Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the tag “Def Leppard”

I Love Rock N Roll

Wow.  I just looked at my recent posts and realized that my topics have been quite heavy and it was time to write something a little more on the lighter side.  So, this is going to be a post, not about dealing with cancer, or my divorce, although to be honest, both are affected by this topic.

I rely on music to reduce stress and get me through difficult times.  I use image and visualization, along with the music to get me beyond my difficult times.  And the great thing, for the most part, at least the way that I enjoy music as of late, it is free.

I will start on a small scale.  If I can find a place that offers free music, and great local talent, I will be there.  I have some favorite bands down here that will find me in their audience regularly.  I do not dance.  And although I do enjoy karaoke, I have not joined any of them on stage.  When I go to hear them, it is all about hearing good music, cover songs, or originals.  And I have no problem giving them plugs right here, Essence, The Steve Peterman Trio, and the Robert Williamson Band.

But when I am sitting in my apartment, I usually have either my radio on, or listen to my CD’s, and so that no one things I am that technically disadvantaged, I also listen to my Ipod.

The thing is, I have listened to music my entire life, and as I hit my fifth decade at the end of the year, I have been listening to a lot of music over these years.  And that means that the bands that I listen to are quite old.  In fact, many of them are still recording and performing.

But is it right for a band to call itself by its original name, when the band is made up of different members than what it originally started with?  I am talking beyond the “Mike Love” and “Beach Boys” split concerts, and of course, members of fifties bands appearing solo on cruise ships.

These days, it is very rare for bands to have retained all of their original members.  Two of my favorite bands are Green Day and U2.

green day u2

Green Day has been around since the 1990’s, and U2, well, I remember playing them on college radio before they became popular courtesy of MTV.  But both of these bands have retained their original members and are still going today.

Over the years, lead singers seemed to want more notoriety than just being front men for the majorly successful bands.  Many wanted bigger “pieces of the pie,” and in some cases, personal issues were the cause for departures of bands.


INXS was a popular band in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  But with the suicide of lead singer Michael Hutchens, the band just waited for an opportunity to regain its success.  But you just could not do it simply by replacing Hutchens.  INXS had a sound.  So a television show was created, called “Rock Star” in which a new lead singer would be found, ala “American Idol” like competition to become the new lead singer of INXS.  And they found one by the name of JD Fortune.


Fortune’s voice was perfect for the band to not only create new music, but perform INXS classics.  Alas, the relationship did not last long, and I have long not heard anything new from INXS.  But they are not the first, nor will they be the last to try to continue their history.


asia1 asia2

A supergroup consisting of members from already successful bands, they had two gangbuster albums, and then split up.  The group had a variety of other members, but it was not until the late 2000’s that the original band reunited, and yes, they were just as good as in 1982 when they debuted.  But the thing is, no one wanted to hear the “other” lead singer, John Payne, because we knew it was not John Wetton.  If we were going to pay for an “original” band, it needed to sound like it.

chicago 1 chicago 2 chicago 3


This band has seen numerous changes over the years, including the tragic death of guitarist Terry Kath.  But it really was not until one of the voices of Chicago, Peter Cetera chose to pursue a solo career, that the band had to look for the “sound” to replace Cetera.  And they found it in Jason Scheff.  With a similar sound to Cetera, joining relative newcomer Bill Champlain, Chicago was good for many more years.  In the late 2000’s however, Champlain has been replaced, but the band is still putting out the Chicago sound that has existed for nearly 50 years.  And yes, some of those band members are now approaching 70 years old.

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Pretty much, the line up has been the same.  No one has filled in for anybody.  Sure, they have broken up, left, come back, but at least when you attend an Eagles concert, you know you are getting either Henley, Frey, Schmidt, or Walsh.

Foreigner 1 Foreigner 2


This is a strange situation.  The band started off fairly large.  Then by their 4th album, ironically, they ended up down to just four members.  But health issues would force the “voice” of Foreigner to take leave.  Other lead singers tried to replace Lou Graham, but no one could sound like Graham, and Foreigner struggled.  That is until Kelly Hanson joined the band.  Now to be fair, currently the only original member of Foreigner is founder Mick Jones.  And for this reason, I have no problem with the band being called Foreigner.  With Hanson’s voice, and the instruments sounding like Foreigner, it is Foreigner.

Journey 1 Journey 2


Everybody knows Journey.  But when Steve Perry left, no one ever gave Journey a second chance.  Perry’s voice was so unique.  Even finding a singer with somewhat of a similar voice, ironically names Steve Oteri, there was no sound like the old Journey.  Until the band discovered Phillipino Arnel Pineta, and they have been going strong ever since with original members Neil Schon, Ross Valory, and of course, Jonathan Cain.  Yes, they still get to call themselves Journey.  And continue to put out new music.

Styx 1 Styx 2


Another one of my favorite bands, this band has had its share of tragedy as well.  After frontman Dennis DeYoung split for whatever reason you want to believe, the original drummer of Styx died.  But just as other bands have successfully done, they found the right musicians and the right “voice” to make up for the losses.

And finally…

vh1 vh2 vh4 vh3

Van Halen

This is one of the stranger histories.  Lead singer David Lee Roth.  Lead singer Sammy Hagar.  And if you want to count former lead singer of Extreme Gary Cherone.  Then back to lead singer Roth, minus bass player Michael Anthony replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen.  Ugh.  For me, the only lineup I did not care for, was with Cherone (though I do like him in Extreme).

