwight Fry, Sun Arise, Caught In A Dream, Hallowed Be My Name, Killer, Halo Of Flies, Loony Tune, Grand Finale, Alma Mater, Sick Things, I Love The Dead, Billion Dollar Babies, My Stars, Generation Landslide, Elected, Muscle Of Love, Man With A Golden Gun, Slick Black Limousine, Unfinished Sweet, Public Animal #9. 

My contribution to these songs, was first and foremost as the percussionist of the band. I love songs with well produced drums being played as an instrument, not as a glorified metronome. Although music production has come a long way from when we first began recording, I think that the rawness and urgency of our music has held up till today. I would love to record new songs with Alice, Michael and Dennis with today's technology.

2.) To my ears, 1971 represents the 'high water mark' for great hard rock music / bands, in terms of fresh sounds, great playing / production and prolific writing. In retrospect, most of the 'movements' that ensued (Bruce, Aerosmith, G&R, new wave, punk ska / reggae, speed/thrash/death metal, Seattle bands) have been pretty much press repackaging, with little true musical innovation. Other than U2 and Metallica, what bands / time period since - do feel has had the same concentration of originality and punch as the period that produced 'Who's Next', 'LITD / Killer', 'Sticky Fingers', 'LA Woman', etc., etc. Is this an accurate summation? 


I have to agree with your analogy. For whatever reason the music of that time period, although it was very diversified, it was very creative with a killer energy that spread all across the "Rock World", creating many classic rock records!

3.) Other than Neal (sic??) Pert, Stewart Copeland and Sean Kinney - who I feel have obviously been influenced by your recorded work (the playing swings as well as rocks, songs have signature 'riffs' , wide variety of styles) are there any post-ACG drummers that you feel you've influenced heavily or you are impressed by? In the same vein, are there any post ACG bands where you have felt your drumming would be a great fit - or really love to sit in with?


I have no clue if I have or have not influenced any contemporary drummers, but the drummer of the 90's I like a lot was the first drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins, which is the only band I can think of that I'd like to play or record with. I think they helped bring percussion out of the doldrums of the 80's, accept for AC/DC.

4.) If the ACG had the opportunity to record just one new single, what do you imagine it would sound like, who would you want for an ideal producer - and from a personal standpoint - would this be a good or a bad thing to do?


Hypothetically, I would like the music of a new ACG single to be somewhere between "Elected" and "Schools Out", total energy and excitement! Part of our musical formula was our 6th member Bob Ezrin. Bob would be my first choice as producer for any ACG recording project. I love to work with people who challenge me and push my creative limits. As far as a new ACG single being a good or bad thing to do would depend on the reason to record. If done in the right spirit, I don't know how it could be a bad thing to give the "Alice Cooper Group Fans" of the world what they have been waiting for, for many years.

5.) Every rock critic rates Ringo Starr as a lousy drummer. As one of the greatest drummers ever in rock, do you have any reaction to that?


Ringo is actually one of my early influences along with Charlie Watts, in that style of drumming. Without Ringo the Beatles would have never been the same, Ringo is Great!

6.) Jack Douglas has gone on record with some nasty comments about the ACG - while praising Aerosmith. Given the fact that Aerosmith imitated the ACG sound for most of their first two albums and used many of the same studio musicians uncredited - on albums from that period, this seems grossly unfair, if not bizarre. Jack produced MOL with most of the same writers and musicians used on the incredibly successful LITD, Killer and SO - yet was unable to get a hit to follow a Number One album. It seems obvious that Jack was unable to pull the band together with the same success as Bob Ezrin, in terms of selecting material and providing true direction. Jack's comments about the band were nearly identical to those used by Phil Spector (whom he also has trashed in the press...) in talking about The Beatles 'Let It Be' - which was considered a failure in the same manner as MOL. Do you agree that the momentum lost on MOL was a result of toying with a successful formula - and that the ACG could've rallied for an 'Abbey Road', with Ezrin at the helm? Do you have any idea how the other ACG members feel about Jack's comments? ....Thanks for all of the great music!


First of all Jack Douglas and I were and have always been friends. I am not familiar with what he has said about the ACG, if it was negative, well Jack was probably just drunk (only kidding Jack). As far as MOL, I like that record a lot. The title song MOL, is one of my favorites and always kicks ass live (great drum part). As a group and a unit we may have hit a creative wall because of constant touring, writing and recording. While writing MOL the music was coming from all over the place without a conceptual direction which wasn't a bad thing because Alice, Michael, Dennis and I were all writing individually as usual. We probably should have all taken some time off, recuperated a started fresh. We did finally the following year, but then never got back together again.
Thanks, Neal!

#7) from Bryan Erickson

1.) What took so long for Platinum God to get released?

Q.#7/1) Hey Bryan!

I was not going to release "PG", because I didn't have enough songs to complete the album. I had 6 songs and needed more, plus I hate my voice. Last summer "1999", I found two lost unfinished tracks in my studio, so I decided to finished them with the help of Richie Scarlet. But it was really the fans who convinced me to release the album. I still hate my voice, but I'm very happy with "Platinum God", eighth wonder of the world!

2.) You sang every song on that album. Did you ever sing on recordings elsewhere, or with The Flying Tigers or Neal Smith Band?


The only other recording that I sang on was "Rock n' Roll Radio" (single version) off of B$B/Battle Axe. I also sang "Rock n' Roll Radio" live with Flying Tigers.

3.) Are they any recordings of The Flying Tigers and/or NSB?


There are some studio recordings of Flying Tigers and NSB, but the energy is not there like in the live recordings.

4.) Are you writing a book as implied at the GBMW Q&A, or was that just a joke?


If I ever write a book it will be SEX, DRUMS AND ROCK N' ROLL, no one would get out alive in my book, it would all be about SEX not all of this other boring crap.
Thanks, Neal!


from Jan Kjellin

1. After the break-up of the band and the various other musical projects you were involved in, how did the change from rock music to real estate come about and was it a difficult change for you?

Q.#8/1) Hi Jan!

With the success of Love It To Death, I had a little extra pocket change laying around so I invested it into a property in Arizona. Within 2 years I tripled my initial investment. In the early 80's I went through a divorce and had to sell my home in Connecticut and met some great people that helped my become interested in a field that I was already familiar with. It is a great career because I still can make time for my music. It was not that difficult of a change for me, I love business. I'm a Libra, I need the balance of music and business.

2. I've just ordered my copy of 'Platinum God' and would be interested in knowing if this is the original, "untampered with", 70's recording or if it has been remixed, re-recorded or anything like that? 

Six songs on "Platinum God" are the original 70's mixes, I digitally mastered these songs. The first song "Maneater Deadly To Her Prey" and the seventh song "The Sea's A Maneater", have new vocals and new lead guitar tracks. I discovered the bed tracks (music only) for these two songs in my studio this summer. They are the 70's recordings of basically the same song, but a fast version and a slower version. The slower version being the original speed for "The Sea's A Maneater". I took the faster version and wrote a totally new song. I had to go into the studio to add vocals and Richie Scarlet added great lead guitar to both songs, and the album was finally finished after 25 years.
Thanks, Neal!

#9) from Mariann M.

1.) Just wondering...what did you do with yours Rolls Royce(s) from the ACG days?

Q.#9/1)Hi Mariann!

I had two Rolls Royce's, a 1962 Silver Cloud II and a 1929 Phantom I. I sold the Silver Cloud when I was running out of garage space, and I had to sell the Phantom to raise money for my lawyers during my divorce in the early 80's. Selling the Phantom really hurt!

2.) I just got Platinum God...and liked it immediately...How do you enjoy singing?


Let me put it this way, I like playing my drums much more than singing. I'm not crazy about my voice, but I have a lot of fun singing!

3.) Speaking copy had a signature as well - how many of these have you signed so far?


Initially, I have signed about 1000 of the first copies.
Thanks, Neal!

from G.Brown (Coordinator Yahoo Group Glen Buxton Memorial)

Neal, Songs like "Ballad Of Dwight Fry", "Halo Of Flies", "Alma Mater /Grande Finale", "My Stars", "I Love The Dead", "Unfinished Sweet", "Battle Axe - Sudden Death - Winner", and the song you end your new solo release with "Platinum God", are very progressive...a lot of great musical moments. Do you prefer performing songs where the emphasis is more on the music, or the words?

