One of the best things about writing and running Audioeclectica is when I get an album sent to me that really peaks my interest. When this happens, I tend to get quite excited and listen to the album countless times and to find all sorts of nuances that make it even better. Recently, I received the new album, Bellevue by a band from New York called The Bobby Lees and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s one of those albums that the more you listen, the more you enjoy it.
The Bobby Lees are an unhinged band with roots in punk, alternative, garage rock and I’d even say a tinge of folk. The 13-song album, which was recorded live in-studio, was produced by Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, The Raconteurs) and it’s stunning. When you listen to this band you hear something pure and honest that isn’t found in much of the mainstream music you’d hear today. So much so that the band found a champion in the legendary Henry Rollins, who brought them to the attention of Ipecac Recordings where Mike Patton and Greg Werckman signed them. The Bobby Lees are a four-piece that hail from Woodstock, NY, two women (Sam on vocals/guitar and Kendall on Bass) and two guys (Macky on drums and Nicholas on guitar), Sam is the band’s driving force – the songwriter/lyricist and the guide on all things Bobby Lees. The album is incredibly personal, written after a mental break while staying close to Bellevue (she uses the title as both a geographical point and also a reflection of her state of mind at the time).
Now with all that in mind, this album is an absolute kick to the nuts and punch in the face in a totally great way. There is an urgency and ferociousness within these songs that are not only a therapeutic journey but, also one that breathes life back into rock n roll. The album is 13 songs of hard charging unapologetic rock. What they deliver in 32 minutes is astonishing. The moment this album starts you can tell you are in for something that’s quite a trip. I could go song by song but my descriptions of the songs won’t do it justice enough. You need to listen to this album! There is an intelligence to this album too. The lyrics aren’t just personal they are introspective and deep. Then you add in the raw elements of the production and the chills that run amok over you with each listen will grab you and throw you against a wall with a sense of excitement that goes back to the days of CBGB’s and the craziness that ensued there.
The Bobby Lees have released an album that in 2022 is vital and necessary. It also has something that is missing that I’ve been talking about for a while now and that is a feeling of danger. Rock music has needed an injection of danger to it for a while and The Bobby Lees have found the right vein to tap into and let their music speak for itself. Do yourself a favor and take this album on a few spins and let it take over you. It’s one hell of a treat!
The other day I put an album on that I haven’t listened to in quite some time. That album was Weight by Rollins Band. I was thinking about the video for the song “Liar” and it made me realize I haven’t listened to that album in so long. So, as I put it on, I was immediately drawn into the album because of the first song, “Disconnect.” What a great song. It’s one of those tracks that hits the second “that moment” starts. The lyrics have a very introspective vibe to compliment the sort of jazz element mixed with some really great rock! Henry Rollins has always been a great frontman and lyricist but, also his vocals are beyond strong on this song/album. Live, this song is a banger. I had the pleasure of seeing Rollins Band back on their reunion shows in 2006 and I remember this song being one hell of a beast that night. Something else you might find interesting about this song is that it appeared on Beavis and Butthead twice, first in the 1995 episode “Top o’ the Mountain”, then as part of the episode “Shortcuts” in March 1997 (coincidentally the same month the band’s follow-up and very awesome Come In and Burn was released). Rollins Band is one of the few groups out there that I’d love see come back. With everything that has happened in the world, I know they would have it in them to write one hell of a great album.
I’ve long been fascinated by the history of Black Flag. I still remember the first time I heard them when I was a little kid. I was really getting into punk music during the mid 90’s renaissance of punk rock. I remember reading an interview with Lars and Tim from Rancid and they kept mentioning Black Flag. Naturally, I did what anyone who is curious about a band would do and went to the record store and got myself a Black Flag album (I wound up buying Damaged). From that point, I was on a path of finding out all about these other bands and fell in love with the genre even more. One of the things that always stood out to me about Black Flag was Henry Rollins. He was such a commanding force on stage and his vocals were very direct and in your face. That combined with the magnitude of the music from those in Black Flag, made for one hell of a band. So, with all that in mind, here’s my ranking of the Rollins era Black Flag albums.
The other day I was thinking about all the great live performances I’ve seen on TV. There were so many awesome moments on shows like Saturday Night Live, MTV, scattered awards shows like the Grammy’s, MTV Awards, American Music Awards, etc. The list goes on. I thought this category would be really fun to look back on these great performances and go back to a time when rock music was at the forefront of the world.
Let’s start this off with something out of left field. Back in 1997 on Saturday Night Live when Pamela Anderson was hosting, I believe it was to promote the movie Barb Wire, Rollins Band was the music guest. They performed “Starve” off the very underrated album Come In and Burn. The entire band absolutely crushed their performance and I’m sure left those in the audience a little scared.
Recently I had a song stuck in my head for a while and needed to listen to it. So I went to my CD shelves and grabbed the album, put it on my stereo and let the music overtake me. The album was Rollins Band’s Come In and Burn and the song was Starve. While listening to the album I had the feeling of needing more from Rollins. So naturally I went and grabbed all the other albums and put them on and my listening experience was fulfilled. But it really wasn’t. I wanted and still want more. Henry Rollins is one of the most prolific lyricists of the last 30 years. His words are poetic and have stories to tell. He’s always seemed to have something interesting and poignant to say from his time in Black Flag, Rollins Band, and his spoken word. There really is something missing from music world without Rollins behind the mic and on stage fronting a band. The guys that made up Rollins Band, Chris Haskett (guitar), Sim Cain (drums), Melvin Gibbs (bass) and Theo Van Rock (live sound engineer), really were a force to be reckoned with. These guys could flat out play. Their music backing Rollins vocals and words made something explosive and needed. And now more than ever, their style and abilities are much needed to help break this stagnant music that is happening right now.
The A to Z list continues to find the top ten bands/artists in the alphabet. R is upon us and needs help to complete the list. As usual your suggestions are wanted in completing this list. These are in no particular order as well.
01) Lou Reed
03) Rage Against The Machine
05) Replacements, The
06) Red Hot Chili Peppers
07) Rolling Stones
09) Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins is one of the most influential punk rock singers ever. His work with Black Flag is legendary and his own band Rollins Band is tremendous especially the album Weight. I was thinking I know Henry has guested on a bunch of songs over the years so why not share that with you all.
In 2002, Henry Rollins put together a compilation album of different singers, taking on Black Flag songs. The album was made to raise money and awareness for the West Memphis Three. This album featured some really amazing covers of Black Flag songs. Some of the singers that took part were, Iggy Pop, Lemmy, Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour), Tom Araya (Slayer), Mike Patton, Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), Cedric Bixler- Zavala (At The Drive-In/Mars Volta), and so many more.
Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs To Benefit The West Memphis Three:
Finally in 2000 after nearly 5 years in the making, Tony Iommi released the be all end all of solo albums featuring guest vocalists. All of the songs on the album were written by Tony Iommi, producer Bob Marlette and each of the vocalists that appear on the songs.The album features Phil Anselmo, Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Billy Corgan, Serj Tankian, Billy Idol, Ian Astbury, Peter Steele, Skin, and Ozzy. According to Tony Iommi, he and Phil Anselmo had recorded three tracks together for the album, but only one was put onto the album. Phil had later on said that there was a chance that they might have done a full album had time permitted amongst other things. The album peaked at number 129 on the Billboard chartsand its only single released, “Goodbye Lament” featuring Dave Grohl reached number 10 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. This album is quite a remarkable album, as it shows what Tony Iommi’s playing sounds like with different types of singers. Slash tried to do something similar with his first “solo” album, but to me he failed miserably mainly because he is overrated and picked the wrong people to have on his album. Tony Iommi is a true legend and master of his craft, and this album is a testament to his legacy
Tony Iommi and Phil Anselmo- Invasion Of The Saviours: