Rock and Roll Road Trip

Recently, I spoke with legendary drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic and now Adrenaline Mob) about his 9/11 memories. Mike shared not just his thoughts on where he was, but a strange coincidence that took place that day, as well.

It’s all recounted here in the piece I wrote for AOL Noisecreep.

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If anyone had told me that in September of 2011 I would be lost and found and charmed and awed and stunned and heartbroken and thrilled and… by the new Glen Campbell album, well, I would probably not have been *shocked* – after all, Campbell’s canon of work is a study in classic, classy American pop and country. But it’s been awhile since he dominated the charts and TV, and so I would have probably been mildly surprised at my obsession with this new record.

But of course, there’s the sad news of Campbell’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and while the new album, “Ghost on the Canvas” is not some sort of direct maudlin reaction to his disease, it is colored with so many poignant moods and reflections that it’s almost impossible to separate his personal reality from the many soaring musical moments contained herein.

The sweeping strings, the familiar-as-old-flannel voice, the haunting, bittersweet melodies – this feels like Campbell on an old empty stage coming to grips with the past, present and as much of the future as he can now imagine – a thoughtful dreamer who is still able to touch our hearts by sharing what’s in his – a brave and noble troubadour pausing on the cusp of his next chapter to remind us of the importance of heartfelt, spiritual artistry.

This is a masterwork. Yes, in a sad sense it is a musical farewell; a sobering victory lap. But there is also joy in watching Glen Campbell dig down deep to produce something timeless; a collection for the ages that is bursting with universal truth, pain and most importantly, love.

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Recently I learned about a terrific singer/songwriter named Aldo Leopardi.

Some background: “Backslash Records has announced  the sophomore release of Denver-based modern rock guitarist/singer-songwriter Aldo Leopardi. The Villains & Heroes EP features five original songs by Aldo Leopardi and his band, and was recorded at Backbone Studio in Loveland, Colo. and The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colo.  The EP was produced by Lee Miles, known for his work with Oh My Stars, Rise Against, Puddle of Mudd and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.”

Interestingly (and generously) proceeds from the sale of the EP will benefit Paulina’s Promise (, a Colorado-based charity that raises funds to support the Cardiac Unit at The Children’s Hospital in Denver.

How can Leopardi afford to donate all the proceeds? He’s also world-renowned for cosmetic dentistry! This is seriously a very thoughtful, talented man that I recently had the pleasure of interviewing.

As for the musical stylings on the new EP, they are best described here: “An innovative mix of alternative and contemporary rock music, Villains & Heroes serves as an artistic vehicle for the angst, inspiration and revelations that Leopardi has experienced in his real life. The recording also captures the high energy and intensity that Aldo Leopardi is known for in his live performances.  True to the hard rock party vibe of his concerts, the songs on Villains & Heroes meld sing-along pop sensibility with the intricacies and aggression of high testosterone guitar rock.”

And he’d even like to give you an iPad. Check this out: Backslash Records is hosting a contest where fans are invited to submit a video clip for the EP’s first single, “My Parade.”  To enter, contestants create a music video for the song “My Parade,” and then upload it to YouTube.  The YouTube video link must then be posted at by October 16, 2011 for consideration.  Clips from the best entries will be combined to create the official video for the song.  In addition, two Grand Prize winners will each receive an iPad2 as a prize.  Aldo and his band will judge the top five most viewed videos and choose a Grand Prize winner. A second Grand Prize winner will be handpicked by Aldo based on originality and creativity.

So – go here or to iTunes and grab that song!

Here is my discussion with Aldo Leopardi, I hope you enjoy it – and I also hope you have a chance to check out his music.

I interviewed Jack Osbourne last week about the new documentary he co-produced about his dad, Ozzy. Jack was very thoughtful in our discussion and seemed like he approached this project with blunt honesty – this is by no means a whitewash – a rear feat for a child that turns the camera on a celebrity parent.

Our discussion is here.

And here is one of the trailers for the film:

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