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Showing posts from December, 2019

The Best of 2019

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It's that time again, the annual list of the best music of the year.  After a few unmemorable years in rock music, the decade ended on a relatively strong note.  There were a lot of great releases, a few really promising new bands and, of course, some great live music.  Here are some of my favorites.
Best Records - 
1 - Jesse Malin - Sunset Kids I've been a Jesse Malin fan since hearing the first D Generation record back in 1994 and have loved watching him evolve.  He teams up with the amazing Lucinda Williams for the masterpiece of his long career.  Williams' influence on Malin's writing and sound pushed both artists to their creative peaks.  Tracks like "Promises", "Shane", "Strangers & Thieves" and the ferocious "Dead On" should have this record at the top of any list. Must Listen - Promises
2- Beth Hart - War In My Mind Beth Hart's career has been a roller coaster...early success, self-destruction, rebirth, unexpected succ…

Dizzy Reed, Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Uncasville, CT 12/13/19

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Like most people that follow this page, I'm a huge Guns N' Roses fan.  I've been lucky enough to see nearly every lineup of the band over the years.  Other than Axl Rose himself the one person that has been in the band longest is Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist Dizzy Reed.  While on a break from the ongoing GNR tour, Dizzy and his side project, Hookers & Blow, recently made their way to the intimate Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT. Over the years Dizzy has toured frequently with his own band and 2018 saw him put out his first solo record, the really strong Rock N' Roll Ain't Easy. The Wolf Den is a very small venue, only holding a few hundred people but turnout on this rainy December night was sparse for an act of Reed's pedigree.  His band has a distinct Connecticut flavor with bassist Mike Duda (W.A.S.P.) and guitar player Alex Grossi (Quiet Riot) both hailing from the state.  The group was rounded out by Johnny Kelly (Type O N…

A Conversation with Shadow & The Thrill/Great White Guitarist Tony Montana

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Tony Montana first came on the scene as the bassist for Great White on the tour for Once Bittten... and was part of the band through it's most successful period.  After spending time away he reunited with vocalist Jack Russell playing bass and then guitar in Jack Russell's Great White.  He now has a new project called Shadow & The Thrill and took some time to talk about his new music as well as his career in various lineups of Great White.
Please press PLAY below to hear the MisplacedStraws.com conversation with Tony Montana: On how Shadow & The Thrill came together - Around 2013 I started really bearing down on a collection of tunes that I've been mulling about for a while, I really wanted to do something special. I didn't want to just put it through the normal project mill that I would normally do and just kind of get the songs out. I felt it was ready to do it for real, I really  wanted collaboration from somebody that I thought was was  going to add  somet…

My Favorite Christmas Songs - Rock Legend Greg Kihn

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I had the opportunity to first talk to Greg Kihn on his 70th birthday and it quickly became a favorite interview of mine.  Greg is a wealth of knowledge and one of the nicest guys in the business.  Greg was one of the first people I thought of when I started putting together the idea for My Favorite Christmas Songs.  This edition is a little different.  Rather than counting down his favorite songs we just had an amazing conversation about Christmas music over the last 50 years.
Please press PLAY below to listen to My Favorite Christmas Songs featuring Greg Kihn:
Some of my favorite Christmas songs are stuff that I remember when I was a kid. A lot of the early rock and roll stuff like"Jingle Bell Rock", Bobby Helms,  Brenda Lee "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", stuff like that because it stays with me.  Year after year it just pops up. These kinds of songs are evergreens,  they're really perennials and they never go out of style. "Jingle Bell Rock"…

New Music Showcase: Doctor Pheabes - Army Of The Sun

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Hard rock and metal music may not be on the top of the charts like it once was, but that doesn't mean you can't find it, it just means that sometimes you have to search.  In the case of Doctor Pheabes, that search will take you to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In their native Brazil, the band has played the biggest rock festivals (Monsters of Rock, Rock In Rio, Lollapalooza) and opened for giants like Guns N' Roses, The Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath.  Doctor Pheabes recently released Army of the Sun and are gearing up to take on America and the rest of the world in 2020.  I had the opportunity to talk with drummer Paul Ressio about the making of the record and what comes next for the band.
Please press Play below to hear my talk with Doctor Pheabes drummer Paul Ressio: The title track, "Army of the Sun" leads off the record and immediately grabs you.  Big drums, driving guitar riff, gang chorus, it's clear the band is showing it's Sunset Strip influence.  Ressi…

My Favorite Christmas Songs - The Sweet Things Bassist Sam Hariss

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In May of 2019, The Sweet Things unleashed their debut record In Borrowed Shoes On Borrowed Time. At that time I spoke to bassist Sam Hariss about the record and his influences.  That conversation and Sam's deep musical knowledge made him an easy choice to be the first person to share a list of favorite Christmas songs.  As you go through Sam's list of 10 tracks you'll find some songs you know, some you should know and some you never knew existed and hear his stories about each one.  It was one of the most fun interviews I've ever done!
Please press Play below to hear My Favorite Christmas Songs featuring Sam Hariss: 10 - Mud"Lonely This Christmas" 
9 -  The Nuclears"Nuclear Winter Wonderland" 
8 - UK Subs"Hey Santa"
7 - Clarance Carter "Back Door Santa" 6 - The Kinks"Father Christmas" 5 - Wizzard"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" 4 - The Greedies"A Merry Jingle" 3 - Hanoi Rocks"Dead By Xmas" …