With a few exceptions there are some times of the year that are really, really special, take Spring for example. As the snow melts (for those of us that see snow), we get the first peek at the grass as it takes in the rays of the sun, popping between the other dormant blades of grass and the patches of snow. Summer brings the heat, and the world is renewed but as Fall approaches the green of the grass, and the petals of the flowers begin to fade and fall. The leaves begin to cover the ground and the flowers die but what it I told you I have seen some dead flowers that are full of life right smack in the middle of Summer? Would you believe it? Well?
We all know people that have a "green thumb," they always have a perfectly manicured yard, beautiful gardens and spectacular flowers. We know that in their offices or in their homes their house plants thrive just as well making us envious of their glory and splendor and generally we hate them. As much as it pains us to say there are some among us that could kill a cactus, and our flower gardens are rife with huge, magnificent weeds. I can simply go outside my front door and see some weeds that I have been trying to kill for ten years and no matter what I do they come back each year, and with a vengeance.
Seriously, there is a plant in my yard that I have been trying to kill for years. I have cut it down, pulled it out (along with a part of my stone foundation), poisoned it (I apologize for the Round-Up there was no other way), I have done everything I know how to do except for one thing: Fire. Yes I said fire but I can't use fire because the weed seems to have a brain and common sense because it rooted itself directly below my gas meter.
Tell me that the noxious plant of doom doesn't know where it is, it knows I can't use fire to kill it because knowing me and my reckless disregard my house would be orbiting Jupiter should I apply flame to the vile weed. Despite all of that I have had success with some flowers in our yard namely Black-Eyed Susan's. I love those flowers, and they are prolific in my yard as are many hostas but that is really about it. My green thumb is challenged apparently because everything else I plant dies so perhaps I should start trying to plant weeds so they would die. Hmm, interesting concept I will think upon it. Through it all there has to be a survivor to the onslaught of of Summer, there has to be doesn't there?
On Friday August 19th, 2016 I went to a music store to buy a couple of new CD's that included the Descendents (stay tuned for a review later) and one of the survivors of the Summer, The Dead Daisies. After we got back into our vehicle we quickly put the new CD of The Dead Daisies in the CD player and I was blown away. I will be doing a review of their new album "Make Some Noise" shortly but let me tell you (SPOILER ALERT) it is incredible! Seriously it is great, so great in fact that the next day I had a chance to see The Dead Daisies live but I had a decision to make whether to see them live or a different power band so ask yourself "did he take the opportunity to see them live?" Yes, yes I did.
On August 20th, 2016 I traveled to Rockford, Illinois to see KISS and The Dead Daisies perform at the BMO Harris Bank Center on KISS's "Freedom To Rock" tour. It was quite the weekend for music for me depending on which way I was leaning, I could travel to Minnesota to see Metallica, Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold or I could go to Rockford and because of the CD I purchased the night before we decided that we were indeed heading to Rockford. I have seen KISS quite a few times, I think 18 times now but that doesn't matter it's KISS. Yes I am part of the Gene Simmons retirement plan, because I have bought a TON of KISS things in my past and I will be writing about that performance soon too. It is obvious I love KISS but I was more excited to see The Dead Daisies just because of that one album, it was insane.
When the lights went down for the band to come out the crowd was still interspersed in the halls of the BMO Harris Bank Center, finishing up their merch table buys and getting that last beer before the music would start. The problem was that unlike many bands, The Dead Daisies started EXACTLY on time so there would be stragglers. It became immediately apparent to those in attendance that the band was ready to just come out and play. Energized would be the proper description of The Dead Daisies because the crowd immediately responded, it was fascinating. From the moment the band began the crowd filed in and by the end of the performance it was obvious this crowd was really into the band's music. It really was incredible.
The Dead Daisies are a very interesting band if not for their lineup alone. We have all heard about the term "super group" and I would venture a guess that we all know what makes up a "super group," but until you realize the lineup this band can bring, you don't know what one truly is. Look at the musicians that are still associated with this band, its phenomenal. Performers like Dizzy Reed (GNR), Richard Fortus (GNR), John Tempesta (White Zombie), Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) and Frank Ferrer (GNR) to name just a few. This band is stacked with a stable full of rock legends and this iteration of the band is one of the best lineups performing today of ANY band.
The lineup of The Dead Daisies as I saw it on August 20th, 2016 is really one of the great pedigrees in music. Brian Tichy for example is a drummer who has been part and parcel to Billy Idol, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne and Whitesnake. Those bands by themselves account for a large portion of rock history and music in the '80's and inside The Dead Daisies it shows. Tichy is phenomenal. I loved watching him play, he isn't a gimmick guy he just beats the pi... tar, he beats the TAR out of his drums. I was slightly transfixed watching him because he has the energy that a real rock drummer should have. Certain drummers have that nervous part to their persona, kind of twitchy, just a ball of energy that wants to perform and Tichy is that ball of energy. Tichy presents a serious professional attitude on stage however that doesn't make one think he is unapproachable, if anything he was a blast to meet. Tichy is my prototypical drummer that I will use to rate others from this day forward.
