Great Rock Albums of 1988: Rush- Hold Your Fire

Posted in Uncategorized, 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

My excuse of being in Britain at the time is why I am posting Rush’s 1987, “Hold Your Fire,” album for 1988. I didn’t hear about this album until 1988, although I might have heard about it sooner if I hadn’t lost touch with two UK friends who are big Rush fans. Oh, I see both of them on Facebook now and they will probably both put in their two penneth on this post.

Reading a little history, I am rather perplexed as to why some ‘critics’ said that synthesizers were overused. The two Rush albums previous to “Hold Your Fire” were more synth pop in my not so humble opinion. If anything, I think this album was made ten years too late. It would have been right at home among all the great progressive rock bands from the 1970s as I find this a great offering of some cool progressive rock. Okay, there aren’t the power chords of some of the more hard rock Rush albums but Alex’s guitar is plain to hear. He does some good riffs, take “Time Stand Still” for instance but the one thing which comes to my mind on “Time Stands Still” is Geddy Lee. We all know his singing and songwriting capabilities and many will praise his keyboards skills, I do. What only Rush fans realize is that Geddy plays bass and his skills on that instrument seemed to be forgotten. Not me, Geddy, nor any dedicated Rush fans but I do like his bass line on this track and on “Open Secrets.” Oh yes, I better mention that til Tuesday singer and bassist Aimee Mann lends her voice to the track and it works very well.

The entire album is one cool progressive rock jam. Even though the intro of the opener, “Force Ten,” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a metal album, the prog rock shines through and continues on. However, there is a standout track and that happens to be “Prime Mover.” The guitar on the intro is one of those which has me fist pumping the air. Hell, turn up the guitar and you have a great metal song. Again, Lee’s not talked about much bass playing is just as prominent on the song. Like so many Rush fans, I always knew he could lay down a cool bassline. Furthermore, the song has a catchy melody which sounds like typical Rush and Geddy unleashes his skills on the keyboards here. Now some of you are probably asking, “What about Neil?” Well, he does what he always does and pounds the skins very well. Though there are some interesting drum fills on “Prime Mover.”

If I had to pick a track which could be called ‘filler,’ it would have to be “Tai Shan.” It’s an attempt, Alex used that exact word in a 2012 interview with “Total Guitar” to experiment using classical Chinese music. He also called the song, ‘corny.’ I wouldn’t go that far and I don’t think it’s a bad song, it’s just not as good as the other nine. Speaking of Alex, I just wish he soloed more on the album, that’s all. His only solos come on “Mission,” “Turn the Page” and the closer, “High Water.” The solos are quite good but it’s Neil’s drumming that really shines through on “Mission.

Track Listing:

  1. Force Ten
  2. Time Stands Still
  3. Open Secrets
  4. Second Nature
  5. Prime Mover
  6. Lock and Key
  7. Mission
  8. Turn the Page
  9. Tai Shan
  10. High Water
Rush

Geddy Lee- lead vocals, bass, synthesizer

Alex Liefson- guitar

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:

Aimee Mann- accompanying lead vocals on “Time Stand Still,” backing vocals on “Tai Shan,” “Primer Mover” and “Open Secrets”

Andy Richards- additional keyboards, synthesizer programming

I am with those in the cult status who regard “Hold Your Fire” with great esteem. I much prefer this to their previous two albums but like I said at the beginning, it might have been more accepted if it had come out ten years earlier.

Next post: Van Halen- OU812

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Joint Posts

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

After all of the great feedback and all the fun I had writing a joint post with 2loud2old, I would be happy to write joint posts with many of you in the future. It doesn’t even have to be two person post adventure and I’m sure many of us here could put our heads together and write a joint post. Posts could be ranking a band’s albums, ranking musicians or anything really, the sky’s the limit!

The only issue is that I would like to keep these type of posts spaced out as I am totally committed to the tour of heavy metal’s golden decade. Actually, I’m closer to the end as I am now well into 1988 and there’s only 89 left. However, it was never my intention that when I posted the final album of 1989, to end 80smetalman. You don’t get rid of me that easy! While I might cut down the frequency of the posts after that, I would still be open to ideas and joint posts would be one of them. Although, we could still write some along the way.

One point which I must absolutely insist on is that any joint post involving Savatage, Mike has to be included. He’s a big Tage fan as much as I am. Other than that, the sky is the limit.

