Friday, May 30, 2014

Song of the Week #300

Hello and welcome to episode 300. That represents about 6 years of my sometimes random drivel flooding inboxes and web browsers. To those that have been along for the whole ride please accept my thanks and sympathy!

We've been online via the blog since episode 55. DJ KOT was the one who told me to get my ideas off a small email list and into public. The blog has over 10,000 hits now so I guess someone out there is reading and listening.

I was going to put the first results of my new project here this week but I've decided to let it go a bit longer. I have two more things to finish off for it to be a bit more fully formed so please watch this space.

This week I spent two days at the Australian National University doing some professional development. More on that maybe next week. The course, apart from being awesome, afforded me the rare luxury of the chance to sit alone in the sun at lunchtime and just think. And what I thought about was what to include here in episode 300. You have to remember that I didn't go to a "normal" university so to sit quietly among such a diverse group of people was pretty neat really. I may have eavesdropped on a couple of conversations and it was refreshing to hear people speak with genuine enthusiasm and passion about whatever they were studying. Better than the whole 51% nonsense.

Anyway, I reflected quietly on Song of the Week. The best responses I've ever had were to the Desert Island Disc series. But I've already revealed my choices so that was a non-starter. So what I've done is take a bit of a sideways step. When I first began Song of the Week my whole idea was just to send a single song through for people to listen to. What my plan is this week is to play some songs that aren't necessarily my all time favourites and might not be in my Desert Island Discs. What they are is songs that I really, really hope that you'll listen to. I think they are worth your time and I'll let you know why.

This one should be fairly obvious I suppose. The lyrical content certainly doesn't relate but it's a great track. One day I'll sit down and learn all the beautiful, but fiddly, guitar parts. But I'd need a Fender Jazzmaster there's a thought!

Elvis Costello - Alison -

Metallica are next. Again, the lyrics aren't up to all that much in terms of why the song is important. I wasn't a Metallica fan really until about 1989. When I got around to digging into their back catalogue this track from their debut album really held my interest. It's the intro, the great chug on the E string in the verses and the change of tempo later on in the song. At some stage I learned most of the parts on guitar. One of my favourite moments was, as a teacher, being asked to go along and play some guitar with a bunch of students. After a while of sitting in I ripped out the intro to this track and, with big grins all around, we played the whole song three or four times. If you only listen to one Metallica track ever, then I think it should be this one.

Metallica - Seek and Destroy -

This one might surprise a few of you. It was an AM radio staple when I was young. When I just had a nylon string acoustic guitar I'd play the first few bars over and over and over. It taught me how to strum. These days I just think it's a great track with a catchy solo too. I like the subtle phasing on the guitar and giggle at the finger clicks.

Eddie Rabbit - I Love A Rainy Night -

In 1989 I was taken to see Pink Floyd's "The Wall" at Electric Shadows here in Canberra. I'd heard the album before but seeing the movie was a rather intense and pivotal moment for me. I don't drink and I don't do drugs but I can guarantee you that I walked into the cinema as sober as can be and the movie got me stoned. Wow. If you haven't seen it on a big screen then you must. I understand what this song is about in the context of the film/album story line but I'm sure that most people can relate to a point in their life where they lose grip on reality. In my opinion this song contains the greatest ever rock guitar solo.

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb -

My mate Garry sent me a CD one day from a band I knew nothing of. I still know very little about them but this song is funny and sad all at the same time. The harmonica work is good to. It makes my squeaky attempts laughable. RIP my friend and thanks for all the tune recommendations.

Alabama 3 - U Don't Dans 2 Tekno Anymore -

Now for a song where the lyrics most certainly do matter. I've been plugging this song for ages. You can substitute the word "Scotland" for almost any western country. I'm well and truly sick of people bagging out immigrants. Especially in Australia and the USA when the vast majority of us have roots in other countries.

The Proclaimers - Scotland's Story -

I've liked the next song since the first moment I heard it. Earlier this week I heard a speech that made something very clear for me about Australia's Stolen Generation, something I probably hadn't really understood and that's the effect it still has on people to this day, people my age and younger. This song makes even more sense now. It's one that I'm going to have to get H and the band to learn.

