Archive for July, 2015

A Metal Tragedy: The Death of Randy Rhoads

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2015 by 80smetalman
Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads

Actually, I’m quite surprised that no one pointed this out when I posted my “Triumphs and Tragedies” post for 1982. While the death of John Belushi was certainly a tragic occurrence, for metalheads, the terrible loss of Randy Rhoads was a far bigger tragedy because on March 19, 1982, the world was robbed of a guitar god. That is why I felt that Rhoads’s death deserved its own post because for metalheads, his death overshadowed everything else in 1982 in the same way that John Lennon’s murder did for the world in 1980.

For any metalhead, it’s standard 101 to know that Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash on that tragic day in March, 1982 but it is only now that I have fully learned the full details behind the crash. The pilot had taken Randy and the band’s make up artist up in a small plane for a little bit of show boat flying. After making two successful attempts to fly close to the tour bus that was parked nearby, the pilot botched the third attempt, hitting the bus, severing the top of a pine tree before crashing into a garage of a nearby mansion. The contact with the bus forced Rhoads’s head to crash through the windscreen and then he was immediately incinerated when the plane exploded into a fireball after hitting the garage. While only God himself could have saved the three people in the plane, it still took over a half hour before the fire service arrived on the scene and then it was only one engine. This leads me to speculate two possible reasons for this. One was the fact that it was rural Florida and the local fire department would probably have been a volunteer one so there would have been a great delay in the response. The other, a result of me seeing anti- metal conspiracies all over the place, is the fact that the locals weren’t too bothered in responding quickly because it was a bunch of heavy metal people involved. In any case, heavy metal and the world lost a truly magnificent guitar player on that day.

Standard Metal knowledge 102 teaches that while Randy is no longer with us, his legacy will never die. From that fateful day, the tributes to Randy Rhodes and what he has done for music continue to pour in. His former band Quiet Riot dedicated a song to him on their next album and Ozzy Osbourne released a tribute album to Randy a few years after that and rest assured, I’ll be visiting both when the time comes. Young guitarists still study his guitar style and Jackson Guitars still sell a replica of the one he used to wow audiences with his playing. Randy might have only lived for 25 years (way too young) but his memory has lived on for the last 33 years and will go on forever. Here’s where I should urge everybody to go out and listen to some album where Randy appears. There’s really no need because I know that everybody reading this will have already done so in the recent past and will continue to do so well into the the future.

R.I.P. Randy Rhoads

Next post: Anvil- Metal on Metal

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Advertisements

R.IP. Justin Lowe and Other Ancedotes

Posted in 1980s, Death, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2015 by 80smetalman

Justin Lowe – a founding member of the Twin Cities heavy metal band After the Burial – has been found dead, weeks after his former bandmates expressed concern about his mental health.

The New Richmond News reports hikers discovered Lowe’s body Tuesday in Somerset, Wisconsin, beneath a bridge that spans the St. Croix River.

The St. Croix County sheriff’s department’s chief deputy, Scott Knudson, told the newspaper Lowe’s cause of death was consistent with a fall and no foul play is suspected. Knudson says Lowe had been reported missing on Saturday.

Justin Lowe

Justin Lowe

Lowe, 32, announced in a Facebook post last month that he was leaving After the Burial. The metal site Loudwire published Lowe’s lengthy announcement, in which the guitarist asserted there were various conspiracies against him.

The other members of After the Burial responded with a Facebook post of their own, in which they wrote: “Our dear friend, our brother onstage and off, has fallen into a very broken state of mind …. Justin is ill, and right now he needs more than ever to be shown that the world is not against him.”

Condolences and tributes from other metal bands quickly appeared on social media after Lowe’s death was announced Wednesday.

 

On the much more positive side, my last post brought back a few other memories. My old company gunnery sergeant, the one who told us not to make ourselves up to look like KISS, had a brief appearance in the 1982 film “Officer and a Gentleman.” Although google images wasn’t able to give me a picture of him from the film, his fifteen second slot was near the beginning of the film when the new recruits see a more advanced platoon run by and Lou Gossett Jr tells the recruits that they aren’t worthy to look at them. The sergeant was the one singing cadence to that platoon. He was also a technical adviser, teaching Gossett Jr how to call cadence.

On a further positive note, my Bloodstock tickets arrive yesterday and I’m getting pumped. Oh, the above wasn’t the tragedy I was going to post about, that will come next.

