Category Archives: music

Fun Cards: 1983 Topps Phil Collen & 1993 Topps Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard)

Phil Collen

Guitarist Pete Willis was fired by Def Leppard during the recording of Pyromania. He was replaced by Phil Collen, whose band Girl with Phil Lewis (who later joined L.A. Guns) never quite caught on in the United States.

Vivian Campbell

Following Steve Clark’s death in 1991, the band forged on with only Collen playing guitar on 1992’s Adrenalize. Vivian Campbell, formerly of Dio, was soon hired to fill the missing guitar seat. His recording debut with Def Leppard came on 1993’s RetroActive.

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Fun Cards: 1980 Topps Def Leppard (Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, Rick Allen, Rick Savage, Pete Willis)

Joe Elliott

Def Leppard‘s first full-length album, On Through The Night, was released in 1980, and featured one of my favorite Lep songs, “Rock Brigade.” The album reached No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 51 on the Billboard 200.

Pete Willis

Def Leppard was one of the first bands to break through the resistance against “hair metal” on classic rock radio stations. “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and “Foolin'” were just too good to ignore, despite the amount of Aqua Net used by the band.

Rick Allen

Def Leppard still tours frequently and will be hitting the road with arena rock legends Journey next week.

Rick Savage

Their catalog is deep, but I’m not much of a fan of their work past 1987’s Hysteria, the last album recorded with the late Steve Clark.

Steve Clark

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Marq Torien and Mick Sweda (BulletBoys)

Continuing the hair metal love…

I just found out the BulletBoys will be playing in Cincinnati this weekend, so I thought I would whip up a couple of music “fun cards”…

Marq Torien

Marq Torien is the original vocalist and only remaining original member in the current lineup. The band has changed its sound on several occasions, but the hair metal heritage is strong on the 1988 debut album. The big songs are “Smooth Up In Ya” (US Hot 100 #71, US Mainstream Rock #23) and the cover “For the Love of Money” (US Hot 100 #78, US Mainstream Rock #38).

Mick Sweda

Mick Sweda is no longer with the band, but his guitar skills played a major role in the band’s early success. The BulletBoys’ cover of Tom Waits‘ “Hang On St. Christopher” on the second album, Freakshow, is out of this world.

The band’s third album, Za-Za, was their last for Warner Bros. Records, and the last appearance of Mick Sweda with the group.

The current lineup of the BulletBoys (Torien, Nick Rozz, Chad MacDonald, and Anthony “Tiny” Biuso), along with openers Enuff Z’nuff and a ton of local groups, will be performing at The Venue Saturday night. Click here to buy tickets!

Click here to buy the latest BulletBoys album, From Out of the Skies.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Winger (Kip Winger, Reb Beach, Paul Taylor, Rod Morgenstein)

I don’t care what Mike Judge says, WINGER IS AWESOME. The musicianship in this band is top-notch, and much more complex than most of their hair metal comrades. Like several other popular ’80s bands, Winger reunited several years ago and has been releasing some stellar material.

Kip Winger

Kip Winger has a fantastic voice and is not only a proficient bassist, but also a composer of classical music. He was even nominated for a Grammy in 2017 for his Conversations with Nijinsky. Add to that his pre-Winger work with Alice Cooper, and you’ve sold me on his awesomeness.

Reb Beach

Reb Beach may not have the classical chops, but this dude can absolutely shred. In addition to Winger, he has recorded with Dokken and Whitesnake, and has appeared on Twisted Sister, Bee Gees, and Chaka Khan albums.

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor made his recording debut with Alice Cooper the year before Winger‘s debut was released.

Rod Morgentstein

Rod Morgenstein brought a progressive music slant to Winger as a former member of jazz fusion group Dixie Dregs.

Twitter linkage:
Follow Winger at @wingertheband
Vocalist/Bassist Kip Winger at @kipwinger
Guitarist Reb Beach at @RealRebBeach
Drummer Rod Morgenstein at @RodMorgenstein

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Trixter “Record Makers” & Steve Brown

Combining my love for baseball cards and hair metal music…

Trixter

Trixter is one of those oft-forgotten hair metal bands. Their debut album was not released until 1990, in the waning hours of the genre’s supremacy on MTV and FM airwaves. The group experienced moderate success with the debut single, “Give It To Me Good,” peaking at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. The next two songs, “Surrender” and “One In A Million,” did not perform quite as well.