Bassists are an interesting breed, and despite the fact that I can't play the bass I could see myself doing so. I'm not really sure why that is but I tend to be of the mindset that a musician is either born to play the bass or they aren't, I think it is really that simple. Marco Mendoza looks the part and he also exudes the bassists persona. Mendoza has been in the bands Thin Lizzy, Blue Murder, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake and Lynch Mob and lest we forget the fact that he was also in the solo band of Bill Ward (Black Sabbath). This is not a performer that needs gimmicks either, the guy just flat out plays bass. He plays with authority and a little violence at the same time. Before you judge the man because of the "little violence" comment I mean he plays the bass with a purpose, he's great at it and he seemingly wants to provide evidence of that fact with his appearance on stage. This is a stud of a bass player.
Through the mists of time many musicians travel through the realm of music with an almost mystic path before them, with that said it comes to a point where they fit together like puzzle pieces. Doug Aldrich has done that with The Dead Daisies. Aldrich, a former guitar player for Hurricane, House of Lords, Whitesnake and Dio, assumed his role in The Dead Daisies in early 2016 when Richard Fortus left the band to go on tour with Guns N' Roses. Aldrich is one of those guitar players that you can almost feel is a complete perfectionist when he plays. It is obvious watching him that he really loves what he does but more than that he is engaging on stage, and off stage for that matter. Aldrich has skills that 99% of all performers wish they had because he is intense and beyond gifted. He is really fun to watch on stage because he is that good.
We all know that to start a band someone has to be the one to actually decide to start the band and when The Dead Daisies formed it was the brain child of Jon Stevens and David Lowy. Stevens left the band in 2015 leaving Lowy in place. Lowy has been in several successful acts in Australia but don't discount this mans skills because he is incredible! Seriously good guitar wizard type stuff, and as I look at this band you can see Lowy's fingerprints all over it. Lowy has assembled some of the finest musicians for the roster of The Dead Daisies including Lowy himself. This band is stacked obviously and with five people on stage I had to not be transfixed on just one performer but Lowy on guitar is seriously entertaining. None of the people in this band are"over-the-top" kind of performers but Lowy is definitely fun to watch.
In the time I have been writing I have encountered and met some incredible performers, guitar players, drummers, bassists and singers but of all of those there was an enigma for me. This performer has a pedigree unlike most in music today, that person is John Corabi. Corabi has this look of a hippie / rock singer that I really can't describe in other terms. I can however describe the bands he has been in just by name alone and they will boggle your mind. I'm not kidding, Corabi has been in ESP, Ratt, Twenty 4 Seven, Brides of Destruction (with Nikki Sixx and Tracii Guns), Angel City Outlaws and a little band named Mötley Crüe. What I know about Corabi is that he is the voice of two of my all time favorite Crüe songs, "Hooligan's Holiday" and "Loveshine" and I'm not sorry about that either!
Several years after the self titled Mötley Crüe album that both of those songs was on, I was able to see Corabi a couple of times with another "super group" called "Cheap Thrill" where Corabi played guitar and as well as vocals. Corabi impressed me when I was able to see him live with Cheap Thrill but I was blown away when I saw him live with The Dead Daises. Corabi has the classic rock voice, it fits so many styles and and different bands which is a testament to how good he really is. Corabi takes command of the stage, and he belts out some of the best vocals on two classic songs "Join Together" (The Who) and "Fortunate Son" (Creedence Clearwater Revival) that I have ever heard. That is part of that persona I mentioned earlier, the hippie / rock singer or another way to look at it is he seems to be from that classic rock era of the late '60's and early '70's, he sings exactly like that. Who actually can cover The Who and make it sound good? What about Creedence? Bands have been covering their songs for decades now with little success but Corabi has it and can do it. Corabi is in the perfect place within this band, his songwriting is extraordinary and on stage Corabi shows his role as the keystone of this band. Corabi really is that good!
Every great band has a cohesive bond that transforms itself into the actual persona of the band. What I mean by that it is by looking at a band and seeing that they feed off of one another they take that ability, adapt it and become it. The Dead Daisies are a band that has taken their personal influences from the '60's, '70's and early '80's plus their experiences in some of the greatest rock bands of all time and adapted all of that to this band. This band has a signature sound and it is an amalgamation of all of that stuff. Classic guitars, driving bass and vocals that sound like rock history, the Dead Daisies are amazing!
What I saw on August 20th, 2016 at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Illinois was a band that blows away any idea of what rock is supposed to be, they show you what rock really is. The band is stacked in its favor for success, I would book this band in a heartbeat if I could. Corabi, Aldrich, Lowy, Tichy and Mendoza have a band that is headliner worthy, I love this band.
Among the heat of the Summer and the approaching Fall plants are beginning to wither in preparation for the coming Winter. Although the hostas are still holding strong and the Black-Eyed Susan's are still in bloom there is a burgeoning reality that the end is neigh. Before too long all of the plants will take their place in their cycle in nature and everything will fall dormant and brown. Surely that reality will prove itself wrong with The Dead Daisies. The flowers and plants will fall down and die but the band The Dead Daisies will grow stronger and stronger. Great job!
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