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: KISS- Creatures of the Night

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-COTN_album_cover

KISS, in 1982, were very much in danger of slipping into musical obscurity in the same way Aerosmith were at the time. Unlike, Aerosmith, it wasn’t drugs that were causing the slide, it was KISS  themselves. When I visited their album “Unmasked,” I pointed out that they seemed to be abandoning the hard rock sound that made them a household name, for good or ill, back in the 1970s. “Unmasked” was a deliberate lurch to more commercial sounds that was feared to have started when they released a disco tune on the “Dynasty” album and continued onto the 1981 “Music From the Elder” album, although the latter was an improvement on the predecessor. By 1982, people like me were starting to forget them. My biggest memory of them that year was the night before my battalion was starting its combat readiness evaluation. My company gunnery sergeant told us that when we applied the camouflage make up the next day, that we were not to make ourselves up to look like KISS.

Definitely not like KISS

Definitely not like KISS

What KISS needed was to go back to their heavy roots. One night, at my favourite rock bar on Okinawa, a video came on that made personal history. It was for the song “I Love it Loud” and from first strike of the guitar string, it was clear that KISS had gone back to what made them great. “I Love it Loud” is a complete rock out and since that fateful evening, it has been my all time favourite KISS song. I think the band knew that too because it would be another three years before I would finally get to see them live and they played that song for me. Even to this day, hearing that song makes me want to jump out of my seat.

Insert tired cliche here but one song does not make a good album and there are plenty of other great rockers on “Creatures of the Night.” In fact, there it is extremely difficult to pick one that isn’t. Even the power ballad “I Still Love You” rocks and rocks hard. Maybe back then, I should have played that one as opposed to “Beth” in my attempts to woo the ladies. While I can’t fault any track on the album, the ones that really do it most for me, apart from my all time fave, are “Rock and Roll Hell,” the title track,” “Killer,” “Saints and Sinners” and “War Machine” is the perfect closer to this album. It’s also the track for me where Vinnie Vincent comes into his own as a lead guitarist. What I said back then I reiterate now. When I heard “Creatures of the Night,” I concluded that KISS were truly back.

Track Listing:

1. Creatures of the Night

2. Saints and Sinners

3. Keep Me Coming

4. Rock and Roll Hell

5. Danger

6. I Love it Loud

7. I Still Love You

8. Killer

9. War Machine

KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Ace Frehley- lead guitar

Vinnie Vincent- lead guitar on tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9

Sometime during the recording of “Creatures of the Night,” lead guitarist Ace Frehley would be out and new guitarist Vinnie Vincent would be in. Thus the course of metal history would be changed in the KISS camp. Notice, I said metal here. That is because I believe that this album would be the first KISS album that I would truly call heavy metal.

Next post: A Tragic Loss for Metal

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Michael Schenker Group- One Night at Budokan

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-One_Night_at_Budokan

After letting their great studio album “Assault Attack” slip through my fingers, it was the live album from the Michael Schenker Group, “One Night at Budokan,” that I finally bought. This was because I was looking for one song in particular and although my record buying rule has always been never to buy a entire album on account of one song, I was so determined to get something with the song “Cry for the Nations” on it, that I broke my rule. On this occasion, my gamble paid off because not only I got the song I wanted, I got twelve other kick ass tracks as well.

“One Night at Budokan” adds the Michael Schenker Group to the list of bands I regret not having seen live. From what I hear on this album, I’m sure that they would have totally ruled in concert. Like with so many live albums, great guitarists just use their time in the spotlight to just let loose and Michael Schenker does that so well many times here. The most stand out for me is his efforts on “Lost Horizons.” Schenker just goes into a long mad solo and I find myself lapping up every second of it. Needless to say, though I’m going to anyway, his guitar work is just as mad on many of the other tracks and it’s a shame I took so long to recognize his talents.

Graham Bonnet does not appear on this live album but Gary Barden does an excellent job at the mike here. His vocals are enough to make me wonder why I haven’t heard him anywhere else. Another thing I didn’t acknowledge all of these years is that the Michael Schenker Group are part of the Deep Purple family tree. I have already pointed out Graham Bonnet but beating the drums on this album is none other than Cozy Powell. I don’t think I need to say any more about the quality of the drumming, do I? He is recognized on the album as he is introduced to the audience who show their appreciation to having such a great drummer on stage. With all of these elements in place, it is little wonder why “One Night at Budokan” is such a great live album and yes, they also do a great rendition of the song I was looking for in the first place.

