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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Wham!- 'The Edge of Heaven'

"It's too late to stop
Won't the heavens save me?
My daddy said the devil looks a lot like you
Take me to the edge of heaven
Tell me that my soul's forgiven
Hide you baby's eyes and we can...
Take me to the edge of heaven"

This morning MTV Classic reminded me of one of my very favorite songs
by Wham! "The Edge of Heaven" was originally touted as the duo's farewell single and in many ways it may have really been one of their best. During the summer of 1986 when it was released, George Michael was already enjoying a super-successful solo career and he was totally ready to move on. 

When asked about the obviously sexual lyrics Michael had said that he believed that he and Andrew Ridgeley had gotten away with them because at that point in time no one paid much attention to what they were saying anyway. "The Edge of Heaven" is one of the first black and white videos that I really remember and the guys looked like they had a blast making it, or at the very least they pulled off faking the fun vibe.

Currently Booming: Oran Juice Jones- 'The Rain' on Soul Train

Friday, August 17, 2018

Exclusive Interview: Marq Torien of BulletBoys Dishes on Upcoming Hair Nation Tour, His Solo Project and More

When I mention BulletBoys most rock fans will immediately think of a hard-driving band that is known to all but blow the roof off of a venue while leaving absolutely everything that they had to give on the stage. That's a pretty accurate description of any performance that you'll happen to catch by Marq Torien (Vocals & lead guitar), Nick Rozz (Guitar), Chad MacDonald (Bass), and Anthony Tiny Biuso (Drums) these days. Not content to rest on nostalgia, BulletBoys have released a string of albums over the last thirty years that have shown off the band's musicality and ability to evolve with the times.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a bit of time with the band's loving and gracious founder, Marq Torien this week and he was oozing with excitement and joy over everything that the BulletBoys are, and the things they have planned. Check it out below.

Cate Meighan: I have to admit, I was really excited to learn that BulletBoys would be doing the Hair Nation Tour this fall with Enuff Z'Nuff and Jack Russell's Great White. How thrilled are you?

Marq Torien: We're really ecstatic about it and we thank Live Nation for approaching us to do this. It's the three different bands (BulletBoys, Enuff Z' Nuff and Jack Russell's Great White) and we're all guys that are still putting out records. Jack's amazing and then Chip Z'Nuff and I have been friends forever so it's really cool. Out of the three, we are definitely the hardest band that will be playing on this tour so I think people will be counting on us to blow the roof off the place, and that's exactly what we'll do (laughing). We're kind of like the villains and we're okay with that, we're happy villains (laughing). Even though we're older we still know our place and really roll with that, it's part of the charm of the BulletBoys (laughing). People know what they're going to get with us, they know that we'll be out there just throwing down. We go out there and just blow the stage apart and the biggest gift for us is knowing that we can surprise and win people over based on that performance.

We're pluggin' away kind of like a Zamboni (laughing)! Just slow and steady and if you're going slow and steady, the race is already won. 

CM: You released From Out of the Skies earlier this year and I'm wondering how you feel about that record now that the dust has settled and it has been out for a while.

MT: I'm very grateful that it has done so well and that people are still gravitating towards the record. In all honesty and I'm trying to say this very graciously, I wish we would have had more support from the powers-that-be with this record. I don't know why that wasn't facilitated but it is what it is, and we are who we are. I'm just very happy that people have loved it and the fans have given it amazing accolades, but I wish more support had been there. The BulletBoys camp has worked very, very hard just to be out there on social media doing our part and the fans have been so very loving to us. Our fans and friends are just magical in the way that they've supported this record and I'm glad because we were really trying to do something special for them with this and I think they understood that. 

CM: It really is such a solid record, with so many good, deep songs on it.

MT: Oh, thank you so much. There was definitely a letdown on our side and even though I really do appreciate everything that is ever done for the band, I just wish somebody would have heard this thing the way that the fans have. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink and thankfully there are a lot of beautiful horses out there that came to drink with us at the troth. 

We've received accolades from artists that I revere very much in this business and then also from people that put on their hard hats and head out to work every day. Those are the people that I really want to touch. As a band, we took a risk with this music and people were touched by it. We live in a world where we almost expect everything to be heavy and the fact is, not everything should be. I think that I've crossed those bridges many times vocally and this time around I wanted to do something out of love. The result was a record that is more diverse and it shows off our musicality, so I'm really happy about it. 

CM: I know that you've said that you feel like your writing is more honest now, why do you think that is?

MT: I really think it's because of the people that I have around me. They are wonderful, magical musicians of different genres. I always wanted the BulletBoys to be able to grow musically and when you look at other bands like Aerosmith for example, they've been able to do different things and write different kinds of music. When they did "Janie's Got a Gun" it was completely out of the box for them, we had never heard anything like that from them before and it was a big hit. They took a lot of criticism at first but then also got a lot of love once people understood what they were trying to accomplish. Bigger bands have the freedom to grow musically but for some reason with bands in our genre, fans really like us to keep the same sound and for all of our stuff to sound kind of similar. You want to honor the fans, but at the same time, it can be difficult when as a musician you really need to grow. 

I think that when you're an artist you sometimes have to be a little selfish with your creativity and do what makes your heart smile. Then you just hope that when people actually listen to the record in its entirety. they'll get it. I've never wanted the BulletBoys to just be known as a sex joint band that's constantly facilitating songs about sex. I mean, that's amazing and I love it (laughing), but at some point in time as an artist, you need more. That's not what I got into the business for- the drinking, drugs and sex, I got into it to write music that would move people. 

I also love Chad MacDonald and Nick Rozz with all of my heart. I can honestly say they are my brothers and family now. After almost nine years of performing together, there is a real comfort in being around them and trying new things with them as well. We've done a lot of touring together and we just have a lot of trust, which is such a beautiful thing.

CM: Growth as a band seems to play a recurring theme with you guys doesn't it?

