Living Loud | Living Loud (Capitol)

You can go see Toothless Joe play "Crazy Train" in every bar in the 'burbs, but Living Loud is more than just a rehash of classic rock tunes.


Living Loud is one of the greatest rock albums I've heard in a long, long time, breathing new life into tunes that we have heard so many times from Ozzy Osbourne's Bizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman era. Bassist Bob Daisley and Drummer Lee Kerslake have teamed up again, this time with legendary guitarist Steve Morse, to reinterpret some of those classic Ozzy tunes along with some new compositions with a new band (and self-titled disc) called Living Loud. Australian Steve Barnes heads up the vocals and Don Airey (Black Sabbath, Gary Moore) plays the keys.

To me, it is really cool the way that they were able to take the essence of the songs and adapt them to a new time and a new viewpoint. Here you have the same rhythm section as on the original recordings, but with new frontmen; the result creates something new and powerful from the same idea. To me, that is quantifiable as artistic interpretation (especially as compared to replacing the original performances of contributing writers with the exact same notes played by other musicians, as the Osbournes did recently.)

You can go see Toothless Joe play "Crazy Train" in every bar in the 'burbs, but Living Loud is more than just a rehash of classic rock tunes. We are talking about Steve Morse, currently with Deep Purple, previously with Kansas and the Dixie Dregs, plus a half dozen amazing instrumental solo albums. He respectfully follows the shapes and intensity of Randy Rhoads' solos, but plays them in his own style. In some cases, Morse has written entirely new orchestrations, as he did for the second harmony solo section of "Mr. Crowley."

However things were meant to be, some new music has come of it. I'm obsessive compulsive and I cannot stop listening to two songs on this disc over and over. Living Loud redid "Tonight" from Diary, but with an entirely different feel, much more rockin' and heavy, Morse wrapping some beautiful melodies around the bass lines and drum accents. The other is "Every Moment a Lifetime," an upbeat groove with a Hendrix feel. Barnes' lyrics and vocals pull at your heart and Morse's guitar sings of the pain.

When you play a note on an instrument, it fades. Maybe someone heard it, maybe they didn't. Now that recording is easy and everywhere, you can make people listen to you play those notes. Your song could be an epic ripple in time, or maybe it's just the wine. After all, there are only 12 notes. At what point does the notes you play become a work of art, a piece of intellectual property that you can profit from and claim as your own?

Even if Daisley and Kerslake were hired on an hourly basis to record those first two legendary albums, the notes that they played have become a part of our culture. Osbourne may try to diminish their contribution, but if you change the notes or the tone, you change the song. If you truly own an idea, you are able to craft your art into something else.

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