MLB Championship Series

jays-indianslos-angeles-dodgers-vs-chicago-cubs

I couldn’t make predictions for the Wild Card games and the Divisional series due to a lot of work, but I’m not letting the American League and National League finals start without having my take on it.

The greatest thing about this year’s baseball finals is that every team involved doesn’t win a World Series in a long time. The Dodgers won last time in 88, the Blue Jays in 93, the Indians in 48 and, of course, the Cubs in 1908! Therefore, emotions will run high on both series.

Let’s get down to the brass tacks.

ALCS: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Indians

I was positive the Blue Jays would get trounced by the Rangers, but not only they won, they swept the series. With Russel Martin, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin Encarnacion the Jays have a good attack and a solid defense, which also has Kevin Pillar. And the pitching is good, specially Marcus Stroman. On the other side, to my total chagrin, the Indians also swept my beloved Red Sox (when your only good pitcher plays as bad as Porcello did, you can’t expect to win in the Postseason) and are very confident. Andrew Miller is playing well despite his age and Kipnis, Lindor and Napoli are hitting well. However, let’s remember: they played against a team with SERIOUS pitching issues in ALDS. I really wanted to see a World Series between the Indians and the Cubs (it would be historic) but I think the Blue Jays will pass. Toronto 4-2.

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs.

Buckle up everybody, this one promises to be EPIC. Two of the most traditional franchises in baseball and the Cubs with their best team in years. Chicago never had a greater chance of stopping their 108 years draught. If Chicago indeed breaks their curse that would skyrocket Theo Epstein -Young Theo, as he was known in Boston – profile to unimaginable heights. I mean he would be the man behind ending both Red Sox and Cubs draughts. It’s not something to overlook. However, they will face a rather driven and tight team (as their great victory against the Nationals showed last night). How about a potential pitching battle between Kershaw and Arrieta? And also the hitting battle: Turner, Utley, Pederson and Reddick are playing great and Adrian Gonzales can show up now and again for the Dodgers. Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrist and Heyward are also playing great and Russel and Almora Jr. can show up for the Cubs. It’s one of the most anticipated series ever and I’m really looking forward to it, but I think the better pitching staff (aside Arrieta, Hendricks, Strop, Wood and a closer like Chapman) will prevail in the end. Chicago 4-3.

It all starts tonight and I can barely wait!

Current (and rather long) playlist:

Listening:

Nails – You’ll Never be One of Us

Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky

Heart – Beautiful Broken

Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1

Volbeat – Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie

Meat Loaf – Braver than We are

Purson – Desire Magic Theatre

The Struts – Everybody Wants

Cheap Trick – Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello

Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule

Watching:

The Walking Dead – Season VI

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

    

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Rock Chain # 31: Ginger Avenger

ginger

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it here in the blog once a month.

Ginger, lead singer with The Wildhearts, was one of the artists that benefited a lot from this new trend of crowdfunding when he released 100% 555% in 2012. However, the first band to ask fans to help them record an album in 2004 was Marillion with Marbles.

Marillion was dismissed in the beginning of their career for being mere clones of another British rock band, Genesis.

Genesis began life as a straight up Prog band, but turned into a giant pop juggernaut in the eighties, mostly because of Phil Collins.

Phil Collins played two shows on the same day at Live Aid in 85.

Live Aid was opened at Wembley Stadium by Status Quo playing “Rocking All over the World”.

Status Quo also opened the last live appearances of Queen with Freddie Mercury.

Freddie Mercury wanted Queen to be extravagant, much because he was in awe of the visuals of Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi Hendrix was discovered by Chas Chandler, bassist with The Animals.

The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of this Place” was covered by Ann Wilson on her covers solo album, Hope and Glory.

Ann Wilson was an item with Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter.

Ian Hunter’s sixth solo album was produced by former Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, together with Mick Jones from The Clash.

The Clash played at Shea Stadium in 1982 as a supporting act to The Who.

The Who at that time had Kenny Jones on drums replacing Keith Moon. Kenny had previously played with the Small Faces and the Faces.