MT: We have always taken steps to grow. On our second record, Freakshow, we were taking bolder steps and doing things a bit more out of the box, even by releasing "THC Groove" as our first single. Everyone else was doing ballads and we weren't going to just follow along instead, we wanted to push different buttons. Then by the time we hit the third record, it did feel a little like we were trying to chase the success of the first one and I just wasn't into it. My favorite song on that record was "Mine" and I really ended up wishing that we had done things more in that vein so when I reinvented the band years later it had to be different. The BulletBoys sound had to be consistent and familiar but I really needed to write songs that tread on different musical waters and into some new waters. I think that we have been able to really bring the band into the now, into 2018, and I really believe that's why we're still semi-relevant (laughing). 

The places that we play, people know what they're going to get, we're a plug and play type of band.  We don't have the budget to facilitate grandiose light shows. No frills, no tricks, there's no soundtracking it's all real vocals and real guitars. It might be a throwback to some in a way, but we see it as straight rock n' roll with a mix of some punk and hard rock. That's what we serve up and hopefully, it'll sound great or maybe it won't (laughing). You never know what's really going to happen when everything is live but there is always that same magical feeling that goes hand in hand with experience of a live show. We like to keep people on their toes too so you never know what we'll be wearing or saying or whatever else. Those things are part of the fun, both for us and for the fans I think. 

CM: I feel like the light shows and bells and whistles often seem to be there to distract from what is missing performance-wise.

MT: I see bands with all of the theatrics and the old footage of them from years gone by rolling on a screen behind them and it almost takes away from it, for me anyway. No disrespect to the bands that do these things and some of the fans love to see that footage, but for me, I just want to watch them play, stripped down and straight away. I think it moves me more as a musician to see an artist playing, mistakes and all. It pulls me in and makes me more interested in what they're doing. I want to watch the band interacting on stage and see the authenticity in the moment. 

It's one of the reasons why I like watching Foo Fighters. There's not a crazy light show or anything, it's about the individuals performing their music. I love to watch my friends in Eagles of Death Metal play because they just are who they really are. The facial expressions are electric and the sweat pouring off his brow is a real reaction to how hard he is performing. I like to go and see bands like that.

We've got some really great bands out there now like The Struts or of course the band of the moment, which is Greta VanFleet, playing their asses off. Rock and roll is definitely not dead, people are coming to shows all over the place. Venues are just packed with rock fans and I love that these bands are really into the performance that they're giving each time out. I love when people are focused on the entertainer rather than a rad light show. 

CM: Authenticity is also crucial for you, isn't it?

MT: Oh yes, things have to be a certain way. I'm kind of a perfectionist and I know I can go a little overboard so sometimes I have to let things go and let the universe take care of it (laughing). That's where I'm at these days, do the best that you can and take things to the highest level possible and then let it go and have some faith. 

CM: I know that you've always been into soul and funk, do they still influence your musical style?

MT: Oh yes absolutely. Even though I play in a rock band I've never really thought of myself as a metal singer. I'm not a Rob Halford, who I love with all my heart because he is just so magical, but I'm more of a soul singer who has real range. While I'm able to sing hard rock, I think I'm naturally more of a 70's style soul singer. I gravitate to soul and R&B music, and also a lot of hip-hop as of late. If I had to choose to listen to either a Kendrick Lamar or Marvin Gaye record then I would choose to listen to Marvin Gaye. I was raised on Motown and actually signed on with them as a young artist, so I'm actually part of the Motown family. That is just such a humbling thing to even say, that's how much I adore that kind of music.

I gravitate towards a lot of different things musically. I've always loved Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and other American rock groups. I love the backstories of what these groups went through in order to become great and I find myself listening to a lot of what I grew up on these days, especially as I'm getting ready to step into the solo realm.

CM: So you need to tell me about your solo plans then- will it be more of a soul-infused sound?

MT: I'm very excited to do my own thing with my own twist and it'll ultimately be my solo project. I've never ever attempted to do one before and so I'm excited about it. I've already got some amazing people lined up to work with me and it's going to be very funky and danceable. That's actually what I've been working on right now and when it's ready, it's ready.

CM: Do you see yourself releasing a full record?

MT: I think this time I'm looking at doing singles'. I've written three BulletBoys records within the past eight years and so I think with this I'm going to step out of that box and do it differently. I'm really excited to do something on my own that will be different from what everyone has already heard me do. 

CM: Does this project feel really freeing for you?

MT: It's actually really scary (laughing), I'm terrified! The thing is I love a challenge and that's what this is, so it's good for me.

CM: What would you like to tell your fans that are counting down the days until the Hair Nation Tour?

MT: That I love them with all of my heart and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for being there as friends and as fans. I love them so bloody hard and I do this for them, as a band, we do this for them. I also want to tell people to try and lead with love. I know it's really hard and some days I don't want to do it either (laughing) but lead with love. Don't gossip because it kills peoples' hearts. If you have something mean to say, just don't do it and instead try to uplift the artists that are still around. I've had a lot of my friends die lately, good people that loved others and tried very hard to perform and make people happy. We're getting older now and we really are on borrowed time so if you love an artist, let them know it. Just love each other, you can never spread too much love in this world, especially now.

Check out the BulletBoys official site for the latest info on everything they have going on. Make sure you check out tour dates, VIP packages and more! Also, follow BulletBoys on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for exclusive goodies!

Currently Booming: Thompson Twins - 'Into The Gap' - (Full Concert 1984)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Whitesnake 'Still Of The Night'

See that guy up there? Well, my teenage self was pretty obsessed with him. David Coverdale first formed Whitesnake in the late 70's after fronting Deep Purple for several years. They released a handful of albums but it was Whitesnake's 1987 self-titled release that ultimately turned them into a household name. Songs like "Here I Go Again" and "Is This Love" soared to the top of Billboard's charts and Whitesnake was considered to be one of the best bands to come out of the 80's hair band era, mainly because they could really play.

I still remember the first time I saw this group on Headbanger's Ball  (don't lie, you watched that show too). "Still of the Night" was the very first single off of Whitesnake's self-titled effort and it was like nothing else from that era. The first two minutes absolutely kicked ass but when it slowed down I was totally sucked in. I also realized that Coverdale only had to mumble the words "ohhh baby" and I was a goner. 