The band recorded “One Mo’ Time” for the 1991 Richard Greco film, If Looks Could Kill. Trixter’s self-titled debut went Gold, but 1992’s Hear! stalled at around 100,000 copies and the group was dropped from MCA.

Steve Brown Trixter

Guitarist Steve Brown was your typical ’80s hard rock guitarist with some killer riffs and fancy fretwork, but he didn’t really stand out above the crowd. Even if he did, though, the musical landscape changed and nearly everyone who could shred became a pariah.

Trixter recorded one more studio album in the 1990s, Undercovers, on the independent label Backstreet Records, then went silent…until 2008. The band reunited, went on tour, and in 2012 Frontiers Records released the first new studio material from Trixter—New Audio Machine—in nearly two decades. Another album, Human Era, came in 2015.

I’m not sure if Trixter is still together; their website has no information whatsoever and the full band has not performed together since March of last year. Guitarist Steve and bassist PJ Farley are members of Eric Martin’s (the voice of Mr. Big) touring band.

You can follow Trixter on Twitter:
Trixter at @trixterrocks
Vocalist Pete Loran at @PeteLoran
Guitarist Steve Brown at @STEVEBROWNROCKS
Bass guitarist PJ Farley at @Pjfarley1
Drummer Mark Gus Scott at @MarkGusScott

Night Owl rocks

One of my very favorite baseball card blogs, which I have been following for close to a decade now, is Night Owl Cards. Night Owl and I have sent many packages to each other over the years; he gets a good chunk of my spare Dodgers, and I am the beneficiary of his overflow of Reds. Occasionally, something other than Reds or Dodgers makes its way into our trade pacakges.

Muddy Waters

N.O. recently decided to chase the 1991 Pro Set Super Star Musicards set. He doesn’t have a wantlist yet, but I’m preparing a package to send to him that will be primarily cards from this set. I mentioned that I am only a handful of cards away from completing series one myself, and he hooked me up with two of the four cards I still needed: the Muddy Waters concert poster (above), and Perfect Gentlemen (below). I am now only two cards away: #8 The Doors (Legends) and #187 Billy Idol. I recently decided to plunge into series two, and am about halfway there, but I do not have a wantlist prepared yet.

Perfect Gentlemen

Of course, no package from N.O. would be complete without some sweet Reds goodies. As the team is in the middle of a “rebuilding” phase, sometimes called a “youth movement,” I thought this was an appropriate conclusion:

Tomko

I will admit that I was not following the Reds (or any baseball, for that matter) when Brett Tomko was a part of the Reds’ youth movement. There was a good 10-15 years that baseball was not on my radar at all. I just didn’t care. I have heard the name, but really couldn’t tell you much about Tomko.

Reds

N.O. also sent a handful of other Reds goodies, including Jay Bruce (a part of the youth movement about a decade ago), Billy Hamilton (a part of the current youth movement), and Nick Howard (who could be a part of the next youth movement).

Thanks for the cards, Night Owl! You can expect to see something soon!

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Ric Ocasek of The Cars (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Ric Ocasek the Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Growing up in the heyday of MTV videos, I always considered Ric Ocasek as the leader and most important member of The Cars. “You Might Think” was one of my favorite videos, with his goofy mug floating all over the place. I had no idea what an important part all the others played until much later. Still today, though, I can’t help but think of Ocasek more than any other member when I think of the band.

Purchase The Cars, The Elektra Years, 1978-1987.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps The Cars “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

The Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Cars’ self-titled debut album dropped in 1978 and charted the hits “Just What I Need,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Good Times Roll.” Also appearing on the album are “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” For a debut album especially, it’s pretty fantastic.

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Saturday night, an honor that was many years overdue. The surviving members reunited to perform at the ceremony and were joined by Weezer‘s Scott Shriner on bass. The group closed their set with “Just What I Needed,” originally sung by the late Benjamin Orr.