Archie Roach - From Paradise -

We're almost there now so hang in there. In terms of noisy rock music with attitude and great lyrics it's hard to go past Henry Rollins. I remember seeing him for the first time in 1994 and I've never been quite the same. Rollins channels rage, frustration, anger and deep thought into the heaviest jazz records ever. Lately he's an author, film star, TV host, radio DJ and publisher. But he was at the top of his game with a loud band and a big PA.

Rollins Band - Disconnect -

Some people take all this music talk far too seriously. I read a fair few online music magazines, blogs and the like. For most music there is a time and a place. And sometimes you just need a good laugh. It's like gallows humour or a seriously off joke - a release valve. The last song this week really fits into that category. Here's a clue folks - they're not serious. It's a hoot; there should be more of this.

Supersuckers - Born With A Tail -

Thanks for playing along. Who knows what might happen next week?!

DJ Rob
"I went back to the store
they sold me four more
the guy told me at the door
it's a piece of crap..." Neil Young, Piece of Crap, 1994

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Song of the Week #299

299 episodes in and I was asked after #298 how I find the time or energy to keep writing this. Well, the truth is that most weeks it writes itself. I have time to think when I'm commuting since almost every day I'm on my bicycle. It's also fun to put a few song recommendations out there and see if anyone listens or responds - thanks to those that do. I don't make any claims to be the best or most interesting blogger on the internets (and I do wince when I send out typos) but it's usually cathartic to write my thoughts down and never a chore.

This week we're all about rock music. Why? Well why not!? The truth is that it's just what I've been listening to. My brain has been so busy that it really wasn't a week for challenging tunes.

First up this week is Aerosmith. Now this is a band that I have tried to be a fan of for quite a while and have failed! I'm not quite sure why either. Unlike a lot of people I really liked their 1987 comeback album "Permanent Vacation". But then at that time I had no prior experience of the band to base my opinions on. I just read that they were "back" and the LP was available at the local sports and record store. In more recent times I've listened to a range of their music but never really been hooked. So why am I playing some today and waffling about them I hear you ask. Well, the next track came up during the week and my ears pricked up. I didn't know it was Aerosmith at the time but the groove got me. Interestingly, this track from 1974 has Brad Whitford on lead guitar rather than Joe Perry. Maybe I prefer his work as it's less scratchy to my ears. It's also the great rhythm and the way that Steven Tyler uses his voice to do more than just sing. See what you think...

Aerosmith - Lord of the Thighs -

Last night I headed out to one of Canberra's best venues, The Abbey, to see Dragon. I knew that only Todd Hunter from the original band is still with them but that was OK. The last time I saw the band was in about '94 or '95 at the Yass Soldiers' Club.with DJ Al-ee-sun. We'd been keen not to miss out and when there were about 9 people in total at the show -  it was pretty funny. Of course, this was before Marc Hunter was diagnosed and subsequently died from throat cancer. That was a huge loss felt by many music lovers. Anyway, last night Todd was apparently sick so, in truth, it was a bit like a Dragon tribute band. But they were fantastic. Bruce Reid on guitars looks like he should be a Proclaimer and even has the right surname. His guitar work was really good. More twangy than you might expect from Dragon but it really worked. For me, I thought that the peroxided folks who were older than most of the band should've stayed OFF the stage. It was ugly for a few minutes. And really, playing the bands biggest hit twice was a bit much. Other than that; great venue, fun night out.

Dragon - Dreams of Ordinary Men -

Did anyone spot the Telecaster wielding Aussie guitar god in that clip?

Shameless self-promotion...check out the band online at It doesn't matter if you are a Facebook user or not. There's a heap of photos, some news snippets and of course information about what we're up to next.

The really interesting thing about setting up the Facebook presence for the band is that, for free, there are a whole lot of statistics available about how often the page and certain posts are accessed. For instance, in about a 4hr window the new tour poster was seen by over 170 people. And we've only just begun! Spread the word if you can.