Has anyone else ever played their bass onstage with a bow? Not that I can remember but that effect helped to propel "Still of the Night" onto the list of top rock songs of all time. The video introduced us to the hotness of Coverdale and also one of the most popular video chicks of all time, Tawny Kitaen. Truly something for everyone in today's throwback clip so enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Daily Boom 90's Nostalgia: Queen - 'The Show Must Go On'

Empty spaces, what are we living for
Abandoned places, I guess we know the score
On and on, does anybody know what we are looking for
Another hero, another mindless crime
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Hold the line, does anybody want to take it anymore
The show must go on

"The Show Must Go On" is probably one of my most favorite songs by Queen. It was recorded in 1990 at the height of Freddie Mercury's battle with full blown AIDS and there was concern that he wouldn't be able tp actually hit the necessary high notes. While the rest of the band may have thought that he was too weak to actually perform it Mercury knew better and pulled off the tough vocals in spite of his fading health. The song itself is filled with innuendo about Mercury's health and how change was pretty imminent. 

The press had speculated that the legendary front man was ill but no confirmation of Mercury's HIV-positive status was ever given until the day before his death in 1991. "The Show Must Go On" was also released in 1991 and the video that accompanies it features the band performing together at various gigs over the years. Check out the late, great Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen below.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Bananarama- 'Trick Of The Night'

When the day is over
And the work is done
Well it's a different story
As the darkness comes around
I tried to let you know
You're going the wrong way

And the streets you thought
Would all be paved with gold
But when the wind cuts through
You'd even try to sell your soul
Everywhere you go
It's the long way

Bananarama is easily one of the most popular girl groups of the 80's. Songs like "Cruel Summer", "Venus" and "I Heard A Rumor" kept them near the top of Billboard's Hot 100 charts for a few years in the mid-80's. Their True Confessions album from 1986 is probably one of my all-time favorite pop efforts from that era, with "A Trick of the Night" arguably being one of Bananarama's best songs ever. The album version is basically a ballad but when it was released in December of 1986 as a single extra synthesizers and vocals were added in to give it a dance feel.

"A Trick of the Night" was also included on the Jumpin' Jack Flash movie soundtrack. While the song kind of stalled out on the charts it is still considered by many to be one of the ladies best songs, especially in retrospect. Do you guys remember this one?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Def Leppard - 'Pour Some Sugar On Me'

"Love is like a bomb baby c'mon get it on

Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man? (Your man)

Razzle 'n' a dazzle 'n' a flash a little light

Television lover, baby, go all night
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah innocent sugar me, yeah, yeah
So c'mon, take a bottle, shake it up
Break the bubble, break it up

Pour some sugar on me
Ooh in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C'mon fire me up"

Today's throwback is a song that really needs no introduction or explanation. In 1987, after spending years in the studio putting it together, Def Leppard finally released Hysteria. The album was made with the intention of every track on it being single-worthy and they achieved exactly that. No song was bigger than "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and thirty years later it's one of those songs that nearly everyone knows the words to, regardless of their age. So click play and sing along below.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Pet Shop Boys - 'Love Comes Quickly'

You can live your life lonely
heavy as stone
Live your life learning
and working alone
Say this is all you want
but I don't believe that it's true
'cause when you least expect it
waiting round the corner for you
Love comes quickly
whatever you do
you can't stop falling
Love comes quickly
whatever you do
you can't stop falling

1986 was the year when The Pet Shop Boys broke through in the states. "West End Girls" shot to the top of the charts and synth music was at the height of its' popularity. The Pet Shop Boys followed up that song with a track called "Love Comes Quickly" that didn't do quite as well on the charts. It still remains one of the band's favorite songs as well as one of mine. "Love Comes Quickly" is about the lack of control you have when falling in love. Suddenly it hits you that the feelings are already there.

Check out this live performance of the song from Wembley in 1989!

Daily Boom's Soundtrack Sunday: 'Beverly Hills Cop'

Beverly Hills Cop (1984) great 80's movie, fun and good music too. Eddie Murphy

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Currently Booming: 80's Quiz Time!

Daily Boom 70's Throwback: Anita Ward - 'Ring My Bell'

The night is young and full of possibilities
Well come on and let yourself be free

My love for you, so long I've been savin'
Tonight was made for me and you

Technically, "Ring My Bell" actually was released in the summer of 1979 but I'm going to sneak it in here anyway. It sold millions of copies and made sure that Anita Ward would be forever remembered as one of disco's biggest stars. It may be one of the most suggestive songs to come out of the decade but believe it or not it was actually written for a young teen to sing. Yep, "Ring My Bell" was originally supposed to be about a teen girl getting a phone call! Once it was given to Ward the lyrics were tweaked to really sex it up.

"Ring My Bell" stands out because I was totally a disco kid and it was a 45 that I HAD to have. Like, I was 8-years-old and I walked into the record store with my dad and plunked down my own money to buy it. I can still see dad telling my mom about my selection and her freaking out. Dad just laughed and reminded her that I had absolutely no idea what the song was really about and that I bought it for the music. True story but to this day every time that I hear "Ring My Bell" I still can see dad standing there justifying me buying it.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Exclusive Interview: Enuff Z'Nuff Returns with New Music and a Spot on the 'SiriusXM Hair Nation Tour'

(Photo: Dave Steckert)

I think that most people believe that once you "make it" in the music industry you're sort of set for life if you handle your money properly. The actual truth is that the music business is at best, a harsh place to try and exist. You could be at the top of the charts and playing sold-out shows now and in six months you're back to waiting tables or washing dishes. The only solid guarantee is that every star eventually falls from the sky and then it takes talent, timing and unshakable determination to get back up again. That's why I love to see an old school band with a plan get another real shot to reclaim their spot amongst those stars.

