REO SPEEDWAGON/The Classic Years 1978-1990 (box) review!

Back in when I was a teenager, I thought I knew the difference between good and bad music. In my twisted late ‘70s teenage way of thinking, I thought that bands with skinny ties and Rickenbackers were the good guys and bands with moustaches and mullets were messengers of the devil. Yeah, like any 14 or 15 year old, I thought I had a clue. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized that I had been wrong about a lot of things – especially music. And since 1981, I’ve tried to make up for my discretions by choosing to search for the lost chord, investigating new artists and styles while revisiting the bands I once scoffed at.  For example, I once thought that AOR (AKA Stadium Rock and/or Melodic Rock) was predictable and repetitious. I thought it was simply rock-by-numbers and that none of those bands could write an original song or riff to save their lives. But then, I took a hard look at the New Wave and Power Pop that I was listening to and realized that many of my favorite bands were at least partially guilty of the same thing. And then I looked at Country, Jazz, Folk and every other genre and was overwhelmed by the fact that what I had initially heard as derivative was actually just updating and carrying the music forward for a new generation. And with that breakthrough in my thought process, I was able to enjoy – and often love – bands like Journey, Foreigner, Survivor and REO Speedwagon. But don’t get me wrong – I’m still fully devoted to the Power Pop and New Wave I’ve loved since 1977. I just like to think that my tastes are much more varied than the casual music fan. OK, I’ll admit it – I’m a ‘music nerd’. Whatever that is…

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AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: GUS G/FEARLESS

Konstantinos Karamitroudis is one of Rock’s hardest working musicians. However, you may not know him by that name. Konstantinos has wisely chosen to operate under the much-easier-to-pronounce stage name of Gus G as he makes his way through the Hard Rock universe. Formerly a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band and the leader of Greek Power Metal band Firewind, Gus G was inspired to play guitar by listening to the classic live album FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE and the rest, as they say, is history.

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JOURNEY: Why they remain the ultimate AOR band

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I believe you should love whatever music you love, and not be ashamed. I love it all equally. I have all of Andy Williams’ albums as well as the entire CAN catalog. And I love Buzzcocks just as much as I love Neil Sedaka. To me, there’s no difference between Van Morrison and Van Halen – they have both made great records. My love for The Carpenters is as strong as my passion for The Beatles. And how could I not love both Elvis Presley AND Elvis Costello? Finally, I sure do love recent Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees Journey! There was a Journey before vocalist Steve Perry joined the band, and there’s been a Journey since he left, but let us focus on the band’s commercial heyday for a few paragraphs, shall we?

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REX SMITH’s Rock And Roll Dream box set reviewed!

When I bring up the name Rex Smith, many people – usually over 40 years of age – instantly remember him as a teen idol, soap actor, balladeer, hard rocker, TV host or stage actor. Oddly enough, they are all absolutely correct! While he may never have achieved ‘household name’ status all over the world, he is still fondly remembered for quite a few things. For the time being, I’m going to set aside his TV, film and stage work (Street Hawk, Grease, Solid Gold, As The World Turns, Pirates Of Penzance, etc) and focus on his Rock/Pop music career in the ‘70s and ‘80s, all of which is included in the six CD box set ROCK AND ROLL DREAM: 1976-1983.

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