18 December 2014

Final Post Riff

Some great opportunities have come my way and it’s time to shift the creative focus onto those projects. 

I'm extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to share my passion for rock music with readers all over the world.  

To the Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Greece and Latvia:  who knew? 

Pat Benatar, your music is the reason I was able to carve out my own personal brand of rock stardom.  Margaret Cho, you're an amazing human being.  Lord knows where I'd be now if you hadn't said yes to the interview.  Many thanks.

Lady Bo, thanks for the article.

To Ken Phillips at Ken Phillilps Publicity Group, to the photographers and managers who worked with me, thanks for helping me create an awesome work of art. 

Special thanks to Pocket Honore and Wicked Wisdom.  You guys have been popping up in my life since 2006 and I'm forever grateful.  Thank you for sharing your talents with my readers and thank you Pocket for being a true professional.

Heartfelt thanks to the Magical Gypsy Photographer Jessica Lehrman.  Your work inspired me to follow my photography muse.  You are the Annie Leibovitz of your generation.

More thanks to Daisy Rock Guitars, Kenny Weissberg, HP Newquist and the National Guitar Museum, Dennis Manuel and the Facebook friends who supported this blog. Biggest thanks to the artists who create rock music from the blood, sweat and tears of your lives and share it with the universe.  You are the reason I love rock music.

Keep on rockin’.

Best Regards,
Renée

10 December 2014

Willie Basse

In the fall of 2000, I took a two and a half day train trip from Southern California to east Texas to visit my paternal grandmother.  While I was there, a female cousin of mine insisted I visit my Aunt V. 

I didn’t really remember who she was, but my father had always spoken very highly of her.  She’s not my father’s sister and we still aren't quite sure how she’s related to our family, but we always called her Aunt V anyway.

Auntie was very ill at the time with cancer but she never showed any signs of being in pain.  She was naturally soft spoken and her body language didn't seem at all burdened by her illness.  

Aunt V didn’t miss a beat though.  She didn't complain one bit.  She politely informed me of her condition and continued with the conversation by asking me where I lived.  When she found out I lived in Southern California she got excited.  “My son lives in Hollywood!” 


“What does he do?” I asked.

“He makes records and plays the guitar.” 

“Oh really.  What’s his name?”

“Willie.  But they call him Willie Basse.”

“Willie Basse?” 

“Uh, huh.”

“Oh, my gosh.  I just saw one of his ads in a newsletter,” I said to Aunt V.  Then I proceeded to tell her about my rock star dreams and how I was going to call Cousin Willie so he could help make those dreams come true.  Well, I did call Cousin Willie when I got back to Southern Cal, but things didn't turn out like I planned. 

Due to the fact that Cousin Willie didn’t know me from Adam and I suffered from starving artist finances, I wasn't able to work with Willie Basse the legendary heavy metal rock music producer and engineer. 
   
I had no idea he was such an accomplished musician.  I also didn't know he fronted Black Sheep, a 1980s metal band that, for a short time, claimed Slash as one of its guitar players.  Willie has worked with greats like Buddy Miles, Carmine Appice, Stephen Stills, George Lynch, James Kottak and many other well-known artists. 

He can act, too.  In the "The One Where Eddie Moves In" episode, also known as the "Smelly Cat" episode of Friends , Willie played the ponytail-cool Recording Engineer of Phoebe Buffay’s studio session.

When he's not acting and producing, Willie brings his hard rockin' spirit to charity work. He's hosted CrüeFest, a fundraiser for The Skylar Neil Foundation, Feed America-Now and he's the founder of Rock For Recovery, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring drug and alcohol addiction awareness to the community.

Willie Basse is a renaissance man with an enormous passion for music.  He has the unique ability to hang his bass in whatever arena he chooses, always bringing pure rock energy to fill the space.

Wherever Cousin Willie hangs his bass on our family tree, whether he’s a second cousin or tenth cousin twice removed, even if he’s only a “play cousin” as they say in the hood, it’s cool to know there is a legitimate, tried and true, dyed in the wool rock star in the family. 

Rock on Willie.



Photo, clip and logo courtesy of Willie Basse.

25 November 2014

Moses Mo Photostrip Riff

The rock and roll Red Sea...

  

...is officially parted.


Gary "Moses Mo" Moore photostrip © The Rock ‘o’ Graph.  All rights reserved.
Blog background photo courtesy of The Rock 'O' Graph. 

31 October 2014

Promoting Prince


PRINCE
Art Official Age
NPG/Warner Bros.
2014

So far, just about every news outlet you can think of has covered the recent release of Prince’s Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum.  They’ve also previewed and promoted the hell out of his planned 8-minute jam on tomorrow night’s episode of Saturday Night Live.  

With all the hoopla surrounding the performance I figured I might as well promote the albums too (wink, wink).    

The Purple One’s solo LP Art Official Age is packed with his signature sounds and styles.  There’s an up tempo dance tune, “Art Official Cage”, and a serious funker “The Gold Standard”.  