Enuff Z'Nuff is the latest group to do just that. The band first formed back in 1984 with Chip Z'Nuff leading the way on lead vocals and guitar. They had a few solid hits like "Fly High Michelle" and "New Thing" that were in heavy rotation on MTV. Back in the day, being on MTV every four hours meant that you were part of the crop of headbanger heaven bands that sold out huge venues and raked in tons of cash from (actual physical) record sales. Enuff Z'Nuff may have fit into that mold but their sound has never actually just been straight metal. There also include pop, rock, blues and a touch of soul stylings in their songs and they have a catalog which runs 20 albums deep. Not bad for a band from Blue Island, Illinois. 

While band members have come and gone, Chip Z'Nuff's positive determination to continue writing and performing has not only remained, but it continues to flourish. Enuff Z'Nuff is not only back with a new album, Diamond Boy (due out on August 10), but its' first single from it, "Metalheart" is already catching fire. Last week it was announced that the band (Z'Nuff, Tony Fennell on guitar, Troy Stoffregen on guitar and Dan Hill on drums) will hit the road this fall as part of SiriusXM's Hair Nation 2018 Tour.

Clearly, it's a rebirth for the band and Chip couldn't be happier. I had a chance to speak with him this week and his excitement is infectious. A few minutes into the conversation I found myself really rooting for his band to take these new opportunities and turn them into something even better.

M3 Rock Festival 2016
(Photo: Dave Steckert)

Cate Meighan: Enuff Z'Nuff seems to be experiencing a bit of a rebirth and the fans are thrilled to see you guys back in a big way. How does it all feel for you now?

Chip Z'Nuff:  The fan loyalty level is just amazing, I mean let's face it, things change and as an artist, I'm still out here trying to figure out what will trip their trigger. So for our band to still have that kind of base after so many years, it feels really great. There's a lot of groups like us still out there pulling in great attendance at their shows and it's because the music is strong and has lasted the test of time. That really says a lot There aren't a lot of radio stations really supporting rock-n-roll, however, any of the big bands that are out there, they're selling out arenas and stadiums. I think guys like Guns N' Roses have really given rock the shot in the arm that it needed. If you put all of those bands from the 80's and 90's together, they sold hundreds of millions of records. I'm really rooting for the newer bands out there like The Struts and Greta Van Fleet. I'd like to see some of them get a big break because it's such a fleeting and difficult business right now.

CM: Record sales used to be the biggest part of the business!

CZ: Yeah and you're never going to see that now with groups because people don't always buy the music, they get it for free. It's something the fans need to realize, that it takes hundreds of hours to create the music and then it costs a Brinks truck full of money to actually pay for the record. It's a different business right now and while bands love to go out and play live shows and do meet and greets, they also HAVE to do these things in order to stay alive financially. You play a two-hour show and then you rush back to the merch booth to say hi to the fans. It's something you really have to do now and it's important to the fans because back in the old days they couldn't get near their favorite musicians. Thankfully I love meeting the fans and I appreciate them. Steven Tyler says it best, "If you want to be successful in this business you've got to want it 24 hours a day." and I think that's true so meeting those who support the music is really important. I also think that Enuff Z'Nuff fans know that they are a huge part of our existence and that's why they're still supporting our music.

CM: I know that you're excited because your twentieth album, Diamond Boy, drops on August 10th. Has your writing process changed over the years and what inspired you this time around?

CZ: It has changed a little bit. There are so many great songs already out there, how many times can you say the same things? That's the biggest fear for any musician, just running out of material. When you look at bands like Aerosmith or Cheap Trick it's amazing how they keep coming up with songs and material. But there really is inspiration everywhere if you pay attention. Whether it's lipstick on a glass or something that someone else says that catches your attention as it slips off their tongue. The world is full of inspiration and you just hope that the songs come to you. For me as an artist, I might go a month without anything and then bingo, I'll write 3 songs in one day. I can't always explain what triggers it but I'm grateful that the songs still come to me.

This record was no exception. When Frontiers Music said that they were going to up our deal to include three records, that made me so excited and I just started to write about everything going on in my life. It's like an autobiography of things that I've been through and things that I've seen. The way the world has changed gave me tons of ideas for songs and we hashed out this record in about 17 days. It was incredible and we recorded it fairly quickly on two-inch tape like the old guys did. In the early days Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen and all of those great bands recorded on two-inch tape and so we decided to do the same. We played it live, had no room for error, no pro-tools stuff, and very minimal overdubs. We didn't want to overproduce this record and go crazy on it because we wanted to be able to go right out and perform it live. We wanted to sound just like the album live and so that was a big challenge, to not go overboard with production and I think we nailed it.

CM: That worked out pretty perfectly since you'll be performing on the SiriusXM Hair Nation Tour from September through November.

CZ: This is the first time in twenty years where we have just made a record and the label has us already set up to tour. Usually, you make the record and watch for the first 4-8 weeks to see if there's any traction. If the spark doesn't cause a fire then maybe you'll do a few shows but you're going to be making another record sooner rather than later, and that's if the label even still has confidence in you. The last record, Clown's Lounge, did well enough for them to tell us to make another one. We gave them the new album Diamond Boy and right away they got us on the Hair Nation Tour, which made us realize we actually have a chance again.

In the old days you had to sell 50,000 albums to make Billboard's top 200 album list, now with our album coming out in August and this tour starting in September, there's actually a chance for Enuff Z'Nuff to see a little bit of action. We hope that people will buy the record and it'll make them want to come and see us play live. Maybe we'll make some noise, move some units and get to do another tour after the Hair Nation Tour wraps up.

(Photo: Dave Steckert)

CM: I love your excitement right now, it really feels like a fresh start, doesn't it?

CZ: This is a real test for Enuff Z'Nuff right now because it really is a new chapter in our band life. Everything is new and some great things are happening for us. If you told me ten years ago that this would happen for us again I would never have believed you, so I'm determined to work my ass off now to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity. This is our 20th album and there's never a guarantee that you'll get to do another, so it's truly amazing to get to keep doing this. I give so much credit to the band for wanting to continue to make new music with me. A lot of the guys our age are living in the past and playing their songs from a long time ago. It's an honor to be able to play stuff that's decades old, especially when you know that people still love it, but it's risky and a real challenge to put out something new. I give my band credit for being bold and brave enough to do it.