The Faces was best known for having in its ranks Rod Stewart, freshly out of The Jeff Beck Group.

The Jeff Beck Group’s album Truth is involved in a lot of polemics because Jeff Beck claims (not without some reason) that Jimmy Page stole a lot of things from it to use it on Led Zeppelin I.

Led Zeppelin I has the proto-metal track “Communication Breakdown”, later a B-side for the “Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter” single, by Iron Maiden.

Iron Maiden’s management now owns a company called Phantom Music, which was Sanctuary Music Group before.

Sanctuary Music once owned Neat Records home of many NWOBHM bands like Avenger.

Avenger toured their Blood Sports album in Netherlands in 1982, with a replacement at the guitar player position. Do you know who he was? Future lead singer for The Wildhearts, Ginger.

Current playlist:

Reading:

The Dark Tower III : The Wastelands – Stephen King

The Young Messiah – Anne Rice

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

 

 

Rock Chain #30: Dream Giant

derek shulman

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it here in the blog once a month.

Many people don’t know that but the second album from “Ultra-Progressive” band Gentle Giant, titled “Acquired Taste”, was produced by Tony Visconti.

Tony Visconti, obviously is more often associated with David Bowie and T. Rex, and more recently with producing I am a River, the last track on “Sonic Highways” the cd soundtrack to the wonderful American musical cities documentary made by the Foo Fighters.

Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl is a consummate metalhead as it was proven by the guests in his project Probot. He even managed to get Wino from St. Vitus to participate.

St. Vitus obviously got his name from the Black Sabbath tune “St. Vitus Dance” on Vol. 4.

Vol. 4 is the album with the ballad “Changes” which a lot of people thought featured Ozzy playing the piano because of the photos, but actually Tony Iommi played it.

Tony Iommi once played for Jethro Tull and appeared with the band in the Rock and Roll Circus special, carried out by the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones are often rightfully credited with saving the fortunes of black bluesmen in America for their championing of the Blues when they started making success. This is clearly showed on the great movie Cadillac Records, which features Beyoncé singing greatly actual good music. She sings the Blues standard “I’d rather go blind” immortalized by Etta James and recently wonderfully re-recorded by Beth Hart on her first album with Joe Bonamassa, Don’t Explain.

Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart toured Europe and recorded a live album in Amsterdam with the latter’s band which features Anton Fig on drums.

Anton Fig played on Kiss’ Unmasked, replacing Peter Criss.

Peter Criss, ironically enough, is the writer of the band’s highest charting single, “Beth”.

“Beth” is on “Destroyer”, produced by Bob Ezrin.

Bob Ezrin worked with a lot of bands but the one he worked most with was Alice Cooper.

Alice Cooper’s first record label was Bizarre Records, owned by Frank Zappa.

Frank Zappa also formed the odd all-girls group GTO’s which had in its ranks Pamela des Barres.

Pamela des Barres is now the recognized author of groupie autobiography I’m with the band and was once Jimmy Page’s girlfriend.

Jimmy Page in 2014 was presented with the Honorary Doctorate Degree by Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Many musicians already passed by Berklee but it is mostly remembered by Metal fans for being the birthplace of Dream Theater.

Dream Theater was signed to ATCO Records by the record company A&R man, Derek Shulman. Do you know who Derek Shulman was before this job? Gentle Giant’s lead singer.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Saxon – Battering Ram

Blind Guardian – Somewhere Far Beyond

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

 

Variations

There are so many variations to this weird thing called life…

 

When the wave rocks the boat,

And the boat swings,

When the crooner sings a song,

And the audience dreams.

 

When the king rules the land,

And his subjects bow,

When a rose turns to red,

And the nightingale cows.

 

When clouds scud across the sky,

And the sun appears,

When newborn babies cry,

And the mother hears.

 

When the pitcher throws a ball,

And the hitter misses,

When a priest puts on a ring,

And the faithful kisses.

