One of my favorite guitarists is releasing a new album soon

Reb Beach 1988 Topps

This guy is hands-down one of the most under-appreciated guitarists of my lifetime. Hair metal gets a bad rap, and thanks to Beavis & Butt-Head‘s friend Stuart, Winger is the butt of many jokes. The band is really superb, though, and guitarist Reb Beach is a magician on the frets. His new album, A View from the Inside, is set for an early November release. The audio for “Aurora Borealis” just dropped this morning on YouTube, and it blows my mind.

Fun Cards: 1982 Fleer Bob Gibson

1981 Fleer Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson served at the Mets pitching coach in 1981, and the Braves pitching coach in 1982. It’s always jarring to see him wearing anything other than a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.

Fun Cards: 1991 Donruss Bob Gibson

1991 Donruss Bob Gibson

Sometimes I make a card simply because I have a template. There is no other reason to put the late Bob Gibson on a 1991 Donruss card.

Goodbye, Eddie Van Halen

I can’t believe I just typed those words. This one is going to take some time to digest.

January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020

1979 Topps baseball Eddie Van Halen

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, the greatest rock guitarist of my lifetime, passed away today from throat cancer. He was an innovator, a magician on six strings. He was the guy everybody wanted to play like. And no one could. Not even close.

Eddie recorded music with his brother Alex (drums on all Van Halen releases), his father Jan (who played clarinet on “Big Bad Bill” from Diver Down), and his son Wolfgang (bass on A Different Kind of Truth and Tokyo Dome Live in Concert. He recorded with Michael Jackson (playing the guitar solo on Thriller‘s “Beat It”), Brian May of Queen (1983’s Strar Fleet Project), and LL Cool J (“We’re The Greatest” from Authentic). He

He was not just a master of his craft. He was the master of his craft.

1979 Topps football Eddie Van Halen

Fun Cards: 1986 Topps Bob Gibson (Gold Glove edition)

Gibson Gold Glove

I created a handful of “fun cards” for Bob Gibson a couple of days ago, and thought I would share them with you over the next few days. This one features Gibby receiving one of his nine Gold Glove Awards.

Goodbye, Bob Gibson

(November 9, 1935 – October 2, 2020)

Bob Gibson was one of the most intimidating pitchers to ever take the mound in Major League Baseball. His 1968 season stands as one of the greatest of all time, with 268 strikeouts and a minuscule 1.77 ERA earning him both Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player honors. After his Hall of Fame playing career, “Hoot” served as the pitching coach for the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves under manager Joe Torre.

Goodbye, Lou Brock

Brock 1986 Topps Cardinals

Speedy Hall of Famer Lou Brock, the holder of the all-time stolen base record until Rickey Henderson came on the scene, passed away today. He was 81 years old. The six-time All-Star was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 on the strength of his prowess on the basepaths and more than 3,000 hits.

Goodbye, Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver Cincinnati Reds 2020 Topps

Tom Seaver, nicknamed “Tom Terrific” for his immense talent on the baseball diamond, passed away August 31, 2020, at the age of 75. He was ushered into the Hall of Fame in 1992 with only five out of 430 voters declining to check his name. He was a tremendous pitcher for the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, and Boston Red Sox, and is a member of the Mets and Reds team Halls of Fame.

Fun Cards: 1986 Topps, 1993 Donruss, 1996 Topps Poison

Bret Michaels Poison 1986 Topps

Poison has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Although I’ve been disappointed that they seem to only be interested in doing “greatest hits” tours for the past 20 years, they are still fun to see in concert. Bret Michaels is supposed to be playing a solo show in my hometown at the end of next month, if it doesn’t get Covid-canceled.

CC DeVille Poison 1986 Topps

But my favorite part of the music is the guitar. C.C. DeVille is, in my opinion, a vastly underrated guitarist. I love his riffs.

Rikki Rockett Poison 1986 Topps

Bobby Dall Poison 1986 Topps

The rhythm section is solid but a bit underwhelming. Rikki Rockett and Bobby Dall are consistent, but Bret and C.C. are where the show is really at.

After three studio albums and a live record, C.C. DeVille was ousted from the band and replaced by Richie Kotzen. He was an excellent guitarist, not as flashy but more technically competent than DeVille.

Richie Kotzen Poison 1993 Donruss

The 1993 Native Tongue release was the only album Kotzen appeared on, and he was fired near the end of the year, replaced by another young solo guitar whiz, Blues Saraceno.

Blues Saraceno Poison 1996 Topps

Saraceno worked on an album called Crack A Smile. It was originally scheduled for a 1994 release, but was delayed due to an injury Michaels sustained. In 1996, Capitol Records decided to release Greatest Hits 1986-1996 rather than Crack A Smile. It was finally released in 2000, but since two of the tracks appeared on the 1996 compilation, Saraceno gets the 1996 virtual cardboard treatment.

I really love the band’s remake of “Cover of the Rolling Stone.” Check it out below…

Fun Cards: 1977, 1983, 1986, and 1988 Topps Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali passed away on Thursday last week after battling pancreatic cancer. Banali joined the group in 1982 and made his recording debut with DuBrow and the boys on 1983’s Metal Health. I love making “fun cards” of musicians using classic baseball card designs, and his passing reminded me that I had not created cards for Quiet Riot yet. So, without further ado, the classic 1983 Metal Health lineup of Quiet Riot: Kevin DuBrow, Frankie Banali, Carlos Cavazo, and Rudy Sarzo

Kevin DuBrow Quiet Riot singer 1983 Topps

Frankie Banali Quiet Riot drummer 1983 Topps

Carlos Cavazo Quiet Riot guitarist 1983 Topps

Rudy Sarzo Quiet Riot bass guitar 1983 Topps

Metal Health was the first heavy metal album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts on the strength of their cover of the Slade song, “Cum On Feel the Noize.”

Unfortunately, the follow-up Critical Condition did not fare as well, and subsequent releases failed to recapture that spark from 1983. On 1986’s QR III, bassist Sarzo was replaced with Chuck Wright.

Chuck Wright Quiet Riot bass guitar 1986 Topps

By 1988 DuBrow was out of the band in favor of Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino (as was Wright, replaced by Sean McNabb). Shortino only appeared on one album and the group disbanded in 1989 (only to be resurrected a couple of years later by DuBrow and Cavazo, with Kenny Hillery on bass and Pat Ashby on drums).

Paul Shortino Quiet Riot vocalist 1988 Topps

Sean McNabb Quiet Riot bass guitar 1988 Topps

Membership in the band was a revolving door, regardless of your role in the band. Eight singers, seven guitarists, eight bass players, and four drummers spent time with the group. Banali was the most consistent, appearing on every studio recording except for the first two (which were released in Japan only) and the underrated 1993 compilation that featured some of the best of those records and outtakes.

Speaking of the first two records…it was 1978’s Quiet Riot II that featured the first Quiet Riot “fun cards” on the back cover, styled after 1978 Topps football cards…

Quiet Riot II 1978 Topps Randy Rhoads Kevin DuBrow Rudy Sarzo, Drew Forsyth

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