CM: As a band, do you plan ahead or do you just go with the flow and let things unfold for you?

CZ: Obviously, I'll have ideas or a template for what I hope to do but some things just come to you. There's no way to plan things out to perfection so as I sit here, the glass is half full. It's a positive vibe every single day and I wait for the team (laughing). The inmates are no longer running this asylum. I listen to my management team, the booking agent and anyone else that is truly looking out for our best interests right now. I look at what they suggest and generally go with it and it seems to work out well that way.

Obviously, some things come in at the last minute because this business is predicated on friendships and years of business relationships, so we'll show up and support each other.  You can never plan completely what you're going to do because we're living in a time of too much product and not enough demand. So when someone asks, you get on that plane and go. If you want it then you better get out there and hustle for it because no one is just going to hand it to you.

We're going to make the most of things right now. The band is sounding stronger than ever live and we have a ton of shows happening, aside from the Hair Nation tour. We're going to take this new record and bring it to South America, Mexico, Europe and wherever else. We know that there are fans all over the place and I want us to really reach them.

M3 Rock Festival 2016
(Photo: Dave Steckert)

CM: The first single from Diamond Boy, "Metalheart" has been well-received by both the fans and the critics. That has to make you feel pretty good.

CZ: "Metalheart" is doing really well and I never would have guessed that it would (laughing). I write the songs but I don't pick what comes out as a single, the record company basically comes in and tells us what will be the first song. We can give a suggestion but that's it, they do have the final say and they were really smart to put that one out first. "Metalheart" is getting some real traction because the pop fans like it as well as the rock fans. We're not really a metal band, or just a rock band, or a pop band. We end up with all three of those elements in our music, which is great for us, but I think it's hard to actually categorize Enuff Z.Nuff's sound. They say you are what you eat and we definitely have moments of resembling the sound of those groups that we grew up on. You might hear something Beatles-esque in our music, or a riff might remind you a little bit of a Zeppelin song. That's what we were raised on and those stylings have stayed with us. It's not just metal or just rock for us. We love it all and to not fall into just one category for our music is really a compliment that we love hearing. Sounding unique is what keeps people interested.

CM: So, the album is out on August 10th and the tour starts in September. Are there any other surprises coming for us?

CZ:  Actually, we just finished shooting videos for two singles with Paul McCartney's videographer here in New York, which was amazing. The guy is terrific and he has a wonderful sense of things and so I'm really excited to have these videos come out in conjunction with the record. I think the fans will love them!

M3 Rock Festival 2016
(Photo: Dave Steckert)

CM: What would you like to tell those fans that are so excited to see Enuff Z'Nuff thriving again?

CZ: I hope all of our fans live to be 100 years old (laughing), I really do. I also hope that their worst day of this year is like the very best day that they had last year. Nothing but great, positive things for our fans. To say thank you is not nearly enough. I'm going to keep writing the best songs that I can and putting out the best music possible. I want our fans to know that it's a new chapter for Enuff Z'Nuff, we're back and we can't wait to see you all at the shows.

Head over to Enuff Z'Nuff's official site to keep up to date on everything that the band has going on. Check out upcoming tour dates here and support the band by buying a copy of Diamond Boy here!

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Paula Abdul - 'Straight Up'

Image result for paula abdul straight up

"Lost in a dream;
I don't know which way to go.
A-let me say if you are all that you seem,
Then baby, I'm movin' way too slow.
I've been fooled before;
Wouldn't like to get my love caught in the slammin' door.
How about some information, please?
Straight up, now tell me ,
Do you really wanna love me forever,
Oh, oh, or am I caught in hit and run?"

I think just about everyone loved Paula Abdul back in the late 80's. She kind of seemed like the girl next door in interviews but once she hit the dance floor it was nothing but fire. My friends and I wanted to dance like her and the guys around us wanted to spend a little time with her as well. What is cool about "Straight Up" is that it sold a million copies the first week that it was out and it shot to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 before a video was even released!

Oh and that video? It was kind of everything. The black and white was a nice departure from the bright colors of the decade and it was memorable. People over the years have claimed that Abdul can't sing but again I need to remind you that she hit number one without a video filled with her sick choreography to bolster the song.

Abdul eventually traded in making music for mentoring and judging others on shows like American Idol. Just when it seemed like her own performing days might be over Abdul started hitting the stage again. You can check out upcoming performance dates on her official site, but in the meantime, check out Abdul at her best below!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Billy Squier - 'In The Dark'

Image result for Billy Squier In The Dark

"Life isn't easy from the singular side

Down in the hole some emotions are hard to hide

It's your decision, it's the chance that you take

It's on your head, it's a habit that's hard to break
Do you need a friend, would you tell no lies

Would you take me in, are you lonely in the dark

In the dark"

Wayyyy back in the very early 80's there was a young rocker named Billy Squier that was kind of like a shooting star. He could sing and play and perform with the best of them. His earliest songs like "The Stroke" and "My Kinda Lover" did great on the charts and they were pop-ish enough to get a whole lot of top 40 airplay as well. 

"In The Dark" was my absolute favorite though. It has such a great edge to it and when I hear it now 37 years later I still really dig it. It was considered a no-brainer that Squier would have a long-standing career in rock, at least until 1984 album Signs of Life was released. The lead single, "Rock Me Tonight" was the biggest hit of his career but the video that accompanied it was so awesomely bad that it is often viewed as the thing that all but killed Squier's career. He is still around and you might catch him playing but his career just never was the same.

