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2 guys, 1 band.

 

Do you believe in fate? well I certainly do, I believe that when the stars align, and fate has its way, two people will come together and form something magical, something that can’t be produced by the mere existence of ‘coincidence’, something calculated and designed to change the world as we know it –  I’m talking, ofcourse, about  the sheer power of musicianship. If history taught us anything, its that music prodigies often come in pairs, especially in the realm of Rock n’ Roll, so here are a bunch of those icons that changed the way music was written:

(NOTE BEFORE YOU GO AHEAD: 1) I blog mostly on memory, so I may have forgotten some ‘teams’ and 2) I have eliminated some bands because their success was also majorly attributed to the other members in the band, or the success was driven by one man)

here it goes …

Tom Morello/Zac DelaRoca (Rage Against the Machine)

These guys may have not created the concept of Rap Rock, but they sure as hell gave it a meaning of its own! With their ‘viva revolution’ attitude, ‘Rage Against the Machine’ managed to sum up legions of loyal fans who believed in their message. From songs like ‘Bulls on Parade’ to ‘Guerilla Radio’, this duo shook every music scene they were a part of. Once these guys split and went their separate ways – the intensity faded with the introduction of their side projects … it just wasnt the same. DelaRoca did his own thing while Morello started Audioslave … both efforts were commendable, but nothing close to the sheer raw power they created together in ‘rage’.

Layne Staley / Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)

This is an undeniable force in music history! Not only did they write rock/metal anthems that led the Seattle scene in the early 90’s … they were the first (and probably the only) rock duo to revolutionize the way vocal harmony was used in a band. Just go back and listen to tracks like ‘Down in a hole’ or ‘Would’ and tell me you dont hear it! The AIC boys created a trademark sound that was unique enough to coin as their own – the vocal melodies became synonymous with their sound, the song arrangements were arena worthy, and the guitar solos exclusive to their explosiveness. This pair will never be forgotten.

James Hetfield/Lars Ulrich (Metallica)

Where would the music industy be today if James Hetfield never saw that ad that Lars Ulrich put in the paper? What if he never called him?  Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield’s partnership was not only crucial for their band, but for the music industry as a whole. Together, they formed the titanic Metallica and wrote 4 consecutive undisputed albums in the 80’s that reshaped the way heavy metal was looked at .. in 1991, they wrote their self titled 5th album which went on to be one of biggest selling albums of all-time. This team brought us killer songs like ‘Fade to Black’, ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Battery’ and ‘Hit the lights’ – if you know any musician(s), chances are they know how to play atleast ONE Metallica song!  that should tell you something.

Joe Perry/Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

We were all probably too young (or not even born) to remember this … but when Joe Perry exited Aerosmith in 1979, it really .. totally .. majorly sucked. These guys were made for each other, just listen to the superb rock tunes they’ve created together, from ‘Amazing’, to ‘Blind man’, ‘ to ‘Deuces are wild’ to ‘Love in an elevator’; rock anthems that rang across stadiums and arenas around the world, anthems that formed the foundations of modern rock as we know them!  The Perry/Tyler duo is a ‘rock n’ roll hit machine’. Steven Tyler has a ‘larger-than-life’ vocal approach that can only be complimented with a rockin’ blues man that is found in Joe Perry.

Jimmy Page/Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)

The fathers of modern Rock! Pause for one second and go back to 2007, a time that we can all relatively remember well (depending on who you ask, ofcourse) .. but just try to remember .. in 2007 .. when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant announced that they would be playing together again for a one-off Led Zeppelin show, the music world went ape-shit! an estimated 80 million people logged online to get a chance to ‘win-to-buy’ tickets … thats right, you had to actually enter a lottery to buy a ticket! that is the power of Page and Plant.  Not only are these two responsible for some of rock n roll’s best written gems, they also topped every chart and filled every stadium. Page and Plant simply redefined music, they took all the rules, put em’ in one box, and threw em’ out the window … Without Page and Plant, alot of the bands that you love today would’nt exist, that includes the aforementioned Metallica.

John Lennon/Paul McCartney (The Beatles)

I mean, need I say more? really? I think our memory of music stops at Lennon/McCartney, its like nothing existed prior to that combo. In many ways, they are regarded as the founders of modern pop rock.  They scored so many number 1 singles, they filled so many stadiums, they were the center of so many controversies and at points in their careers, they hated each other – recipe for a true Rock n’ Roll story. Simply put, this duo wrote some of the best songs the human race has ever heard, and that isnt even an exaggeration – If you put that in perspective, you’d understand why no words I write would do them any justice.

David Gilmour/Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

The music world craves a reunion … and not a Pink Floyd reunion, but a Gilmour/Waters reunion! repsonsible for albums like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish you were here’ and ‘Animals’ (and parts of ‘The Wall’), this duo struck the perfect balance between melody and brilliance. From the lyrical Journies supplied by Waters, to the euphoric musical melodies presented by Gilmours, the men behind Pink Floyd created a progressive-rock sub-genre that is quite simply impossible to replicate. Just think of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’,  It remained in the charts for 741 weeks, longer than any other album in history. It went on to sell 45 million copies making it Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time. Yeah, we need a reunion.

Noel Gallagher/Liam Gallagher (Oasis)

‘Tonight, Im a Rock n’ Roll Star’ sang Liam – and ironically, “Rock n’ Roll stardom” is what killed this once fantastic duo. Noel, who led the charge, along with Liam had composed and performed on some of the most memorable, and commercially successful, music in British music history.  Circa 1994 – 1997, this bands stardom was comparable only to the likes of The Beatles,  Noel and Liams turbulent relationship resulted in cancelled tours, firing band members, quitting band members, tabloid frenzies .. it was a mess, but it sure resulted in some great rock tunes. Some may argue that Noel was the main force, and its true .. but you cant have Oasis, a true Oasis, without one or the other. Even though they currently hate each other, and killed Oasis, I have a good feeling that we’ll see them collaborating again sometime in the near future. Glastonbery, lots’a cha-ching perhaps?

Max Cavalera/Igor Cavalera (ex-Sepultura)

Some may scratch their head and say “wha’? .. really?” .. well, yes. really. Max and Igor, the men who started the Brazillian thrash machine ‘Sepultura’, wrote some of the meanest, grimmest, badass-est tunes in metal! But thats barely the reason why this duo made this list, These guys did something much bigger for music in South America. Sepultura’s rise to success, in many ways, opened the gates for many bands in their region to be considered and heard by major labels that would never normally consider them … The Cavalera brothers, probably unknowingly, paved the way for many South American bands to be propelled into the main music arena due to the worlds reception to their music. The boys saw the hight of their success in 1996 with the release of ‘Roots’ – but a decline in popularity was immenent when Max had exited the band, proving that this duo need each other.

Steve Harris/Bruce Dickenson (Iron Maiden)

‘Two minutes .. to miiiidnight’. I say Maiden, and that’s probably one of the first lines that pops in your heard, and who’s voice do you hear? thats right! Bruce the goose Dickenson (I just called him the goose ..wtf), anyway .. Steve Harris, the man leading this legendary outfit, dabbled with quite a few vocalists in his career .. Go back to the ‘Blaze Baley’ years of Iron Maiden, Yeah, we heard some solid tracks in that era, but think about that instant, that second, that mili-micro-second that Bruce Dickenson decided to rejoin, Maiden shot back into stadium-status!  Fact is, Harris writes great tracks, but he needs the vocal power-house that is Bruce Dickenson to take those tracks to hights that no other singer can possibly mimmick. and thats the truth!

Axl Rose/Slash (Guns n Roses)

This was an ugly split, an ugly divorce, and those kinds of divorces are hardest on the kids i.e. the fans. Axl and Slash had it made, they were/are brilliant composers and have tremendous talent; they created one of the most notorious rock bands that ever existed, and ruled the world with the surplus of hits that they wrote together. Sure, Duff and Izzy helped .. but the fact of the matter, Guns n’ Roses were all about Axl and Slash. Think of the moment you hear the opening notes of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, then think of the countless singers who tried to cover it .. but fell flat. Axl and Slash were a match made in heaven: Axl brought in the big-choruses, and Slash brought in that guitar sound that, despite being replaced by 5 different guitarists in GnR, was never ever recreated. Marriage counsling is in order … we need those two back together, for the sake of music as a whole.

John Patrucci/Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)

Two extremely, insanely, over-the-topp(ly?) inspired and talented human beings. Patrucci and Portnoy put together one of the worlds most dynamic, couragous, and mindlowing progressive rock bands that music has ever known. Too much music has been created between both these men, from concept albums like ‘Scenes of a memory’ to progressive experimintation in ‘Liquid tension experiment’ .. The names Portnoy and Patrucci became synonems to ‘drumming legend’ and ‘guitar guru’ – a force of synergy that redefined progressive metal, and took it to impossible lengths.

Dave Mustaine/Marty Friedman (Megadeth)

Imagine you had a band that had two of the worlds top guitar players. Two things were bound to happen: 1) Awesome composing and all-around shredding, and 2) a dramatic ‘clash of the titans’ .. and thats what happened in this classic Megadeth lineup (completed by Nick Menza and Dave Ellefson). This was a guitar duo that conquered the mid-90s in skill, talent and excellent musicianship – just think about those metal moments where Mustaine and Friedman would go at a guitar battle that leaves you pretty much dumbfounded. For various reasons, This relationship died in the late 90’s, and even though Megadeth goes on with Mustaine at the helm, that brief crossroads of guitar legends will always remain one of metals finest moments.

Tony Iommi/Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath)

Some may argue that the Iommi/Osbourne alliance was the definitive Sabbath, and in many ways , thats correct … But truth be told, Ronnie James Dio unlocked a sound that no other Sabbath singer did. With heavy weight titles like ‘The Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven and Hell’ under their belt, this formation of Black Sabbath was heavy, melodic, relentless and above all, friggin’ magical. Iommi pretty much invented Heavy Metal, and Dio was that missing ingredient that made it the metal outfit it was always supposed to be. His operatic vocal approach shook the very foundations of what Heavy Metal was supposed to sound like. ‘If you listen to fooollls .. the mooobbb rulllees’ .. Oh Ronnie, RIP.

Dimebag Darrel Abbott/Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera)

Another ‘brotherly love’ team that took the world by storm. The Abbotts created one of the most successful heavy-metal outfits in history, ‘Pantera’. But forget the floods of anthems that they wrote, and lets concentrate on the symmetry they had as musicians … the Abbotts were hands down, an insane groove machine. ‘Dime’ had his own approach to guitar that was easily identifiable, and Vinnie was the only drummer who knew how to play along .. making those riffs come to life in a way that only a blood-brother would know. Pantera, and subsequently, DamagePlan, showed their wide array of expertise and how reliant they are/were on one-another to write timeless songs that kick-you in every area worth kicking.

Jon Bon Jovi / Ritchie Sambora (Bon Jovi)

You can’t talk music without mentioning the ’80’s hair’ movement. Of all the bands that infested that decade, I Think its safe to say that Jon Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora stuck to writing some tunes that stood the test of time. This duo came up with some of the cheesiest tunes in rock, and I use ‘cheese’ very positively here … they also wrote of straight-up awesome rockers, and sweet-sweet ballads. The Bon Jovi/Sambora duo remains one of the strongest combos to come out of that era in music, and still manage to fill arenas till this very day.

Bono / The Edge (U2)

U2 is a group effort, thats probably true and it could also be said about every band I have mentioned, But U2 aint U2 in any way or form without ‘Bono’ or ‘The Edge’. The explosive combination of sound that both individuals bring to the table is what makes this machine very successful. U2 today is probably one of the most appealing bands out there, their shows are always held in major stadiums around the world, always sold out and always headliner worthy. Bono’s global campaigning for Africa and various other issues makes him one of the music industries most renowned activists , Whereas ‘The Edge’ being coined as a ‘legend’ along side Jimmy Page and Jack White in the documentary ‘It might get loud’ puts him up there with guitar greats and does a whole-lotta-great things for his musical credibility. Two men, one band.

Even though lots of these guys had their personal issues with each other, some even went out of their way to never, ever .. ever play together again – its remains true that they created some of the greatest bands, albums and songs that crafted the world of Rock n’ Roll. Wether you were alive to witness it unfold, live to experience it today, or still in your musical exploration phase, the above teams are amongst the most talented human beings to walk/have walked Gods green (brownish in some areas) earth!

If you have any more that I may have forgot, do let a brotha’ know.

The essential ‘4.5-minute-guide’ to Guns n Roses in Abu Dhabi

alright .. so its no secret that I am a closet Axl Rose groupie (and everything Guns n Roses) – it also isnt a secret that my excitement cannot be contained with regards to the upcoming uber-awesome Guns n’ Roses show taking place in our very own back yard (Yas Island, Abu Dhabi) in 2 weeks.

So as a responsible rock citizen of the world, it is my duty to answer the FAQs .. that’s right, i get FAQs (Frequently asked questions) about who the hell is in Guns .. why should i care .. what are they going to be playing .. and where in the world is Slash!?

Without further babble .. here are the essentials:

Who is GnR 2010?

GnR was initially founded by one W. AXL ROSE in the late 1980s .. as he searched Hollywood for the perfect band, he came across a few musicians that would become the classic incarnation of Gun n’ Roses.

Mid 90s .. the boys started leaving the band (or were fired) for various reasons. Main reason was Axl Rose – the man had a vision, and it had to be met with or without the members. Slash left .. followed by Duff and Matt Sorum. Izzy quit prior to the ‘Illusion’ albums and Adler was straight up fired.

So who remains from the original lineup?

AXL MU’FUKIN ROSE!

… thats it

as for the rest ..

Guitar – Ron Thal (lead guitar, also known as a shredder for his solo band ‘Bumblefoot’ – played and recorded on Guns latest Chinese Democracy)

Guitar 2 – Richard Fortus (been playing with Guns since 97, he replaced Izzy Stradlin – Played and recorded on Guns latest Chinese Democracy)

Guitar 3 – DJ Ashba (replacing a wide array of guitarists, most notably Slash. he formed Brides of Destruction with Motley Crue founder; Nikki Sixx)

Bass – Tommy Stinson (original bass player of rock outfit ‘The replacements’ .. been playing with Rose since 97. he replaced Duff – Played and recorded on Chinese Democracy)

Keyboards 1 – Dizzy Reed (been with GNR since the early 90s as part of the ‘classic’ lineup. he recorded on the Illusion albums and Chinese Democracy)

Keyboards 2 – Chris pitman (hes more of a backup musician and a new addition to the band – played and recorded on Chinese Democracy)

Drums – Frank Ferrer (a beast on drums replacing Matt Sorum and Brain Mantia .. who both played for GNR. been with Axl since 06 – Played and recorded on Chinese Democracy)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY?

Yes, they will play the old stuff. I friggin guarantee it!! Axl likes to mix things up a little bit. Hes going to throw in a few new ones to help introduce the world to the current incarnation of Guns, he will also allow the other members a few solo spots and maybe a collective live-Jam session. but the dominating aspect of the set will come from the classic albums ‘Appetite for destruction’ (best rock album known to man) and ‘Use your Illusion I and II’.

Here are the songs I recommend you get into, as I guarantee you will know atleast 90% of the setlist if you know the following:

Welcome to the jungle

Mr. Brownstone

Nighttrain

Chinese Democracy

Out ‘ta get me

Patience

Civil War

November Rain

Sweet Child O Mine

Paradise City

Sorry

My Michelle

You could be mine

Rocket Queen

Live and Let die

Better

Its so easy

Knockin’ on heavens door

Dont cry

Street of dreams

Go on iTunes and download these tracks .. burn em’ and make them your essential CD for the coming two weeks.

If you truly cant be bothered to download .. then get your hands on ‘Guns n Roses: Greatest hits” and a copy of ‘Chinese Democracy’. I do not guarantee itll be as awesome as my list, but you’d still get a good bunch of songs under your belt.

GEAR!?

Going to GnR show means you need to look the part! the obvious thing to do is to dress up as Slash, which is highly and utterly unrecommended … if Axl spots you, he is likely to throw your ass out, hes known for throwing asses out.

So bring out your denims, and any band shirt you may have (unless its Velvet Revolver) – match those with that leather jacket you KNOW you want to wear but never had the right occasion to. Converse is a universal must .. but the ‘deal sealer’ is that bandana .. oh that sweet red bandana that takes you back to 1980 and will make you look like a complete douche, but its ok .. for one night, its all ok!

Will it start at 9 as stated?

Well, to put it simply: No chance, No way. Rose is known to being fashionably late like yours truly. So I would suggest you stick to your group of friends, get some Pop-eye chicken, maybe a ‘tableh’ and estimate atleast an hour delay before the mayhem begins.

I do suggest being there on time though, estimating by the amount of people showing up .. youre going to need a good spot. Plus, as Arabs .. we should be used to being late. Axl should feel right at home.

Why should I care?

Because Axl Rose is the most bad-ass vocal-monster to ever front a band .. and not any band, but one of the greatest rock bands in history. In a world filled with poser-wannabe rockstars, Axl Rose is the real deal … and one of the few remaining true rock stars out there today. Think the same league as Robert Plant, Mick jagger, Ozzy Osbourne and James Hetfield.

Also, this is the man responsible for some of the biggest sing-alongs in rock n roll .. especially Paradise City and Sweet Child o’ Mine. Not to mention the ‘larger-than-life’ Rock show they put on!

Get ready, and welcome to the jungle! Guns n’ Roses live in Abu Dhabi, December 16 – see you there friends

And Happy UAE national everyone!