Book Review: “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” by Mick Wall

“Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses”
Author: Mick Wall
Lesser Gods
Hardcover: 432 pages

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guns N’ Roses exploded during the 80’s glam metal scene and boldly redefined rock ’n’ roll for a new era. Mick Wall met Guns N’ Roses when the band members lived together in Los Angeles and became a part of their inner circle. Thanks to Wall’s longtime friendship and connections with Guns N’ Roses, he conducted exclusive interviews with all the original members and, for the first time, their original managers, who were in the trenches with Guns N’ Roses (from 1986 to 2004). They share all-new revelations about the band’s rock-star debauchery in the studio, on tour and behind the scenes. “Last of the Giants” is a celebration of Guns N’ Roses: the last of the extraordinary, excessive, not-giving-a-shit rock stars.

Imagine you are a fly on the wall during some of the most pivotal and monumental moments during Guns N’ Roses career. Arguably one of the most legendary rock and roll band in the last 3 decades “Last of the Giants: The True Story of Guns N’ Roses” is the account of that such fly (Mick Wall). Told through third person accounts and candid interviews with members and associates pass and present “Last of the Giants” is brimming over with behind the scenes stories and fresh interviews which shine new light on the bands fame and persona. Probably my favorite part of the book was amidst the chapters were 28 pages of full color photos highlighting the band at various points. These photos are not the same old reprints we have seen time and time again but new fresh photos that helped accentuate the text before and after each section.

“Last of the Giants” gives readers the inside track via behind the scenes firsthand accounts and through newly conducted interviews with those directly involved in some of the most important moments of the bands career. You get all the details and more in the latest offering from Mick Wall. I think I would have been more in to the book if this was an official release from the band however after reading this book you may understand why something of that nature hasn’t come to fruition. That aside no matter how intense of a G N’R fan you might be “Last of the Giants” is worth checking out.

Reunited Guns N’ Roses announce Cities for upcoming tour

PATIENCE…

Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Dallas, TX
Detroit, MI
Houston, TX
Kansas City, MO
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
New York
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
St Louis, MO
Toronto, ONT
Washington, DC

 www.gunsnroses.com
#GnFnR

Former Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver drummer releases new video for his song “Ode to Nick”

Drummer/Frontman Matt Sorum has just released a new video for his song “Ode to Nick”. The somber track is the latest in a series of video releases from Sorums new solo project “Matt Sorum’s Fierce Joy” and come in the wake of the group’s debut album “Stratosphere” which was released in March of this year.

Sorum recently had this to say about the new video: “Ode to Nick was written as a love song to my wife Ace. I have always loved Nick Drake from the first time I heard the Song “Riverman” from the “Five Leaves Left” album. His poetry was beautiful, deep and honest – the way love should be. I used Nick Drake as a metaphor for love, and the romantic sentiment of his song titles are used throughout. I thought of the most peaceful place that I spent my childhood, at my grandmother’s lake house on Green Lake, Minnesota and the sound I would hear in the distance … a loon. Hence the chorus, “Love is a boat on a lake, Just you and me and Nick Drake”.

“I’d like to dedicate this video to the actor that played the Riverman on the bus stop bench Vince Guarino who passed away August 5, 2014. “There are things behind the sun.”

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CD Review: Shaman’s Harvest “Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns”

Shaman’s Harvest
“Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns”
Mascot Records
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Shaman’s Harvest the 4 piece southern tinged hard rock band who’s independent debut release “Shine” spawned the successful single “Dragonfly” are back with a brand new album titled “Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns”. The album features 10 brand new tracks along with an extended acoustic version of the hit song “Dragon Fly” and a rousing rendition of the Michael Jackson song “Dirty Diana” which only adds to albums overall appeal.

To be honest I was pretty much in the dark when I first put “Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns” into my player. However by the end of track 1 I was hooked! From start to finish each track has the potential to become a hit. The bands catchy lyrics and rhythms will have you singing along and bobbing your head almost instantly especially on tracks like “Dangerous” and “Ten Million Voices” while tracks like “Blood in the Water” and “Country As Fuck” showcase the bands southern rock twist and diversity.

Due to the sheer power and in your face performance of each track you would have never guessed that just prior to the recording of the album lead vocalist Nathan Hunt was diagnosed with throat cancer. Despite the grim diagnosis Hunt and company fire on all cylinders making “Smokin’ Hearts & Broken Guns” a must have!