It's a long time since I listened to any Deep Purple. No-one really needs to hear that song about the fire again. But, and you may notice a pattern appearing here, the next tune was a pleasant surprise to hear on the radio this week. This version has Steve Morse on guitar. He's one of the greatest players around regardless of what he's playing. I also like that he always seems to be having a genuinely good time. Chief noted last night that Dragon's guitar player made it all look effortless, so does Steve. 

Deep Purple - Woman From Tokyo -

I was interested to read this week about Queen touring soon. We all know that they need a singer. In the past they recorded what was quite a solid album with Paul Rogers and also did a fair few shows. His classic rock voice worked fairly well. But the new guy...oh dear. I listened to the promo clip and couldn't cope. Dreadful. Would I go? Only if someone else paid. TO be honest I'd really like to see Brian May play guitar live but their choice of vocalist isn't up to much.Of course, no-one can replace Freddie but I'm sure they could've done better. You can decide for yourselves of course. Just plug "Queen Adam Lambert" into YouTube and have a listen.

To finish this week here's what might just be my favourite rock song ever...

Queen - Now I'm Here -

Episode #300 next week. I better get started now!

Happy birthday to DJ HB!

DJ Rob

"...And the road becomes my bride
I have stripped of all but pride
So in her I do confide
And she keeps me satisfied
Gives me all I need" - Wherever I May Roam - Metallica 1992

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happiness is...

For both Midnight Oil shows Zoë came along as roadcrew, guitar tech, bouncer, dessert eater and wrangler of security. Playing the songs, watching George's antics and enjoying the generous applause was cool. But not only having Zoë there but singing along was awesome.

Song of the Week #298

My apologies for this week's episode being released a bit late.

First of all - if you're interested in reading about our second sold out gig then there's a rather long reflection on it available by clicking here . Thank you to all the supporters of the band. If you're a Facebook person you can now connect with the band here.

A few weeks ago I mentioned Izzy Stradlin. Izzy was a founder and original member of Guns 'n' Roses. You can hear his playing and songwriting on "Appetite for Destruction", "GnR Lies" and the "Use Your Illusion" albums. So basically he played on the good stuff. But what I want to play you is from his first solo album which came out in October 1992 after he'd quit the Gunners. The album, "Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds" is bluesy, reggae infused, gritty and just super cool. It's almost the opposite of the overblown stuff the GnR were doing. In 2014 it's still one of my favourite guitar albums. See what you think...the bass and keys in the intro are just sublime.

Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds - Shuffle It All -

Rolling Stones cover versions are a dime a dozen. But this one is really, really good. It's faithful enough to the original but different enough to hold my attention. And wow, this girl can sing.

Alice Russell - Brown Sugar -

If bands like Oasis, Blur or even Morrissey are your thing then this next song might tickle your fancy. Scouting for Girls have been around for a while but, although the CD is here at HQ Woozle somewhere, I hadn't paid much attention. Thanks to the joy that is the shuffle feature on my iDevice this song rolled around recently. It's probably a good Friday afternoon song! The singer also sounds a bit like Justin Currie from Del Amitri.

Scouting for Girls - I Need A Holiday -

For those of you out there who don't "get" social media, here's a quick statistic. Morrissey (the singer) signed up for a Twitter account this week. He's posted exactly two tweets (or comments). He has about a quarter of a million people following him already. If you want to make a point, or be heard, it's not a bad way to do it. Of course, he has a new album/book/tour so it remains to be seen if he says anything interesting! Oooh, and if that wasn't enough the man himself is now denying that it's him at all. Whatever, he's certainly reaping the benefits of the publicity. New song? Here you go...

Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business -

Only one more episode to go before our 300th episode. The new project is up and running so watch the blog site during the week for the first and probable second and third installments. 

I'll leave you this week with ZZ Top and some boogie. After a tough week I was tempted to have a whole episode of Slayer but thought better of it. Bluesy boogie soothes the savage beast too! I chose this one for the fantastic fuzzy guitar tone and the beat - it's a real head nodder.