Q.#10)Hey Gary!

As a songwriter music and words go hand in hand. They are equally important together. But while performing live, music is my overwhelming priority.
Thanks, Neal!

#11) From: Mark H.

Hello Neal, I saw you in concert at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. back in 72 or 73. You are the reason I started playing drums and I still do today. You have the whole package style, looks, talent. Do you remember that show coming out into the stadium in a Rolls Royce I believe? Is there any way I can get an autograph? Thanks, Mark

Q.#11) Hi Mark!

Yes, I do remember our show at "Three Rivers", it was a great night. I tried to buy the Rolls Royce, but it was not for sale. As far as autographs, new releases, etc., you will have to check out my website;
Thanks, Neal!

#12) from Dan L. Gherna

I've always considered the real estate and rock 'n' roll professions to have similar attributes, in terms of salesmanship, professionalism, and promotion. Do you see the similarities? How does your rock 'n' roll background help you relate to clients/customers? 

Q.#12)Hey Dan!

Interesting question, an analogy of the rock n' roll and real estate professions. I have not only been asked this question before, but I have made several comparisons myself. Obviously completely different, but they have some things in common. One example is image and dress very important in both fields. Marketing yourself can be one of the most creative and fun aspects of real estate and it goes without saying, the same is true in the music business. Attitude must be positive and energetic. Act professional like you eat, drink and sleep you profession because to be successful, as a
musician or a realtor, you have to be consumed by it. Be masterful and knowledgeable of your profession, and always be aware of trends and changes. Both professions offer the same opportunity for men and women, which I think is and has been a very important aspect of each profession in my opinion.
Thanks, Neal!

#13) from Jeff Pike


I am curious to know exactly how Billion Dollar Babies (the band) came together and what the overall vibe was while the band was together. Also, what was the final straw for the dissolving of the band. One more thing, I have been trying to find photos and any video of Billion Dollar Babies in
concert for years. You wouldn't happen to have any tucked away that you might be willing to publish would you?

Q.#13)Hey Jeff!

After Michael Bruce's (In My Own Way), Alice's (Welcome To My Nightmare) and my (Platinum God) solo projects the ACG was to reform and do a new album. Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and I got together in Connecticut and started writing new songs for a new ACG album, but it was never to happen. So we stayed together called ourselves "The Billion Dollar Babies", got a record
deal and recorded "Battle Axe". We were professional and the band was very up and energetic for recording and touring. "Billion $ Babies/Battle Axe" went on tour, but we were having problems with management, and shortly thereafter we broke up. As far as the B$B/Battle Axe show, to my knowledge there is no video of that great show.
Thanks, Neal!

#14) from Erik

Hi, Erik from Sweden here:

The photo of you on the cover of the "Platinum God" album is great. Tell me a little about it, when it is taken? Is it done especially for the album? 


Hey Eric!
The photo with me wearing the zebra skin was taken in the Canary Islands in 1972 by Eillot Holceker. We came down from London to write the last song for the ACG album, Billion $ Babies and the song we composed was "Generation Landslide", one of my favorites. We did a photo session, group and individual photos as usual. This zebra skin shot was just taken for fun with no special purpose in mind. The concept for "Platinum God" has been the same from the beginning in the mid 70's, but I did not think of the cover art until I recently finished all of the music. The "Platinum God" cover with the vintage photo and new artwork, works perfectly with the concept. And then I included some photos inside, that I thought the fans would dig.
Thanks, Neal!

#15) from Tim Stradling

At the GBMW99 Dennis talked a little bit about new music being written with he and you, and that he had been speaking with Ezrin possibly looking for his thoughts on it. Can you comment on this?

Q.#15/1)Hey Tim!

I'm not sure of what your conversation with Dennis was exactly about, but Bob Ezrin is always looking for new musical material for the movies that he works on. So once in awhile we send music to Bob.

2) I also know there was some recording done with Joe Bouchard of BOC last year, and the CD is available. Do the two of you play on the Bouchard CD, or do you just have songwriting credits?


