Tuesday, January 26, 2016

RECORD REVIEW: Who Was I - "What I've Become"

RECORD REVIEW
Who Was I
What I've Become
_________________________

I realize that it's still way
too early to get caught up
in a "Record of the Year"
scenario. But speaking
to the nü-metal genre
specifically (for now), this
record is gonna be a hard
one to beat. Really hard.
_________________________

Since first popping up on the U.S. underground metal radar in 2007, their story has been a raucous roller-coaster ride — one that's seen numerous successes, along with a fair share of heartbreaking setbacks peppered with dashes of old fashioned intra-band turmoil — all pinned against a blood-stained, whiskey-soaked backdrop that reads: WHO WAS I. However, founding frontman Darin Faux (Fox) and guitarist Steve Harvey are bona fide survivors — having now pulled their often dysfunctional family through the rock and roll muck and mire successfully for nearly a decade. And the pay off? The band's newly-released sophomore record, What I've Become.

Who Was I headquarters, located
near the east Florida swamps.
(I see blood stains!)
Who Was I is, fundamentally, a hard rock street band — albeit an extremely pissed-off hard rock street band. And that's what makes this record work. These guys have been in the game long enough to know exactly how to create a brand of high-octane metal that's both authentic and innovative. From start-to-finish, What I've Become delivers heaping helpings of good ol' lung-bursting screamin', mixed with melodic Dickinson-caliber vocals, combined with Russian machine factory-style drum work and non-stop whiplash-inducing bass riffs. And while I certainly don't mean to pigeon hole Harvey's chunkin'-and-gunkin', I will wager a bet that he's still got a half-melted cassette copy of Cowboys from Hell buried at the bottom of the glove compartment in his '78 Camaro — just beneath the expired registration. But the really cool thing about the record (for me) is that all of this metal mayhem revolves around well-crafted songs. GASP! As a result, even a seemingly "square peg" like the remake of the Doobie Brothers' classic, "Long Train Runnin'," makes for a perfect, and very clever fit. Other noteworthy golden highlights include, "Inside of You," "Over and Over," "Undertow" and "Falling Fast."

Who Was I co-founder, guitarist Steve Harvey,
pulled up in his '78 Camaro and personally
delivered my press copy of What I've Become.
In sum, with What I've Become, Who Was I has produced a world-class record  one that stands easily nose-to-nose with any other contenders cemented currently in the "Nü Release" section of any global neighborhood music joint.

But for now, I really gotta get a move on — after experiencing this nut-crusher in one sitting, I feel compelled to go out tonight and break stuff!

-Christopher Long
(January 2016)
_________________________

WHO WAS I
_________________________


The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DAVID BOWIE: The Musical Legacy of Aladdin Sane

DAVID BOWIE
The Musical Legacy
of Aladdin Sane
_________________________

I was totally shocked and
super-bummed yesterday
morning to learn of the
passing of David Bowie
 the "Picasso of Pop."
_________________________

As a Midwestern church boy coming of age during the mid '70s, my personal introduction to the music of David Bowie occurred during his chart-busting post-Ziggy Stardust, pre-Low era. In fact, as a geeky tween who "praised and worshiped" all too frequently at the alter of rock and roll (i.e. the record department) located within my local Sears and Kmart stores, the first Bowie album that I can recall ever seeing was his 1974 classic, Diamond Dogs. Yet, despite my undeniable naivete, even I could recognize that the "person" on the Diamond Dogs album cover was pretty darn cool-looking. The first Bowie song that I remember hearing on the radio remains my all-time favorite from his impressive and seemingly endless catalog — 1975's "Young Americans." Okay, you've really gotta cut me some slack on this. I was a 12-year-old kid, growing up in an extremely conservative home in Springfield, Missouri — a region where sex before Sunday wasn't even legal until 1981. As a result, I remained completely behind the pop culture "eight ball" throughout my formative years. However, to this day, I still rank such "plastic soul" treasures as "Young Americans," "Fame" and "Golden Years" among Bowie's absolute best.

Diamond Dogs served as my personal formal
introduction to Bowie's music back in 1974.
The one aspect of Bowie's artistry that I admired most over the years was his uncanny ability to always remain in front of the pop culture "eight ball"  reinventing his image and redefining his music constantly. And since I first began fronting my own Florida-based bands in the mid '80s, I've always looked to Bowie's impeccable example as the blueprint for creating my own ever-changing rock personas and musical styles.

In recent years, I've been going back frequently and revisiting Bowie's extensive back catalog, only to rediscover time and again that his most brilliant gemstones are actually the songs lodged in between the iconic hits. Yes, the older I get, the even greater appreciation I have for Bowie's greatest contribution to pop culture — his well-crafted songwriting. In fact, at age 53, I've written the best songs of my life in just the last year or so. I continue to have David Bowie's music to point to as a primary source of personal inspiration.

-Christopher Long
(January 2016)


The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...