Posts Tagged ‘Josh Freese’

Sounds more like Journey than Journey: Best track off singer Steve Perry’s new solo record TRACES and could have appeared on any classic Journey album. Co-written with and featuring the incredible guitar playing of former Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie guitarist John 5. And when your song needs the best ‘hard driving’ rock-n-roll back beat in the business you hire former Replacements drummer and studio session extraordinaire, Joeh Freese, to lay it down. Well done Mr. Perry thinking outside the box and enlisting a couple of very talented alternative / industrial rock vets.

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The only real positive benefit for fans when a great band breaks up is often times the members splinter off and form their own bands or become solo artists. You now have exponentially more music to discover and listen to. In the case of The Replacements, Paul Westerberg continued as one of my favorites with his solo releases, plus as his musical alter-ego, Grandpaboy. Tommy Stinson, who was the real spark plug and energy of the ‘Mats, formed a couple short-lived bands, Bash & Pop and Perfect. Fortunately, his post-Replacements bands left behind some catchy, guitar-driven rock tracks in their wake before Tommy went on to join Guns ‘N Roses and Soul Asylum as bass player.

“Never Aim To Please” is the first track on Bash & Pop’s lone release Friday Night Is Killing Me. Right off the bat, Stinson and Company give you the best of what the band  has to offer — straight-forward, Stones-influenced guitar-riff rock with Stinson’s take-me-as-I-am attitude and lyrics. After so many years playing together with master songwriter and wordsmith Westerberg, Tommy naturally picks up and creates his own style of lyrical cleverness which is present throughout the entire 1993 release. Steve Foley, who replaced original drummer Chris Mars on the last ‘Mats tour, does a great job of lying down a tight back beat on drums.

I have heard it said before, if you look up the definition of rock-n-roll in the dictionary, a picture of Tommy Stinson will be there. I would have to agree and “Never Aim to Please” is one of the reasons why. Stinson also released a couple strong solo efforts in 2004 (Village Gorilla Head)  and 2011 (One Man Mutiny) which showcase his growth as a songwriter, musician and vocalist. Also be sure to check out the great session work Stinson and drummer  Josh Freese provided as rhythm section ‘hired guns’ for alternative band MOTH on their 2002 release Provisions, Fiction and Gear.

Interestingly (or maybe not), I had the opportunity to open up for Bash & Pop when they came through Cleveland on tour in 1992 prior to their debut release. I played drums for an alternative band NOTHING LIKE VAUDEVILLE and we played and hosted several Musicians Nights at Flash’s Concert Club, which was a popular venue and has since been torn down. The Club Manager asked us to open for some national acts, so we played on same bill as Tool in their very early days, plus Course of Empire, a cool band out of Dallas, TX featuring two drummers. When we were asked to open for Bash & Pop, it was decided by our lead guitarist/songwriter that musically it was not a good fit and declined the offer.  He was probably right the audience would have watched us with their heads tilted sideways in wonderment, but that was not uncommon for our band anyways. Turning it down was mind-boggling since the ‘Mats were a huge influence on me. I always joked with my former band mate that I could never forgive him.

 

Moth’s 2002 release PROVISIONS, FICTION AND GEAR was one of my favorite CD’s that year. Moth is another ‘head-scratcher’ band for me as to why they were not more commercially successful. I summerize the music industry as “many are called, but few are chosen” and I have always been more a fan of the ‘called’ then the ‘chosen’. There is no doubt singer/guitarist and main Moth songwriter Brad Stenz benefited from having producer Sean Beavan at the controls for Moth’s third release. Beavan has worked with many artists over the years including Guns-N-Roses, Marilyn Manson, and Nine Inch Nails. I happen to remember him as bassist for the Cleveland-based band, Nation on One, back in the 80’s, which had one great release NIGHT VISION (1986). Suprisingly, and maybe coincidentally, I can hear similarities between these two bands in how the vocal tracks where recorded.

Moth lost its bass player and drummer prior to recording. Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Guns-N-Roses) and Josh Freese, who has played on what seems like 900 records over the last 15-20 years, joined in as a result of their association with Beavan. Their incredible musicianship provides a rock solid foundation and really enhance the songs to a level that I doubt would have gone without these veteran players.

‘Plastics Campaign’ is one of the strongest tracks with its unique rhythm and intensity as Stenz sings of a clear distaste for the entire practice of cosmetic surgery. I love the bass line and vocal phrasing throughout the song. Freese’s frantic and amazingly precise drums fills all over the end of the song display why he will never be out of work. Stenz has a great voice for alternative rock and hopefully he will be heard from again. Other standout Moth tunes include ‘Sleepy’ and ‘Last Night’s Dream’.