Archive for March, 2011

Is Canadian Metal Ignored? Part 2

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2011 by 80smetalman

                                                               

I realised after I posted last week that I left out another great Canadian band, Triumph. In the early to mid 1980s, this Canadian trio had a string of cool albums and some great singles as well. I reminded myself of this the other day when on one of my walks while listening to my MP3, I had the fortune of hearing the songs “Spellbound” and “A World of Fantasy.” Both of these are killer songs and made Triumph the great metal band they were back in the 80s. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to see them live, but I know people who have and all of them have said wonderful things about Triumph’s live shows. Made me jealous. Although some magazine rated Triumph second in the category of “Bands who think they’re tough, but they’re not,” Triumph were a brilliant band. (However, I wouldn’t debate Night Ranger being voted number one in that category.)

This brings me to my personal favourite Canadian metal band of all time, The Killer Dwarfs. I first heard them on a heavy metal compilation album called “Metal For Breakfast” on the former label Attic Records. The song on that album, “Heavy Mental Breakdown” was good enough for me to buy the album, although the name of the band was enough for me to check them out more. I’m very glad I did because their first four albums, “Killer Dwarfs,” “Stand Tall,” “Big Deal” and “Dirty Weapons” improved with each new album.Then in 1988, I had the pleasure of seeing them open for Iron Maiden in London. It still perplexes me to this day why they never achieved more success.

Other Canadian bands who deserve a mention are The Jitters who I saw open for Heart in 1988 at Wembley Arena and I was very impressedand I have just recently heard a band called Derailed and can recommend them too. Finally, I had another listen to the Anvil album “This is Thirteen” and I must say that it is even better than I first thought. So please, let’s not boycott Canada.

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Is Canadian Metal Ignored? Lee Aaron and Anvil

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by 80smetalman

  The release of the new album by Anvil has brought much debate to heavy metal blogs in recent weeks. It seems that most people either really love Anvil or really hate them. Those who love them call Anvil “The best band never to get a break” while others who hate Anvil say they never got a break because they suck. I am one of the ones who love Anvil and if you want band who is worse, then look no further than Voi Vod. Like Anvil, Voi Vod also come from Canada and having seen them twice, I can only describe them as being so bad that they’re good.

This brings me to my point. There are many bands that have come out of Canada who have never seemed to have had their break. Of course there have been the acts who have had their break like Rush, Bryan Adams and Loverboy, but there have been many other Canadian rock and metal acts who got close but just weren’t lucky enough. Anvil is included here. The first and maybe foremost of this group is the lovely Lee Aaron. Back in the 80s, this lovely maiden of metal not only became a pin up for young male metal heads, she put out some music which really rocked. I still enjoy her albums Metal Queen and Call of the Wild. Furthermore, she was on at least one occasion voted Female Sex Objekt by Kerrang Magazine. Some say that she commercialed out a bit on her Powerline album by adding keyboards, but the album is still pretty good.

So, if you should have a copy of any of Lee Aaron’s material, put it on and reminise about a time forgotten. Her music and her looks are bound to put a smile on most faces. In any case, you should at least have a listen to the new Anvil album, Juggernaut of Justice and make your own mind up.

The 80s were the golden age of heavy metal!

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by 80smetalman

Over the past few months, since I started this blog, I have maintained that the 1980s was a golden age in heavy metal.  After much debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that it defintely was the golden age. My first piece of evidence is the Bloodstock Festival. In 2010, Twisted Sister, a famous band from the 80s, headlined on the final day of the festival. They drew the largest crowd and won accolades from both young and old on the day. Furthermore, the band Heaven and Hell were also due to play Bloodstock but they had to pull out due to the death of Ronnie James Dio. Many bands during the 3 days paid tribute to the great Dio and how much of an influence he was on the metal scene.

It seems that in 2011, the promoters of Bloodstock have chosen other great bands from the 80s to play the festival. Headlining on two of the three nights are two memorable bands from that greast decade, Motorhead and WASP. I realise that Motorhead began in the 70s, but they continued to awe millions with their brand of music throughout the 8os as well. As for WASP, in 1986 I bought their album “The Last Command” because it was the first album to have a PMRC sticker on it. Other bands form the 80s who will be playing Bloodstock are Exodus, Napalm Death and Kreator.