Joe Bouchard's cd that you're referring to is "The X-Brothers". Dennis and I did not play on it but we wrote or co-wrote a few songs on the cd.

3.) Could you tell us a little more about these two projects? Specifically who else is involved, their style, and when they may be available?


The only project that Dennis and I are involved with off and on is with Joe Bouchard. We have written about 3 albums worth of songs in the last year or so. The only music that we have recorded to date are some original Christmas songs that may or may not be available by Christmas. They would be on Joe's brother Albert's label "Cellsum Records".
Thanks, Neal!

#16) from Frank

Any chance of you returning full time to performing? Do you think there is any chance of the original Alice Cooper members recording together again?

Q.#16)Hi Frank!

In this world anything can happen. There's no on who loves to play live more than I do, but I would really have to like the musicians that I play with. Since I don't have to play, I have the luxury of waiting to play with musicians that I like. If it's recording or touring, the original ACG would
never do anything together unless all four of us thought it's the right thing to do.
Thanks, Neal!

#17) from Jeff Rondeau

1) I'd like to compliment you on your drumming style present on all the original ACG recordings. You and Dennis made a great and creative rhythmic team. Instead of just holding down the bottom end and keeping a beat the both of you contributed greatly to the compositions and above all helped make all those songs permanently etched in my brain. Who were your early influences and what, if anything, was carried over into your own playing?

Q.#17/1)Hey Jeff!

My early influences were Gene Krupa, Sandy Nelson, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Ringo, Charlie Watts and last but not least Alex Dunthart and John Barry (producer).

Carry overs to my music: Krupa and Nelson solo tom-tom work, i.e.. Black Ju Ju and Slick Black Limousine. The great fills of Baker, i.e.. Under My Wheels. The great grooves that hold verses together like Ringo and Watts, i.e.. Caught In A Dream and Still Got A Long Way To Go. Mitch Mitchell's hi-hat work, i.e.. Killer (intro). Keith Moons energy and showmanship, i.e.. Black Ju Ju. John Barry's use of percussive dynamics and diversity, i.e..Halo of Flies, Killer, Unfinished Sweet, Grand Finale, Man With A Golden Gun. Alex Dunthart's flawless snare technique, Second Coming. Just a few examples.

2) Did you manage to hold onto your old Slingerland's ( the chrome set? ) and if so, do you play them currently?


I still have all of my drums, well over one hundred drums all total. I am currently restoring the chrome Slingerland and it looks great, but I do not play them. I have a double kick birdseye maple Gretch set I play now.

3) After all you've contributed rock music do you still actually practice or is time too hard to come by these days? Thanks for the opportunity to ask these questions Neal.


Dennis and I play a lot with Joe Bouchard (from BOC). We try to get together at least once a week to play and write songs. We have written about 3 albums worth of music in the past year and we've done a little recording also. If anything is released, information would be on my web site.
Thanks, Neal!

#18) from SkiBum91

Neal, can you give any insight on the Song "Hallowed By My Name"? How it came about or anything. It is somewhat similar to "Second Coming" in it's religious reference and was wondering if you and Alice thought about doing something along that line together or if you both came up with your songs totally unaware of the other. Also, the way Dwight Fry blends right in from the end of SC, was this Bob Ezrin's idea or one of you guys? 


Yes, I composed the words and music for "Hallowed Be My Name" and Alice wrote "Second Coming", they were two separate songs and stood on their own merits as did every other song on "Love It To Death". I had a very religious upbringing and that influenced "Hallowed Be My Name" as well as "Apple Bush", that I wrote on "Pretties For You". As I'm sure was the case with
Alice's "Second Coming". The two songs were conceived separately, as a matter of fact, I never thought about there similarities until you mentioned it. I would guess that Dwight Fry into Second Coming was Bob's idea but I don't know for certain.
Thanks, Neal!

#19) from Kevin Landreneau

Hi Neal, With the new music from you and Michael on the Cameron CD (excellent by the way ), Michael being active the last few years writing new music, performing, ect....your just released CD Platinum God, the reunions I've been hearing / reading about the last couple years, and Dennis playing in public after being out of sight for a while, is there any hope for a Billion Dollar Babies reunion? I was thinking this would be an excellent opportunity to perform the newer songs, plus maybe give some new life to the Billion Dollar Babies tunes. I was also thinking if not a tour, maybe just a show that could be taped for the fans who could not make it. Can you comment?

