(w/Brett Garsed on axe!!)
Bobby Rock: Out of Body (CD, 56:07) Paranormal Records 7007-2 1996 Paranormal Records 11684 Ventura Blvd., Suite 709 Studio City, CA 91604 First thing I noticed out of the gate with drummer Bobby Rock's latest release Out of Body was that this guy is totally BUFF! Everything from CD cover to CD insert to web page to press release features Rock's Hulk Hogan-esque pythons, and to be honest if I had biceps like this brother I'd show 'em off all the time, too! How does this all fit into a music review? Well, I'll tell you how. I only needed to listen to a few tracks to determine why this man could have a day job as a double for Schwartzenegger, and that's because Rock really gets a good work out BASHING THE LIVING HELL out of his drum kit! And I mean that in a totally good way - this guy really knows his way around his Peavey drum kit, and his work on the album alone is almost worth the price of admission. But, surprisingly enough, not only is B. Rock capable of carrying a group on his back, he's also capable of holding back and letting the other boys in the band have some fun too. And let it be known that the "boys" Rock selected to play with him on Out of Body are formidable indeed. For example, let's talk about bassist Carl "The Fox" Carter. One listen to this release, and you will have no doubt in your mind that Carter is in COMPLETE control over the low-end of the CD. Much like the legendary Chris Squire, Carter's slap-happy lightning-fast bass riffs both contribute to the rhythm section AND encroach upon featured instrument territory. Take a good listen to Carter's work on "Harnozowa" and "Liquid" and you'll see what I mean. Carter is also quite capable of taking a ride on some of guitarist Brett Garsed's (more on him later) light-speed solos, creating some double solos that'll knock your sonic socks off. Bobby himself lays pretty low during most of the CD, seemingly content to grind out his drum kit's funky grooves as a backdrop to Carter and Garsed's "riffage". It is a testament to Rock's musical sense and humility that he shows so much restraint on an album that has his name on it; on Out of Body Rock consistently does what's best for the BAND, and not necessarily what'll get him the most "show-off" points that so many prog/metal musicians seem to be preoccupied with. That's not to say that Rock doesn't get his chops in either, Rock flails away with reckless abandon on a couple of sub-minute drum solos titled "A Meditation" and "A Meditation (Solo Reprise)". Rock also shows some nice skills in the drum-lead "Tunnels, Part 1" and "Tunnels, Part 2". But, for the most part, Rock plays the role of "drummer" and not "prima donna" - and that's good for the release as a whole. However, despite Carter and Rock's incredibly playing on Out of Body, the REAL star of the show is Australian born guitarist Brett Garsed. Reminiscent of a cross between Nuno Bettencourt (the incredible ex-guitarist of Extreme) and Steve Vai, Garsed's fingers fly all over the fretboard creating mind-blowing solos filled with string bending, harmonics, feedback, and other guitar tricks reserved for only a special handful of guitarists. Brett especially hits the mark on the metal-remake of Yes' classic "Roundabout", laying down an unexpected killer solo during the bridge section that would probably make Steve Howe turn to drink. While other guitarists can perhaps play faster than Garsed, I haven't heard many that can play with both his speed AND his emotion; this lad from down under takes the best of both worlds and combines them into guitar playing that must be heard by any serious guitar fan. So, Out of Body is definitely an entertaining and engaging trip through metal/fusion land - musicians who like serious shredding should DEFINITELY look into this release. Were there any gaffes on Out of Body? Sure. I could've done without the remakes of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" and "Frankenstein", but other than that there really aren't that many dull moments to be found. If you're at all interested in checking out some Grade A musicians just flat out JAMMIN', then Bobby Rock's Out of Body is your ticket. - Michael Askounes (email@example.com) CREDITS: Carl "The Fox" Carter: Bass Brett "The Wallaby" Garsed: Guitar Bobby "The Ox" Rock: Drums TRACKLIST: 1. Fearless (4:18) 2. Roundabout (4:38) 3. A Meditation (:53) 4. Out of Body (3:56) 5. Harnazowa (4:59) 6. Sledge (1:34) 7. Lightworker (5:29) 8. Far Journeys (6:03) 9. Tunnels, Part 1 (1:16) 10. Walk This Way (4:21) 11. Liquid (6:26) 12. Tunnels, Part 2 (1:44) 13. Red Earth (5:08) 14. A Meditation (Solo Reprise) (:59) 15. Frankenstein (3:59) More information on Bobby Rock can be found at (you guessed it) http://www.bobbyrock.com
Bobby Rock and Neil Zaza (Featuring Bill "The Buddha" Dickens) - Snap, Crackle and Pop. Live! Paranormal Records, 1998 Paranormal Records 11684 Ventura Blvd. Suite #709 Studio City, CA 91604 www.bobbyrock.com www.neilzaza.com www.thebuddha.com There's an eighteen-minute drum solo on this album. Just thought I'd mention that and get it out of the way. It's performed by a drummer of true stamina, Bobby Rock. Bobby Rock? From Vinnie Vincent Invasion? Er, yep. Snap, Crackle, and Pop! is a 2-CD document of a 1997 North American tour by three monster musicians, playing a mixture of covers, originals, and extremely extended solos. I'm unfamiliar with Zaza and Dickens (guitar and bass, respectively), though they seem to rock at least as well as Bobby Rock himself. After a brief intro, the first disc begins properly with Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" (or "Wild Wild West," depending upon how old you are, dear reader). The band gives it a propulsive energy, with both Zaza and Dickens taking long solos. It's a surprising choice for a technique-fest, but one that works well. The disc continues with tracks from Rock and Zaza's solo albums, all groovy hard rock numbers with ample space for Zaza and Dickens to show off. After a few fairly straightforward hard rock instrumental numbers, we are led into the terrifying act of drum terrorism that is "Quadzilla." There's an eighteen minute drum solo on this album, and this is it. There are no words to describe how unexcited I am by drum solos, and stretching it out to eighteen minutes is sheer torture. Rock's technique is impeccable, I'm sure, but technique alone can't make this palatable to a non-drummer like myself. Finally the solo gives way to a funky (and often nearly unrecognizable) cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way." Disc two begins with Kool & The Gang's "Jungle Boogie," and it's odd to hear a shred guitar solo over such a funky tune. Extended guitar and bass solos (nearly ten minutes apiece) follow a couple more originals, and, if not quite as exhausting and needless as the drum solo, are nearly so. Dickens is accompanied by Rock for part of his bass solo, giving it some much-needed structure. Zaza has no such luck, and ten minutes of "Eruption" is a bit much for all but guitar nuts and the hardiest of listeners. The last track, cleverly entitled "Bonus Track," is a long radio interview with Rock and Zaza. The liner notes (eloquently written by Rock) and list of tour dates are truly something to behold. These guys crossed the continent several times over during six months of 1997, playing in every locale imaginable. It's hard to imagine keeping up this kind of intensity nearly every evening for six months, but it seems like they did it. There's no doubt that this combo was a joy to see live. This kind of stuff always seems to come across better live than on record, and Snap, Crackle, and Pop! is no exception. I should stress that each of these musicians is an absolute behemoth on his respective instrument, but without a little diversity and structural complexity to liven up the flurry of notes, the end result is a bit draining for the casual listener. These guys obviously loved playing this stuff, but the joy of playing doesn't always translate to joy of listening. Nor does it change the fact that there's an eighteen minute drum solo on this album. - Mike Thaxton Tracklisting: Disc 1: 1. Intro 2. I Wish 3. Fearless 4. Lightworker 5. Guitar Intro 6. I'm Alright 7. Quadzilla (Drum Solo) 8. Walk This Way Disc 2: 1. Jungle Boogie 2. Amazing Grace 3. Hailin' 4. The Duel 5. Guitar Solo 6. Bass Solo 7. Hailin' Reprise 8. Bonus Track (Radio interview with Bobby and Neil)
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