Purchase The Cars, Complete Greatest Hits.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Dire Straits “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Dire Straits 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees virtual custom trading card 1978 Topps

Inducting yourself into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of like wearing a band’s t-shirt to their concert, right? But that’s what happened Saturday night as bassist John Illsley congratulated himself and his Dire Straits band mates, three of whom didn’t even bother showing up, on their induction into the Cleveland institution. Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, and Pick Williams all decided to skip the ceremony.

Joining Illsely on stage were keyboardists Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, who also received the honor from the Rock Hall. Other former Dire Straits members Hal Lindes, Terry Williams, and Jack Sonni were shunned by the committee.

Purchase Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing, The Very Best of Dire Straits.

Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

I’m not sure if I have ever participated in a Blog Bat Around before, but this one might help me organize my thoughts on collecting. Thanks to Night Owl Cards for starting the topic. Here goes…

MY CARD COLLECTING PROJECTS

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: I know I will never own every Cincinnati Reds baseball card, but that doesn’t stop me from attempting to create a master checklist. It’s an ongoing project, as new sets are released every year and I discover older sets I never knew existed until some kind soul sends me a card from the set. I’m still working on crossing out my recent acquisitions, and I found a shoebox that had several other needs that have not been inventoried yet.

Stillwell

Kurt Stillwell: The former second-overall draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has right around 100 cards. At one time, I had a good checklist and kept up with the collection. I was close to completion, and something went off the rails. I have several empty slots in the binder, and the checklist has disappeared, and I really have no idea which cards I still need. It’s not a huge project, and so close to finished, I really need to figure out where I’m at with it.

Shawon Dunston and Doug Dascenzo: As a baseball fan in the mid- to late-’80s and early ’90s, I saw a lot of Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN. I loved watching Dunston fire the ball to first base, nearly breaking Mark Grace‘s hand. I loved seeing Dascenzo hustle around the bases and take the mound on occasion. Both were fantastic “through the mail” signers to boot, so I have quite a few autographs of each. I would like to eventually acquire, at a minimum, all their Cubs cards from their playing days. Both moved on to other teams, and I do have some cards from those later years, but I remember them best as Cubs.

The Jacksons

Reggie and Bo Jackson: I think Reggie was my first favorite player. Or at least my first favorite non-Reds player. I don’t have a huge number of his cards, but one of my prized possessions since middle school has been his 1973 Topps card. I recently came into possession of his rookie card, which is now the pièce de résistance of my small Reggie collection. These are not organized at all, and I have no idea what I might be missing. Bo was an amazing athlete. For those who never saw him perform live—even if only on television—you truly missed out. Acquiring his cards from his playing days, even if including the football issues, seems a little more doable than Reggie.

Non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Buddy Bell, and Dave Parker: Davis and Sabo had their best years in Reds uniforms, while Bell and Parker were better known for their time with other teams. I don’t have checklists available for these collecting goals yet, but I like to pick up cards I don’t think I already have occasionally.

Stars and Famers

Stars and Famers: I used to hoard cards of Hall of Famers. I didn’t care how many 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith cards I had, they were never available for trade. Until recently. The cards were just taking up so much space, and I didn’t ever look at them. A much more manageable project is to keep one or two favorite cards of these guys. The rest have been shipped off to team collectors. Likewise with the likes of Don Mattingly, Ken Boyer, Dale Murphy, and a few guys that aren’t really should-be Hall of Famers, but once seemed to be on the right track, like Darryl Strawberry and Will Clark. Same rule as HoFers: one or two favorite cards of each is enough for me.

Horror

Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.

Music

Music Cards: Pro Set Musicards, Yo! MTV Raps, Donruss KISS cards, and a very small selection of other brands. I have nearly the complete set of Musicards (missing only a handful of cards). Two of my favorite music cards came from Steve over a year ago, when he had Topps make custom cards of Vivian Campbell and John Sykes for me.

Miscellaneous: Here is the catch-all. If it’s something I like, I’ll collect it. Be it He-Man cards, Dukes of Hazzard cards, Star Wars cards, Superman cards, you name it. I may never chase the entire set, but I like to have a few cards of pop culture awesomeness in my possession. Come to think of it, I might be close on that He-Man set. No closer than I was 15 years ago when I first bought that wax box, mind you, but close still.

I look forward to reading all the other bloggers’ various card collecting projects.

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