The rest is standard slow to mid-tempo R&B fare that dudes play when they're trying to get their girlfriends to have sex with them.  Lots of cuddle appeal. 

Plectrumelectrum, the LP with his band 3rdEyeGirl featuring Donna Grantis on guitar, Hannah Ford Welton on drums and bass player Ida Nielsen, is harder edged with more volume and traditional rock guitar sounds.  

"Aintturninround" goes from grunge to punk funk and swirling psychedelia sequences swim through the wah-tastic instrumental "Plectrumelectrum". They're all great songs, most of them with a funk rock feel that's more rock than funk. 

"Anotherlove” doesn't go out of its way to prove the point.  It starts off with a well-deep downbeat like the one in Angie Stone’s “Brotha”, but don't be fooled by that.  THIS IS A ROCK SONG.  


Two-part Fleetwood Mac styled harmonies, hard driving rhythm guitar riffs with the bass leading the way into a screeching guitar solo that will make you rethink what it means to be a true musician.

No one knows better than Ida Nielsen what it means to be dedicated.  "The album was completely recorded live, analogue, old-school," she told Rolling Stone magazine. "It's going to pull something inside of you that you may not be feeling listening to music these days."

Real music.  Real musicians.  Winning.

3RDEYEGIRL
Plectrumelectrum
NPG/Warner Bros.

29 October 2014

Strength Of The Single

“Try Me”
Cartoon You
Moses Mo
HedRhythm Records
2010

Mother’s Finest man with the red guitar, Gary “Moses Mo” Moore, is all about the rhythm and rhythm is exactly what you get on “Try Me”, the number five cut from his solo release Cartoon You.

Moore’s vocals exude an agile confidence which enables him to dip in and out of speaking sections of the lyric with clarity.  His guitar playing comes straight from the Humble Pie and Illusion school of rock. He doesn't overplay or fill space with unnecessary strumming. 

As for the bass line, there’s the right amount of bulk in the right spots.  Hopscotching along in one place and staying true to straight funk's fatter bass patterns in another.  

Where straight funk emphasizes the downbeat and head-bobbing on the one, “Try Me” accentuates the pullback part of the bob on the two, but there’s still plenty thump to make your booty bump.

Not quite as prominent as the B-3 in the verses of the Black Crowes’ "Diamond Ring", these organ fills bubble under the melody until they reach the boiling point.  That’s when the rock and roll Holy Ghost is officially invited into the hook to tap you on the butt with the gospel boogie wand.

Based on the strength of this single I would become a Jehovah’s Witness for a day and go door to door spreading the “Try Me” gospel of Moses Mo. 


Cartoon You album cover and blog background photo courtesy of Gary Moore

11 October 2014

Jennifer Batten's Rock Sauce Part 2

JENNIFER BATTEN'S ROCK SAUCE FOR LEAD #54
(intermediate, late intermediate level players)


Rock Sauce For Lead #54 Chromatic Spackle Performance features Jennifer’s special brand of progressive pop rock licks.  For our international audience, don’t forget to check out Jennifer’s upcoming gigs at www.jenniferbatten.com




Blog background:  Michael Jackson Dangerous Tour photo:  Sam Emerson
courtesy of Jennifer Batten

22 September 2014

Jennifer Batten's Rock Sauce For Lead

Stop what you’re doing.  Put your mobile phone down and go get your guitar because Jennifer Batten is here and she came to play.

You may remember her as the spikey-haired blonde playing the custom Ibanez Roadstar (pictured right), on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous tour. 

Since then she’s toured with Jeff Beck and recorded a few albums.  More recently, Batten has kept herself musically fit by authoring music books and teaching those famous runs.

With Jennifer Batten’s Rock Sauce For Lead, you’ll get up to 167 minutes worth of her legendary techniques.  So, take a look at this intro clip then go check out the series because there’s a Rock Sauce for Rhythm guitar too. 


JENNIFER BATTEN’S ROCK SAUCE FOR LEAD
(intermediate, late intermediate level players)



 Jennifer Batten and Michael Jackson Dangerous Tour photo credit:  Sam Emerson
Blog background photo of Eric Singer: Chris Westbrook

20 September 2014

Rock Cellar Magazine

We stumbled on to Rock Cellar Magazine several months ago and haven’t been able to get it out of our minds since. 

Their editors say the magazine is a labor of love for those who enjoy older music and nostalgia.  For us, it goes way beyond that. 

RCM is dedicated to bringing you the heart and soul of rock music.  You get the bare bones, the brass tacks.  No frills, no nonsense.  It’s all about the music and that’s what we love. 

You can shop for t-shirts and guitars or read great interviews with Gene Simmons of KISS, Lita Ford, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Peter Frampton, Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper, Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith

When it comes to Rock Cellar Magazine, it’s all about the music.  

Enjoy.



Blog background photo of Eric Singer:  Chris Westbrook
Gene Simmons, April 2014 cover courtesy of Rock Cellar Magazine