I've always kind of wondered if it was the negativity that did him in or if it was his reaction to it. If it somehow ate away at him and made him a little fearful of creating some new stuff. Either way, it's a shame because this dude is pretty great. Check out "In The Dark" below!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Exclusive Interview: Brian Vollmer of Helix on the 'Controlled Passion' Necessary for Longevity in Music

Sometimes in this life you have to take a risk. That's exactly what Helix founder/lead singer Brian Vollmer did way back in 1974. He walked away from that nine to five drudgery to chase a musical dream that just so happened to turn into his life's work. The faces in Helix may have changed over the years but Volmer and the current lineup, Chris Julke (lead guitars), Kaleb Duck(lead guitars), Daryl Gray(bass guitar), Greg Fritz Hinz (drums), are just as thrilled to be able to perform the classics live as they are to be creating new music.

I had a chance to catch up with Vollmer this week and appreciated his insight on the business side of making music as well the kind of "controlled passion" that it takes to persevere as an artist. Check it out below!

Cate Meighan: So how's life in London, Ontario Canada?

Brian Vollmer: Pretty good, my wife and I spend summers here and we'll play concerts across the country, with an occasional gig outside of Canada. Then our winters we spend in Fort Myers, FL and we love it there.

CM: I didn't realize that you spend part of the year in Florida. I know a lot of Helix fans wish that they could see you perform in the states.

BV: The problem with that is that the U.S. work permits are very restrictive. If we were to do a date anywhere in the states we need a work permit. If you slow track the permit then you have to apply for it four months in advance of the date and it's about $400. If you don't have the time to slow track it then add another grand for the permit, so it would be $1400 for the band and another $1400 for the road crew. Then we still need flights down, a car at the airport and so on. All of these things come with zero guarantees that we'll get in (to the country) and zero refund if we don't. So why should I go through mountains of paperwork, rolling the dice when I can play here in Canada (laughing)?

CM: It's important to mention these things so that the fans really understand how the business works and some of the major ways that it has changed over the years.

BV: Exactly and that's why I have a newsletter that I've been working on all year long. It gets sent out through a mail delivery service online and I've worked really hard personally to get people to sign up one at a time. I think that's a great way to do it because it gives me a personal connection with each fan and so I really don't mind if it takes a little bit longer to build up the readership, because I know that they're going to open the thing up when they see it in their box. We have a very high opening rate, this service tracks these things so we can actually see how many have been opened, and I believe going that extra mile really does matter to the fans.

CM: When Helix first started out back in the early 70's did you think that heavy metal would last for longer than a wave or two?

BV: I always thought that heavy metal would eventually turn into something similar to what blues became, a genre of music that a smaller fraction of people follows, but they follow it fervently.  The same thing did, in fact, happen with metal. There are certain metal labels around the world that are thriving and it's because of the fans.

Country fans are like that too, they're very loyal. Back in the days of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and the like, their fans never forgot them and they would always come out and support them.  The same has happened with metal but we could use a little more radio support. The same goes for new music by classic rock artists, if you stick one song in there every once in a while people could care less. I think if you had a whole station or playlist with new material by old artists, then I think people would follow that. The fans are there for the new Robert Plant or the newest Great White, or whatever. It sounds like whimsical dreaming (laughing) but I believe that people really would listen.

CM: What keeps you out there performing after all these years?

BV: It's the music. I was always into music even as a kid I writing music, drawing pictures, taking photographs with my grandfather's camera- I did all that stuff. I still do those things but now I'm paid for it (laughing) and that's pretty cool, ya know? Life is full of decisions and I made the decision a long time ago to leave a job in 1974, one that I could now be retired from and sitting in a $500,000 house. That wasn't the life for me, I hated it so I sold my car and went on the road. I didn't have another new car for 26 years. It shows you how lucrative the music business is and I bought that car after gold and platinum albums, for god sakes!

I still just love the music and I even love the traveling. Some musicians hate that part and I think it's the most exciting thing in the world (laughing). I was a farm kid and so my parents really didn't have the money to go anywhere so for me, it's still a thrill. I like to point out to people that in any given 24 hour day we spend 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working and 8 hours paying bills, painting the house or whatever. So since we spend a third of our lives working isn't it better to pick a job that you like? Most people don't! Most people end up picking jobs that they hate just to get two weeks of holidays a year. If you like your job then it's like a holiday every day. Not every day is fun, don't get me wrong, it's work and you have to have controlled passion when you do this job.

I think that's why a lot of musicians are prone to be up and down emotionally because they get off on that rush of playing, and then there are a whole bunch of days where you have to handle actual business which is a drag (laughing). Not every day is a big gig and a lot of people need that rush and then they're in it for the wrong reasons. You need to be in it to make music and you need to have a controlled passion because you're developing a craft. Your craft isn't fully made in two weeks, two months or even in two years, it takes a lifetime.

CM: What's up next for you and Helix?

BV: We have three more dates left for the summer and we're always working on new music. We have The Story of Helix coming out soon. I just keep putting out new material and hope that people will like and buy it (laughing). While no one is selling as many units these days I do think that people look at you in a different light if you're still putting out new material. They see you as more of an artist that way, rather than somebody up there just doing a milk run. If you record new material it might not hit right off the bat and that's okay. Maybe ten years down the line it'll get some attention, you just never know what's going to happen.

CM: Helix fans are so loyal, what would you like to say to them?

BV: Well thank you because the fans are our lifeblood. We need them to make it out here so it makes sense to take the time to connect with them in a real way. I once saw something on the internet about how to maintain a business with just 5,000 customers by adding details about your product as it grows and changes. I think the same goes for the band and that those little details matter. It really doesn't take that much to make music fans happy, they just like to feel included and so we really make a point of including them in all that we do.

Check out Planet Helix for absolutely everything- upcoming show dates, their newsletter and of course their music and merch! You can also connect with Helix on Facebook.

Daily Boom 90's Nostalgia: Debbie Gibson - 'Anything Is Possible'

"Much to my surprise I felt
A warm, not cold vibe
When he looked in my eyes
(Oh yeah, it's possible)
His bad boy front not charm
Was his disguise
Oh whoa whoa
(Let me tell ya)
He read so much into me
Listened so attentively
He liked me, I rest my case
Wasn't just a pretty face."