Q.19/1)Hey Kevin!

There is always a possibility of anything happening, but the reason for most of the recent reunions with Michael, Alice, Dennis and myself have been in Glen Buxton's memory. At this point I can not even speculate on anything above or beyond that point. I would do anything for Glen's memory or for the Alice Cooper Group fans of the world.

2.) Speaking of Dennis, How is he doing, and how is his playing these days? 


Dennis is awesome as always! He was the highlight for me playing at Cooperstown for the "GBMW". Dennis and I try to play once a week we usually play with Joe Bouchard (from BOC). He is feeling great and playing even better!
Thanks, Neal!

#20) from Sandra Brown

Hi Neal, What involvement did you have in putting together the boxset ( The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper )?

Q.#20/1) Hi Sandra!

Alice and I got together in 1992 and first discussed putting together the boxset. I then talked to one of our oldest friends at Warner Brothers Records and that was some of the first efforts to get the idea out there. It was a seven year project and after that point I was not to involved. As the boxset was being designed, I helped with a few photos from my personal collection and comments about the songs for the book in the box set. I think it came out great!

2.) What did you think of the show VH1 did on you guys ( Behind The Music )?


I was happy that the VH1 show had dedicated at least half the show to the ACG, I was very unhappy that there was no mention of Glen Buxton and believe me there was plenty of room to cut some stuff that had nothing to do with the band, to make mention of Glen. By the way if there would have never been a Glen Buxton there would have NEVER been an Alice Cooper Group.
Thanks, Neal!

#21) from: Vic

Neal, I live in Waterford/ Pontiac, Michigan... My brother Curt has pointed several times at an old warehouse building on Brown Road off Joslyn & I-75... He said you guys practiced and/or recorded there...? If so, do you remember the album/year that you where there, and a little history on, how you came about finding the place?

Q.#21)Hey Vic!

It is possible that the building that you are referring to, could be the barn that we rehearsed in when we all lived on Brown Road in Pontiac. If it is the same location, we lived there 1970 to 1971 and rehearsed for "Love It To Death" and "Killer", with Bob Ezrin in that very barn. And to tell you
the truth I have no idea how we found the house. Most of the time my sister Cindy and Alice's girlfriend Cindy, would usually look at homes and properties for us. Without a photo I can not be sure, but chances are that it is the same place.
Thanks, Neal!

The end...The Glen Buxton Memorial Mailing List ( GBM ) 1999.

Coordinator; Gary Brown (update: Twitter @GBrown0816)

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Gentle Giant’s iconic album, OCTOPUS has been remixed by Steven Wilson and will be released on October 27, 2015 in both BLU-RAY/CD and CD formats.
Originally released in 1972, OCTOPUS is Gentle Giant’s fourth album. The album features band members: Gary Green (guitars, percussion), Kerry Minnear (keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, cello, vocals), Derek Shulman (vocals, alto saxophone), Phil Shulman (saxophones, trumpet, mellophone, vocals), Ray Shulman (bass violin, guitar, percussion, vocals), John Weathers (drums, percussion, xylophone).  The album was produced by the band and engineered and mixed by Martin Rushent.
The album has been tastefully remixed by Steven Wilson who also remixed Gentle Giant's 'The Power & The Glory' in 2014. Also included is a bonus of Steven’s mix of live 15-minute concert performances of "Excerpts from Octopus"  from the band's 1976 tour.
New sketches by Roger Dean (who produced the original UK album cover) will be included in the new packaging as well as artwork from the USA album (an octopus in a jar created by Charles White).  
The Blu-ray’s remixed album and added 15 minutes of live excerpts will be in 96/24 PCM, DTS 5.1 Surround Sound Master Audio.  The Blu-ray also includes instrumental mixes of 5 of the original 8 tracks from this album. Also included is the flat transfer of the original mix of the album.
The OCTOPUS releases will be through Caroline-UMG in North America, and on Soulfood in the rest of the world on October 27.
 1. The Advent Of Panurge. *
 2. Raconteur Troubadour.   *
 3. A Cry For Everyone.
 4. Knots.
 5. The Boys In The Band. *
 6. Dog’s Life 
 7. Think Of Me With Kindness. 
 8. River. 
 9. Bonus Live “Excerpts From Octopus 1976”.
 * Original stereo mixes and Penteo surround sound upmixes.    
Important Web Addresses

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Review_John Wetton_Vol 1_The Studio Recordings_Anthology

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
15 Sept 2015
New Classic Rock Archival Release
John Wetton: Volume 1 - The Studio Recordings - Anthology (2015 Primary Purpose)

John Wetton: Vol. 1 - The Studio Recordings_Anthology 
It all started thirty-five years ago, back in 1980, when John Wetton launched his solo career with an album called; Caught In A Crossfire. By this time, John was already a successful musician. He stayed busy playing in bands. It just took that long for that first solo record to come out. Now in 2015, thirty-five years later, John's released a new double CD called; John Wetton - Volume One - The Studio Recordings_Anthology, which entirely focuses on his solo music. It makes for a wonderful introduction to his solo work if not already turned on to it. 

Since my acquiring it, I have been playing John Wetton: Vol. 1 - The Studio Recordings - Anthology almost everyday. Two full discs, sixteen songs on each disc. A lot of music. So I play Disc One one day, and Disc Two the next. The CD collection itself, is an upgrade for me because most my early solo John Wetton collections are still on cassette. His later albums I have on CD like his 2011's 'Raised In Captivity'. One of my personal favorites. A must have studio album, especially if a fan of the progressive rock band, Yes. Produced by member, Billy Sherwood, who has mastered several musical instruments (multi-instrumentalist), performs throughout the recording. Current Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes (Buggles_Asia) and original Yes member, keyboardist Tony Kaye (Circa:) also appear on the record. One song that made its way from these guys to the new Anthology. It's called 'Steffi's Ring', a song with Geoff Downes behind the keys. A solid tune! A good choice in music because it waters the mouth for more. Basically, that's the whole idea of doing a release such as this. But enough about John's last solo effort, for there were six more beforehand that one will find various cuts from, on this 2015 release.

I got turned onto John Wetton back when he was with King Crimson. A superior vocalist/bass player/song writer. After that, then a group named UK. That band consisted along with John, Eddie Jobson, Allan Holdsworth, and Bill Bruford. Doing two studio records with UK, John was said to have wanted a more commercial venture. Again, assuming the role of lead vocalist and bass player, but this time for what was labeled a prog-rock supergroup called; Asia. More people generally know John for his work with Asia, probably more than anything. The group Asia over the decades sold millions of records, and with John back with the group since '07, is still going strong today. Impressive is the fact that Mr. Wetton has had a long history of musical employment, since the beginning of the nineteen seventies, and he is still going strong. Today he celebrates life, sobriety, and the fact he's a cancer survivor. The voice is still robust, and his musical abilities demonstrate that of a person who has devoted his life to the subject.

If not having heard any, most of John's solo music could be considered adult contemporary rock n' roll. John's lyrics, mature, deep, and meaningful. The actual music weaving in and around John's singing, occasionally include musicians/old friends from projects past, like Geoff Downes (original Asia band member). The end result being solid musical compositions, all having something memorable about them, and worth listening to time and time again.

Uncle G's Favorite Track from John Wetton - Volume One - The Studio Recordings - Anthology

Drumroll please...

And the winner is...

John Wetton - Lost For Words (Disc One Track Eight)

I like the upbeat tempo. A great rock number! This song has Billy Sherwood, all over it, and also contains some juicy Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs/Deep Purple) guitar work. John's performance is captured perfectly. Music you can turn up the volume to. Off of John's seventh solo, released in 2011 called, Raised in Captivity. Again, what a GREAT record! Many cool people involved, including Robert Fripp, and Steve Hackett. But enough about John's last solo effort, for there were more songs I really dig.