Survivor Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2022 by 80smetalman

The idea for writing a post ranking albums from Survivor came as a result of comments on my post about their 1988 album, “Too Hot to Sleep.” Reading comments from 2loud2oldmusic, I suggested we write a joint post ranking Survivor albums, to which he thought it was a good idea. What this has done is to get both of us going back and listening to all eight of Survivor’s studio albums and putting them in our order of preference. Here’s mine:

8. Premonition

“Premonition” was Survivor’s second album released in 1981. Many bands seemed to have the Sophmore jinx and the same applies here. The album has its good moments but overall lacks the hunger of the debut and it’s not quite as finely tuned as future Survivor albums.

7. Survivor

Like with so many debut albums, the band’s hunger is there to see. The 1970s progressive hard rock is clearly there to hear and it has some great hard rocking moments as well as guitar solos.

6. Eye of the Tiger

Ah, the album made famous by the “Rocky” films. Even if the title cut hadn’t appeared in “Rocky III,” it was still a good enough album to stand on its on. They tended to go more hard rock on this one.

5. When Seconds Count

A good album which continues down the melodic rock path began by its predecessor, “Vital Signs.” If I had been writing this post in 1986, it would have probably be one place lower but as I am mellowing with age, I can appreciate the musicianship quality of it. However, I haven’t mellowed that much and still prefer a good rock out.

4. Vital Signs

With “Vital Signs,” Survivor veer away from hard rock and head in a more progressive, melodic rock direction. The album proves that they did so with considerable ease. There are still a couple of great guitar solos on it.

3. Caught in the Game

This album passed me by in 1983, I blame it on being in the service. But when I listened to it, I had a very pleasant surprise. This is a really good hard rocking album with some of the best guitar solos.

2. Reach

After being away for nearly 20 years, Survivor’s comeback album in 2006 is fantastic. Cliche warning: it’s almost as if they had never been away. Having different vocalists on the songs gives the album a different perspective which works well. Plus it ends with a phenomenal power ballad.

1. Too Hot to Sleep

The members of Survivor do everything to their full potential here. Great vocals, guitar solos, keyboards and a great rhythm section. Even if studio musicians were brought in for the latter. There is some great rock to be had by all. Sometimes, I can’t understand why they waited 18 years after this one to record their next album.

So there you have it, my ranking of Survivor albums. As you can see, 2loud and I have differing opinions on this but that’s something a good band with so many good albums will produce. Everyone will have their favourites.

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Steve Earle- Copperhead Road

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2022 by 80smetalman

Originally, I was going to post “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle as a rock/metal album. The title cut of the album was my reason for it. I loved Steve’s image when I saw the video on television and the song proved that other instruments can be effectively included in hard rock and even metal. In this case, it was a mandolin. The song starts out with the mandolin and steel guitar and pedals giving it a country feel but then the guitar kicks in and takes it to a whole different level. The song itself is about a family of generations of moonshine makers and runners but the subject of the song, after he returns from Vietnam, decided to go into the weed farming business. It’s an excellent song.

Of course there are other great tracks on the album, although I have to agree with those who say that the first side of the album is better than the second. “Snake Oil” has a honky tonk piano combined with more great guitar riffs at the same time and talks about sitting president Ronald Reagan as a snake oil salesman. I agree with that sentiment. But Steve goes totally hard rock with the hidden gem on the album, “Back to the Wall.” It has a Tom Petty feel reminiscent of the “Damn the Torpedoes” album. There are some great guitar hooks on it and the best guitar solo on the album.

“The Devil’s Right Hand” is ahead of it’s time in the political music sense. The devil in the right hand Steve sings about is a pistol and this could be the first anti-gun song ever! Steve goes back to the returning veterans theme on “Johnny Come Lately.” In the song he contrasts how Americans treated servicemen returning home from World War II as opposed to Vietnam. It’s done to some great rockabilly music. My question is: Did Steve’s grandfather actually marry an English woman and bring her back home? Irish Celtic rock band The Pogues accompany him on this song.

As I said earlier, the second half of “Copperhead Road” isn’t as strong as the first half, although it’s by no means weak. The songs are less political and more love songs. I have no problem with that as they are done right. “Even When I’m Blue” sounds more like later Tom Petty and is some more good rockabilly. “You Belong to Me” sounds familiar but I can’t quite pick out the influence here. It’s a steady rocker with some good acoustic guitar as are the next two tracks. Things end with the rather tender ballad, “Nothing But a Child.”