Track Listing:
Dangerous
Here it Comes
Ten Million Voices
Blood In The Water
The End of Me
Country As Fuck
Hero
Dirty Diana
In The End
In Chains
Silent Voice
 Dragon Fly (Extended Unplugged Version)

Guns N’ Roses’ Gilby Clarke talks about solo tour with Quiet Riot and Faster Pussycat

Gilby Clarke is a guitarist/producer best known for a 3-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist of Guns N’ Roses replacing Izzy Stradlin in 1991. Following his departure from the group, Clarke began solo career as well playing guitar with a number of groups such as Slash’s Snakepit, Heart and Nancy Sinatra, Clarke recently announce he will be heading out on the road this summer for a solo tour along with Quiet Riot and Faster Pussycat. Gilby spoke with Media Mikes recently about the upcoming tour as well as his new single and the new video for his song “Tijuana Jail” which was originally released in 1994.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on your new single?
Gilby Clarke: I had been trying to put a record together however I just wasn’t happy with things. In the past I always put a record out when I felt I had 10 or 12 strong songs that I would be happy listening to. I just didn’t have that and to put something out that I ‘m not happy with was not what I wanted to do. I decided that I am just going to release singles now. I have a couple tours lined up so I figured I would put out one good song and then follow it up with another a couple months later.

AL: Did the music industry and how music is distributed these days have any impact on your decision to release only singles?
GC: I think the industry being the way it is now allowed me to do things this way. (Laughs) It didn’t drive me the decision but it did allow me to do things this way.

AL: You also recently released a video for an older song of your “Tijuana Jail” correct?
GC: Yes. Before I dropped the new single I wanted to put out a few other points of interest. “Tijuana Jail” is an older song as it came out in 1994 but it’s the most popular song when I play live. We play the song differently now than we did 20 years ago so I wanted to do a video for the song and put a new touch on it. When I originally recorded the song Slash played the solo so to go all these years with a song I didn’t play lead on was something I wanted to fix. (Laughs) We worked on the song at my home studio and it’s really just a recording of our rehearsal of how we do that song live.

AL: Can you tell us about your upcoming summer tours?
GC: Over the past 10 years or so I have been playing as a trio. When I first started doing my solo stuff I always had another guitarist with me. As the years changed it started to become more fun to just do things by myself. I like the challenge of makes a multi guitar song in to a single guitar song. I am having a lot of fun doing things this way and that’s really what it’s all about. For my solo tour I’m going to be going overseas for some shows including a show in Hungry which is a country I have never been to before as a solo artist. We also will be hitting Spain which is another place I haven’t been to in awhile. After that wraps up I will back in the states for a summer tour with Quiet Riot and Faster Pussycat.

AL: What do you find to be the biggest difference in performing overseas as compared to here in the states?
GC: The biggest difference I have noticed performing overseas is that a lot more people come out to the shows. In the states the rock market is sort of fashionable and it goes through phases of being cool or not. Right now big bands like Black Sabbath and Aerosmith are doing great but smaller bands like mine are having a tough time unless you do a multiband line up. My solo band is more of a club band and right now clubs are rare in the states. Things are the complete opposite overseas as there are tons of clubs to play and the scene is thriving.

AL: You recently performed with Guns n’ Roses minus Axl at the Rock Hall inductions can you tell us a little about that?
GC: Most of the Guns guys still play together quite often. The hard rock scene is relatively small and we all know each other fairly well. What was different about the Rock Hall show compared to the other times we have gotten together was it was specifically Guns n’ Roses tunes. It was a little strange playing some of that material as I had never performed it with some of the other members. I had played with Steven Adler before but we never did any Guns material. It was both interesting and fun as Steven has a completely different feel than Matt Sorum who I played with more often. Personally I had the time of my life and I think we did a great job under the circumstances. It’s something I will never forget.

AL: What were the rehearsals like leading up to the performance?
GC: We really only decided to do the show a couple days before. Duff had called me I think the Thursday before the induction he told me they had decided to play and they wanted me there. I couldn’t refuse my friends. I know Izzy is the guy’s first choice and I get that as I am a fan of the band myself. Knowing Izzy wasn’t going to be there I was happy they asked to be a part of it.

AL: Was there any animosity leading up to or during the event?
GC: We all knew that Axl wasn’t coming. We all got the same information as everyone else. There was no extra phone call or anything like that. In a way that sort of lifted what could have been a black cloud over everyone’s head. I do think however that if Axl had shown up things would have been fine. It’s been a lot of years and this was a celebration of the band and the fans that supported it. I don’t think there would have been any problems but that black cloud was there. We just all went about our business and didn’t really mention his name. Duff did a show in Cleveland the night before and I think it was about 1 or 2 in the am when we all finally got together. We did a few songs with Matt and a few with Steven and then went and did the show. I think we kicked ass and it turned out well.

