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Phoebe Nir "Side Hustle" EP

If you were around in Hollywood during the New Wave days of the 80s you were familiar with the female fronted band sound of Missing Persons, The Motels, Tony Basil, Cindy Lauper, The Go Gos and the famous L.A. pinup girl / pop star Angeline. Listening to New York City's Phoebe Nir's new CD entitled "Side Hustle", released through True Groove Records, takes me right back to cruising from Harry's Pit BBQ on Crescent Heights (where they had a breath mint dispenser selling candies made exactly to look like Quaaludes) to Wong's West on Wilshire Blvd. with Frasier Smith on the radio and Max Headroom on MTV (they used to play music videos back then).

 Now before you say I'm being unfair calling Phoebe's sound "Retro New Wave" I need to tell you she starts out her six song EP with the Iggy Pop classic "Lust For Life" (1977). That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the EP and it's a pretty fun tone. This girl is definitely just wanting to have fun and these songs are the perfect soundtrack to a fun night out. These days "fun" can have a dark, even sinister aura to it as the times have certainly changed and what may have seemed so shocking back in 1980 seems absolutely quaint now but infectious, bouncy, catchy and just plain happy sounds are never out of style if that's what you're in the mood for. 

All the songs on "Side Hustle" are written by Phoebe Nir except for the Iggy / David Bowie "Lust for Life" and are produced by Tomás Doncker and James Dellatacoma for True Groove Records. Tomás Doncker, James Dellatacoma played the guitars, Nick Rolfe and Manu Koch  the keyboards, Mike Griot the bass and James "Whoop" Coley is the drummer. James Dellatacoma at Orange Music Sound Studios did a great job of mixing and with horn sections (Mac Gollehon), back up vocals (Mac Gollehon and Charlie Funk) and sound effects it's a circus in your ears. Michael Fossenkemper of TurtleTone Studios mastered it for those keeping track.


Phoebe has performed at some of New York's hottest venues, including Joe's Pub and 54 Below, and was received at the White House by President Obama as a Presidential Scholar of the Arts. She is currently developing a Broadway-bound musical theater trilogy, 'Diana & Navy', with composer/producer Tomás Doncker.

Phobe Nir will be opening for No Wave icons James Chance & The Contortions at the Bowery Electric on November 10th, 2016 as a featured member of the True Groove All Stars. Until she hits L.A. you can hit her up at

Tilted Axes - Coming Soon Down Your Street

My son Benjamin is an aspiring screenwriter whose interests as a writer is in Sci Fi, Fantasy and what could be called New Age Adventure. His new project involves the concept of the Multi Universe or Multiverse theory. This theory postulated by theoretical physicists but originally taught by shamen and mystics throughout the ages theorizes that we bounce between different yet similar worlds and if we are perceptive and aware enough we can spot when we've entered a new and different reality. In the reality I must have entered in order to hear the new CD from New York's Tilted Axes titled "Music For Mobile Guitars" a world must exist where Robert Fripp from King Crimson and League Of Crafty Guitarists isn't a pioneering Prog Rock guitar player but rather a music director of a college marching band. Sounds strange? You ain't heard nothing yet.

In this strange new world our band leader is a gentleman by the name of Patrick Grant and he leads his Prog/Art/Experimental marching band made up of local musicians on a procession route through city squares, centers of transportation and indoor structures like museums. The city, which may be his native New York although he's also led the band through the streets of Detroit and Düsseldorf, Germany, usually invites Tilted Axes as part of a larger arts festival or event such as New York's "Make Music Winter" in 2011.

Patrick Grant, ringleader, baton major and tour guide.

The procession is accompanied by posters and placards which let the public know more about the event, sponsors, the hosting organization and its purpose. Flexible in number, Tilted Axes adapts itself to the environment or occasion and feeds on the energy of a constantly shifting audience. Tilted Axes cuts musical pathways through the urban landscape, turning neighborhoods into sonic narratives. As a form of street theater, the ensemble brings potent, ecstatic riffs and an element of surprise, to an unsuspecting public. Tilted Axes is always in motion; striding in, rocking out, and moving on. Being as experimental as one might assume since they're an ever changing line up of local musicians, the music is instrumental and involves a degree of improvisation.

This is a very unique project and one that is constantly changing therefore I must assume the music on "Music For Mobile Guitars" is probably consisting mostly of Patrick Grant and a core group and may not accurately represent any given live performance. How could it, especially using local, unknown guitarists at every performance? The "marching band" members carry small amplifiers strapped to them and have a few weeks before the event to learn the planned repertoire while Patrick himself arrives a week ahead of time to conduct rehearsals.  

I'm wondering if his band name, Tilted Axes, is a reference to the New Age believe in the Earth's tilting on its axis which allegedly caused the end of the last Ice Age and led to the loss of Atlantis? 

According to his most impressive bio: Patrick Grant is a composer/performer living in New York City and creates music for a wide range of media. A native of Detroit, MI, he moved to NYC in the mid-80s where he studied at the Julliard School, worked on the production team for composer John Cage, and produced his first recordings at the studios of Philip Glass. He spearheaded the compositional element of an international project for the Millennium which had him working with Billy Joel and Quincy Jones. Interest in world music brought him to Bali three times to study the gamelan which  manifested itself in his work through the use of alternative tunings, ensembles with multiple keyboards, and in his work with Robert Fripp & The Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists.

He is host of the internationally acclaimed podcast "Strings and Things". Grant is a recipient of the 2012-13 Con Edison Musicians' Residency: Composition Program at the Turtle Bay Music School administered by Exploring the Metropolis. In 2012 and 2013 he received ASCAP Plus Awards for continued musical excellence. Recently, he performed as music producer and coarranger of NYFA Fellow Joseph Keckler's "I am an Opera" for a month of sold-out shows at Dixon Place in NYC and beyond.

He is the creator of International Strange Music Day (Aug. 24th) and the electric guitar procession as a genre. Recently he was granted rights from the Beatles' publishers to create a set of variations on Strawberry Fields Forever for chamber ensemble and rock band. He has created scores for theatrical visionaries The Living Theatre and Robert Wilson, and music for installations at the Louvre and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. His music has been applied visually through seven collaborations with the artist Kehinde Wiley, scores for feature documentaries, and music tech seminars each semester at the NYU Film School.

Within the last year his music has been performed extensively by theater troupes in Brazil, appearing in the major cities and international festivals there. In 2009, with radio producer Jocelyn Gonzales, he created the MMiX Festival of Interactive Music Technology in NYC, an
event co-sponsored by Ableton (LIVE), Cycling ’74 (Max/MSP), and WNYC Radio.

In December 2009, he music directed the European premiere of his electronic realization of the Morton Feldman / Samuel Beckett opera “Neither” in Vienna. In 2010, Grant returned to Europe and Brazil for new works in concert, theater and multimedia and created H2Opus: Fluid Soundscapes by Multiple Composers for Make Music New York 2010. Grant also produces content for the new music blog The MMiXdown and is a co-director of Composers Concordance Records.

He has created musical scores for the Cornell Gamelan Ensemble and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco (a piece called "the strangest and most ravishing dance of the year" by the SF Chronicle and nominated for Best Dance Score of 2003 by the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards). His work often involves elements found in the natural and physical sciences (Genome: The Autobiography of a Species).

The Slang "Night and Day" EP

I saw a TV show the other night about the changing music scene in Nashville, Tennessee which has always been called the Country Music Capitol of America. Now it seems it is becoming simply the Music Capitol of America as all sorts of bands are relocating there. I wonder, does that make Branson, Missouri the Country Music Capitol of America? In Nashville these days you can still find Country but also Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock and the music The Slang play which they call Alt.