 

When the band plays loud,

And the crowd reacts,

When the rooster crows,

And the tiger attacks.

 

When the church is empty,

And the hunchback tolls the bell,

When Icarus flies,

And Lucifer goes to hell.

 

When the wise man tells a story,

And the hobo struggles,

When the angel flaps his wings,

And the jester juggles.

 

When pirates sail the sea,

And Jolly Rogers unfurl,

When the music box plays,

And the ballerina twirls.

 

When an eagle fly away,

And a rainbow shines so bright,

When your love leaves home,

And disappear into the night.

 

Current playlist:

Listening:

Annie Haslam – Annie in Wonderland

Megadeth – Dystopia

Anthrax – For All Kings

 

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

Rock Chain #30: Almost Famous

savage

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll.

Savage is one of dozens of NWOBHM bands that could have been, but stumbled upon record label promises. In their case, the label unceremoniously dumped them to invest in Grim Reaper.

Grim Reaper is also a great band, despite the fact that was constantly mocked on MTV’s Beavis & Butt-Head, just like a lot of great bands like Styx and even King Diamond.

King Diamond, after his first album, Fatal Portrait, only released conceptual records based on his horror stories and recently performed one of them, Abigail, in its entirety for a future DVD release this year from Metal Blade Records.

Metal Blade Reacords was responsible for the now legendary Metal Massacre compilations which in the first edition had a track from a band that would be more connected to the Hard Rock/Glam scene, La Jolla’s most famous sons, Ratt.

Ratt was once the biggest of all Sunset Strip bands, even having its song “Body Talk” on the soundtrack of the movie The Golden Child, starring Eddie Murphy.

Eddie Murphy (okay, a bit of movie chain here) was obviously the star of Beverly Hills Cop, which theme song was written by no other than the late great, Glenn Frey.

Glenn Frey was a founding member of The Eagles with Don Henley.

Don Henley dated Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood Mac was formed after Peter Green had left John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He was replaced by Eric Clapton.

Eric Clapton was before that a member of The Yardbirds, with whom he toured America with bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson.

A Sonny Boy Wiliamson song called “Eyesight to the Blind” was recorded on Tommy by The Who (the only song not written by the band on that record).

The Who is still active today, although only with two remaining members, guitarist Pete Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey.

Roger Daltrey once recorded a failed album called Listzomania with former Yes keyboardist, Rick Wakeman.

Rick Wakeman played on Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the album with the track “Sabbra Cadabra” which was covered by Metallica on the album Garage Inc.

In the very beginning of their career, Metallica used to play the songs “Let It Loose” and “Dirty Money” on their sets. Do you know from who are those songs? NWOBHM band that could have been, Savage.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Black Crowes – By Your Side

 

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

 

 

 

For…

For slaying the dragon and saving the queen

For waking me up after a horrible dream

For giving me water when I’m feeling thirst

For loving me more than anyone on this Earth

For holding me close and wiping my tears

For giving me a shoulder to cry all those years

For rolling with me in a barn full of hay

For being a shrine when I wanted to pray

For lighting a fire when I’m feeling cold

For picking up pieces making me feeling whole

For believing in glory and success to the max

For giving me kisses and passion and sex

For standing alone in the rain and the snow

For being the hit of such a long time ago

For finding me diamonds among solid rocks

For going straight forward pulling out all the stops

For playing guitar on an empty stage

For getting me out of a godforsaken place

For fueling the rocket that that flies into space

For making me happy when I see your face

For angels that come from Heaven above

For unknown mysteries solved with love

For lyrics and pictures bathed in lust

For outlaws and criminals biting the dust

For the magic created by a wizard’s wand

For the courage of rebels at their final stand

For skies ripped by a rainbow so bright

For seas reflecting the pale moonlight

For the joy of a life lived in full

For the sound of harmonicas playing the blues

For keeping my faith that Rock and Roll is true

For that and much more I sincerely thank you.

