It's been 17 years since Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine was suddenly ousted from the hit-making collective that he'd helped found in the late ‘60s, and since 1990 the drummer has been involved in a number of creative projects, though his drum kit has been mostly silent. But now, Seraphine is back with a new album and a new band… and making a run on his history at the same time. While Chicago began its long life titled Chicago Transit Authority, now Seraphine has launched CTA – California Transit Authority. And the new horn-rich rock act covers some older Chicago material on their first album, including “Colour My World” and a live take on “25 or 6 to 4”. But this isn't simply a case of a drummer trying to cash in on his old bandmates' success. All of the members of CTA have daunting pedigrees; the band is fronted by ace guitarist and sometime solo act Marc Bonilla and Tower of Power vocalist Larry Braggs. CTA will host a release party on August 9 at the Michigan Avenue Borders Books store in Chicago (marking Seraphine's first appearance here in 17 years), and will play at the Taylor Street Festa Italiana in Chicago on the following day, August 10 (they'll open for the Smithereens with a show time of 7 p.m.). For more information, check their site at www.ctatheband.com.
Joe Satriani 's classic Surfing with the Alien album has been reissued as a combo CD/DVD set from Epic/Legacy. The two-disc set includes the original album (featuring the title track and “Satch Boogie”) and a second DVD disc that has the “Satch Boogie” video, a previously unreleased 1988 concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival and more.
Back in 1968, Stephen Stills was at a Judy Collins recording session, and when she was done, he pulled out a few bills for the engineer to stay overtime and proceeded to put a bunch of his own new songs down on tape. Some of them, like “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” and “Wooden Ships” would turn up in another form the next year on the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album, and some would disappear with the tape for the next 40 years. Now you can hear that quick demo session on a just-issued CD from Rhino Records called Stephen Stills: Just Roll Tape, April 26, 1968.
Eat Me, Drink Me
Manson has become the poster boy for the dress-up goth set, and his latest disc once again rightfully earns the “parental advisory” sticker… and will also sound instantly familiar to anyone previously exposed to his buzzsaw guitars and layered, panther-stalk vocals.
This time out, Manson seems a little more contemplative than usual, completely obsessed with the pain of love as he opens the CD with the slowly building “If I Was Your Vampire,” and the lumbering “Putting Holes in Happiness.”
Lyrically, he manages to cover just about every cliched image of gothdom, singing lyrical snips like “all my Frankensteins,” and “please run away with me to hell,” “you and me and the devil makes three” and “I can't turn my back on you when you are walking away”.
In the relentlessly glum “The Said That Hell's Not Hot,” he opines, “I kill myself in small amounts/in each relationship it's not about love/just another funeral and just another girl left in tears.” In that and several other tracks, he lets collaborator and former KMFDM member Tim Skold crack the cliche-ometer on emotional guitar solos.
In “Are You the Rabbit” the guitars romp and stomp like dinosaurs on the prowl as Manson sings about “All your demons,” while in the followup, “Mutilation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery,” the tribal drums take the lead with a rumbling bass-bouyed headbanger.
While 2003's The Golden Age of Grotesque offered several songs that merged the heavier elements of Manson's style with catchy almost-pop-song hooks, only one track on Eat Me, Drink Me, comes near that mileu. In “Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand),” he pairs a marching rhythm section and a bell-driven melody with a catchy, albeit over-the-top melody, singing: “don't break, don't break my heart and I won't break your heartshaped glasses.”
I found “Golden Age of Groteque” a much more rewarding Manson album than this one. In many ways, Manson's starting to sound like an exageration of himself here with the long, plodding arrangements, tortured whispers, the reptilian rhthym stomps and blackheart lyrics. Still, if you want darkness that rocks, you can't go wrong with a dose of Eat Me, Drink Me.
If you want to see and hear the spectacle of Marilyn Manson, you can catch him live on August 13 at the Allstate Arena.