Heavy metal tears

Been a rough few weeks for your friendly neighborhood Soundscraper. The passing of metal legend Ronnie James Dio (b. 1942, RIP) weighed heavy, causing me to spin nothing but Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell albums for hours on end. If I keep this up much longer, my wife will divorce me and my job will be outsourced to someone who doesn’t repeatedly bombard his fellow cubicle dwellers with, say, Lock Up the Wolves. Dio’s death also rubbed salt on the fresh loss of fantasy artist Frank Frazetta whose gorgeously violent paintings graced LP covers of hard-rockin’ acts Molly Hatchet and Yngwie Malmsteen. Only consolation? Knowing my other metal hero, Lemmy Kilmister, will outlive post-apocalyptic cockroaches, Keith Richards and God.

Another bitter pill to swallow: the canceled Leatherface appearance at Cheyenne Saloon scheduled for this weekend. For those who don’t know, Leatherface, who sonically resemble Lemmy-fronting Hüsker Dü, is a cult British band whose 1991 full-length (and sadly out-of-print) Mush is considered an underground punk classic. The Icelandic volcano kept this awesome quartet away. There are no plans to try again.

Finally, some good news: Ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke is set to play Wasted Space in the Hard Rock on May 30. Best known for taking Izzy Stradlin’s rhythm guitar slot on the infamous Use Your Illusion Tour, Clarke’s solo albums are more consistent than anything Axl Rose and his revolving cast have ever done. Clarke’s first effort, 1994’s Pawnshop Guitars, still stands as a scarred-knuckled batch of ’70s rock-styled swagger and earned him much critical acclaim. Although he hasn’t released a new album in eight years, he’s proven himself fiendishly accomplished in the studio, producing debut (and so far the best) punk records by The Bronx and Bullets and Octane. In January, Clarke suffered a hit-and-run accident on his motorcycle, resulting in extensive surgery. This is his first Vegas gig (and third tour date) since that traumatic event.

The other musical treat this week: Star Wars: In Concert at The Orleans on May 29. A full symphony and giant hi-def screens (along with the presentation of actual Star Wars film props) are involved in every geek’s ultimate musical fantasy—a live orchestral rendering of John Williams’ landmark sci-fi soap-opera film score. I’m bringing my 4-year-old son as cover, but my wife already knows the truth. Is it so wrong to be a Dio-worshipping Star Wars fan? Don’t answer that.

Your band throwing a CD-release party? Got the track listing for Brandon Flowers’ solo album? Contact jarret_keene@yahoo.com.

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