Debbie Gibson was one of the biggest pop princesses to come out of the 80's. By the time 1990 rolled around she (and much of her audience) had grown up and it was time to prove it. "Anything Is Possible" marked the debut of a sexier Gibson. The video included black lace, leather, and sleeker dance moves. It was probably one of her better singles in terms of packaging but by 1990 the pop waves were starting to slow down. That meant fewer sales for Gibson and this ended up being her first album not to break the top ten on Billboard's chart. I think 25+ years later it still holds up as one of her best and updated songs. Check out the video below!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Melissa Etheridge -' Like The Way I Do'

Melissa Etheridge looking fine...

"Baby tell me does she love you like the way I love you
Does she stimulate you, attract and captivate you
Tell me does she miss you existing just to kiss you
Like the way I do
Tell me does she want you, infatuate and haunt you
Does she know just how to shock and electrify and rock you
Does she inject you, seduce you and affect you
Like the way I do
Like the way I do"

Years before Melissa Etheridge became an Indie rock darling of the 90's she made some serious moves as a rocker. When her self-titled first album was released back in 1988 it featured a song called "Like The Way I Do". It never charted well on Billboard's Hot 100 but it did really well on the modern rock charts. It also was in heavy rotation on rock stations across the U.S. In between Warrant and Kix you were quite likely to hear Etheridge's "Like The Way I Do" or "Similar Features" being played to break up the hair band predictability.

Check out the video for "Like The Way I Do" below!

Currently Booming: Vinnie Vincent Invasion - Full Show 1988 (Watch)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Kiss- 'Hide Your Heart'

Better hide your heart, better hold on tight
Say your prayers, 'cause there's trouble tonight
When pride and love battle with desire
Better hide your heart, 'cause you're playing with fire

One of the ways to almost ensure a hair band hit back in 1980-something was to create a love triangle that played out in under 5 minutes. The story of Tommy, Rosa and Tito laid the groundwork for "Hide Your Heart" by KISS back in 1989. The history behind this song is kind of interesting because after Paul Stanley first wrote the song it was actually rejected for the band's 1987 album, so Bonnie Tyler recorded it. Her version of "Hide Your Heart" was released in 1988 but didn't exactly set the rock world on fire.

Eventually, KISS did decide to record the song for their 1989 Hot In The Shade release and it did pretty well on the main steam rock charts, reaching number 22. While this wasn't one of the best charting songs by KISS it actually has always been a favorite of mine. Check out the video below. Do you guys remember this one? You HAVE to, right?

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Exclusive Interview: John Schneider's 'Odyssey' is a Healing Inspiration for Everyone it Reaches

(John Schneider Promo Shot- Official Facebook)

When I mention the name John Schneider I'm going to bet that the first image that comes to mind is a flash of the 70's breakout television hit, The Dukes of Hazzard, right? If you're a little younger than me then maybe you're brain races to that dad you wished you had on Smallville. Schneider has made a name for himself by breathing life into characters that are uniquely embedded in our own personal history. He is also a well-established country music veteran that has spent this entire year piecing together a labor of love called, The Odyssey.

The concept is simple enough, one new song is released each week and it is intended to touch on topics that we all feel- death, illness, love and all of the other complications that weave in and out of a life well lived. Actually recording this kind of extensive catalog is not as simple as the concept and Schneider has brought in the big guns to help. Fifty-two songs have been recorded with the help of esteemed songwriters like Paul Overstreet, Chuck Cannon, Keith Stegall, Jenee Fleenor, Mac Davis, Kyle Jacobs and Bill Anderson, to name just a few.

 The Odyssey has unfolded in ways that even Schneider couldn't have anticipated, making this fantastic project a personal awakening even for him. I was able to spend a few minutes with him this week and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to share his excitement while appreciating his depth and keen sense of the things that matter most of all. 

Check out the conversation below!

(John Schneider Promo Shot- Official Facebook)

Cate Meighan: How are you doing? 

John Schneider: I'm doing really well and in many regards, my life has just never been better. I've never felt more creative or like I was making more of a difference than I am now and it's all about this music. I wish I could tell you that this is what I thought that it would be about when I first started The Odyssey, but I'm not that smart (laughing). I'm just ecstatic with where it's all at now and the direction that it's going in.

CM: How long did it take for you to realize that The Odyssey was going to become a transformative project for you?

JS: When Alicia Allain (The Odyssey producer) and I went back to Nashville with this project people that we talked to like musicians, songwriters, and producers, all said it's about damn time because they missed the way that I tell a story. That is just the biggest compliment that I can possibly get. There are a lot of singers out there and a lot of people can sing a song well but not a lot of people can really feel the story of a song. I'm a dad that cried at Finding Nemo (laughing), I mean I weep when I think about the movie Up, the first 45 minutes of that movie just tear me apart (laughing). I feel things and so when I tell a story, I'm really feeling it. We knew we were heading in the right direction pretty quickly.

CM: I've noticed that your audiences are equally receptive to your storytelling.

JS: It's just great, not only to see an audience singing along with the fun songs but to be wiping their eyes to something a bit more serious. We did a song called "I Want to Hear It Again" which is basically a very one-sided conversation between a man and his father who is losing his hearing. It's about how he would give anything to hear tires on the gravel road or his moms' windchimes again and it is wonderful to know that there are other people out there like me, who have not been totally hardened by whatever has gone on in their life up until this point.

CM: I think that the details in your lyrics trigger their own memories and personal nostalgia.

JS: I guess that's probably a big part of why it seems to work and it's just so wonderful. This also goes back to Smallville and Dukes of Hazzard for me. When people talk to me about those shows it's part of their own personal history. You know, they spent Friday nights at their grandparents and it was their grandfather's favorite show. It's the same thing with Smallville, many people have shared that their own relationship with their father wasn't great, but that my character gave them hope, What an awesome position to be in where so many people connect me to some of their fondest nostalgic memories and what an honor that really is. I also feel a tremendous responsibility to try, in some way, to reflect the person that they think I am. This music does that, and it has a sense of humor in songs like "I Hate Cancer" or "My Wife Ran Away With My Best Friend, I'm Sure Gonna Miss Him" (laughing).