 

Current playlist:

Listening:

Firehouse – s/t

Voivod – Angel Rat

Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey – Going Back Home

Watching:

House of Cards – Forth Season (DVD)

Reading:

Cry to Heaven – Anne Rice

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico

 

 

Hall of Idols bonus tracks: Monty Python

monty_python

Unfortunately my Hall of Idols is over. It’s a shame really because I loved to do it and I can safely say it was the most pleasant thing I ever wrote here in the blog. I love Rock Chain but the Hall of Idols was just as pleasant and it took me half the time and effort to do it.

However, like any good luxury edition release, I thought about putting some bonus in it.

The criteria used to the additions as bonus was only one: people who influenced me as a whole and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly who individually. And here’s something interesting: I concluded that all bands that I love had some guy in there who I liked better. Not even The Beatles influenced me or were as important to me as a whole. John and Paul were much more, especially Paul (probably the greatest idol I have in my life considering all areas).

Anyway, with that in mind I only could think of two bonus tracks and thi is the second.

As a writer I can safely say that there is nothing harder to write than humor. It is really hard to be funny on paper. It’s not a coincidence that 99% of stand-up comedians have teams of writers. It’s difficult to be fun. You can think of Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld, for example, but they cannot be your standard. They are geniuses.

If you ever watched any late night shows (we miss you Jay Leno and David Letterman!) and wait until the credits roll, you’ll see that there are teams who write for those people. Real Time with Bill Maher (a personal favorite) has a team of writers.

And when you have people that probably could do it alone, but they get together anyway, then you’re on to a real winner. And that’s what happened with the collective that became known as Monty Python.

Monty Python was the result of six British geniuses: Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Michael Palin. They all worked in various British TV series as members or writers in the mid-sixties (one of those, I actually own in VHS is from 1968 and is called How to Irritate People has John Cleese and Graham Chapman as cast members and writers is absolutely hilarious, specially the “Egocentrism” sketch).

Depending on what source you read about the background of how the six got together varies, but the most accepted is that Cleese and Chapman admired the new style of comedy done by Idel, Jones, Palin and animator Terry Gilliam in a show called Do Not Adjust Your Set and suggested that they join efforts to form one group and seek production sponsorship.

The fact is they got together and first through Monty Python Flying Circus and later with their movies they probably performed some of the greatest moments in comedy history.

I’ll be honest and say I can’t recall everything about Flying Circus, but the satire, surreal humor, nonsense and black comedy that spun from it will be forever unmatched. I guess is the pinnacle of the quintessential great British humor. I remember some historical sketches like “Dead Parrot sketch”, “Nudge, Nudge” and “Ministry of Silly Walks”.

But for me, personally, what made the Pythons so special were the movies. I mean, I don’t know how many times I watched Life of Brian and Holy Grail, but I laugh my ass off every single time. Hollywood Bowl (the “We were so poor, we lived in a shoebox” quote and “Schopenhauer is pessimistic” in the final of Soccer World Cup of Philosophers made my back ache from how much I laughed) and The Meaning of Life (the Reaper pointing to the salmon mousse is just brilliant) are also wonderful but those two…

Life of Brian is the greatest satire of religion ever made without being offensive. Even a radical Christian can watch and laugh as he never laughed before. I mean how can you not laugh when the three wise men go to the wrong manger because they lost track of the guiding star? And how about people who can’t hear Jesus and start a fight because of nose sizes? And the fake beard salesman? There are too many things to list… And it was funded by George Harrison to boot.

Holy Grail doesn’t stay behind. I mean, the Holy Hand Grenade? The Knights who made Ni? The three questions?  Actually, when just writing or reading about it like that, seemed utter ridiculous, but when you see it is hilarious and magnificent, to say the least.

Now, all the idols in the hall have a magazine to read and some comedy to watch!

Current playlist:

Listening:

Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart – Don’t Explain

UK Subs – Before You Were Punk: The Very Best of UK Subs

Watching:

Man of Steel

Batman vs. Superman

The Bourne Legacy

Reading:

Killing Floor – Lee Child

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

Add me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico