Five Great Covers EPs you should check out

Some bands build their early careers on a well-placed cover, like Van Halen blasting right out of the gate with a redefining take on The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” Some bands make a point of avoiding covers altogether. And some love covers so much that at a certain point in their career they’ll release an entire album of the dang things. Buried somewhere in the middle of it all though is the covers EP. For many listeners a covers EP hits a certain sweet spot: enough tracks to feel like a little treat, not so many as to lose focus or have listeners impatiently drumming their fingers waiting for the next album of original material. A covers EP says “dude, listen to these songs that we loved when we were starting out” but it doesn’t say “and you must listen to everything I listened to in order to understand where I’m coming from.” There are countless covers EPs out there but these are my personal favorites. What are yours?

Skid Row – B Side Ourselves

Skid Row released this EP between their Slave To The Grind and Subhuman Race albums, and it stood out for me because in those pre-Spotify/YouTube/iTunes days you couldn’t simply command a song to appear in your ears: you had to either catch it on the radio or encounter its physical representation in the form of a CD or cassette. Wild, I know. So for me, this was the first time I’d heard a song by The Ramones, and although I was already a Jimi Hendrix fan by age 13 I hadn’t yet come across “Little Wing.” The Judas Priest cover features a guest appearance by the metal god Rob Halford himself, and there’s an energy throughout this disc which captures the power of Skid Row in this unique era, when they successfully survived the last days of rock’s hair metal era and before grunge temporarily put the boot in to bands like Skid Row. This was a band with the world at their feet and a song in their hearts.

“Psycho Therapy” (Ramones)

“C’mon and Love Me” (KISS)

“Delivering the Goods” (Judas Priest)

“What You’re Doing” (Rush)

“Little Wing” (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Metallica – The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited

This EP represented Metallica’s first release with Jason Newsted on bass following the tragic death of Cliff Burton, and the band chose to go back to their roots before diving in to new music. These tracks are all available on the band’s 1998 Garage Inc double album too, but for me they tell an entirely different story when heard in their original context instead of fitting in amongst other covers, B-sides and one-offs. If Garage Inc is the story of a band using their platform as The World’s Biggest Metal Band to shine a light on the songs that inspired them, Garage Days Re-Revisited tells a story of a band who was struggling to cope with the emotion of the situation, and who retreated to the comfort of the jam room and the songs that inspired them in their early days before life became so complicated. 

“Helpless” (Diamond Head)

“The Small Hours” (Holocaust)

“The Wait” (Killing Joke)

“Crash Course In Brain Surgery” (Budgie)

“Last Caress/Green Hell” (Misfits)

Stone Sour – Meanwhile In Burbank…

I get a feeling we’ll be seeing more of this as time goes on: covers EPs that feature songs released post-1990. While most of Stone Sour’s recent covers EP (the first of a trilogy) focuses on tracks from the 1980s, the inclusion of Alice In Chains’ “We Die Young” acknowledges AIC’s rightful place in the Great Heavy Rock Songbook. It’s interesting to note that this EP features songs by Judas Priest and KISS, just like Skid Row’s. And it’s also cool to see a band paying tribute to Metallica, who have done so much to share cool covers with the world.

“We Die Young” (Alice In Chains)

“Heading Out To The Highway” (Judas Priest)

“Love Gun” (KISS)

“Creeping Death” (Metallica)

“Children Of The Grave” (Black Sabbath)

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Covers EP

The Chili Peppers released this EP in 2012 as an iTunes-only digital download to celebrate their induction in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The idea was to pay tribute to other bands who came before them in joining the ranks of the Hall. The tracks themselves date from between 1991 and 2011, with three guitarists represented: John Frusctiante, Dave Navarro and Josh Klinghoffer. 

“A Teenager in Love” (Dion and the Belmonts)

“Havana Affair” (The Ramones)

“Search and Destroy” (Iggy Pop and James Williamson of The Stooges)

“Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” (Neil Young)

“I Get Around” (The Beach Boys)

“Suffragette City” (David Bowie)

Rush – Feedback

Alright, this one is probably long enough to qualify as an album if you really wanna stretch it, but this eight-song release clocks in at just over 27 minutes. While most of the EPs covered (ha!) in this list feature songs from the ‘metal and onwards’ era, Rush’s reflects an earlier era, an era we now think of as ‘classic rock.’ Heck, it even includes two songs apiece by Buffalo Springfield and The Yardbirds, and you might as well count “Summertime Blues” as a The Who song too and at them to the ‘two songs by…’ list. What’s really great about Feedback is that it gives the listener a clear indication of where Rush derived their energy, yet it provides virtually no hints whatsoever as to how they developed such a progressive, iconic sound of their own.

“Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran/Jerry Capehart)

“Heart Full of Soul” (The Yardbirds)

“For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield)

“The Seeker” (The Who)

“Mr. Soul” (Buffalo Springfield)

“Seven and Seven Is” (Love)

“Shapes Of Things (The Yardbirds)

“Crossroads” (Robert Johnson, Cream)

Jim Dunlop Geezer Butler Cry Baby Wah!

