One of the better double bills of the summer so far is James and The Psychedelic Furs. For the former, I sat down with band leader Tim Booth to talk about the group’s latest album, Living in Extraordinary Times, the current state of the world and how he found out Batman was a fan of James. Check it out over at Vanyaland.
Earlier this month, the folks behind Ultimate Classic Rock launched a site dedicated to all things Prince, aptly dubbed Ultimate Prince. It’s a deep repository of reviews, criticisms and news surrounding the life and death of the Purple One, and this week I took part in a roundtable to discuss the curiosity that is Prince’s soundtrack to the 1989 Batman film.
A group of us talked about how it stands up 30 years later, what the best songs are and how it might have been different with other compositions included and, perhaps most importantly, what to make of the song “Batdance.”
Fifty years on, director Sam Peckinpah’s masterpiece The Wild Bunch still has the ability to shock with its depiction of the last remaining outlaws in the Wild West going out with guns blazing and blood spilling. Over on the movies and culture desk at Ultimate Classic Rock, I look at just how affecting the film was both to audiences at the time and how it would influence directors of the future.
No Holds Barred was released 30 years ago today, and over on the movies and culture desk at Ultimate Classic Rock, I looked at the history of the film and how it did at the box office. It was quite the inauspicious leading role for Hulk Hogan, bursting the bubble that Hulkamania was an unstoppable force.
Earlier this year, the long-awaited film adaptation of the 1998 book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Underground, finally landed in theaters. The title shortened, Lords of Chaos had a brief run on screens before moving to on demand, and today it comes to home video.
Back in February, when it first came out, I reviewed the film for Vanyaland, and figured now was a good time to revisit. Long interested in the saga of murder, burned down churches and music that made Norway a hotbed of youthful discontent in the early 90s, I was curious as to how it would translate to the screen. Lords of Chaos is able to pull it off, due in no small part to director Jonas Åkerlund, who was a veteran of the Norwegian black metal scene. Even to those who have little to zero interest in the musical genre, the movie is well worth digging into.
Howard Stern Comes Again, the first book by the legendary shock jock in nearly 25 years, lands on shelves today. Music has always played a major part of his radio show, whether it’s by having many of his favorite musicians perform or be interviewed on the show. He’s also got into a number of feuds with a bunch of acts during his time on the air, and over at Ultimate Classic Rock, I broke down 10 of them, settled and not so much with everyone from Madonna to David Lee Roth to Tool.
Following an 11 season run, Happy Days said goodbye to television audiences back in the spring of 1984. The sitcom that introduced The Fonz and the inspired the phrase “jump the shark” into the pop culture lexicon had begun to drop substantially in the ratings as many major characters left as the actors portraying them pursued other opportunities in Hollywood.
I detailed the how the show, set in the mid 50s through mid 60s, had shifted its focus in the years leading up to the series finale for Ultimate Classic Rock, one where Fonzie’s style and tone shifted dramatically as he became the main focus of the episodes. There was also the return of a few beloved stars, a wedding and a breaking of the fourth wall to close it all out.
So be cool and check the piece out.