- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2002

The Washington rock music scene explodes this week, and while the mecca of metal will be the Guns N' Roses show at the MCI Center on Monday, those without a ticket will find plenty to hear at the 9:30 Club, with performances by three rock staples.
Taking to the road after a two-year hiatus, The Wallflowers Jakob Dylan (vocals and guitar), Rammi Jaffee (keyboards), Greg Richling (bass, Mini-Moog) and Mario Calire (drums/backing vocals) arrive at the 9:30 Club tomorrow. They kicked off their 14-city tour on Nov. 20, right on the heels of their latest CD, "Red Letter Days," the band's fourth release following "The Wallflowers" (1992), "Bringing Down the Horse" (1996) and "Breach" (2000).
"One of the things I wanted to do with this record was get it out quicker than previous releases," says Mr. Dylan on tour in Chicago. "This meant that we wrote while out on our past tour, before and between our shows, allowing us to get off tour and go directly into the studio, keeping the momentum of the process going."
While the band's sophomore effort, "Bringing Down the Horse," racked up critical and commercial success in the forms of multiplatinum sales and dual Grammys, "Breach" was released to much less fanfare.
"Red Letter Days" promises to help return The Wallflowers to the forefront of the rock scene with music that presents a mature rock sensibility behind the lyrical poetry presented in Mr. Dylan's warm vocals. The songs are heartfelt and a bit more angst-ridden than previous pop anthems, such as their number one hit single, "One Headlight," from "Bringing Down the Horse."
"This record has turned out to have a different sound, but that is not something that can be planned, it just happens during the process," Mr. Dylan says. "We have never said, 'This album is really going to rock, or not.' It just develops on its own."
"When You're on Top," the album's lead single, has received critical praise, and is full of lyrics with which listeners can easily sing along ("I feel fine/With the sun in my eyes/The wind in my hair). Critics and fans shouldn't overlook the album's "How Good It Can Get," with its strong guitar sound and anthem-type drums keeping it steadily in the rock-vs.-pop realm.
"This is a very short tour and we are visiting only a select few hand-picked cities and playing venues where we can be up close to the audience," Mr. Dylan says. "The 9:30 Club, and D.C., is one of those places where we knew we could present this album in this type of venue. We are still very excited about 'Red Letter Days," and these shows are an experience that cannot be reproduced in a large arena."

Guitarist Joe Satriani returns Tuesday to the 9:30 Club to headline a 2-hour show that he dubs "the best of Satriani" in support of "Strange Beautiful Music," his 14th album since 1986's "Not of this Earth."
"This record is eclectic; there is a mix of stuff from heavy to light," says Mr. Satriani from his San Francisco home. "I called it 'Strange Beautiful Music,' which is also my publishing company's name, because it is the perfect combination of material that moves straight ahead as well as way left of center."
Supporting Mr. Satriani on this tour are Jeff Campitelli (drums) and Matt Bissonette (bass) both of whom worked on this album and played on 1992's critically acclaimed album "The Extremist" and Galen Henson (guitar). They have created an album that, while melodic, still contains plenty of Mr. Satriani's trademark crunchy progressions, lightning riffs and solos, to make this a watermark Satriani release, cementing his place as one of the pre-eminent guitar players of our time.

Dio, the heavy-metal rock band fronted by Ronnie James Dio with Jimmy Bain on bass, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Simon Wright on drums and Scott Warren on keyboards, lands at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, following a Tuesday night appearance at the Recher Theater in Towson, Md.
Touring in support of Dio's 11th album, "Killing the Dragon," this group of heavy-metal veterans have played around, and with each other, since the early 1970s.
Ronnie James Dio, whose discography takes him back to the late 1960s, is joined on this album by band mates Vinny Appice (drums) and Jimmy Bain (bass, keyboards). Mr. Appice originally played with Dio during the days of Black Sabbath. Mr. Bqain played with Dio during the days of Richie Blackmore's "Rainbow" project; Mr. Dio provided the vocals, and Mr. Bain played bass on 1976's "Rising" release.
"We just returned from our European leg of the album tour, and we met some fans, girls that are maybe 16 or 17, and they had no idea that we had this history going back to the early 1970s," says Mr. Bain on tour in the Southwest. "It really is great, weird and nice to have fans out there in their 50s, and they have brought along their children I have seen kids as young as five and six at our shows."
Mr. Bain describes "Killing the Dragon" as a "back-to-basics" album that he and Mr. Dio wrote, bringing in Mr. Aldrich, who cut his musical teeth playing the songs of the band's veteran members.
"Doug Aldrich is a musical breath of fresh air for us, and he really is a bit of a guitar hero," Mr. Bain says. "Anyway, he gave us a musical shot in the arm, and it has been highly successful for us."
Dio will be appearing with King's X and Hammerfall.

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