This isn’t a normal critic’s “top ten” list where we all fawn all over the past year’s high profile releases from classic bands like Van Halen, KISS or popular newer bands like High On Fire or All That Remains. Instead of re-hashing all of the hype that surrounded those bands releases, I intend on putting forth a yearly list of items you deserve which may have missed your buying radar this past 12 months. Of course, everyone knows you’re busy picking up the latest blender for your mom or slippers with ears that move for your little sister so you might not remember everything YOU want. Just share this list with your friends and family in hopes that they give you one of these gifts instead of another tin of popcorn or six pack of socks.
10. Randy Rhoads merch.
This was the 30th anniversary of Randy’s tragic passing and while Rhoads merchandise hasn’t been easy to come by, it has trickled out this year, including three books. There is a beautiful coffee table book by Andrew Klein which is real similar to KISSTORY both in price and in size but for those who have a little less to spend there is a great photo book by early Quiet Riot photographer Ron Sobol which comes with a DVD of rare footage of the old Quiet Riot. Of course, I am partial to the Kelly Garni autobiography, Angels With Dirty Faces, which I helped put together as it is easily the most personal look at the late, great guitarist. For more information on Kelly’s book and the others go to www.facebook.com/Rhoadies?ref=ts&fref=ts Thats not all though, there are also the amazing Rhoads replica guitars from Gibson and Jackson, and his signature wine (created by his sister Kathy) available here,www.dargenziowine.com/wine-shop/randy-rhoads
9. Danko Jones “trifecta“.
Jones has easily been one of the most underrated artists of the last 20 years, releasing album after album of amazing music. This year, DJ has not only released a great new album “ROCK AND ROLL IS BLACK AND BLUE” but also a book (interesting in that it gives everyone else in the industry a chance to tell the story of the band) and a fantastic DVD which collects all of their music videos, short films and a great documentary into one jam packed disc. Buy it all and look for our upcoming chat with Danko himself. www.dankojones.com
8. EDGE OF PARADISE Merch.
Get on EDGE OF PARADISE now while there is still plenty of room on the bandwagon. We told you about these guys last year, since then they’ve recorded a great cover of Motley Crue’s “Saints of Los Angeles” for a tribute album on Versailles Records and are recording a full length debut with fellow LRI alum and legendary producer/engineer Michael Wagener. Pick up their EP, Mask, a T-shirt, whatever. Support good music!! www.edgeofparadiseband.com
7. John Corabi, Unplugged CD.
Speaking of Motley Crue, one of the best albums they ever recorded was with singer John Corabi who has finally released his UNPLUGGED album. If you’ve ever seen one of his amazing acoustic gigs you know what to expect. A passionate performance of some of the best material spanning John’s career in The Scream, Union and yes, Motley. It includes tracks like “Loveshine”, “Hooligan’s Holiday”, “Man In The Moon” and the amazing “Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)” and can even be purchased with some kick ass career spanning guitar picks. Also, we will have another chat with John soon. http://www.rockexcess.com/John_Corabi_UNPLUGGED_CD_p/corabi_unplugged.htm
6. An Adult passkey
Bonus points if you can convince your wife, girlfriend, husband or slightly twisted uncle to buy you an adult website membership this Christmas. Why pay for porn when there’s so much of it for free? Because the pay stuff is better! Less ads, more interactive content and lots of bonus extras. Besides, you go to a concert and buy a ticket, t-shirt or album to support your bands right? Well, everyone from legends we’ve talked to like www.terapatrick.com and www.vanessadelrio.com to newer girls you’ll be reading about here like www.britneyamberxxx.com and www.bonnierotten.com NEED your support. Or you can call most of them all personally at www.verifiedcall.com or even play Xbox with them at www.xxxgamergirls.com. These girls gotta eat too!!
5. Kenny Olson Cartel, self titled CD.
Kenny’s famous for working as KID ROCK’s guitarist and songwriter for many years but his new band’s album might be the best thing he’s ever done. It has been on my playlist all year long and it’s easy to see why guys like Slash and Keith Richards love the guy. His band is freakin amazing and every single song is good. Buy the album or do the whole iTunes thing, you can thank us later. www.kennyolson.com
4. TESTAMENT, Dark Roots of Earth and OVERKILL, The Electric Age, Nuclear Blast Records.
What? You didn’t think we were gonna write a top 10 list and forget to include some classic thrash titans in it, did ya? It is mind boggling that both Testament and Overkill are not only still going but still releasing albums as good as their 2012 efforts. By the way, they are NOT mellowing with age. Look for an upcoming interview with Overkill right here! www.nuclearblastusa.com
3. Frank Hannon, Six String Soldiers CD
Frank Hannon is known for his blazing guitar skills and songwriting with Tesla but he’s also carving out a nice little career here as a solo artist. Paired with some great musicians in their own right, Mike Araiza and Jeff Sandoval and featuring guest spots from guys like Rick Derringer and Dave Meniketti, this is a really solid album that easily appeals to both Tesla fans and guitar rock fans in general. We are stoked to also have a new interview with Frank coming! www.frankhannon.com
2. HESSLER, Comes With The Territory CD/Download
We warned you about HESSLER. Go read our interview with smokin hot Lariyah Daniels and hyper-shredding guitarist Igz Kincaid. They are a force both live and in-studio and their new album will be their greatest conquest yet. Trust us when we say this is NOT a band you want to miss. Pre-order or pick up “Comes With The Territory” at an upcoming live date. www.hesslerchicago.com
1. The Last Vegas, Bad Decisions CD
It’s inconceivable that The Last Vegas flies as low under the radar as they do but that is beginning to change with this latest album. Previously mentored and produced by Nikki Sixx, the band really comes into their own on their latest 2012 effort Bad Decisions. They’re a great live band that truly channels the classic GNR and Alice Cooper vibe (coincidentally bands TLV are currently opening for) and makes kickass videos. The new album is catchy as VD and cheaper than a hooker, radio is all over their track “Evil Eyes”, all they need is you! This band is real rock and roll and this band “gets it”. Join the movement at www.thelastvegas.com