Recorded at the Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, the EP highlights the talents of songwriter, vocalist and multi instrumentalist John Bobo and Bassist John Newsome. The album was produced by Russ Long (Wilco, Sixpence None the Richer), assisted by Jasper LeMaster with string Arrangements by Matthew Slocum and with additional recording at The Brown Owl in Nashville, mixed at The Carport, also in Nashville, mastered by Jim DeMain and assisted by Amy Marie at Yes Master Studios,  in, you guessed it, Nashville.

One of these guys is John Bobo and the other is John Newsome. But I don't know which is which.

 The band's press kit is loaded with credits for this EP including Miles McPherson on drums and percussion, Jerry McPherson and John Garratt on guitars, Dustin Ransom on organ, synth and upright piano with Kim Keyes and Chris Rodriguez singing backup and a string section consisting of Kris Wilkinson, David Davidson, David Angell and Sari Reist. So my question is how is this a two man band (Bobo & Newsome)?

At what point did the music business become a matter of getting a couple guys, arm them with a virtual army of session musicians and production people and call it "a band" (the Monkees, The Beach Boys, Milli Vanilli...)? Nevermind, I guess it's been going on forever but according to The Slang's press kit: "Their musical talents have earned them invitations to several premier music conferences including MPMF, NXNE, IPO and CMJ. In addition, the sounds of The Slang have been used in various mainstream outlets including HBO, USA network, and Troma Films.  The  band’s first self-titled EP mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, Tokyo Police Club, The Toxic Airborne Event) and mastered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys) had solid success throughout the US with over 50+ CMJ stations playing tracks from the EP as well as numerous industry write-ups, both stateside and abroad."

Video for The Slang's "Night and Day".

 That's actually pretty impressive and it seems they have a pretty good support system so does the music itself seem worthy? Yes, if you like bands like Dada, Gin Blossoms, Foo Fighters and other 90s alternative rock bands. What I like about those bands as well as The Slang is that you can actually hear the instruments. Sometime during the age of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and unlimited multi-track recording it became popular to pile on the electric guitars until the guitar sound was a thick, heavy mid-range hum. Overdubbing too many guitars loses the attack (the pick hitting the strings) and the natural decay of the notes and you end up with a sound that seems more like a keyboard than a string instrument. On The Slang's five song EP tunes such as "Day & Night" you really feel like you're listening to an actual, live, band. This is an EP that works the way phonograph records were originally created to work; namely a sample of a band's performance that makes you want to go buy a ticket to see them play live. Other songs like the lush, beautiful opening number "The Ballad Of Everything" or the song "Breakthrough" bring to mind the sort of sound like that of the band Keane, that is to say sweeping, romantic and with a good Alt sense of yearning.

This is the sad part where I want to tell you to go see them live this Friday at the Local Rock Club or Concert Venue but all I can tell you is that they're planning to tour this fall (now) so Google The Slang, go see them and then write back to me and tell me how the show was. I'm curious if they perform as a duo or if they come close to sounding like their monster recording.

English Tumbler's New CD "Come To The Edge"

Here at Rock & Roll Rehab we've dedicated ourselves to bringing attention to talented musicians and writers who may have fallen through the cracks (like us, The Tooners) but deserve to have their music listened to. When I was asked to give a listen to the English Folk Rock band Tumbler's new CD "Come To The Edge" I didn't realize that they're exactly what we usually want to promote on the site. Read the review below which was written before I watched their documentary on Youtube then read below that how I reacted once I knew THE TRUTH.

The First Review:
The British alt rock/folk rock trio Tumbler's new CD "Come To The Edge" is described in their press kit as "a project". Since Tumbler consists of Harry Grace on vocals and guitar, Richard Grace also on vocals and guitar and Dave Needham on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals and there is no mention of a drummer, I assume Tumbler is a recording project and not an actual live band. Of course that could change but then they'd have to hire a horn section if they want to reproduce the arrangement of their song "Nothing To Hold You" and a harmonica player for "Sweetest Thing". The string sections on many of the tracks I guess could be covered by Dave's keyboards but Tumbler would have a difficult time reproducing the lush sound of their CD live with just the three of them.

What I'm getting at is that this isn't just a vanity project recorded by a couple of guys in their family rumpus room on a laptop but a very well arranged, well played and well produced and very professional sounding "project". I would prefer to refer to it as simply a CD. The vocals by Harry and Richard Grace who I'm assuming are brothers (although I've been wrong about that before) are youthful yet polished and have a lot of the sound of the current American Americana sound. Although Ray Davies' English Folk / Music Hall style is evident, to my Yankee ears Tumbler sounds very American both in vocal accents as well as beat and instrumentation. Avett Brothers and The Decemberists come to mind more than The Cure which their press kit listed as an influence.

Tracks such as "Joanne" take the CD into what I would consider "beautiful" territory, ethereal and haunting and with references to "the battlefield" and military drum rolls in the background it also has a bit of melancholy.

The track, "In Safe Hands" credited to Jim Grace (another Grace brother?) continues the overall sound but with a lead vocal reminiscent of a young Dylan or perhaps Mark Knopfler. If you don't happen to like Dylan or Knoplfler don't let that description discourage you from this track as I meant it as a compliment. He has a very pleasing and perhaps more distinctively "British" voice than the other two Graces (they're the Three Graces? That's a better name than Tumbler).

Closing track "Freedom The Cry" brings to mind some of the Eighties hits that sounded like old folk call to arms anthems or rallying cries complete with sound effects and sirens.


Holy cow, was I wrong (again)? First of all, Richard is not Harry and Jim's brother, he's their FATHER! And he has four other sons as well. This is much more Rock & Roll Rehab terrain than I even imagined. Richard is one of the two lead singers, along with son Harry, so he completely faked me out when I said earlier how youthful the vocals sounded.

Richard Grace, AKA Pops.

At least I was right about this being a recording project as opposed to a live band, although with six sons he could certainly fill out a stage. This makes Dave Needham, who is listed as a "band member" but on the doc is shown to be the Producer, an extremely important aspect of this project. Dave appears to be the bass player, the horn section, the drummer and the strings, which is not uncommon in the Digital Age.

Dave Neeham, producer and everything else.

My question is: who is this Richard Grace guy, where did he come from, musically speaking? Is he yet another Baby Boomer who got high and jammed in his kitchen with his friends before growing his own band (children) and never was heard outside of his own home? Or am I yet again showing my ignorance by not knowing that he was a member of some English Prog band back in the day? I find it heartbreaking to think there are such talented, and now very well seasoned writer, singers and musicians who will have lived entire lifetimes without ever being heard. I also envy his being able to have such a great working relationship with his own children. The young musician kids of my old band buddies don't want to have anything to do with their fathers' style of music.

Harry Grace, the future of Tumbler.

Perhaps Harry Grace, Richard's son and the other lead singer and writer of Tumbler figures his dad's talent, experience, connections and money (I'm guessing Dad financed the CD) is worth being in a band with the old man. After all, he probably won't have to compete with him for Tumbler's groupies. Probably.

Give Tumbler a listen then buy some tracks here:

You can thank me later.

The Live Rock & Roll Rehab Show Tour

The Rock & Roll Rehab Show is a live multimedia rock music show that is the story one man's life wasted chasing the Rock & Roll dream through the Classic Rock Era illustrated with big screen fully animated music videos.

Hosted by Greg Piper of The Tooners who narrates his journey from The British Invasion through the New Wave Era while performing all original music created in and inspired by the times of his life.

"real underground rock and roll theater"
"sex, drugs, rock & roll and cartoons"
"beyond 420 friendly, it's 420 incestuous..."
"... too loud..."

