Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It’s The End Of REM As We Know It?

Even though I may be too young to remember first hand when they released their first official album or still care when they released their last one, is it the end of REM as we know it?

By: Ringo Bones

When I first heard the “amicable” REM breakup announced on the BBC - on the morning 7:21 AM of September 22, 20011 local time here in the Philippines – I first thought that it was just a mere “publicity stunt” to improve the band’s somewhat sagging popularity. After all, I didn’t even knew that their last major label album was released in March of 2011.

In subsequent interviews, REM frontman Michael Stipe and the rest of the band reassured their loyal cadre of fans that the decision to disband, though not an easy one, is amicable. The band reached a unanimous decision of not wanting REM to become a self-parodying nostalgia act. In their 30-year long career that started back in 1981, it wasn’t until 1987 that REM started to gain mainstream success with the release of the album Document and the regular airplay of The One I Love and It’s the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) on mainstream FM. Even then, the band had to wait till the advent of th2e Seattle Grunge era of the early 1990s in order for REM to become truly synonymous with “alternative rock”.

Will REM’s retirement from the music scene eventually usher in a new generation of artist who are as good – if not better – than them? Sadly, after the multi-billion dollar global music industry was ruined by illegal file-sharing schemes like NAPSTER and its ilk in the very tail end of the 20th Century, it seems like “rock stars” that used to make millions of their musical talent is fast becoming an economic dinosaur. It may be the end of REM as we know it, but I’m still worried about the future of the global music industry and its ability to reward young and talented musicians who truly deserve fame and fortune.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Gary Moore 1952 – 2011

As one of the guitar hall of famers forever in his prime, the untimely passing of Gary Moore back in the 6th of February, 2011 while on holiday in Estepona, Spain had been a shock to all his fans around the world – including me. As one of the founding members of the now defunct legendary Irish group Thin Lizzy, the music world – especially his fans – are forever enthralled by Gary Moore’s guitar playing and song-writing skills.

Given my age, I only gained appreciation of Gary Moore’s post Thin Lizzy career with the regular airplay of Victims Of The Future in our local FM stations back in 1984. While Gary Moore’s much-deserved runaway mainstream success outside of the core of his dedicated fanbase only happened after the release of Still Got the Blues in 1990 and After Hours in 1992.

From my perspective, what could be considered the “Golden Age” of Gary Moore’s musical career – both artistically and financially – was during the mid-1990s during the release of a Peter Green tribute album titled Blues For Greeny in 1995. Gary Moore even managed to coax the music press shy original guitarist and founding member of Fleetwood Mac, the legendary Peter Green, to come out of his self-imposed musical exile and got every guitar enthusiast the world over who were too young to have heard Peter Green first-hand gained much needed appreciation of legendary early Fleetwood Mac songs like Albatross and Need Your Love So Bad.

Though Gary Moore went on to release still more albums during the rest of the 1990s – like his return to his rock roots album titled Dark Days In Paradise in 1997, the post Napster music biz environment had been unkind to Gary Moore’s career and still badly needed exposure for new fans. The only news that I can get of a new Gary Moore album release during the first decade of the 21st Century was via “word of mouth” by his on-line fanbase – very strange indeed?

Even though Gary Moore is no longer with us, his music will live on. Not only through the sizable discography of his Thin Lizzy era and solo music career, but also through guitar enthusiasts around the world playing their very own rendition of Gary Moore’s legendary guitar solos. As of late, friends of mine who are very skilled guitar enthusiasts had been doing their renditions of Gary Moore’s Victims of the Future through their 6550 tubed Marshall amps in a rather pensively poignant manner – though I prefer Gary Moore’s more blues-based works played on a Mullard EL34 equipped Marshalls or a very early KT66 equipped Marshall half-stack.

- Ringo Bones