I just wanted to take a minute to mark out three full years since the passing of Ronnie James Dio. Short of thinking of every scumbag motherfucker still roaming the earth while he’s not and making myself angry, I’d rather not get lost in memorializing — everything’s been said and by people with better sentence structures than mine — but if heavy metal has a hall of immortals it’s only because Ronnie James Dio built it from the ground up. He remains, and will remain, much missed.
This clip of Dehumanizer-era Sabbath doing “Children of the Sea” is one of literally thousands out there, and if you find yourself lost among them and exploring one into the next into the next, I’m sure there are worse ways you could spend that time. Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010.
Black Sabbath,”Children of the Sea” Live in Rio de Janeiro, 1992
What a fascinating and confusing clusterfuck this week has been. Well, when you want to make sense of the universe around you desperately enough to drink cheap, shitty wine out of a La Quinta styrofoam cup, there’s only one place to turn: Dio‘s Holy Diver. Putting this record on is like putting on a pair of old pajamas: A little worn in, but just right on so many levels.
I was all set to catch Elder and Infernal Overdrive tonight in New Bedford, MA, but then The Patient Mrs. and I spent the better part of the afternoon hunting down sterno for her also-out-of-power grandmother, and by the time we left Connecticut, it presented a primo opportunity to sample Boston’s Revolutionary War-era civil engineering and city planning schematic. We sat in traffic for longer than I care to remember — such that, by the time we landed here at the hotel in Somerville, I not only would’ve been too late to the show to catch InfOv (that’s right, that’s what I call them), but the thought of getting back out in my car and getting to he No Problemo taqueria for the show sent a shudder down my mid-Atlantic spine.
I’m sorry, but no one in this fucking state knows how to merge. I know a lot of good people from here — Tim Catz, John Arzgarth, and on and on — but seriously, it’s called manual feed. One from this side, one from the other, and you should probably already know that.
So The Patient Mrs. and my sorry self grabbed dinner and a couple big cans of Sapporo — crisp and delicious — and I’ll just look forward to the Small Stone showcase tomorrow night at Radio here in scenic Somerville, and a week next week largely devoted to making up for all the ground I’ve lost in the wake of Hurricane Sandy over the last several days. Expect track streams from Pharaoh Overlord and Mala Suerte/Uzala, reviews of said Small Stone showcase and At Devil Dirt, among others, an interview with Curse the Son, news about Toner Low and much, much more. I’m so far behind, I feel like all I can do is drink and hope the power comes back on.
Oh, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here. And while I’m thinking about it, let me underscore the point of how lucky I fucking am to be alive and to have suffered nothing more than what in the context of the rest of my beloved Garden State is a minor inconvenience at best.
I can drink and be bummed about all the shit I didn’t get done this week, but at least I’m not drinking and being bummed about the tree that fell on the house, I guess is my point.
Though I still worry about the roving gangs of marauders breaking into the house and stealing my Queens of the Stone Age promos and Sabbath bootlegs. Please — they’re all I’ve got. Take the tvs and the formerly-frozen pesto instead. Leave the CD rack alone.
“And here it comes again/Straight through the heart.” Fucking a.
Wherever you are, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re in the area and headed to the Small Stone show tomorrow — as I am; have I mentioned that yet? — please, no matter what I tell you, I’d love a Palm. Cheers.
It had been a while since I’d been to the Second Saturday Record Show in flood-prone Wayne, NJ. In fact, relatively speaking, my load of CD acquisitions has been light of late, a combination of pricing myself out of the market, saving cash to move, being annoyed at digital promos, etc. But Saturday was the record show and I happened to be in the state, so I wasn’t going to miss it.
The Wayne Firehouse, which is where the show has been held since before time began, was as packed as I’ve ever seen it, and with more vinyl. Believe the hype, I guess. People were pushing through the aisles at crowded tables, and even though I was working under my self-imposed limit to CDs and tapes, I wavered when I happened upon an original LP of the first Goatsnake record. I didn’t buy it, because it was $75, but I came close.
Treasures persisted though. Here’s a quick rundown.
Among the CDs, the self-titled Electric Wizard was the highlight, no doubt about. Original jewel case issue on Rise Above. I’d only had the reissue before that paired it with Come My Fanaticsand the digipak that came out even later, so to get the first version was a treat. Of course the album rules, but I already knew that going into it.
Tapes were three for two bucks at one seller’s table, so I grabbed the Dio, Sacred Heart, and Black Sabbath, Mob Rules and Born Againtapes from him, as well as the three-tape set of Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks‘ The 2,000 Year Old Man, which is a classic. The Ozzy tape came from his as well, which threw off the three-for-two thing, but it was worth the extra 50 cents anyway. I think actually I only wound up paying $2.50 anyhow. Fucking awesome.
The Hendrix tape in the top right corner I bought off a different dude for a buck. It’s a dub of “Top Gear”/BBC stuff (click here to pop up the full tracklist), and yeah, it’s probably all been officially released at this point, but it fucking rules anyway, front to back. 1967. Gorgeous.
The 1996 debut by Canada’s Sheavy was in the same bin as the Electric Wizard (and some Death SS, which I picked up as well), but might have been an even bigger surprise, if only because it was so random. I’ve never been really hooked by the band — though they do take Sabbath worship to a different level entirely and there’s something inherently admirable in that — but the record’s cool and it’s got a handmade-looking foldout included detailing the bonus tracks and even a little pyramid-shaped piece of paper that seems to be a kind of mail-order catalog:
And here’s the foldout, when folded out:
Pretty cool that that stuff would be with the album after all these years, and in impeccable shape at that. The CD was obviously well loved, kept out of sunlight, and so on. Hard not to appreciate stumbling on something like that, no matter how attached to Sheavy‘s work I may or may not be.
One of my main reasons for going in the first place, however, was the hope of picking up a turntable on the cheap. I’ve invested about as much time and effort into trying to repair the one at my office as I care to, and it’s time to move on. They didn’t have any at the record show, which was a bummer, but en route to other errands, The Patient Mrs. found a $40 Best Buy gift card that’s apparently been in my wallet since 2009. Could only be providence, right?
We shot over to the local big-box — a desert of outdated technologies (which actually gave it a certain charm in my eyes) — and grabbed the floor model of one of those “put your LPs on your iPod” turntables for what turned out to be $24 after the gift card was applied. Brought it to the office this morning, and of course it didn’t work. Now I’m 0-2 and I’ve got two busted record players one on top of the other on top of my office shelf unit, which I think makes me some kind of warped reality redneck.
Some you win, some you lose. I’ll try to return it and see if I can give it another go, and I’ve got plenty to keep me busy in the meantime. If nothing else, the growling and howling in “Hound Dog” on that Hendrix tape has the little dog Dio eyeballing the speaker curiously, and that’s bound to be hours of entertainment. Rock and roll.
It had been my intention to spend yesterday (Sunday) making the November podcast using the suggested Southern theme, but two things kept me from meeting that goal. First was homework, which can’t be helped. Second, and more pivotal, was the fact that I don’t yet own a physical copy of Spiral Shadow by Kylesa.
Fucking tragedy, right?
I tried to remedy this first at Sound Exchange in Wayne, my go-to shop for its proximity to my humble river valley and for the fact that if it’s between them and almost anyone else in the physical realm, I’d rather give them the money. They were a no dice. Thus began the agonizing, drawn-out process of not wanting to drive to Vintage Vinyl in Fords — an hour away on a good day — and knowing that I had zero chance of finding Spiral Shadow anywhere else near me.
My ride to Vintage Vinyl is agony, and not just because I have to spend the whole time anticipating what treasures I might find when I get there. It includes some of Northern New Jersey‘s most cripplingly boring roads, including Rt. 24, Rt. 78 and the ludicrously engineered Garden State Parkway. Nonetheless, at about four o’clock yesterday afternoon, after whining for nearly two hours about how much I didn’t want to make the trip — and no, it’s not lost on me that that’s long enough to make the trip twice over — off I went.
Should’ve called first. They didn’t have it. They’d only gotten a few copies and those were gone. Boy, did I feel stupid. Who does that? Who spends two hours in a car at the prospect of buying a CD without calling first to make sure the store has it?
I drowned my jackass sorrows in picking up The Elf Albums by Ronnie James Dio (and the rest of Elf, who aren’t cool enough to get mentioned on the cover), a used copy of Celestial Hi-Fi by Sheavy, who I never particularly enjoy hearing but keep buying the records of when I see them, Hippie Killer by Bongripper for $6.99, a used copy of the Boris and Ian Astbury collaboration, BXI, and, for $3.99, the version of Entombed‘s Wolverine Blues with the (apparently not) titular Marvel Comics character on the front.
The latter was obviously the find of the trip, but even that wasn’t enough to make me feel like any less of an idiot for spending that much of my day in blind pursuit of Spiral Shadow, which, it should be noted, I still haven’t gotten and is now holding up the November podcast. I don’t own Black Tusk either, but there are enough bands around who sound just like them that I can let that go. The Kylesa I pretty much need. The dude behind the counter said they’d be getting more this week, and I might try another run tomorrow, but needless to say, I’ll be calling first.
Fuckin’ “L.A. Connection.” This song rules, man. This was one of three videos Blabbermouth posted that were put up by former Rainbow/Ozzy bassist Bob Daisley, and damned if I could find anything better to close out the week. It doesn’t get much better than ’70s Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio kicking out a ridiculous hard rock song that has nothing to do with anything.
There’s a new podcast coming this weekend. Do you know what the theme will be? I do. I guess you’ll just have to stay on this page and click “Refresh” until it’s actually posted so you can find out.
Next week we wrap up August, and I promise I’ll finally have that Yawning Man feature up. I’m also slated to do two more interviews, and I’ve got conversations with Man’s Gin and Masters of Reality already in the can, so we should be well stocked. Next week also starts the semester, which is terrifying but a reality I was going to have to face sooner or later. Can I work, go to school and manage the most kickass stoner blog in the known multiverse? Probably not, but it’ll be fun anyway.
It’s only appropriate to end this week with Dio. I chose a clip for the song “I” from Black Sabbath‘s Dehumanizer tour, probably 1992 or somewhere thereabouts. Great song, and one I didn’t include in the Dio-cast, and not a bad video in that classic bootleggy kind of way, so enjoy and remember.
At least we have good music, right? When all else fails, at least there’s that.
Wherever you are, if the libations and timing are appropriate tonight, raise a toast to Ronnie James Dio, and please be safe. We’ll see you back here next week.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster
There were rumors floating around some last night, but Wendy Dio has now confirmed via Blabbermouth that her husband, LEGENDARYmetal vocalist Ronnie James Dio has died of the stomach cancer he’d been battling since winter. As a longtime fan of Dio‘s work, I on behalf of this dinkly little website The Obelisk send condolences to Wendy and others who knew Ronnie in either a personal or professional capacity.
I don’t know what to think and I’d feel dirty editorializing. He was my hero. We knew he was sick and we could extrapolate if we wanted to that it wasn’t going well when Heaven and Hell canceled their touring plans. I didn’t want to extrapolate. I wanted to think he’d beat cancer like it was a giant rubber dragon in 1983 and be back putting out Magica II and III in no time.
As a loyal denizen of several of northern New Jersey‘s respected independent record stores, it’s with a heavy heart that I hereby call shenanigans on some shady-type business practices going on around here. I won’t name the stores, because the indie record shop is a dying breed (not that anything I said would have the power to kill it anyway) and I do genuinely support both establishments. Knowing what I know, I not only still bought their products, but I would and undoubtedly will do it again too.
There are two instances I wish to report: the first at a shop not too far from the valley to which I’ve been going for years now. Last week I went to pick up a new Black Sabbath bootleg, just for the hell of it, and after failing to obtain the legendary Paris 1970 show, I opted for a collection of demos from what would become Dehumanizer. Hardly the best tradeoff, but whatever. I’ll take what I can get most of the time.
You can see from the front cover (and the back cover after the jump), it’s an inkjet job. That is, whoever distributes the disc probably also manufactured it with an inkjet printer and CD burner. The decline in quality of printed bootlegs is an unfortunate consequence of the digital age, but it’s also a gripe for another time. I’ve come to accept that it’s the way things are now. When you shop for bootlegs, you’re probably going to get some homemade crap.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 10th, 2009 by H.P. Taskmaster
The current Ronnie James Dio-fronted incarnation of Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell has announced the title of their highly-anticipated new album is… The Devil You Know. Hardly inspirational. Nothing starts the buzz going like naming your album a clich?, let alone one that denotes something familiar and/or generic. Might as well call it Playing it Safe.
Yes, I know it’s blasphemy to defame anything that comes from the fingers of Tony Iommi — we just won’t talk about Forbidden — but an album named The Devil You Know hardly fills my heart with excitement. Also revealed on Blabbermouth were the song titles “Bible Black” (uh huh), “Rock & Roll Angel” (pure Dio, that one), “Breaking into Heaven” (as opposed to being hungry for it, okay), “Atom & Evil” (sounds way Dehumanizer) and my personal favorite, “Eating the Cannibals.” That song, no matter what, will rule.
Iommi himself has compared the record to Dehumanizer, and the truth is that no matter how much it sucks, it’s going to rule. Vinny Appice is one of the least interesting rock drummers I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t matter. It’s Black Sabbath, you have to like it. There’s no choice. You signed up? Well, this is what you signed up for.
In all seriousness, I am looking forward to… The Devil You Know… ugh… but I have no delusions that it’s going to be a great album. I think Dehumanizer is a cool record, and if this sounds like modernized Dehumanizer, fine, but anyone who’s thinking it’s 1980 again and the band are about to unleash a second Heaven and Hell on the world are out of their minds. That time has simply passed — 30 years ago.
Approached with reasonable expectations, this Devil may yet be worth knowing, even with that crappy, crappy title. I mean, come on. It’s got Geezer Butler and a song called “Eating the Cannibals!” What could possibly go wrong?