It’s not just Bloodstock that has these great shows. There are others like Download which include bands from the 80s. Last year, I believe Iron Maiden and Motley Crue played there. Likewise, there is another festival with the likes of Def Leppard and of course there is the Judas Priest farewell tour with Queensryche and a new release from Whitesnake. Kiss, Megadeth, Metallica and many other famous bands from the 80s are still going strong. True, their records sales may not be as astronomical as they were in the 80s, but over the years, they have amassed a huge following who still buy their albums and go to their concerts. Therefore, this leads me to conclude that the 80s truly was “The Golden Age of Heavy Metal.”

p.s. You can read an account of 80s metal in my book Rock And Roll Children.

The Sun- Is it anti- heavy metal

Posted in Heavy Metal with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by 80smetalman

Since I came to Britain in 1986, I have always known that the newspaper “The Sun” was a great national newspaper. As a sexually repressed young American, I first thought the idea of a topless woman wearing just her panties on page 3 was something of great amusement. However, my left wing leaning soon took over and I found myself sympathising with the printers who were put out of work by Mr. Murdoch and slightly agreeing with some ladies who claimed that Page 3 treated women like cattle. Nowadays, I’m more of a realist and see the grey in a lot of things.

However, through all of this, there is one thing I have always suspected of this great national newspaper and I am finally going to put it here. As a long time metal head who has been listening to heavy metal music forever, I believe that The Sun is anti heavy metal. My reason is some of the statements that The Sun has made in the past about heavy metal, the artists and the people who listen to it.

First of these was back in 1988 after two people were crushed to death at the Donnington Festival. While The Sun did report on the tradegy, I remember it doing so in a way that metal heads were not shown in a positive light. The paper seemed to focus on the concert past time of throwing plastic bottles around the audience and gave the impression that this may have caused the tragedy. After all, the concert was attended by a bunch of greasy rockers. I can’t help myself in believing that had it been Wham! or Madonna or one hit wonder Glen Madeiros, The Sun would have made it more of a case for mourning.

My other two facts are based on more recent events. The first was a few years ago when the great Wembley Stadium was rebuilt. At the intended finish of the new stadium, the first event was going to be a concert by Bon Jovi.  When it wasn’t going to be finished in time, The Sun commented that, “At least we’re spared the disgrace of Wembley being opened by Bon Jovi.” Now there are two reasons The Sun may have said this. First, the fact that it would have been an American act opening a British stadium. However, The Sun seems to love it when British artists like The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and The Who played at the most American of all events, the Super Bowl. Therefore, I feel more inclined to sumise that The Sun’s main problem was that Bon Jovi are considered a heavy rock/metal act and we wouldn’t want a bunch of metal heads spoiling a great place like Wembley, would we? I suppose The Sun would have preferred drug driving George Michael or the late Michael Jackson to open Wembley.

My next example occurred back in 2009 with the Christmas charts countdown. Everyone was predicting the winner of the X Factor to be the Christmas  number one, but it was beaten out by Rage Against the Machine. The Sun did not seemed pleased about this at all. In attempt to prevent Rage Against the Machine becoming number one, The Sun printed some of the more morbid lyrics from the song stating that it was not appropriate for a Christmas song. Maybe true, but I ask myself, had it been more of a mainstream act, would The Sun have been so blatantly opposed to it beating out the X Factor winner to number one.

Another less obvious example is at the end of 2010 when The Sun mentioned all the celebrities who passed away last year. Absent from that list was the great Ronnie James Dio who many in the heavy metal world revere as a hero or even a God. Other British newspapers reported his death and blogs and facebook pages were full of people showing genuine outpourings of grief for RJD. So, why didn’t The Sun even mention his passing? Obvious answer, because he is a heavy metal artist.

Being an open minded person, I will give The Sun credit where it’s due. They did run an article on Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson when he, a qualified pilot, flew a plane to pick up passengers who were left stranded abroad. My memory is foggy here, but I believe they were stranded due to the sudden collapse of the airline, but Bruce Dickinson was one of the pilots who volunteered to go and get them and The Sun ran a full page article on him for it. Well done!

I have submitted my evidence for all to read and make up their own minds as to whether or not The Sun is anti- heavy metal. I hope that somehow, this blog reaches the attention of the newspaper itself and will answer ramblings here. Let’s just see.