Greg Piper's "I Wish You'd Love Me" Syncs Up Perfectly To The Wizard Of Oz

"I didn't believe it when I first saw it!"... Greg Piper


(Syncs up to 'The Wizard Of Oz')

Jim Peterik, Survivor

When I was first asked to check out the new video from some guy from Chicago named Jim Peterik I thought here was a perfect candidate for membership in Rock & Roll Rehab. The video showed a sixty-five year old guy singing a remake of the old 38 Special hit, “Caught Up In You” to string accompaniment.

But I was wrong.

You see, Jim Peterik isn’t some Baby Boomer wannabe who now that he’s retired from being an accountant, or from the DMV, or from being a High School chemistry teacher, has decided to pursue his life long dream of being a rockstar, he’s actually a founding member of the band Survivor, vocalist and writer of the hit song Vechicle by the band Ides Of March and has co-written songs for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, Brian Wilson, Blackhawk, Cathy Richardson, REO Speedwagon, The Beach Boys and even the theme song from Rocky 3, the classic Survivor megahit Eye Of The Tiger. I even own some of his songs from The Beach Boys’ 2012 reunion CD That’s Why God Made The Radio and Brian Wilson’s solo CD, Imagination which is my family’s official vacation soundtrack CD.

Jim Peterik's new version of the hit he co-wrote for 38 Special,
Caught Up In You.

Jim has an incredible musical history starting with the hit Vehicle by Ides Of March which was number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of May 23, 1970, is purported to be the fastest selling single in Warner Bros. Records history. In 1982, Sylvester Stallone commissioned his band Survivor to write and perform the theme song for Rocky III. His song, "Eye of the Tiger", became their defining single, spending six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and going double platinum. "Eye of the Tiger" also won a Grammy Award and resulted in an Oscar nomination for Peterik and Frankie Sullivan for Best Song.

Jim’s latest CD is titled “The Songs” and consists of 13 tracks that he either wrote or co-wrote and were hits for some of the aforementioned bands. One of his songs, the Sammy Hagar co-written Heavy Metal, the theme song for the animated movie, I personally have an attachment to having been one of the animators on the film.

Jim Peterik's style of music, until now, has been melodic rock and his group Pride Of Lions tours Europe regularly. The latest  Pride Of Lions CD "Immortal" was released in Septermber 2012. but on The Songs Jim re-imagines his old hits in some very interesting ways. Along with two brand new Peterik compositions producer Fred Mollin (Jimmy Webb, America, Kris
Kristofferson) using some of the finest musicians in Nashville (all cut live), resulted in innovative and fresh takes on Peterik classics such as his 1970 Ides of March smash “Vehicle” done here with just an electric piano and Johnny A's soulful lead guitar, an Eleanor Rigby style string ensemble backing on his .38 Special hit “Caught Up In You” and perhaps the most radical reworking, a practically blue grass interpretation of “Eye Of The Tiger”, complete with fiddle, banjo and mandolin.

The musician and production credits on The Songs are Jim Peterik, Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) - guest vocals and producer Fred Mollen.

Peterik also co-authored the book Songwriting for Dummies, published 2002, with Dave Austin and Mary Ellen Bickford and his autobiography, Through The Eye Of The Tiger, co-written with Lisa Torem and released by BenBella Books in September 2014.

The Songs tracklisting:
1) Vehicle
2) Is This Love
3) Eye Of The Tiger
4) Caught Up In You
5) L.A. Goodbye
6) Hold On Loosely
7) That's Why God Made The Radio
8) High On You
9) I Can't Hold Back
10) Heavy Metal
11) The Search Is Over
12) Miracle At Ground Zero
13) The Same Muse


The Spiders' Election Day


To say I'm apolitical is a great understatement. I really can't stand politics. Of all the elective classes you can take in junior high school; metal shop, auto shop, electric shop, wood shop, home ec, agriculture, creative writing, music, etc., the political science classes and the campaigns for Student Government are the most unchanged from later in life, real world experience. In all these other vocations people grow, mature and develop skills and talents that serve them well as adults but the little wanks that were in Student Government in Jr. High are just exactly like the grown up politicians that ask for our vote today. This year's presidential campaigns are at the Jr. High School level and that's only because there are no Poli Sci classes in grammar school. It's a huge embarrassment and frightening. Except that I'm at an age where I've lived my life so I'm actually finding all of this extremely entertaining hense BEST ELECTION YEAR EVER!