Uncle G's Other Honorable Mentions: Where Do We Go From Here?/Battle Lines/Caught In A Crossfire/Arkangel/Right Where I Wanted To Be/Where Do I Stand From Here?/Say It Ain't So/Raised In Captivity/and Rock Of Faith. All are terrific!! The fact is, there isn't a song offered on this new offering, that I don't like at all. Once knowing the material, it's really just having personal favorites. John is also the producer of this CD. I imagine he hand picked these titles himself, wanting to re-introduce himself in the process to the twenty-first century music buying public.

Uncle G's Rating: John Wetton: Volume One - The Studio Recordings - Anthology 

Using the one to five rating system, whereas one star...wait...come to think of it, nothing I have ever heard from John Wetton was EVER one star material. So using the rating system and starting with 3 stars as the the worst John could ever do,(depending on your musical taste), Uncle G rates the new John Wetton - Volume One - The Studio Recordings - Anthology … 5 stars! Good enough for me to listen to for two weeks straight (inbetween other stuff I like and/or am reviewing), then logic dictates that it's good enough to receive a five star rating.

Fact is with John Wetton, I've always admired his musical abilities. Straight up, the man's a cool rock n' roller who writes, plays a mean ass bass, and can really sing. Being a long time consumer of rock music, his music has indeed been a bright point in my very own existence. Thanks Mr. Wetton. You get the official Uncle G stamp of approval; You ROCK!

Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for
Twitter @GBrown0816

Wednesday 2 September 2015

(5-CD SET)


Styx’s five albums originally released between 1977 and 1983 through A&M are brought together in a brand new 5CD Classic Album Selection for the first time.

Albums include:
1. The Grand Illusion
2. Pieces Of Eight
3. Cornerstone
4. Paradise Theatre
5. Kilroy Was Here

Styx are best known for melding the style of pop rock with the power of hard-rock guitar, strong ballads and elements of international musical theatre, with hit songs like ‘Babe’‘Come Sail Away’, ‘Blue Collar Man’, and ‘Mr. Roboto’. The band has four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum by the RIAA as well as sixteen top 40 singles in the US.

The Band still tour regularly and release albums under the leadership of Tommy Shaw and James "JY" Young. Bassist Chuck Panozzo occasionally tours and appears live with the band and  Dennis De Young now fronts his own band and tours and performs Styx material on his own

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Lynryd Skynyrd

Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd & Second Helping 
– Live From Jacksonville At The Florida Theatre


On 23 October2015, Eagle Rock Entertainment release “Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin'nérd & Second Helping – Live From Jacksonville At The Florida Theatre” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  This is a simultaneous release on DVD, Blu-ray, Double CD and digital formats [Cat Nos: EREDV1186, ERBRD5269, EDGCD642 and EVD1171 respectively].  Recorded this year, this release captures the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd performing their first two studio albums, “Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd” and “Second Helping”, live in their entirety for the first time, at two specially staged concerts at the Florida Theatre in their home town of Jacksonville, Florida.

“Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd” was released in 1973 and includes “I Ain’t The One”, “Gimme Three Steps”, “Tuesday’s Gone” and the seminal “Free Bird”. “Second Helping” was released the following year and includes “Workin’ For MCA”, “Swamp Music”, “Call Me The Breeze” and the classic southern rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama”.

With the Bonus Features offering a special created behind the scenes with Lynyrd Skynyrd section, this release offers nearly two hours of peerless musical entertainment.

1) I Ain’t The One   2) Tuesday’s Gone   3) Gimme Three Steps   4) Simple Man           5) Things Goin’ On   6) Mississippi Kid   7) Poison Whiskey   8) Free Bird   9) Sweet Home Alabama*   10) I Need You   11) Don’t Ask Me No Questions   12) Workin’ For MCA   13) The Ballad Of Curtis Loew   14) Swamp Music   15) Needle And The Spoon   16) Call Me The Breeze
* Track One of CD2 format

The shows captured on “Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd & Second Helping – Live From Jacksonville At The Florida Theatre” represent a special occasion for both the act and their fans as the band performed tracks they’d never or rarely played live before alongside classic songs that are an essential part of any Lynyrd Skynyrd live show. These unique concerts are a must have for any Lynyrd Skynyrd fan.