Letters Of Note: 5/23/2016

Birthday Power Trio Of The Day:

Albert Bouchard(1947, Blue Oyster Cult) on drums, Guy Fletcher(1960, mostly notable with Dire Straits) on keyboards, and Patti Labelle(1944, cocaine and soul food) on vocals.

Patti’s gonna want to have her way, and I’m not gonna stop her. No funny business here; those other two guys are just there to help her burn the fucking house down with a version of “You Turn Me On”. I’m just gonna leave this right here:


Let’s All Die In 2016: Nick Menza

Nick Menza’s rock and roll life had some spectacular near misses; nearly played with Slayer before Dave Lombardo showed back up for South Of Heaven, nearly lost his leg to a tumor and his arm to a power saw accident, and nearly drew the short straw, seeing two of the members of his band touring a show called, of all things, Menza: Life After Deth, die one after another in the space of a year(the second one to heart failure, the first one to Great White’s pyrotechnic disaster), just after Menza left Megadeth.

Well… not “left”. Although he was partly responsible for the sound of Megadeth’s most iconic period from 1990-1998, Dave Mustaine, whose asshole period will last to the eventual entropy destruction of planet Earth, fired Menza while he was recouperating from having the aforementioned knee tumor removed(Mustaine also re-fired Menza in 2004 after re-hiring him. He was back in Megadeth for the length of one rehearsal.).

Menza stayed close with Marty Friedman, playing on some of his first solo albums, including the weird(I know Friedman has ties to Japan, but have you heard the thing?) album Introduction, which features Nick Menza’s dad, famous tenor saxophonist Don Menza, on the shakuhachi of all things. Nick Menza stayed active in music until the very end, too, and I mean the literal, actual terminal end of his life: he collapsed on stage and died. I feel for his family, but that’s how to do it. RIP.


Also Dead: Elvis Presley

I almost, but not quite, got ran off the road last week thanks to the King’s mighty catalog.

There’s so much after-death garbage out there recorded, remixed, and “modernized” that I’ve never tried to listen to it in earnest. Normally I’m pretty sensitive to it and just turn the channel(SiriusXM radio has its own music/propaganda station devoted to Elvis), but this song, a slyly re-recording of “Now Or Never”, one of my favorites, arranged very subtly at first, caught me off guard. Of course, being 2016, it didn’t take long for them to muck it up(“them” being the Italian pretty-boy pop-opera Eurovision entrants Il Volo, and, to a lesser extent, Priscilla Presley, who gave her blessing to this recent recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), and when my brain snapped to attention to frown at the radio because my ears are not capable of frowning, I also noticed a Mack truck with 11 tons of fill dirt drifting into my lane. Thanks, E!

2 thoughts on “Letters Of Note: 5/23/2016

  1. Re: Elvis: Sorry to hear about your Elvis-related brush with death, but now that I know you weren’t necessarily actually close to your death (from the sound of it, anyway), I’m a little sorry it had nothing to do with giant Monte Cristos and/or a toilet. As far as this recording goes, I have purposely kept away from the “new” Royal Philharmonic album because such things are, at least on paper, fairly tacky and usually do not result in a “good time”. After hearing this, which was a fairly un-rock tune anyway, I’m also struck by how over-the-top it could have been and how they actually showed a bit of restraint, I suppose. Well, anyway, I’m probably gonna listen to that album now in the hopes that it might be good. Thanks.

    Re: Nick Menza: I must admit that I’ve never been a fan of Megadeth. Not sure why, but it could be that Dave Mustaine has always seemed to be a bit of a douche to me (even when I was too young to really ‘know’ what a douche was – there was still something I didn’t like about him) and I never cared for his voice. I know, I know. I’m probably missing out on some great metal cos that shit’s legendary, but I’ve just never had the desire to explore their catalog. However, I am intrigued and saddened (as much as I can be for a man who I never met and didn’t really know existed until he died) as his demise, but glad it was on stage. Like any rock warrior, that’s how one should go, I guess.

    Re: Birthday Power Trio: Patti Labelle is a great talent to be sure, so no jokes can be made about anything musically. However, I’m sure all three in this particular fantasy band have had enough cocaine experiences (past and present) to tell a hell of a bunch of stories in between rehearsing this tune. To be a fantasy fly on the wall…. Also her cocaine faces are worth the (admittedly free) price of the video, hands down.

    1. Honestly, you needn’t listen to the entirety of the Megadeth catalog: just two albums.

      If you choose the near-perfect(“Dawn Patrol” only works in context of the album concept, and barely at that) but over-polished album, turn to page Rust In Peace

      If you choose the sloppy (but so perfectly indicative of West Coast thrash metal dipshits doing their thing that it’s fun to hear) pre-heroin album, turn to page Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?

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