The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Posts Tagged ‘dokken

Billy White Concert Review, Austin TX 111011

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Last night I was able to see a small and rare performance of Billy “Blanco” White.  You may remember Billy from such bands as Watchtower, Don Dokken and the Billy White Trio.  The guy is such a great guitar player.  He’s been spending much of his time in Mexico in recent years and primarily does flamenco style music now, although he said last night he’s been doing some guest spots on other people’s albums recently.

I first saw Billy play in 1991 and you can read about that here.

Last night performance was pretty cool, albeit a tad uncomfortable.  He played in a small room that was about 20’x40’.  Everyone sat on the floor and we had to remove our shoes prior to entering the building.  Even sitting on a pillow, my back and knees were killing me but it didn’t matter, I was sitting a few feet away from a great musician.  Only about 40 people showed up and it was a great experience.  His playing was awesome.  A mix of flamenco with a tad of fusion thrown in.  He had a violinist and a tabla player sit in for a few songs as well.  It was all pretty cool.

Afterwards I got to speak to him for a few minutes.  He graciously signed The Book and some CDs for me.  It was a fun evening, very relaxing.

Billy White

Written by The Metal Files

November 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Billy White Trio – sistershootingstar

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This is one of Billy’s solo albums after the Watchtower/Dokken days.  It’s long out of print so I thought I’d share it with you.

Download and Enjoy!

Written by The Metal Files

April 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm

More bloggen on Dokken!

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On my way back from Louisiana this past weekend I was flipping through my iPod to find some stuff to listen to.  I had recently added a ton of albums to it and had gone though most of the new additions on my way there (7.5 hours).  As I was scrolling through I saw the Dokken.  Woot!  Haven’t listened to them in a while.

I first spun Under Lock and Key then Back for the Attack.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know how much I love Tooth and Nail.  The album is perfect in my eyes/ears.  But I was truly blown away by these 2 albums.  Even though the songs got a little more radio friendly, Lynch’s playing on them was over the top in the best of ways.  George had a reputation in L.A. long before Dokken became a household name.  In talking to people from that early 80s Hollywood scene, they’ve all said the same thing…George was better than everyone around there.

Listening to his solos on these 2 albums I really can hear it.  It’s not too often that I get over excited about music these days, but hearing this stuff, remembering the hits (some of which we attempted to play in bands back then) and listening to the deeper cuts that I had long forgotten, I really felt that Dokken probably should have been a lot bigger, if anything based on George’s guitar work alone.  He did get a lot of press in the metal and guitar mags back then and deservedly so.

It was too bad they broke up in 1988.  I think they could have squeezed out one more decent album.  By the time Dysfunctional came out in 1995, who cared?  I certainly didn’t.  What I remember hearing from it sounded very “90s”.  Pass.

I got to see George a few months ago in Austin with his solo band.  Dude can still hang.

If you’ve ever liked Dokken and haven’t listened to them in a while, I highly recommend popping in these 2 albums again.  You won’t be disappointed.

Written by The Metal Files

September 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Posted in dokken, heavy metal

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SxSW and other upcoming shows…Austin is the greatest.

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When I moved here 3 years ago from Norfolk, VA, I didn’t really know much about this town.  I didn’t come here for the music, it was for a job.   From my first weekend here, I was thrown deep into what this city was about…or at least what this city touts itself as being…”The Live Music Capital of the World.”  The bad part about this town’s motto is that it does as much to keep music down as it does to support it.

Each year the local weekly music and entertainment paper, “The Chronicle”, puts on a festival called South By Southwest, SxSW for short.  This is the 24th year.  It was originally intended for bands to be showcased to record exec types.  Now it seems just more of a cash grab for record labels who showcase their own bands…and it’s really a huge cash grab for the festival promoters.  Bands come from all over the world, literally, to play here.  I went to my first one 3 years ago and got to see some cool stuff.  A lot of major label acts come and play for free.  There’s a whole badge, wristband, pre-pay sort of thing that gives you a little better access to shows but most of us locals can still see the ones we want to see by either waiting in long lines, showing up early or knowing someone at the venue who can get you in the back door.  Two years ago Motorhead played a free outdoor day show but you had to be on an RSVP list to get in.  Gates opened at 11AM and we were in line at 9am.  There were 20 people ahead of us.  Literally thousands lined up around 2 city blocks to try and get in.  You snooze you lose.  We won!

Walk anywhere downtown during the Weds-Sunday music fest and you will hear something that you like and most likely be able to get in, maybe with a small cover or just in for free…depending on whether or not it’s an “official” SxSW show.   The non-SxSW shows can be as good as the official ones, usually better.  Last night, walking by one of my favorite bars I hear some crazy jazz coming out…It was Prince’s bassist and drummer.  AWESOME!  Totally random.  Across the street the bassist for Little Richard was playing.

Last year the Texas Rockfest folks (non-SxSW) put on a great free show.  They always get use of 2 prime large open lots in the middle of the official stuff and show great bands for free.  Last year we got to see DC4 (Odin, DIO, Armored Saint guys) and Eddie Ojeda (who sucked actually, but still, you get my point).  The the the Rockfest guys are doing a $12 St. Patrick’s Day show featuring Agony Column (reunion!), George Lynch, Razr13 (Doug Pinnick), Faster Pussycat, Crank County Daredevils, LA Guns, Austin’s Broken Teeth (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys, Pariah members).  The next days begins the free Rockfest shows with more Broken Teeth,  Danko Jones(!), and more.