Track Listing:

  1. Copperhead Road
  2. Snake Oil
  3. Back to the Wall
  4. The Devil’s Right Hand
  5. Johnny Come Lately
  6. Even When I’m Blue
  7. You Belong to Me
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Once You Love
  10. Nothing But a Child
Steve Earle

Steve Earle- lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, 6 string bass

Danny Roberts- guitar, 6 string bass

Bill Lloyd- acoustic guitar, 12 string electric guitar

Bucky Baxter- pedal steel, lap steel, Dobro

Ken Moore- synthesizer, organ

John Barlow Jarvis- piano

Kelly Looney- bass

Kurt Custer- drums

Neil MacColl- mandolin on “Johnny Come Lately”

John Cowan, Maria MaKee, Radney Foster- backing vocals

Shane MacGowan- banjo, bodran

Daryl Hunt- bass

Andrew Ranken- drums

The Pogues on “Johnny Come Lately”

Telluride on “Nothing But a Child”

Here’s an amusing anecdote, I named a character in my second book, “He Was Weird,” after one from the title track. There is a John Peddlemore in the story. “Copperhead Road” further proved that there was lots of great alternative music out there and this was one American act I was glad came to Britain.

Next post: A Joint Effort

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Songs With the Same Title: Handful of Rain

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2022 by 80smetalman

After obtaining permission from Big Bad Burch, thanks dude, I am writing my own post for songs with the same title. As you can see, the song title in question is “Handful of Rain” and I present three songs with that title. The first one comes as a result from when I put the title in a Google search. Paul Brett is a British guitarist who played in such bands as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and although he was never officially in the band, played lead guitar in The Strawbs.

Paul’s “Handful of Rain” is a mellow acoustic number and listening to it, I ask myself, “Why wasn’t this song more known?” This is a great song to mellow out to. It’s mainly Paul on the acoustic guitar but the flute accompaniment makes it sound even better. Of the three songs, I would definitely say this one is a hidden gem since I already know the other two songs.

This isn’t the actual Savatage lineup from the song as the vocals are sung by Zach Stevens

Being one who likes to go from one extreme to the other on occasion, let’s go from the mellow rock sound of Paul Brett to the hard rocking sound of Savatage. It comes from their 1994 album of the same title. As many of my followers know, I’m quite the Savatage fan and this song is one of the reasons why. It just totally rocks!

Danny Vaughn

After going from one extreme to the other, I will end in the middle. The final offering of “Handful of Rain” comes from Vaughn, led by Tyketto lead singer, Danny Vaughn from the 2000 album, “Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside.” I have always classed that album as my favourite melodic hard rock album of all time and this song contributes to that. I have always considered Danny the most underrated male vocalist, period. His voice goes great with the melodic sound and the right use of power chords in the song make it great.

My verdict: All three songs are brilliant and they would each suit a particular mood for me. However, there is a winner and that goes to Savatage. That song just totally rocks it! However, this is just one person’s opinion, have a listen to the three songs and decide for yourself which one you like best. Remember, dissent is welcomed on 80smetalman so don’t be afraid to speak out.

Next post: Steven Earle- Copperhead Road

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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Great Soundtracks of 1988: Dirty Dancing

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 8, 2022 by 80smetalman

Now, I know that officially both the film and soundtrack to “Dirty Dancing” came out in 1987 but I am quite sure that it didn’t make it’s way across the Atlantic until 1988. That’s why it’s included in the post for said year. A couple of days ago, I had someone quick to correct me on my Peaceful Rampage blog over a minute point I wasn’t accurate on, so I don’t want to be accused of getting my facts wrong here. Anyway, onto the film and the soundtrack.

What I like about this soundtrack is that since the film is set in 1962, it incorporates music from that era and what was then the modern era of the late 1980s although most of the songs were more from the earlier era. The most noted song from the album is “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. The song was quite popular at the time and won several awards. My first wife like it a lot so when I recorded a cassette for us to have in the car, I included it. The Blow Monkeys give us a cover of a Lesley Gore number but it’s rather unspectacular. A better song is “Where Are You Tonight?” from Doobie Brothers guitarist, Tom Johnston. The second single from the soundtrack comes from Eric Carmen and is called “Hungry Eyes.” It’s an okay soft rock tune but whenever I hear the song, I will forever think of a cutaway from “Family Guy.”