Norton Herrick talks about producing his latest film “2 Guns”

Since forming The Herrick Company, Norton Herrick has created a real estate and building empire currently valued at over $4 billion. This has allowed him to invest in his passions. As a part of Team Valor his horse, Animal Kingdom, won the 2011 Kentucky Derby as well as the Dubai Cup this past March. As a producer on Broadway he helped bring “Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark” to the stage and, along with co-producers Barry and Fran Weissler, took home the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical this past June for “Pippin.” He currently has produced three films awaiting release. “Very Good Girls,” starring Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning, played at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In late December he will present “Lone Survivor,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Eric Bana. And this week sees the release of the highly anticipated “2 Guns,” which stars Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. Earlier this month I spoke to Mr. Herrick about his many projects.

Mike Smith: So, how is your year going?
Norton Herrick: (laughing) It’s going great. All is good. In all aspects. I’m involved in several industries and I’ve been pretty lucky so far.

MS: In the past two years you’ve had a horse win the Kentucky Derby and the Dubai Cup, won a Tony Award for “Pippin” and you have one of the most anticipated films of the summer coming up with “2 Guns.” When do you rest?
NH: (laughing) I don’t. I don’t know how. I’ve been going 24/7 my entire life. If I’m not doing something I’m bored.

MS: Both “2 Guns” and next year’s “Lone Survivor” are action films while “Very Good Girls” is an intimate drama. Do you have a preferred genre’ when you’re looking for a project to produce?
NH: Not really. Of course action films are fun. But I also have a horror film called “Nightlight” in post-production. Action. Coming of Age. Horror. A little bit of everything. And I’m excited because Universal is moving “Lone Survivor” up to December to qualify for the Oscars.

MS: You’ve also had great success reviving popular Broadway musicals like “Promises, Promises,” “Hair” and “Pippin,” which won the Tony this year. As a producer is it easier to go with a known property or to take a chance on something new?
NH: I like doing both. “Pippin” hadn’t been on stage since the 1970s so it was almost like bringing something new to the stage….to a generation that hadn’t had the chance to see it. The show always had a great score and a nice story line back when Ben Vereen performed it. But now it’s the 2000’s and we’ve added a new dimension to it. It’s amazing what we did to it. So yes, it is exciting to take something old and making it new. But it’s also exciting to try something new and daring like “Spider-man.”

MS: Do you have your next Broadway project lined up?
NH: Yes. Fran, Barry and I are going to produce a musical version of “Waitress.” It’s a great story and I hope we can add something to it.

MS: And, finally, do you have any future film productions coming up?
NH: Nothing I can really talk about right now. There are always a half-dozen scripts we analyze and do research on but right now there’s nothing we’re ready to pull the trigger on.

Film Review “2 Guns”

Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg and Paula Patton
Directed by: Baltasur Kormakur
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 49 mins
Universal

Our Score: 4 out 5 stars

Here is some advice shared by the film “2 Guns:” never rob a bank that’s directly across the street from a diner with the best doughnuts in three counties. Why? Because that’s where all the cops hang out. That revelation is made by Bobby Trench (Washington) to his partner Michael “Stig” Stigman (Wahlberg) as they plan to rob said bank of the $3 million they believe is inside courtesy of Mexican drug lord Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). The job goes off without a hitch. Unless you call a haul of $43 million a hitch.

Full of fun action pieces and great cast chemistry, “2 Guns” joins this summer’s “The Heat” as the year’s best buddy/action film. Washington and Wahlberg have a natural rapport that gives the impression they’ve been pals for years. They argue and bicker like an old married couple while doing their best to stay a step ahead of the money’s owners. Things get crazier when each man discovers the other isn’t a thief but a member of opposing law enforcement agencies. As things get progressively hairier for the duo, they realize that the only one they can trust is each other.

Cleverly written and stylishly directed, “2 Guns” reunites Wahlberg with his “Contraband” director, Baltasur Kormakur. Kormakur has a smooth flowing style that lets the action pour over the screen like a water fall. Based on the popular graphic novel series of the same name, creator Steven Grant and writer Blake Masters have come up with possibly the best mismatched team of partners since Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy cruised San Francisco in a baby blue Cadillac convertible in “48 Hours.” Both Washington and Wahlberg have great comic timing and they’re action chops need no explanation. The supporting cast also excels. It’s always a pleasure seeing Edward James Olmos on the big screen and he has fun with the role of Papi. Patton is Washington’s co-worker and on-again/off-again love interest. And as the man who wants his money back, Bill Paxton is both funny AND terrifying.

Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler talks about new solo album “Back from the Dead”

Steven Adler is probably best known for his work as the original drummer for the multi-platinum selling band Guns N’ Roses. After being fired from the group in 1990 Steven went on to work with a number of other acts and also appeared on the VH1 reality show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”. More recently Steven and his new band simply titled Adler released their debut album “Back From the Dead” and Media Mikes had a chance to ask Steven a few brief questions about the album and the bands touring plans.

Adam Lawton: What type of writing process did the band take when putting songs together for the new album?
Steven Adler: Jacob Bunton and Lonny Paul would bring me songs and then Jeff Pilson and I would add our thing to them. Jeff also produced the record as well as played bass. Everyone in the group was real open to changes and ideas. That made the whole writing/recording process very fun and creative.

AL: How was it like working with Slash again?
SA: Slash and I have been friends since we were kids. I have always loved the way he plays and was honored that he took the time to play on our record.  Back in the GNR days, we took each other’s talents for granted.  At this stage in my life, I’ve learned to appreciate these moments.

AL: Are there plans to shoot any more videos for songs off the album?
SA: In a perfect world we would shoot a video for every song on the record.  But I can tell you from firsthand experience, we don’t live in a “perfect world”, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

AL: How did the band get involved with playing on this year’s Kiss Kruise?
SA: Our singer Jacob told us about it and passed the information onto our managers. From there they called Doc McGhee who is KISS’s manager and they made everything happen.

AL: Does the band have any tour plans in the works you can tell us about?
SA: Yes! We are playing some shows with Duff McKagan’s band “Loaded” in Japan starting in early March. Our manager and agents are working on some other things as well but for right now it’s nothing we can officially say. The band does plan on touring everywhere.

Dj Ashba talks about working with Guns N’ Roses and Sixx AM

Dj Ashba is the guitarist for the hard rock/metal groups Guns N’ Roses and Sixx AM. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Dj about his work with the groups and hit recent connection with Bullyville.com.

Adam Lawton: How did you first get hooked-up with Axl Rose?
Dj Ashba: Sharon Osbourne introduced me to Axl in 2000 during the time I was recording the Beautiful Creatures album.

AL: What is the hardest part about balancing your work in Guns N’ Roses and your work with Sixx: A.M.?
DA: Well due to the fact that Sixx: A.M. is not really a touring band it makes things much easier. That’s not to say we won’t ever get out and play some shows, but we really enjoy just writing and putting out great albums. We tour a lot in Guns but we have some nice breaks which allows me to focus on my other passions.

AL: What was it that made you want to start your own media company “ASHBA Media, Inc.”?
DA: I was an artist before I was a musician, and in my mind art always goes hand-in-hand with music. When I was in Jr. High, I had a cartoon in the local newspaper and I have always been the “artsy kid”. I created ASHBA Media, Inc. when my artwork was seen by Virgin, and they appointed me as their agency of records to brand and market all of the Virgin Megastores worldwide.

AL: You are involved in a number of different ventures (music, art, clothing, etc.). Is there one that you find more satisfying than the others?
DA: No, One is a nice head break from the next, but they are all part of the same world.

AL: How did you get started with BullyVille.com?
DA: I had bought a brand-new house in Las Vegas, and my neighbor happened to be James McGibney-the CEO of Bullyville. After sitting down and talking to him I felt I needed to get involved. I think it’s a wonderful thing that he is giving people a place to go online to raise awareness. Because of what I had been through in my childhood, I wanted to help and Bullyville.com was the perfect vehicle.

AL: What other projects do you have in the works?
DA: I started a corporation called ASHBA AUTOMOTIVE GROUP with Ryan Freidlinghaus of WEST COAST CUSTOMS. We will be launching the brand-new, Limited Edition ASHBA CHALLENGER, by Dodge. We are very proud. It is the ultimate, modern “Rock N’ Roll Hotrod”. Rock N’ Roll and hotrods used to go hand in hand, and it’s an American tradition that we want to bring back in a big way. I will also be launching a social network, called “ASHBALAND.COMA Rock n’ Roll community”. It’s the ultimate place on the net for fans to unite, come together, and share their love for music.