CM: Life is hard though and you have to have a sense of humor. to get through everything. What has the actual process of creating these songs been like for you?

JS: I'm really excited about the process because it has enabled me to work with some of the most sought-after musicians on the planet and the best songwriters in the business, not just currently but over the last 40 or 50 years. Music, at its' best, is an amazing tool to bring people together. What else in the world can make you feel like you're in high school again? You know it's THAT song, the one you heard on THAT trip with your buddies when you went to wherever it was and were doing whatever you shouldn't have been doing (laughing).

What makes this music exceptional is that everybody who either wrote it or played on it is that guy or girl, so it means something to them or they wouldn't have been attracted to it. People of this caliber don't do something because it's a job, they do something because they want to do it and because it means something to them.

CM: Was there a kind of personal enlightenment for you that happened as this project started to unfold?

JS: Oh yes definitely and I'm realizing it as I'm talking about it to other people, more so than when I've actually been recording it. We just finished the final 18 songs last week, so they're still hot off the presses, and I'm realizing that I'm not putting out something that I need to find a way to sound excited about. I'm not trying to figure out a way to somehow give the impression that this music has changed my life, because it just has! I'm crazy about this stuff, I just love it and I think people can feel that.

CM: I think that comes through in the music, the feelings involved are obvious and I think your audience catches on quickly.

JS: I think that they can just feel it and so many odd things happened along the way. Jim Martin has quite a few cuts now and is one of the guys who wrote: "Wherever She is I Hope She Stays There".  He has worked at the Opryland Hotel as the nighttime janitor for 28 years and anyone else, once they started recording their music would have probably stopped being the janitor of the hotel. Jim is still there and he still does that, because it's his job.

Alicia and I decided to do a video for the song "Phantom of the Grand  Ole Opry" and we knew that Jim, who is 6 foot 4 and has had some pretty serious health issues, had to be in it. He's just a sweetheart with an infectious laugh. So we called him up and told him that we want him to do this video and that's when he tells us that the man who wrote this song, wrote it about him! The songwriter, who I never had a chance to meet, was very close to Jim and eventually passed away because of cancer and Jim in turn then wrote "I Hate Cancer" with this friend in mind. So in a really unique way, a lot of these songs are interconnected on a very emotional level.

We also want to make the audience part of The Odyssey so for "I Hate Cancer" I asked people on Facebook to send me photos of their loved ones who have been affected or afflicted by this horrible illness. I have about 200 photos that were submitted and looking at them one at a time to the words of the video is just pretty heavy. We wanted to include these precious people in this video, not only as a tribute to them but as a way to help these families support one another. They aren't alone, we have all been touched by cancer.
CM: There's often a real comfort in actually seeing that you aren't alone in your pain.

JS: Yes and it seems as if this music is not only healing to me and important to the people who play on it, but it has some tremendous healing properties for those who wrote it and those who are living it as well. I'm not a believer in just hanging out and waiting to see what happens. We're working our asses off and this music really touches nerves. It's life-changing for those who are involved and I believe that it can be the same for those who listen and hear it.

I am honored to be a part of this project and the further down the road Alicia and I go with it, the more we realize that this was not our idea, we just so happened to be open to doing it and so it became ours. Somebody else would have done this. Somebody would have put these songs together and I'm just so thankful that it was us. We could have stopped at 34 songs easily, but if we had stopped then we would have been missing some really fantastic and important material.

CM: Based on the way that things have been unfolding for you in the last year or so, do you feel like you can even guess what will come next in your career?

JS: It seems to always end up better than I thought, especially now. This time next year I believe we'll take this music from The Odyssey and we'll be playing it everywhere, from large venues to little clubs, radio stations, hospital wards- you name it. This is the kind of music that will work just as well in a large venue as it will for just a few people because it means something and it has real emotional value. I'll always have my guitar in the back of the car and ready to play, I'll never stop being that guy when this music takes off. Our lives are short and we're here for such a brief amount of time but while we're here, we should smile. I'm excited to be able to help people to smile.

Check out John Schneider's official site for music, show dates and everything else that he has going on. Also, join him on Facebook and become part of his interactive community!

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Bad English- 'Forget Me Not'

I will be your keeper you possess the key
Forget me not forget me not
'Cause you belong to me, yeah
I will be your shadow when you walk away
Forget me not forget me not
I will follow you until your dying day.

Those lyrics are a little stalker-ish, aren't they? John Waite has always been a favorite of mine when I think back to 1980-something. I instantly connect him with his ballady "Missing You" and while I know that he was the lead vocalist for Bad English in 1989, I completely forgot about this song ."Forget Me Not" was a huge hit on the modern rock charts, in spite of not cracking the top 40 on Billboard's Hot 100.

I happened to catch this video this weekend on VH1 Classic's Totally 80's and was sucked in by the guitar work. I remember when Bad English first arrived on the scene I had a hard time taking John Waite seriously with all of that hair but the songs, boy did they click. As of right now, they still do.

Currently Booming: New Music- Peabo Bryson- 'Stand For Love' (Listen)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Billy Idol - 'Flesh For Fantasy'

Billy Idol

"There's a change in pace

Of fantasy and taste

Do you like good music

Do you like to dance
Oh yeah
Hangin' out for a body shop at night
Ain't it strange what we do to feel alright
Oh yeah
So when will you call
I am experienced oh yeah"

I think between late 1983 and 1984 it was absolutely impossible for MTV to play for more than an hour without showing a Billy Idol video. "Rebel Yell" became an instant anthem and Idol's classic sneer and bad boy demeanor made "Eyes Without A Face" equally popular. But "Flesh For Fantasy"? That was my favorite. Probably because it was edgier and the video featured some (barely dressed) bad ass dancers. The fact that my bible thumping mother thought that Idol was the devil in black leather only made me like him even more.

I love the fact that even 30 years later you can still catch Idol rocking out, lip curl and all. What song is your favorite?

Currently Booming: Johnny Gill on Soul Train- 'Rub You The Right Way'