The surprise of the album comes from Patrick Swayze who also starred in the film. He sings on the song, “She’s Like the Wind” and while I didn’t take notice of it back then, listening to it again, it’s actually a pretty good power ballad. There are some power chords in it and a half decent guitar solo. Plus, Patrick isn’t a bad singer. All in all, “She’s Like the Wind” gets my vote for hidden gem. Here’s another useless point of information which proves my insanity. “Dirty Dancing” isn’t the only film Patrick Swayze and lead actress Jennifer Grey appeared in together. They were also in the 1984 movie “Red Dawn.”

Patrick Swayze leads a bunch of high schoolers against the invading Communist armies.

If the more modern songs weren’t on the soundtrack, the remainder of the tracks would make for a great early 1960s compilation album! There are quite a few classics here. The Ronettes, “Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs and “Hey Baby” from Bruce Channel. While not as recognized, I also am impressed with “Love is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia. However, “Yes” by Merry Clayton is a bit of a paradox. Merry sang in the 1960s and is best know for her backing vocals on the Rolling Stones classic, “Gimme Shelter” but “Yes” sounds very 1980s pop. A quick search from Google has revealed that she did record the song in 1987. It is one of those interchangeable sounding songs which would have been at home on any 80s soundtrack.

Track Listing:

  1. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes- (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
  2. The Ronettes- Be My Baby
  3. Patrick Swayze- She’s Like the Wind
  4. Eric Carmen- Hungry Eyes
  5. Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs- Stay
  6. Merry Clayton- Yes
  7. The Blow Monkeys- You Don’t Own Me
  8. Bruce Channel- Hey! Baby!
  9. Alfie Zappacosta- Overload
  10. Mickey and Sylvia- Love is Strange
  11. Tom Johnston- Where Are You Tonight?
  12. The Five Satins- In the Still of the Night

I will be the first to admit there are better films and definitely better soundtracks but this soundtrack has its charm. If I was going to teach young minds about the music of the early 1960s, then I would use many of these songs to do so.

Next post: Pending Approval

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Downfall of the Holy Man

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 4, 2022 by 80smetalman
CDKBY4 Mar. 15, 2011 – Baton Rouge, LA, USA – Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart breaks down in tears on televised sermon as he confesses his relationship with a prostitute. 1988 photo (Credit Image: © Robin Nelson/ZUMAPRESS.com)

One event in 1988, which many metalheads had a chuckle at, was the downfall of anti-rock music preacher, Jimmy Swaggart. Back during the tour of 1986, I posted about religion’s war on rock music and Jimmy was leading the charge. Have a watch here:

Swaggart’s downfall came in 1988 when he was caught watching porn videos in a motel room with a prostitute. Of course, he cried for forgiveness to his congregation, which you can watch below but he was expelled from his church. While he continued on independently, he never regained the popularity he enjoyed in the mid 1980s.

Served him right, I think.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Donington 1988: Triumph and Tragedy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2022 by 80smetalman

As per normal, through each year of the golden decade of heavy metal, (which is closer to the end than the beginning), I reflect on the triumphs and tragedies which occurred during that year. There have been great concert memories and artists whose lives were tragically shortened. In 1988, the triumph and tragedy occurred on the same day, at the Donington Festival.

You only need to look at the poster above as see that with the lineup, the day was going to be a complete triumph. Iron Maiden, KISS, David Lee Roth, Megadeth, Guns N Roses and Helloween made for what history will recall a great day for metal. Personally, I can’t speak for Helloween and Guns N Roses but I will get to that in a moment but the other four bands totally kicked ass!

Tragedy struck on the day during Guns N Roses’ set. A crowd collapse involving fifty people fifteen yards from the stage happened causing Guns N Roses to stop playing while concert security went in to attend to the injured. By the time they were fished out, two people, Alan Dick aged 18 and Landon Siggers, 20 were found laying down in four inches of mud. They were taken to hospital and pronounced dead. It was a tragic event which put a dark shadow on what was a glorious day for metal.

Of course, the metal hating newspaper, The Sun, spent more time focusing on the so called rowdy behaviour of the concert goers, making it out that somehow heavy metal caused the tragedy. Yes, it’s a load of BS.

On personal reflection, the reason I missed Helloween and Guns N Roses and half of Megadeth was because of a three hour plus traffic cue to get into the venue. It caused a lot of tension within the car although I can now see why my then wife would get a bit annoyed at me constantly saying, “I bet if it was a Madonna Festival, the roads wouldn’t have been so backed up.” The thing was the way metalheads were sometimes treated back in the 80s, it wouldn’t have been too far from the truth. Anyway, here are performances and a pre festival interview with Dave for you all to enjoy.

