In Defense of… Phil Collen on the G3 Tour

The G3, it’s the elite guitarists tour starring Joe Satriani, John Petrucci or Steve Vai and some other guitarist that the Satch deems worthy.  This time around the G3 tour consists of Joe Satriani, John Petrucci and a very interesting choice for the third player:  Phil Collen of Def Leppard. Continue reading In Defense of… Phil Collen on the G3 Tour

In Defense of…Kingdom Come…Copycat Band or Misunderstood Originals?

A lot of us here in the United States remember their chart topping, double platinum debut in 1988.  German/American hybrid band Kingdom Come. Their self title debut garnered a lot of attention, even if it wasn’t for the best reasons.  The band quickly began enduring name calling: Continue reading In Defense of…Kingdom Come…Copycat Band or Misunderstood Originals?

In Defense Of…Lars Ulrich’s Drumming

The title to this entry is important.  This is about Lars Ulrich’s drumming, not his personality.  Which at times bears resemblance to a child.  Either way, he’s a decent drummer and that’s what this post is about.  I don’t think there’s another drummer on the planet that gets as much flak for their playing as Lars Ulrich.  The guy’s playing gets ripped on like vegans at thanksgiving.  Is he the best drummer in the world?  Certainly not.  In fact, he’s probably the weakest drummer out of the big 4.  Actually, when he first played for James Hetfield, Hetfield rejected him.  He’s also stated how horrible of a drummer Lars was at first.  But, Mr. Ulrich worked hard and practiced and practiced.  He became quite adequate in an impressively short period of time if you think about it.  And he grew.  By the time ‘Ride the Lighting’ came out he was a full fledged heavy metal drummer with progressive tendencies.  The next album ‘Master of Puppets’ I would argue was his peak of drumming.  Lot’s of drive and practice using good old fashioned wooden sticks.  This would follow through ‘The Black Album’.  But then something happened which I believe is the root of why he gets all the crap that he does.  It’s not the Napster fiasco.  It’s not the fact that he cut his hair along with the rest of the band.  It’s the fact that he struck, as did many other famous drummers in the 90’s, a sponsorship deal with A-Head drumsticks.  Folks, these sticks are terrible for drummers.  I’m a former user of them.  A certain drummers signature stick, I won’t mention who, really fucked up my right wrist for a while.  Look what they did to Peter Criss’ playing.  The band actually used drum triggers through the “Farewell (that’s a laugh) Tour”.  He put them down when he returned for the Alive IV Symphony album in 2003 and his playing never sounded better.  I think the main culprit here is the A-head drum stick.  Watch some of the video below.  Lars’ drumming is very good.

A-game playing.  A little before ‘Master of Puppets’.  You can see and hear how hard Lars was working.

Now, this isn’t the only reason Lars seems a little lacking in the drumming world. There was also a period of time I think when Lars wasn’t practicing.  He seemed to lose a lot of what made him who he is.  There’s even a youtube video of him on a recent tour with all his mistakes mashed up in one long video.  And yeah, lots of them are mistakes that should never be made during a live show.  Simple fill mistakes and basic rhythm flubs that he never used to make.

I blame the A-heads.

It’s seems that the weight of the A-heads are making him tired.  Well, that’s changed a little.  Metallica are in the midst of a huge tour and massive album release, ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct’.  While Lars’ playing still isn’t what it was in the 80’s,  it’s gotten significantly better than what it was a few years ago.  He seems to be practicing again.  His drumming on the newest album is good.  Not amazing by any means, but still very solid.  He’s gotten his double bass drum accuracy back which is important.  And the production of the drums on ‘Hardwired’ are spot on.  His snare snaps like a broken neck and the bass is phat as a muthafuck.  At the end of the day, he’s done very well in Metallica.  His playing, while not amazing, certainly doesn’t deserve the crap it gets from others.  He’s a solid drummer who fit’s in perfectly with where he is.  Lars Ulrich is after all the drummer of the biggest heavy band of all time.

In Defense of…Judas Priest’s ‘Turbo’

By the time 1986 rolled around for the Judas Priest, they had been through a lot.  Rob Halford had been through the deepest trudges of alcohol and pain pill addiction.  His former boyfriend couldn’t take the pressure of the record industry keeping their relationship closeted and shot himself in the head; right in front of Halford. Continue reading In Defense of…Judas Priest’s ‘Turbo’

20th anniversary of Metallica’s ‘Load’…In Defense of the Controversial Album

On the fourth of May, 1996 Metallica finally unleashed their first album in five years.  While it may have been a departure of their original sound, the album was a strong one.  The riffs were killer, the grooves were infectious and the production was raw and energized. Continue reading 20th anniversary of Metallica’s ‘Load’…In Defense of the Controversial Album