Geezer Butler wah wah

I don’t know a single bass player who has plugged into a wah wah pedal and not immediately played Geezer Butler’s N.I.B. intro licks. Geezer knows what he wants from his wah sound, and now he’s got it in the form of his new signature Jim Dunlop Cry Baby. It has several very stageworthy features: you bring it out of bypass simply by putting your foot on the pedal; you can set the effect ring-out time (ie: how long the effect remains engaged after you return the pedal to its heel position); and there’s an internal Q control. Rotate it clockwise for a narrower frequency range and more pronounced wah effect or counterclockwise for a wider frequency range and subtler wah effect. 

Order yours from Musicians Friend.

Tony Iommi Talks New Epiphone SG

N_030116C1

It feels like Tony Iommi Week here at I Heart Guitar. I interviewed Tony the other day for Mixdown magazine (and they let me set aside a few questions for I Heart Guitar, which you can see here). I have an Epiphone Limited Edition Tony Iommi Signature SG Custom here to review. And now Epiphone has published a new interview with Tony talking about the new guitar. You can read the interview here, and there’s a press release and video below. Read More …

Tony Iommi Talks Black Sabbath’s Tony Martin Era

Tony Iommi

One of my favourite eras of Black Sabbath is the series of albums recorded with vocalist Tony Martin. Tony Iommi seemed to broaden his composing, he unleashed some of his greatest tones ever during this period, and he was pushed to new heights of lead guitar playing. Something about the Iommi/Martin dynamic seemed to bring great things out of both musicians. Today I had the honour of interviewing Tony Iommi for an upcoming Mixdown article about the final Black Sabbath tour, and the fine folks at that mag kindly allowed me to set aside a few minutes of the interview for an I Heart Guitar-exclusive diversion to talk about this era. In the wake of the recent news that Iommi hopes to record with Martin again, I thought we’d start there: Read More …

Tony Iommi and the Laney TI15-112

Check this out! Laney’s new TI15-112 Tony Iommi Signature Amp. Laney says it takes all the raw power and tone of the TI100’s high gain channel and crams it into a compact single channel all tube amp. Laney’s unique dual wattage input option means you can push the EL84 output section hard and get 15 watts RMS of full on tone or plug into the “less than 1 watt” and get exactly that – your same great tone but at less than 1 watt. There’s also a speaker-emulated recording out. More info here.

Introducing Black Lightning Gallery

black lightning gallery

Are you a fan of great guitar music? Of course you are. Do you need some inspiration for the wall of your music space? Maybe a shrine to your favourite artists? Or just something cool to hang above the fireplace? Check out Black Lightning Gallery in Los Angeles. Founded by Rohan Ocean, Black Lightning Gallery is about to unveil a fine art photography collection from prolific rock photographer Gene Kirkland (whose work I’ve long admired – his name is burned into my head from all sorts of guitar mags). The photos include a recently discovered collection of some of rock’s most pivotal and historically important moments. Vai and DLR. Metallica taking over the world. Guns N’ Roses at the “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” video shoot. Aerosmith. Black Sabbath. Ozzy getting chummy with a white dove (from the cover of Guitar School magazine – I totally have that issue in the other room). Randy Rhoads. Motley Crue at the “Girls, Girls, Girls” video shoot. They’ll be released as numbered, signed limited edition prints exclusively via Black Lightning Gallery, and will only be available until the limited numbers are sold. there will not be additional runs of the photos.

Here’s an example of some of the great stuff you’ll see on the site:

black lightning gallery james hetfield

“Metallica were unstoppable in 1988. A new album And Justice for All… was released. Their first single release ‘One’ came with a haunting and unforgettable video, Making the song itself display the full meaning of the lyrics. The band was shot in black and white while the movie had color moments in the flashbacks.
The following Justice world tour was massive in scope with 5 legs and 222 dates. Staging included the huge Dorothy statue recreated from the cover of the album that broke down during the title track. A full lighting rig that come off and swung very close to Lars’ drum riser. The justice show was epic. The full experience is immortalized and officially released in the Live Shit: Binge and Purge Box set recording at Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, Washington over 2 night on August 29 and 30, 1989.”

 

Black Sabbath Melbourne Gigs Coming To DVD

sabbath

Is there anything sweeter than when one of your favourite bands releases a live DVD? Well, maybe when one of your favourite bands releases a live DVD of a concert that you yourself went to! While I can’t guarantee that this applies to your personal situation, if you’re like me and the other 30,000 or so people who saw Black Sabbath when they played in Melbourne, Australia a few months ago, you’re going to relive the experience on their new DVD, Gathered In Their Masses! Due for release on on November 26 via Vertigo/Republic, Gathered In Their Masses contains footage from Sabbath’s April 29 and May 1, 2013 concerts here in Melbourne. And it’s going to kick ass. Here’s the trailer. Read More …

Taylor’s Tony Iommi Sweepstakes

IommiAah, I always knew Tony Iommi was a man with impeccable taste in guitars. Turns out Mr. Iommi used several Taylor acoustic guitars during the creation of Black Sabbath’s awesome new album 13, and he’s teamed up with the good folks at Taylor for the ultimate sweepstakes, where you can win a trip to see Sabbath in Las Vegas staying at the MGM Grand, and receive your very own Taylor GS Mini signed by Iommi, as well as a Taylor Guitars prize pack and a signed copy of 13. Full details in the press release below. Read More …