But the bottom line for me has always been, put out great music.  Perform good music.  And as long as you have at least an original founding member in the band, you may still use its name.  And if you need a vocalist that sounds like your history, I am okay with that as long as you are not lip syncing, and you actually sound like the band.

There are a lot more bands that I like that have gone through this process… Heart, Def Leppard, .38 Special, and more.  Is it better to be like Led Zepplin or the Beatles and to say, “not all of the original members, you don’t get to be that band anymore?”  Perhaps.  But then again, reincarnations of popular bands, even as either entirely new entities, or supergroups, have not been as successful as the bands I mentioned above.

The Benefits Of A Challenge

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is considered a rare form of blood cancer. I know this, because I battled HD over 24 years ago. My doctor back then, I will call him Dr. S., misdiagnosed me as having a common cold. Oops, imagine that mistake. The reality, unless you were being checked for breast cancer or skin cancer, many doctors had no idea what to look for.

The upside was that for what little I knew about HD, the cure rate was considered high. It was not 100% curable, but a great cure rate nonetheless. But unlike breast cancer, lung cancer, and even other major ailment such as cardiac disease, diabetes, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma did not, and to this day does not get a lot of publicity for fundraising such as the prior mentioned ailments.

I recall seeing one commercial, during late night television, which featured a young female, a common demographic for a Hodgkin’s diagnosis, lying in a hospital bed in the middle of Manhattan. Of course, as is common in New York City, people just go about their business, not paying any attention to the sick young women on a hospital bed in the unusual location of a NYC street, or why she was there. As goes the knowledge of people battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

And unlike the attention to a particular cancer paid, when celebrities such as Michael Douglass or Cheryl Crow, or even Lance Armstrong (sorry, I know, but performance enhancing issues or not, he did battle a serious cancer), there have been plenty of celebrities who have battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And as each one is publicized, I hope that one celebrity becomes the one that finally will be the one who can bring Hodgkin’s to the forefront for a cure, the first cancer with a 100% cure rate. The most noticeable celebrity right now facing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell.

Mr. Campbell is finishing up his second treatment regimen, the first treatment only putting him into remission temporarily. He has continued to play and tour with his bandmates. As someone who worked through his HD treatments, I can truly appreciate his efforts to continue to tour. But here is an example of someone who should clearly have the money and resources available to get the best treatment for a curable cancer, and yet, he has struggled. Perhaps with a little more research, the better and more effective cure can be found. But that costs money. To get money, you have to bring attention to the cause.

Which is why I have to admire the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I was challenged today by another local author, Stephen Kaufman to complete this challenge, and issue a challenge of my own to other individuals. The task, dump a bucket of ice cold water over my head, or donate $100 to ALS. This challenge has received mixed reviews as many cynics felt that doing this task was not going to do anything for the benefit for ALS research. Many felt that all the task was doing was giving people their Youtube fame on Facebook, and not much would be done for ALS research or patients.

But the truth is, people have not only been doing the challenge, but also making the donations, and many making more than just the $100 donation. Celebrities are also joining in the challenge from rock stars to athletes to politicians, to actors, many making enormous donations to fight ALS. Even ALS patients themselves are getting into the act.

As personal as my fight with the rare blood cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, my fight with ALS became personal several years ago when a co-worker was diagnosed with ALS. Ron would be the first person I would encounter, unfortunately not the last. Two years later, my brother-in-law Mike would be diagnosed following an unusual slurred speech development. If only our lighthearted concerns of being too much Jack Daniels would have been the case, unfortunately it was Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

With this being my brother-in-law, someone I was very close to, almost as a brother, I saw first hand the Hell that an ALS patient goes through as their body slowly destroys itself. One of the worst parts of the disease is that the mind is relatively in a state of complete awareness as to what is going on, but as the body slowly loses its ability to eat, swallow, speak, grasp, stand, the mind can do nothing about it. Even more frustrating according to Mike, was the inability for him to communicate. While technology would provide an avenue for him to speak, an app for his Ipad, that when he either typed words or wrote words with his finger tip, the Ipad would vocalize for him, this was not the same as being able to have just a regular vocal conversation.

Over time, the ALS became more evident in Mike, but it did not stop him from trying to do what he enjoyed. He continued to work through most of his illness, his employer accommodating him pretty much up until the end. He rode his motor cycle and finally made a pilgrimage to Ireland, a life long dream of his. At one point, he joined others, in an attempt to draw attention to ALS, by travelling to the Jersey shore in the middle of Winter, for a “polar plunge” into the Atlantic (the original version of the Ice Bucket Challenge).

It will be two years next month that Mike lost his battle. So today, I accepted my challenge, nominated four others to complete the challenge. And as many others, I will also send a check into the ALS Foundation as I have done in the past, in Mike’s memory.

It was noted via various media resources that last year alone, only $1.7 million had been raised for ALS research through various fundraisers. But in just the past two months, over $25 million has been raised through this Ice Bucket Challenge. Awareness for a rare and fatal disease has been made. Funds for research have been earned.

As someone who has battled another rare disease, I appreciate the efforts this cause has put out, and earned. I hope someone, every disease, regardless of severity, can find its own “ice bucket challenge” to help their cause.

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