Of course if I were younger and had the whole rest of my life ahead of me I might not be so flippant. Case in point: The Spiders, an Alt Rock trio from New Jersey. The Spiders aren't taking this election season so well. In fact, they seemed really pissed off about it. Anger often is something that masks fear and it seems The Spiders think we may have something of which to be afraid. 

 Watch The Spiders' ELECTION DAY video. 

Now I come from a time when young people communicated through music and a "single" was our version of a press release, a three and a half minute "sound bite" and The Spiders' new single, "Election Day" is very much in that time honored tradition. Back in my day the choices were very clear; we wanted to end the war in Viet Nam, end the military draft, let minorities and women feel they're part of America too and perhaps ease up a little on sending people to prison for decades for smoking a joint. When I turned eighteen years of age a law had just been passed that lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. We Baby Boomers were the largest, wealthiest, best educated and most politically informed generation in history and we seemed also to be the most united in our beliefs, tastes and attitudes. Maybe young people don't bother to vote but when young people have been in the street protesting and demanding the vote, when a young man's actual life was held in the balance due to the military draft and a disastrous war, when that hard fought right to vote was finally won, you bet we'd vote. We'd vote en mas, after all, we wanted to be heard, to have a voice. And we were united! Yes, in 1972 George McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate who was running against GOP Richard "Tricky Dicky" Nixon (who not only had to resign in disgrace but whose vice president, Spiro Agnew had been forced out of office due to corruption charges even earlier), was absolutely destined to win the presidency in a landslide!

Except it was Nixon who won. And in a landslide. 

How the hell did that happen?! 

Now we're looking at a presidential election between the lady whose husband had been president and had cheated on her and the boss from hell from the TV show, The Apprentice. This is A LOT more to both of these candidates. A lot more positive things about Hillary Clinton and a ton more negative things about The Donald but I see it all from the POV of someone who lived through the murder of a president, the resignation in disgrace of a president and a president whose administration was one scandal after another. Trump calls Clinton "Lyin' Hillary" but Gerald Ford was part of the Warren Commission, so there's that.

What is truly troubling about this campaign is the attitude being fostered among the young people as reflected in The Spiders' song "Election Day". I'm not sorry they feel the way they do, I'm sorry they've been made to feel that way by a system where only the unpopular, obnoxious kids are the ones who even want to grow up to be president any more. I was all for Barrack Obama because I felt he had a legitimate reason to want to be president; he would be the first black president of the United States. He represents a huge step toward actual equality. I was also tired of being "The Man" because I'm an old white guy. Obama had honorable reasons to want to become President. Hillary Clinton may also have the same incentive as she would be the first woman elected president but why would anyone other than a potential "first timer" want to be president? The job sucks! The ageing alone isn't worth it.

Okay, I'm ranting. If you like Seventies style guitar driven, hooky hard rock (kinda of Roadhouse Rock) then give a listen to The Spiders' Election Day. It is unfortunately a very appropriate anthem for the election of 2016 and please go vote this November for someone. If nothing else go vote for Prop 64 to legalize marijuana in California so if things really go to hell we can at least get stoned and forget about it.

Headlining The Spiders is lead guitarist Nick DeStefano who has performed throughout North America everywhere from the Stone Pony in New Jersey to The Troubadour in L.A. He has appeared in two award winning videos on MTV and appeared on compilation CDs in the company of the likes of the Smithereens, Glen Burtnick, and Joe Lynn Turner. His recording “Just Say No” included appearances from musical veterans including Donnie Kisselback of Alice Cooper, James Lewis of Trans-siberian Orchestra and the Miami Horn