Next post: Scandals of 1988

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Great Rock One Hit Wonders Of 1988

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

It’s that part of the tour of any year where I pay tribute to those artists who have one great song in that year. For 1988, there are three of those who make it to this post. The first one is another example of artists who make it on one side of the Atlantic but not the other. In the UK, Voice of the Beehive will be forever known as one hit wonders for their punk-new wave energised hit, “I Say Nothing.” To my shame, that song has stuck with me ever since I heard it but never dug further. It is my understanding that Voice of the Beehive were much bigger in their native USA.

For the second one, I can’t use the I wasn’t in America at the time excuse because Enya hails from Ireland. My first wife was really into her and her former band Clannad. I never really delved into Enya that much but I do remember this amazing Celtic inspired song “Orinoco Flow.”

Song three comes courtesy of the Australian soap opera “Neighbours.” At the end of 1988, two of the top stars of the soap, played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue, were married. In the soap, not in real life and this song from fellow Aussie singer, Angry Anderson was the wedding’s theme song. To many, a song from a hard rocking bald buy was controversial but it worked and was a huge hit for him and even I like it. It’s a decent power ballad.

Have a listen to the three songs and take yourself back to 1988 and if you were born after, then just remember we had some great music in that year.

Next post: Doninington- Triumph and Tragedy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Traveling Wilburys- Vol. 1

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2022 by 80smetalman

It’s amazing what can happen! What started out as a B-side record turned into an album which went platinum worldwide. According to the story, George Harrison told Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne over dinner that he needed a track recording for his new album and asked Jeff and Roy to help out, to which they agreed. On the way, George stopped at Tom Petty’s house to pick up a guitar he had left there and ended up having Tom come along. He also asked Bob Dylan if they could use his garage to record in. Originally, Bob was just going to be a host but he joined and contributed songs as well and thus the Traveling Wilburys was born.

It was agreed that they would all use the surname and make up first names for their own personas. (See below.) The first song which came out of the collaboration was “Handle With Care,” which was a huge hit. At least everywhere but the USA, where it only got to #45. “Handle With Care” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Light, melodic folk rock songs which definitely puts the easy into easy listening. While there is a similarity in all of the songs, you can hear each Wilbury’s unique stamp in the them. “Dirty World” is definitely Bob Dylan while there is no mistaking Tom Petty on “Last Night” and you get classic Roy Orbison on “Not Alone Anymore.” However, each of the others back one another up with backing or accompanying vocals. The result is fantastic.

One question I asked at the time and I’m sure many others did was how could all of these rock giants make an album together without the clash of egos? I’m sure there might have been disagreements during the song writing and recording, after all, friends have them all of the time. But there is no sound of any of that when the music starts playing. Like I said earlier, they all seem to compliment each other on the songs.

Now for standout tracks. Of course you get the big singles, “Handle With Care” and the closer, “End of the Line,” which was also a single and George led. While I can’t say there’s a filler track on the album, I did pick out a hidden gem, which happens to be “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” It’s exclusively sung by Bob and from what I glean for the lyrics, it’s about two drug dealers on the run. It’s a dark song and the heavy guitar adds to the darkness. So does the chorus as the rest of the Wilburys sing “And the walls came down all the way to hell.” It’s brilliantly done.

Track Listing:

  1. Handle With Care
  2. Dirty World
  3. Rattled
  4. Last Night
  5. Not Alone Anymore
  6. Congratulations
  7. Heading for the Light
  8. Margarita
  9. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
  10. End of the Line
Traveling Wilburys

Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison)- lead and backing vocals, guitars, slide guitar

Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne)- lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, drums and cowbell on “Handle With Care”

Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. (Tom Petty)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar

Lefty Wilbury (Roy Orbison)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar

Lucky Wilbury (Bob Dylan)- lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Additional Musicians:

Buster Sidebury (Jim Keltner)- drums, percussion

Jim Horn- saxophone

Ray Cooper- percussion

Ian Wallace- tom toms

Two months after the album’s release, tragedy struck when Roy passed away from a sudden heart attack. However, the album would go onto win many awards and achieve great things. As one critic put it: The Traveling Wilburys was the greatest commercial coup of the decade. It turns out the elders of rock could teach the younger upstarts a thing or two.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1988

If anyone’s interested, I’ve written another wrestling script which is available to buy and download. Go to https://promixedwrestling.com/ and look for “Eva vs. Loxleigh- Grudge Match.”

Action from Eva vs. Loxleigh

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson