Pete Rizzo 

Remembering ‘Arthur’ 35 years later

  • 2:42 pm Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

One of my all-time favorite movies turns 35 this year. ‘Arthur’ came out in 1981 and helped make household names out of the irrepressibly charming Dudley Moore and legendary Sir John Gielgud and scored the latter a well-deserved Oscar for best supporting actor.

Not even the lackluster sequel nor the putrid Russell Brand re-do could derail my love of the original flick. Part of the movie’s endearing appeal for me is Dudley Moore’s outstanding laugh in the trailer, which hooked me immediately when I watched it as an eight year old on cable.

Here’s the requisite ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of the movie if you missed [More]

An undeserved lack of ‘Presence’

  • 2:41 pm Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

It’s not often you hear people deem a triple platinum album a ‘disappointment’, but alas if any Led Zeppelin album was susceptible to that kind of scrutiny, it was most definitely “Presence”.

Released 40 years ago, this album was not without its share of misfortune. For one, much of it was written while Zep were forced off the road following Robert Plant’s serious car accident in which his wife nearly died. In fact, he recorded his vocals while recouping from a broken ankle sustained in the wreck.

Definitely a return to their heavier sound, a somewhat tormented record was made all [More]

Still Cliffing ‘em all 30 years later

  • 2:01 pm Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

September 27, 1986 is a day most Metallica fans would just as soon convince themselves never happened. That was the day they lost legendary bassist Cliff Burton to an awful bus accident in Sweden.

Though he’s been gone 30 years, it’s hard to dispute the impact he has on Metallica to this day. To this day some of Metallica’s greatest tunes remain those from their first three albums.

As for my favorite Cliff era tunes, my picks are,…

How about you? What is your favorite Metalli-tune from the Cliff era?

Reunited and it feels so ‘Blue’

  • 1:57 pm Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

My wife and I are suckers for awards shows and this year’s Primtime Emmys were no exception. While I was able to catch well-deserved Emmy wins from two of my favorites, Kate McKinnon and Patton Oswalt, sleep got the better of me and I missed some great moments, chief among the reuniting of Andy Sipowicz and Bobby Simone.

Seeing Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits together reminded me how much I miss the 15th Squad of “NYPD Blue”. The landmark moments of this show are vast and tough to single out. But among them, this final scene with Jimmy Smits still reduces [More]

Greatest cinema standoffs

  • 1:48 pm Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

The attributes that make an indelible movie are vast. This time around, I’m focusing on one of the more tried-and-true ingredients: the standoff. This scene has really evolved from the days of the classic Western and in many instances has been given an almost rock video-esque sheen.

Here are my favorites:

5) Scarface: There may not be a more quoted standoff scene then this one. Props goes 100% to Al Pacino for getting it to that iconic level.

4) Reservoir Dogs: A no-brainer for this list. The first of two entries from Mr. Tarantino (both of the Mexican variety, though this one has [More]

Prog, exciting and new!

  • 1:40 pm Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

Prog across generations is still great prog, sometimes all you need to add is the soothing calm of an ocean to make it happen. Just ask two of the genre’s pioneers. Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt met on a recent prog cruise and it led to their brand new album together as Anderson/Stolt, called “Invention of Knowledge”.

First off, It’s great to have Jon Anderson back and hitting those angelically high notes again, especially after his serious health scares a few years ago put his singing career in jeopardy.

On top of that, this collaboration has become a strong ‘Album of the [More]

Remembering a landmark year for arena rock

  • 1:36 pm Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

Rock is known for landmark years where the industry is turned on its head by some great music. The first year I thought of, incidentally, is a genre I wasn’t the greatest fan of (grunge) thanks to Nirvana and Pearl Jam in 1991. Another one I totally forgot about was 10 years prior.

1981 was a most excellent year for arena rock, AOR, corporate rock. Whatever you choose to deem the genre, four terrific albums came out that year, as detailed in this interview with REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin.

My lasting memories as an eight year old were using my older [More]

Pete, Roger and John let NY know ‘Who’ they are

  • 10:32 am Thursday, September 8th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

To this day, I have The Who to thank for helping me wipe away the horrific images of September 11, which to this day remains the scariest day of my life.

The Who were just one of an esteemed lineup of music heavyweights that played the Concert for New York City on October 20, 2001, little more than a month after 9/11. Working just blocks from where the towers fell, my lasting images up until that point were of lower Manhattan being completely engulfed with smoke and soot after both buildings came down.

In just a few minutes, Pete, Roger and John [More]

Rock classics that are finger picking good!

  • 10:23 am Thursday, September 8th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

I was reminded recently how truly pretty an acoustic guitar sounds after listening to this wunderkind recently.

Swedish fingerpicking guitarist Gabriella Quevedo, a recent high school graduate who has been already playing guitar for several years, played a most excellent version of the Eagles’ classic “Hotel California” and was able to play every part of it, including the bass line, the vocal melody and of course the legendary Don Felder/Joe Walsh guitar solos.

Here are some other terrific renditions by Quevedo,…

I’m surprised she hasn’t released her versions of these classics on CD or by album format online. She’s terrific!

More Big Four!

  • 10:20 am Thursday, September 8th, 2016 by Pete Rizzo

If you are like me and want to see more of the Big Four of Thrash play together live again, looks like the founding members of one of those bands hold the key to making it happen.

Anthrax bassist Frank Bello said he’s on board, joining Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine in their desire to do more Big Four shows along with Slayer and Metallica. But Bello said the key to it happening rests with James Hetfield and Lars Ullrich.

I for one am firmly in Frankie and Dave’s corner and would love to see the Big Four on stage again. Their [More]