Friday, May 21, 2010

Memorial Day Jam 1978

Next weekend marks the 32nd anniversary of one of the most sacred events in Dipdom, the fabled MEMORIAL DAY JAM, featuring Foghat, Rainbow, and the Hounds. The event was held at Allentown Fairgrounds back when they used to have regular outdoor gigs there.

Now why is this event so special, you might ask. This event marked the beginning of Dipism, back when I first organized and developed the concept and theory of Dip, or the Theory of Lose, and drafted the Dip Bible. It is analogous to when Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while in prison, or when Marx drafted the Communist Manifesto. In other words, it is an event of historic importance. I suddenly realized that losing wasn't something I was able to change or escape no matter what the circumstances. Lose was not a conscious decision, but something that followed you your whole life no matter what you did to try to eradicate it. It is much like trying to break the speed of light. It simply cannnot be done without re-writing the laws of physics. Similarly, a Dip can never win, and if he does, it would be breaking the laws of physics so it will essentially never happen in this present universe. Maybe in a parallel universe, or the next one, but we can't wait that long. So in order to relieve this ever present cloud of lose, we worshipped Metal and the jam. We decided to devote our lives to loud rock and roll, and the pursuit of materialistic things like axes, amps, cars,guns, high end audio, etc. Here we are a decade into the 21st century, and nothing has changed. My theory is proven. I tried marriage, fatherhood, match dot com, all with complete failure. My advanced degree has gotten me nowhere in a shitty job. My ex wife is sucking me dry for every cent she can legally steal. She gets so much fucking money from me that she hasn't even worked in over a year. The one child I have has a terminal genetic illness. Need I go on about the cloud of lose??

Back the the Memorial Jam. The jam was a great way to celebrate the drafting of the concept of Dip, and Foghat and Rainbow were both at the top of their game and kicking major ass at the time. We arrived early to catch the opening band, the Hounds, who we'd never heard of. They surprisingly kicked butt and prompted us to seek out their debut album when we got back.

Rainbow were next, and they stole the show. Blackmore was on fire, destroying his Strat and the whole stage at the end. Dio, RIP. They opened with Kill the King, a suitably smoking opening tune.

What was cool about the shows in the 70's was everyone was still openly smoking weed at the shows. There was always a big cloud of pot smoke. This one dude was ODing right on the steps next to us, whatever the F he was on, bad heroin or something, the guy was out of his mind. He's probably dead now.

Foghat were last on the bill, touring on their massively successful and smoking Live album. They had sound problems which hindered the total enjoyment. Lonesome Dave and the drummer had an extended jam with Lonesome Dave on his Les Paul Junior.

We showed up at the gig wearing DS Audio T shirts. We were at the height of our high end audio obsession and had just purchased our Advents so we could enjoy the albums with true authority. Rock T shirts were just starting to catch on then. Dip still has the shirt and here it is. H David Smith, check it out. One head said we looked like a bunch of fags wearing those shirts. He was probably right. I should of had a Slayer shirt. But Slayer wouldn't exist for another 5 years.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dio's Dead

I didn't even know he was sick, hell he was even on tour last year with Heaven and Hell. But the legendary DIO has now passed to that great mosh pit in the sky. Dead of stomach cancer at 67. Damn, 67 and the dude was still kicking ass.

Dio was a major influence on the lives of Dips. It all started with the legendary Memorial Day Jam at Allentown Fairgrounds,1978, with Foghat, Rainbow, and Hounds. Rainbow were touring for the "Long Live Rock and Roll" album and were at the top of their game. Blackmore destroyed his axe along with the entire stage and everyone went ballistic.

Dio influenced us so much that we named a pinball move after him, the "Dio Move". This is when you raise your arm after flipping in a highly flamboyant style, attempting to mock the table and show it who's boss. Only skilled players can pull off the Dio Move without repurcussions.

Dio went on to Black Sabbath for Heaven and Hell, then went for his solo career. Below is a list of classic, must own Dio. Rock on, brother.

ELF. I don't own the ELF records, but i've heard they are more boogie, piano driven stuff. The first one is supposed to be the best.

RAINBOW. The two essential albums are "Rising" and "Long Live Rock and Roll". Rising is perhaps the best thing ever done by Dio in any band/format. A classic record.

BLACK SABBATH. Dio jump started Sabbath again with "Heaven and Hell" and "Mob Rules". The live album, "Live Evil" is good, too.

DIO. The solo band, the first two records, "Holy Diver" and "Last in Line" are good stuff and equally essential.

HEAVEN AND HELL. Dio re-unites with Sabbath, who really can't put up with Ozzy and Sharon anymore.

"And they'll tell you black is really white
The moon is just the sun at night
And when you walk thru golden halls
you get to keep the gold that falls
It's heaven and hell!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I'm a big fan of Klipsch speakers. I'm not talking about the newer, junky ones sold at Best Buy. Klipsch definitely took a bad turn and lost their credibility by doing that move. But i'm talking about their "classic" speaker line which includes the Klipschorn, LaScalla, Cornwall, Forte, and Heresy.

Most audiophiles will laugh at those and not seriously call them "high end". But most audiophiles don't listen to hard rock. For that, Klipsch are the perfect speaker unrivaled by just about anything. There are two reasons for this. One, they are incredibly efficient and can be driven to concert sound pressure levels using a moderately powered amp. A 40 or 50 watt tube amp is the perfect choice. Two, they will do this with very low distortion mostly due to the horn loaded drivers.

I don't know, but when I first heard that pair of Heresy's way back when playing loud rock and roll, I was sold. Who gives a shit if they are colored. No other speaker gives the visceral punch of these babies. Try to play 120db Slayer on a pair of Magneplanars. They will just fart out at maybe 95db. For those volumes you need to move A LOT of air.

The pair of Forte II's that I have now are my oldest component. If I do switch, i'll probably just get a new pair of Heresy's but I see no reason to change. Maybe i'll pick up a pair of Heresy's on ebay for a spare.

For those with unlimited funds, get the Klipschorn. They're about as big as a coffin, but they look cool. Astound your friends by driving them to ear splitting volumes with a NAD 40 watt integrated amp!!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Punks Not Dead....Yet

If you said "Punk is Dead" i'd have to generally agree with you. What is out there nowadays that compares to the classic stuff like the Pistols, Black Flag, Damned, Dead Kennedys etc etc?? Nothing, at least to my knowledge. And don't say Green Day, either. While I happen to still like Green Day they are firmly entrenched in mainstream pop rock.

I haven't really heard a great punk rock album in at least 10 years. But that has all changed now.

I give to you the COLUMBIAN NECKTIES.

A friend of mine at work, who is into less heavy stuff like Wilco, somehow stumbled onto these guys. Upon first listen, I could not believe what I was hearing. Holy Shit!! THIS IS PUNK ROCK!!! It's just full throttle rock and roll Ramones crossed with Angry Samoans. Come to think of it it is very similar to the Action Swingers stuff. Hell they even do a cover of AC/DC's "Riff Raff". They know, like I do, that AC/DC's best album is "Powerage".

I'm not sure these guys even exist anymore, and their stuff is not released in the US. Looks like they're from Sweden. The first two albums, "Abrance!" and "Why Change Your Moves", are essential and perhaps the best punk rock one-two punch of the last decade. Buy it if you can find it!!!

Peavey Bandit: Wheres DA TUBES??

I'll freely admit i'm a tube amp snob. I collect them like a kid collects Matchbox (do kids do that anymore?). Marshalls, Orange, Matamp, Boogie, Soldano, Reeves, Fender, you name it and I have to have it. Even if I only plug into it maybe once a year, still. You can't call me a hoarder cause it's not junk. I'm just a materialistic collector. Aw Fuck it, i'm a tube amp and guitar hoarder. So fucking what! I'm going to start hoarding guns next!!!

Anyway, most guitarists agree there's no sound like a tube amp. For the most part this is true and i'll generally agree. But there's one amp i've heard that really puts a monkey wrench in that theory. In fact, this amp may be the best bargain in all of ampdom. It may be the best amp under $1000, tube or solid state.

I'm talking about the legendary, solid state PEAVEY BANDIT. You can get a new one at Musicians Friend for $299. HERESY you say!! (no, that's what Paul Klipsch said, and the speaker was named the Klipsch Heresy, but that's another story for another blog).

This amp has been around in various incarnations for decades. Most tube snobs associate it with a beginners amp, or an amp you get if you can't afford the big rigs. It is now, just like everything else, made in China. Dammit if it doesn't have the heaviest, thickest, most realistic tube amp sound ever to spit out of a solid state hunk of junk. Plug a Les Paul into the high gain channel, set to "Classic" mode, and set the speaker emulator to "Loose". Man there's a Marshall JCM800 right there. Don't tell me it isn't close, because I OWN a Marshall JCM800, and all I have to do is go into the other room and plug into that for the comparison. The 4x12 cab will give the head a little more ooomph, but dammit this Peavey just kicks major ass!! It's loud as hell too. It has other "modes", like a scooped midrange, that doesn't sound as hot. But that classic mode does the trick.

Now i'm not saying go sell your stacks. But for a backup amp, a practice amp, a recording amp, hell even a mic'd live amp, this Bandit will fit the bill. Jesus you see used ones on ebay for $150. For that price it's a goddam steal. You can easily keep this as your main amp. It's that good. It just doesn't look as cool as a wall of Marshalls.