Other cool shows during this years festival are VoiVod, Cheap Trick (free!), GWAR (day show…sweet!) and tons more.

Getting past the SxSW thing, Austin is stepping up its game over the past year as for as the metal goes.  We just had Dianno here.  Anvil rolled through a few weeks back.  Megadeth/Testament/Exodus are next week.  Kreator is soon.  Overkill is soon.  Hammerfall is soon.  Not to mention with San Antonio just being 75 minutes south, there’s tons more to see.  Free Lizzy Borden show there in April.  Maiden is coming back this summer.  What’s a rocker to do?  I’m gonna go broke…happily.

All the above nonsense being said, life is grand here.  I just need to lose some weight…and I’m working on it…sort of.

Thanks Austin.  The move here changed and saved my life methinks.

http://www.showlistaustin.com for non-sxsw shows and http://www.sxsw.com if you want to see the “official” band list.

Dokken – Up From The Ashes

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I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was living in Western Branch off of Taylor Rd with my cousin.  I don’t remember album-up-from-the-ashesexactly what day it was on but it was Jan/Feb 1991 only weeks before my 21st birthday.  I believe it was a Saturday and I was driving home from somewhere listening to Z-Rock and the local affiliate comes on the air to interview Don Dokken and Mikkey Dee about their concert that night at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  A former friend from high school and I had tickets and were pretty excited about the show.  I had been listening to Up From The Ashes since it came out a few months prior.

So as I am listening to them interview Don and Mikkey, I pull over to a gas station a few miles from my house and try to call the station to see if I could talk to them.  I was so damned excited that I kept fat fingering push buttons on the pay phone.  After about 3 or 4 tries I got through off air and got to talk to Don and Mikkey.  I asked if there was a way to meet Mikkey prior to the show and he told me what time to be at the Boathouse (super early).  I told him that I was a huge fan of his from the King Diamond days.  He said make sure I don’t have more than one person with me and everything would be cool.

So at this point I am flipping out (of course not on the phone but internally).  I get home a few minutes later and told my buddy what the plan was and that he had better be ready when I came by to get him.  He was notoriously slow at everything.  I told him if he wasn’t ready when I got there that I was leaving his ass behind.  Fortunately he was ready when I got there and we headed to Norfolk to the Boathouse.

We’re the first people in the lot along with the staff cars and Dokken’s bus.  Some dude came to the door of the bus and said they were coming from the hotel in a few minutes and to wait.  So we waited only a short amount of time and a minivan with Don, Mikkey Dee, John Norum and Billy White in it.  Mikkey gets out of the van and asks, “Are you Sean?”  I acknowledged and we were instantly escorted onto the bus.  So Don hands me a band photo which was already signed by Baltes (who was inside the Boathouse already).  So Don and the rest of the band sign it along with some other stuff like cassette covers and such (I hadn’t gotten into CDs yet).  He stood with us for a few minutes then hightailed it to the back of the bus to take care of stuff.  At this point I am freaking out because one of my all time favorite drummers and musical influences and standing next to me.  I don’t get start struck easily as I’ve met a lot of musicians over the years but this one was different.  This was Mikkey Dee…the guy who played drums on King Diamond’s Abigail.

We hung out for what seemed like an hour but was likely a lot less.  Talking with John Norum and Billy White was pretty neat.  Unfortunately in my giddy starstruck state I had forgotten that Billy White played on Watchtower’s debut.  To this day in my head I still hear my inner voice say, “You’re an idiot.”  Kelz reminds me of this regularly and he pointed out after the show, “Dude, how was it to meet Billy from Watchtower?”  Ummm…D’oh!  I am a Watchtower fanatic as well.  What a doofus.

But all in all, I was there to hang out with Mikkey which was the first of 3 times that I got to spend time with him, the other 2 being with Motorhead in 1993 and 2000.  Will post about those meetings some other time.

In my conversation with Mikkey, I noticed he was wearing an Abigail backstage pass.  It had one of the heavenly aura’s around it.  haha.  So being the fanboy that I was that night, we talked about drums and about some certain aspects of his playing that I tried to emulate.  I asked him if he was going to do a drum solo and he said there would be one.  I asked him if he could incorporate the intro to Welcome Home from the Them album.  He said, “That’s a good idea, we’ll see.”

So the opening act was on the stage at this point and it was time for us to get off the bus so they could get ready.  I can’t overstate how accommodating these guys were.  I honestly didn’t even need to see the show after that!  But we went in and caught the 2nd half of the set by The Blonz.  Wow.  They were just awful.  One of the worst bands I have ever seen.

So we make our way towards the front of the stage and got on the barricade at stage left which ultimately was in plain view of Mikkey when he was on the kit.  Perfect!

So out comes the band and they rip into their set.  They were absolutely incredible and it was one of the tightest sets I have ever seen by any band.  Watching Mikkey slay the drums and both Norum and White manhandling their guitars with such precision was pretty incredible.  Definitely one of the best shows I have ever seen.  Don’s vocals were clean and clear and he was an excellent frontman.

So I guess this blog is really about an album review, eh?  I’ve seen this one get trashed in many a metal review and I could never understand why.  It’s easily Don’s second best album behind Tooth and Nail and pretty much the last album that he actually sounded really good on.  Initially the main reason I bought the album was because I had read that Mikkey Dee was drumming on it.

Even with some of the slightly cheesier songs like Mirror Mirror and Stay, it’s an album of which I don’t ever feel the need to skip any of the tracks.  Good production as well.

This one gets 10/10.

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