ZZ Top - Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings -

Rock on boogie chillun',

DJ Rob

"One for the Treasurer: "Just because you're better than me, doesn't mean I'm lazy..." Billy Bragg 1983

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reflections on the Canberra "Oil Change" Midnight Oil tribute shows

In 2013 George asked Chris and I if we'd be interested in doing a Midnight Oil show. We'd successfully performed Springsteen's "Nebraska" album in its entirety as well as playing a few other small gigs. We were all keen and with George managing to swing the services of Matt (keys/guitars) and Joel (drums) we rehearsed hard, added Callum on trumpet and played two shows in May of that year. Adding Tim into the band as our sound engineer for these shows was the start of something very special for us all.

We were slated to do another show but for a few very good reasons it wasn't to be.

I think what I want to write about here is about my journey as a guitar player as well as about the band - it's all inextricably linked so you as the reader will get a bit of both.

Let's start with Midnight Oil. They are a legendary Australian band for any number of reasons. I'd played a couple of their songs (Read About It, Sometimes) in previous bands. When you start to deconstruct their music and work out who should play what as well as looking at chord charts you quickly come to the realisation that this is not 3 chord rock and roll. The Oils are real musicians who write songs that are often far from straightforward. They use horns and keyboards a lot as well as guitars and their drummer's singing is an essential part of their sound. Nothing is easy.

What made the rehearsal process for 2013 so positive was the rest of the band. They didn't bat an eyelid or grumble when I simply couldn't play many of the pieces. They played on and let me come to terms with what needed to be done. Chris and Matt shouted chords or notes at me until I got them right and convinced my fingers that these weird shapes were actually manageable. I also quietly tried learning where notes actually are on the fretboard rather than always relying on shapes and patterns. In 2014 I'm still working on that.

I'll admit that for the two "Burning The Midnight Oil" shows in 2013 that I was more than nervous and I didn't do much on stage other than stand, play and hope that I didn't make too many mistakes - it was really, really difficult. The other issue I had was being quite unhappy with some of my guitar gear.

That all sounds very negative but in reality the shows were hugely successful. The punters were happy as were the venue owners.

Fast forward to the end of the year when the majority of the issues that meant we couldn't play much for a while had been resolved. George had been away in Tingha writing a book about the "Diesel and Dust" album as well as working with the kids up there. He came home energised and with a mission; to take the band to the bush. We were all keen to go and the tour was planned for July 2014.

At the same time we agreed that we had unfinished business with some Midnight Oil tracks and booked a return to Vivaldi's for two shows this year. The band are also booked in to play at the Dirrum Dirrum conference here in Canberra in August (after the tour).

George massaged the setlists into place and sent us off to rehearse. There were five new songs to get ready as well as most of the ones we'd done previously. For fans, the new songs are; Best of Both Worlds, Kosciusko, Arctic World, Blue Sky Mine and Dreamworld. Of these, Blue Sky Mine proved the biggest challenge with tons of different guitar sounds, a harmonica intro for Chris to learn and Tim playing bass on the keyboard. There's no doubting that it took a long time to come together and even at our dress rehearsal it took us three or four goes to get the song started.

Let's talk guitars for a minute. Prior to my time in Junk Sculpture I was very much the rhythm guitar player. I've been fortunate enough to play with a range of excellent lead guitarists and I've always been happy doing that. This show was so different for me. When you're playing lead bits and pieces there is nowhere to hide! There are licks and phrases from these songs that I've played over and over and still fall over from time to time. The solo from "Hercules" is a classic example. It's not particularly difficult and it sounds great but there's a moment in every live show where I forget one note, lose the pattern in my head, and have to fudge it. Of course, in the comfort of my lounge room I always hit it perfectly!

The other thing about guitars in these shows is that there is a huge range of sounds. It isn't like playing a Stones or AC/DC show where you can set your amp and play all night with the same tone.

NOTE: If you don't want to read all about my guitar nerdiness then fast forward to where you see **** on the page.

The first issue I had was my Marshall amplifier. I'd had it for ages and to tell the truth I'd never been all that happy with it. To cut a long story short I agonised over a replacement for ages. Eventually I settled on a MESA Boogie and so far it's not too bad. I discovered at the shows that being able to play it at volume is really, really good.

Guitars were also an issue. I love my Burns Steer but I needed a second guitar I could rely on. My Gibson Joan Jett Melody Maker wasn't what I'd hoped it would be and my old red Strat, well, it needed a lot of work. After being paid an amazing amount of money for a very short gig I took Zoë on a guitar hunt with me and ended up trading the Melody Maker for a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. It's now my #1 guitar.

So, with guitars and the amplifier good to go my thoughts turned to effects pedals. There are three main sounds I used for the shows:

First up is just a straight clean one with just some reverb. For things like the verses of "Read About It", "Capricornia" and "Warakurna" it's all you need. The graphic eq on the MESA amp means that I can roll the high end off and almost have an acoustic guitar sound in places. Using the guitar's volume control means that I can keep it restrained or, on full with some hard strumming, get a nice gentle break up. 

Second are the jangly noises. I use a combination of an MXR Black Label Chorus and a RedWitch Tremelo to get those sounds. There's a Hotone EKO Delay in there too for the "Blue Sky Mine" intro but whilst it is OK at home or in a rehearsal, I found that it was a bit harsh at gig volume. More investigation to do on that!

And of course there's the driven sound for things like "Hercules", "Best of Both Worlds" and "Sometimes". The MESA amp's second channel, on the blues setting seemed to do the job well. It roared if I hit the guitar hard without being harsh or fizzy. I have two overdrive pedals in my chain as well (Boss OD-3 and a JK Pedals modded OD-2). The OD-2 is set for my searing lead tone and the OD-3 was a backup really in case I decided the amp's drive wasn't enough. At gig volume I didn't need the OD-3.

The final trick is the Cry Baby Wah Classic. It's only used in this show in "Blue Sky Mine" and right at the end of "Beds Are Burning" but I have a feeling I'll use it a lot more in other shows. 

My latest addition is the Boss TU-3 tuner pedal. It's awesome. The lights on it are so bright I'm sure the that International Space Station guys knew that I was in tune. It's also an effective "mute" button and can deliver power to other pedals.

Rehearsals for the 2014 were a bit light on. It's hard to get 7 people in the same place at the same time. Thankfully for me I had a couple of sneaky rehearsals with Chris as well as one where George bashed his lounge in lieu of drums! I think for any band, being able to sit down in small groups and work things out quietly is really, really important.

The other thing I did was to take a guitar away on holidays with me. With the addition of the iRig HD which the family gave me for my birthday, I can rehearse with great tones through headphones via my iPhone or iPad - it's awesome.

I think our first real rehearsal was at George's place in January. To be fair, we were rusty. We knew most of the songs and could bluff our way through but it wasn't great. I know that H was worried. The good thing here was that we all recognised which bits needed work. Around this time H, Chris and I with Joel guesting on drums, played two other shows. This was fun but I'll admit that trying to learn the songs for those as well as the Oils tunes meant that I didn't do either particularly well.

Later on we organised to play a rehearsal "show" to a select group of invitees. This was great. Again, it highlighted any areas that needed more work but also allowed us to perform in front of people who were very much onside. Playing at gig volume is a very different proposition than rehearsing so it was good to be able to try and get the balance right before the shows with paying customers!

Finally, last week, it was gig time. Show number 1 was excellent. Personally I was nervous because my family were there but other than that I think it went well. Tim really hit his straps not only doing sound but playing keyboards from up the back of the room. There was a huge amount of energy in the room and after the gig I think we were all well and truly spent. The only thing that wasn't great was having to pack up all the gear knowing that we'd be back the next week!

We've got this "fan" called Mark. He's been to all our Oils shows and even the closed rehearsal. After the first show he asked us if we could add an older Oils song back into the set for the show on May 10th. We'd dropped "No Time For Games" after last year but when your fan asks so nicely....well....why not. We ran through it at soundcheck and, for a difficult song (it's in 7/4 in places) I thought it was OK.

Show number 2 came along very quickly and I have to say that it was even better than the first one. Again, it was sold out but for some reason both the band and the crowd were in for a big night. Personally I was at the stage where I really only needed the charts for a prompt every now and then and that was pretty cool I think. We had only a few minor hiccups and maybe the band only noticed most of them I'd think. At one stage I'm sure that there were more audience members on stage singing that people in the band but that was a lot of fun. 

And then it was over. Beds had burned and we'd been driven down to Alice Springs.

Next up we go on the road and that's sure to be a whole other story as well as the final chapter of George's book. Will we fit all the gear in the van? Will people actually want to listen to us play? How many of the band members snore? We'll find out soon.

But why are we doing all this? The first reason is that we like to play music. It doesn't matter if it's the Oils tunes, H's originals, something obscure or some simple rock tunes; it's fun. But there is a more serious reason. The Oils said that "no-one goes outback, that's that" and it resonated with George. Through his work he's been supporting a programme called "Crossing The Divide". It endeavours to get young people back into the education system and give them some skills and the chance to get a job. Centered around Bundarra in NSW it's where the band is going to play. It's our chance to bring what we do to other people and support them in our own way.

Watch this space for tour updates later in the year and you'll definitely find out who snores the most.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the band so far.

And on a personal note; thanks to my family who I'm sure are over listening to Midnight Oil for a while!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Song of the Week #297

I'm happy to report that not only was last Saturday night's gig sold out but that it was awesome. A keen crowd and having to wait around too long to get started really got the band firing on all cylinders. I won't review the show since I played in it. But, from my corner of the stage it was a lot of fun. Zoë got up in the last song to sing with me after doing some roadie/photographer bits and pieces so that was pretty cool. We're on again tomorrow night.

This week I got to back two singers as they braved a crowd of around 900. They both did a great job and the audience were very, very enthusiastic. Yes, it was here at work. I guess the fact that the kids here are so positive is one of the things that keeps me going. They could absolutely pan some of the singers if they want to in this and any other of the myriad of performances that we have, but they don't. If you're really good they let you know, and if you're just having a go the applause and cheering is just as loud.

Warming up my fingers in an empty hall yesterday I thought about songs that I like to play. Riffs, whole tunes, even mash-ups. So this week you'll get three songs that my fingers seem to automatically gravitate to on the guitar. Note that yesterday was the first public performance of my electrified ukulele as well - that was fun!

First up is a classic from AC/DC. For years I played this intro riff incorrectly. I remember watching Angus Young's hands at some stage in a video and the lightbulb flicking on in my head. It's a few notes that I use all the time to warm up with but also on an acoustic guitar it can sound quite refined...and people roll their eyes when they realise what I'm actually playing!

AC/DC - Hell's Bells -

Second is a 90's classic from Deb Conway. The album that this is from, "String of Pearls", is well worth a spin if you find yourself liking this song. Full of jangly guitars and great lyrics. I really only play the three intro chords to this so I should learn the whole song one day. For you guitarists it's just an open E chord, open A chord and then a D chord with the high E string left open. Simple but it just rings out so well. Apparently it's called Dsus2. Who knew? Just don't use your middle finger on the D and you're there.

Deborah Conway - Release Me -

I guess I can play a few bits and pieces that I save for the guitar shop but I'm really not a flashy player. My favourite players are guys in the background like Malcolm Young just sitting in a groove and pushing the band along. The Oils shows and working with H and the Chief have certainly expanded my playing in good ways. They manage to coax the odd guitar solo out of me.

Years ago I had a fair bit of time on my hands in the evenings so I sat down with a guitar magazine (pre-internet folks) to learn something that I thought was challenging. I was right into Metallica at the time so the next tune was my goal. To be fair, it was the quiet introduction to the song that interested me. I'm no musical expert but I can tell you that the time signature changes during the bit I was learning. After a little while I got my fingers trained and what was a real effort now flows with ease. There's a message there I think. Anyway, it's probably my only favourite piece that the guitar shop guys recognise straight away!

Metallica - Welcome Home (Sanitarium) -

Last week I bought a CD called "Van Diemen's Land" by Australian music icon Russell Morris. I must say that I am rather impressed. It's a bluesy album with plenty of very tasty guitars and great lyrical content. There are songs about the Eureka Stockade, WWII and Breaker Morant. If you're a fan of John Lee Hooker style blues with a modern twist and an antipodean flavour then listen. If the fact that the album also features people such as Rick Springfield and Joe Camileri then again, put your money down. There are only some preview tracks on the 'net so far...this one should give you a fair idea of what to expect. Click here.

And just in case you don't know what Russell is famous here

That's it for another week.

DJ Rob
"Na, na, na, na, na-na, na, na, na, I wanna be sedated" - The Ramones 1978 (this cover version ROCKS!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Song of the Week #296

"The time has come, to say fair's fair, to pay the rent, to pay our share..." For the boys in the band, the time has come to play some Midnight Oil tunes. Tomorrow night is gig number 1 at Vivaldi's. The last rehearsal was fabulous, the tickets are sold and in a few hours we'll hit the stage. I can't wait! Thanks to all that are coming either tomorrow night or next week. And a special big shout out to DJ Grumpa who has come along. The last time he saw me play in a rock band was at my 21st birthday (last year).

My aim this week was to choose three songs that regular listeners would find unfamiliar. My listening fare this week has meant that I'll succeed with two out of three. Meatloaf would say that ain't bad.

Let's start with Lupe Fiasco. Wow, I can already visualise some of you out there rolling your eyes in a commendable impression of a teenager, but bear with me please. I was watching a music TV channel (free to air, I'm no fatcat!) out of the corner of my eye. Whilst the tune didn't really hook me the main lyric and the clip certainly did. It's about skateboarding but really it's more about community, freedom and doing something you love with good people. That's a bit like cycling to me.

Kick Push - Lupe Fiasco -

iTunes radio turned me on to the next band. Karnivool have been around since 1997 and they are from Perth (the one in Australia). You could describe their music as "prog" but that might be a bit limiting. The few tunes I have tried out vary quite a bit. But if you do like prog rock or metal and you're relatively open minded then give it a go. It's interesting stuff and I'll check out some more of their music next week.

Karnivool - We Are -

If you were a music fan in 1987 you couldn't have missed the rock 'n' roll explosion that was Guns 'n' Roses. Their first album "Appetite for Destruction" has long been considered a seminal work by critics and music fans alike. But I've never really liked it. There's no doubt that there are great singles on the LP but as a listen from start to finish I've never really enjoyed it. I have been back a few times to check that I wasn't missing something but have never been convinced. This week a track from the album rolled around on a random playlist I had going. That made me have another spin of the record. And it clicked. Maybe it was my state of mind or just the alignment of the planets - who knows?! The music is rough and abrasive, the lyrics well crafted and delivered with a snarl, a sneer and some real attitude. And the guitars are percussive and bruising without being harsh. It's the whole package. Here's the track that made me turn the corner (language warning on this one)...

Guns 'n' Roses - You're Crazy -

My view is that really that's the only GnR album worth a listen. The "Lies" EP is pretty good too as are a few other tracks but they never re-captured the magic of that stellar debut. Duff, Slash and Izzy (all former members these days) all have really good solo albums. Izzy's bluesy reggae tinges work is a favourite of mine and we'll hear some next week.

Finally a word on my Song of the Week side project. It's up and running in beta! I have two guinea pigs, er, um, volunteers and the results should be online for you all to sample in a few weeks.

That'll do.

DJ Rob

"Well me and the boys
Are out to have some fun
Gonna put on a show
Come on, let's go" - AC/DC - There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' (1976)