Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tommy Grasso - Two Streets, video preview

Tommy Grasso - Two Streets, video preview

Fresh from his run of supplying hit guitar licks to Broadway shows such as Rock of Ages, singer/guitarist Tommy Grasso has just released the video for Two Streets, the first single from his upcoming album Back in the Day.

The New Jersey native is a mainstay on the NYC music scene, bringing his guitar talents to other Broadway hits including Passing Strange and Spring Awakening. As a bandleader, Grasso has released five full-length albums, including the soon-to-be released Back in the Day. The video for Two Streets is a scenic tour through downtown Manhattan – the old stomping grounds of this author.

If you are a fan of classic rock – think Bon Jovi in their more acoustic moments - have a listen by clicking here.

For more information about Tommy Grasso, check out

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pumpinhead 1 & 2: A Popjunkie Movie Review

Pumpkinhead (1988)
Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings (1994)

The 1988 cult classic, Pumpkinhead, is one of those films where a decent story idea carries the entire project. Throw in a fantastically frightening creature and you can excuse the questionable acting skills and the obviously staged-looking sets. Directed by special effects master, Stan Winston (Terminator 1-3, Predator, Aliens… yeah, he knows creatures!) Pumkinhead created its own lore and wisely stuck to it throughout; creating a film that was effective in the scares department and just plain thrilling from beginning to end.

The premise is simple; Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) is the local store owner whose son is hit and killed in a motorcycle accident. The driver of the bike is the requisite “movie-jerk” that leaves the scene of the crime – with his hysterical friends in tow. Moments after his son dies in his arms, the grief-stricken Harley goes down the supernatural path in search of Pumpkinhead - a demon who could be conjured to seek brutal revenge by someone who has been severely wronged.

Pumpkinhead’s keeper is “the scary, old Southern witch lady that kind of looks like a man and lives in a graveyard”. But she warns Harley that what he is asking “comes with a powerful price”. We come to learn how powerful a price by the end of the film. But like any good witch, all you have to do is go to her with your problems, make your sacrifice and voila – Southern demon justice!

And justice is certainly doled out in spades!

A guilty pleasure to be sure but nothing to be embarrassed of as Pumpkinhead is a solid ‘creature feature’ with one hell of a creature, a few good scares and pure, revenge-fueled mayhem!

But proving that you can get too much of a good thing…

Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings has none of the scares or originality of the first film. In fact, it is frustrating to watch since it decimates everything cool that was established in the first movie. While there was a six year gap between the two films, trust that the time was not spent on plot development.

The worst aspect is the fact that the ‘plot’ is not revealed until three-quarters of the film is over! So while it seems like the monster is just killing poor country bumpkins at random, there is an actual reason for the carnage. But by that point – no one cares. But if you do care, it involves the now popular plot device where they have to “give the monster a backstory” to explain why he tears heads from their bodies. No surprise that this fails miserably.

Throw in bad acting, insipid dialog and the creatures’ beyond silly death scene and you end up with pure cliché-ridden crap that has caused me to de-evolve mentally.  

The most frightening part of all is that somehow, two further sequels were made!

I made a promise to myself that I won’t be watching them.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Aguilar Artist Interview with Janek Gwizdala!

Janek Gwizdala
Multi-faceted Multi-tasker

Every musician wants to stay busy but Janek Gwizdala takes multi-tasking to entirely new levels. On the international modern Jazz scene, he maintains a busy, some may say intense, recording and touring schedule. But the UK-born, LA-based Gwizdala is also a respected columnist, educator, and author whose recently self-published book - You’re a Musician. Now What? - has been garnering rave reviews. He is also adept at engaging his large fan base through social media networking channels such as Instagram and Twitter to interact freely with his audience while promoting his latest works.

And if that is not enough, he formed the charity We Need Strings to help musicians around the world who do not have access to strings. With many players changing their strings weekly – even daily – Gwizdala saw that there was still life in these strings; enough life for the countless players with no choice. So far the response has been extraordinary as hundreds of lightly used strings have shipped globally to musicians in need.  

We were able to catch up with Janek in between breaks on his recent clinic tour of Australia and New Zealand to discuss a few of his many recent projects.

To read the rest of the article, click here.