Bon Jovi brought a set heavy with sugar coated ballads to a swooning Montreal audience on the first night of two shows in the city. The band has moved on from being a must-see rock act to being a curiosity for those who remember 1989. Seeing the band live was once a badge of honour, now it’s simply an excuse to get out of the house and let someone else do homework with the kids. Would be nice to see the band rip into older material like “In And Out Of Love”, but those days are gone forever.

Bassist Jason Newsted cut his teeth with Arizona-based band Flotsam and Jetsam before heavy metal heroes Metallica came knocking at his door. With the band, he helped define a genre as Metallica reinvented metal with their widely popular Metallica album (known by most as “The Black Album”). After leaving the group, Jason set out with his own project Echobrain and eventually filled in the bassist slot with Ozzy Osbourne’s touring band, and even had a brief stint with Quebec metallers Voivod. Now Jason’s back, this time with his project Newsted. The group recently released a brilliant EP titled simply, Metal, which around the time of this interview, had just sold out. Newsted sat down with PureGrainAudio writer and Dropping The Needle Podcast host, Mitch Lafon, to discuss his storied career and what the future holds.

Chris Buck & The Big Horns are the latest discovery by industry veteran, Alan Niven (of Guns N’ Roses and Great White fame). Their style is somewhere between early ‘70s Aerosmith, classic ZZ Top and the swagger of a young Stevie Ray Vaughan. Their initial offering to the masses is the brilliantly constructed Postcards From Capricorn album – a seven song forty-three minute how-to guide of blues rock.

Long before the mutiny in Queensrÿche that ended with his ouster from the band, Geoff Tate had locked himself away in a studio working on Kings & Thieves (his second solo album). The first album stretched Tate’s creative boundaries, but left many fans confused. This time out, Tate had to prove that he can still rock and further needed to make an album that would ensure Queensrÿche fans stuck around for the party. Tate sat down with PureGrainAudio’s Mitch Lafon to discuss his very tumultuous 2012 and his plans for the future.

Aerosmith is a band divided into three very specific fan bases. Those who loved the gritty dirty rock n’ roll of their ’70s albums (Toys In The Attic, Rocks), the ‘hair metal’ crowd of the ’80s (Permanent Vacation, Pump) and the Top 40/American Idol faithful who think “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is sheer brilliance. So, how does the band keep everyone happy? Simple, release an album with twenty songs that has a little something for everyone.

KISS’ Monster is the second release by the current lineup featuring Tommy Thayer (guitar) and Eric Singer (drums). Advancing on the musical path that 2009’s Sonic Boom took, Monster is an album to be judged by 2012 standards and as such is a great rock record! Whether songs like the debut single “Hell Or Hallelujah” finds its place in the heart and minds of longtime KISS fans is anyone’s guess. Are the songs on the same level as 1970’s KISS? Probably not, but it shouldn’t matter!

Aerosmith’s Music From Another Dimension was eleven years in the making and was originally slated to be released in August 2012. Prior to that time, I was given the opportunity to sit down with bassist, Tom Hamilton. At the time we discussed the 25th anniversary of their landmark album, Permanent Vacation, upcoming tour plans and much more. With the album delayed however, the interview was more window dressing than promo for the new disc. At the time it was promised that a second interview would happen and as we approached the release date and Aerosmith’s team came through without hesitation. In this, my second interview with Tom this year, he addresses the band’s duet with Carrie Underwood, working with Jack Douglas and whether or not he thinks KISS is a “comic book” band (as his bandmate, Steven Tyler, recently suggested).