Track Listing:

1. Armed and Ready

2. Cry for the Nations

3.  Attack of the Mad Axeman

4. But I Want More

5. Victim of Illusion

6. Into the Arena

7. On and On

8. Never Trust a Stranger

9. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

10. Courvoisier Concerto

11. Lost Horizons

12. Doctor, Doctor

13. Are You Ready to Rock

Michael Schenker Group (as on One Night at Budokan)

Michael Schenker Group (as on One Night at Budokan)

Michael Schenker- guitar

Gary Barden- vocals

Paul Raymond- rhythm guitar, keyboards

Chris Glen- bass

Cozy Powell- drums

Breaking my record buying rule on this occasion paid off. I got myself a killer live album. However, there will be a tale when I get to 1983 where doing the same would bite me on the bum. So for the moment, let us linger on the success with Michael Schenker Group.

On another note, it was an eleventh hour decision buy my step son and I will be going to this years Bloodstock Festival on the Friday only. For my step son, it will be the headliners Trivium  and Sabbaton that interest him. As for me, I’m dying to see Overkill, Armoured Saint and Nuclear Assault and of course, I will post a full account of the day.

Next post: KISS- Creatures of the Night

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Michael Schenker Group- Assault Attack

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Msgassault

There is a story from back in the day in which this album is involved but not in a good way. In the closing weeks of 1982, I was stationed on Okinawa. On most Saturday nights, my friends and I would hit this rock club about 10 miles from the base. I won’t go into too many details about the club as that is reserved for a future post but I will say that they had video screens which were state of the art back then. One song that received a lot of play on those screens was “Cry for the Nations” by Michael Schenker Group. I liked the song enough to want to check out the album. During my search, I assumed that the song was current, so I looked up their most current album at the time, “Assault Attack.” However, seeing that the desired song wasn’t on this album, I put it down and continued my search. After all these years, and finally listening to the album, I see what a fool I’ve been. The worst part was that I can’t blame being in the service for missing it because I had this album in my hands! Anyway, what I have learned that this album totally kicks ass.

When I posted “Great Guitarists of the 70s,” an old friend of mine stated that he would have added Michael Schenker to the list. While I wasn’t totally naive to the guitar mastery of Mr Schenker, it took this album to agree that he possibly should have been included, at the very least, in the group of underrated guitarists because this guy can play. What amazes me most is his versatile style. He lays down some great blues based riffs on “Rock You to the Ground” but goes more straight ahead metal with the likes of “Assault Attack,” Samurai” and “Desert Song.” Then he shines in the spotlight with the instrumental “Ulcer.” Bad joke alert: I did not get one after hearing that track. Anyway, I humbly beg Michael Schenker’s forgiveness in ignoring his guitar talents and make a vow to rectify that.

Of the lead singers who fronted Rainbow over the years, I must say that Graham Bonnet was always my least favourite. While Ronnie James Dio will always be my favourite, I even put Joe Lynn Turner above Bonnet. After listening to his vocals on “Assault Attack,” I am now in the mind that my feelings about that era of Rainbow were nothing to do with Graham but more to do with the songs they put out at the time; too commercial for me. Listening to him with MSG, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that he was the lead singer because his vocals are just superb on this album. One prime example is “Dancer” but he hits the notes on every song on the album. I have the feeling that I’m going to be eating a lot of humble pie after making this post because Graham, you rock here!

Track Listing:

1. Assault Attack

2. Rock You to the Ground

3. Dancer

4. Samurai

5. Desert Song

6. Broken Promises

7. Searching for a Reason

8. Ulcer

Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker- guitars

Graham Bonnet- vocals

Chris Glen- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

Tommy Eyre- keyboards

Cliched quotes like “all’s well that ends well” and “better late than never” are entering my mind in regards to this great album by the Michael Schenker Group. Unfortunately, none of them justify the fact that back in 1982, I literally let a fantastic album slip through my fingers. As for “Cry for the Nations,” I did find the song on a live album and that’s coming next.

Next post: Michael Schenker Group- One Night at Bukokan

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: April Wine- Power Play

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Power_Play_(April_Wine_album_cover)

When I returned from my second tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1982, I was quite excited to discover that April Wine had put out a new album. After all, their 1981 album “Nature of the Beast” was one of the albums that made that year for me. Therefore, it was logical for me to conclude that “Power Play” was going to be just as kick ass. Unfortunately, it wasn’t but the band should not hang their head in shame because the album didn’t make me want to remove it from the turntable and throw it directly in the bin. It really is a decent album.

First, let me get the obvious compare and contrast between “Power Play” and “Nature of the Beast” over and done with straight away. The main issue here is that with the previous album, April Wine recorded a power ballad that set the bar for all power ballads ever since. Expecting them to create another one as mind blowing as “Just Between You and Me” is asking them to make tea in a chocolate kettle. “Enough is Enough,” “What if We Fall in Love” and “Tell Me Why” don’t come close to touching the bar but on the other hand, I didn’t find myself wanting to hit the fast forward button when those songs came on. With hindsight, that could be the problem with this album. Maybe the band was too engrossed in writing another kick ass power ballad, that it detracted from the rest of the album.

When they weren’t focusing on power ballads, the rest of the album is pretty good. I love the opener, “Anything You Want, You Got It.” When I first heard it back then and even now, I think that this is a great start to what I hoped would be a great album. The song really does rock. Furthermore, I like the guitar work on “Waiting on a Miracle.” It proves that April Wine still had a trick or two up their metal sleeves. I can say the same for “Doing it Right,” another really good rocking song. Those three songs redeem the album for me.

Now let’s go to what some called the “ostrich in the room.” Yes, I mean the song “If You See Kay” and yes I know, everyone sees the innuendo here. I too, admit that I thought the song was going to be a shitty song disguised by an amusing sounding name but I have to admit, it’s not that bad. The down side to it is I think that the band wasn’t sure whether to make it a power ballad or a rocker, it kind of lingers in between both nor is there anything rude about the lyrics. It’s just about a girl named Kay.

Track Listing:

1. Anything You Want, You Got It

2. Enough is Enough

3. If You See Kay

4. What if We Fall in Love

5. Waiting for a Miracle

6. Doing it Right

7. Ain’t Got Your Love

8. Blood Money

9. Tell Me Why

10. Runners in the Night

April Wine

April Wine

Myles Goodwin- vocals, guitars, keyboards

Gary Moffet- guitars, backing vocals

Steve Lang- bass, backing vocals

Brian Greenway- vocals, guitars

Jerry Mercer- drums

The fact that “Power Play” didn’t live up to the expectations set by its predecessor made some of the less informed at the time dismiss them as one album wonders. They obviously never to listened to the early albums. I did and I can say how good they were. However, like I said, while the album isn’t as good as the previous, it’s still a pretty good album and it was a good one to come home to.

Next post: Michael Schenker Group- Assault Attack

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Judas Priest- Screaming For Vengeance

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Judas_Priest_SforV

For many people, “Screaming for Vengeance” is the defining album from Judas Priest. Even those who don’t declare it as their favourite Priest album always say it’s in their top three. It is no real surprise to why everyone rates this album so highly, it’s just that damn good. I won’t debate this fact because while “British Steel” was the album that got me interested in Judas Priest, it was this album that made me a Priest follower in the true sense.

What was a bonus for “Screaming for Vengeance” was the fact that they had a hit single from it. “You Got Another Thing Comin'” actually got airplay on both UK and US radio and actually got to number four on the Billboard Charts. It is still probably the song they’re best known for and when I saw them live in 2009, it was the concert closer. I can’t say for sure if it’s my number one all time Priest fave, (there are too many great songs to choose from) but it’s up there. It’s impact on me was so great that the lyrics appear in the opening scene of “Rock and Roll Children.”

They may have had a great single but Judas Priest were never going to be a top 40 band. The successful single was a bonus and there are so many great songs on “Screaming for Vengeance” that it doesn’t matter. “Electric Eye” is another well known song and it rocks just as much. “Bloodstone,” “Devil’s Child” and “Pain and Pleasure” are other songs which tickle my fancy but that doesn’t take anything away from the rest of the album. Each song has the true Judas Priest stamp on them and each one must be played at maximum volume with plenty of room to bang your head. It’s the only way to appreciate such fantastic music.

Track Listing:

1. The Hellion

2. Electric Eye

3. Riding on the Wind

4. Bloodstone

5. (Take These) Chains

6. Pain and Pleasure

7. Screaming for Vengeance

8. You Got Another Thing Comin’

9. Fever

10. Devil’s Child

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Rob Halford- vocals

Glenn Tipton- guitar

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

Dave Holland- drums

I must say, the one thing I resent about being in the military in 1982 was that I practically missed the entire New Wave of British Heavy Metal that landed in America in that year. If I had been there, I would have definitely soaked it up completely. It was only by chance that I heard the big single on the radio and more than a year before I got to listen to the album in its entirely. Fortunately, I managed to enjoy it in retrospect so I didn’t miss any of the great metal albums like this one from Judas Priest.

Next post: April Wine- Power Play

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London