Archive for December, 2015

Happy New Year 2016!

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by 80smetalman

For the first time in seven years with the company, I am working a sleepover on New Year’s Eve. At least I get double time for it. Therefore, I will wish everyone a happy new year now and reflect on 2015 and what there is to look forward to for 2016.

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

Huntress

Huntress

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

The year started with a great concert in Bristol featuring Amon Amarth with special guests, Huntress and Savage Messiah. I can’t think of a better way to start any year. While it seemed that on some occasions in the year, I was in danger of disappearing up my own rectum, with work, blogging and other commitments, music of past and present kept me sane. Although, I did have a wonderful break in August to go to Bloodstock and see three bands, two of them I missed in the 80s and the third, I was too partied out to fully appreciate them. They were Nuclear Assault, Armoured Saint and Overkill plus I headbanged to the likes of Sabbaton and Trivium that day while discovering a great little known band in Fire Red Empress. I hope the new year brings all of those bands greater success.

Overkill playing to the crowd

Overkill playing to the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Nuclear Assault  in full assault

Nuclear Assault in full assault

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Trivium in full swing

Trivium in full swing

As so many of you have pointed out, there was some great music throughout the year with new releases from Iron Maiden, Queensryche and the Scorpions to name a few. Plus there was a new album from The Darkness. Let’s hope their resurgence continues into the new year.

imbos

Of course, we can’t forget out losses with the recent passing of Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. Two-thirds of a great band gone in the same year is nothing short of a tragedy. However, I am confident that they are jamming away together in another place. On a personal, non musical note, the year also saw the final episode of my favourite television show, “Sons of Anarchy.” Fortunately, my eldest step son got me the entire series on DVD for Christmas, so there will be some happy viewing for me.

Lemmy

Lemmy

20121115-sons-of-anarchy-306x306-1352997102

Like with every year, the new year gives everyone a chance for a new start or things to look forward to. For me, while Sons of Anarchy is gone, I still can watch “The Blacklist” and so far in season 3, I like what I’m seeing. Then there’s the chance to see Twisted Sister’s farewell gig at Bloodstock this year. That is something I intend to move mountains to go to.

blacklist

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister

So it leads me to say that whatever your hopes and dreams for the new year are, I hope it all works out for you. Just remember one thing, no matter what the year may bring, there will always be some great music to keep you going.

Happy New Year!

 

 

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R.I.P. Lemmy

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2015 by 80smetalman
Lemmy

Lemmy

My wife broke the sad news to me this morning and it’s already all over Facebook. Last night, heavy metal suffered its most tragic loss since Ronnie James Dio with the passing of Motorhead bassist and singer Lemmy Kilmister, who died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

Ace_of_Spades

It would simply be a case of preaching to the choir if I start spouting how valuable Lemmy was to heavy metal. He defined a whole new style of bass playing and had a voice that you will never forget. But Lemmy was more than just some stereotypical metal musician. Many of his songs spoke about history, his disdain for authority and even wasn’t afraid to take on the issue of child abuse, (Daddy Don’t Kiss Me.) Furthermore and this is a given, he was a major architect behind the creation of thrash metal. Motorhead were certainly pioneers in that field.

My main regret is that I don’t paint a good picture of him in “Rock and Roll Children.” See, the night I saw Motorhead live in New York, he spent the entire night complaining about the sound and to some, he came across as a bit of an asshole. My reaction to his complaints was that he sounded fine to me, so he should shut up and play. Fortunately, I would see him again at a later date and he had no complaints about the sound, Motorhead just beat your ears to death like they always do. So, I hope he forgives me for this because right now, Lemmy joins Ronnie and so many of the other great musicians who are no longer with us and are jamming away together in a better place.

R.I.P. Lemmy

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Pink Floyd- The Final Cut

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2015 by 80smetalman

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and that you got all the music you wanted and you over indulged in good food and drink. I know I did and I drank both my gift bottles of The Trooper and Bohemian Lager. Plus, I introduced the game of beer pong to my step children.

Photo0053[1]

Photo0055[1]

beer pong

beer pong

Now onto the album…

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Like most of the world, I was really excited to hear that Pink Floyd released a new album in 1983. While I was beginning to wean myself off being influenced by what others said about a particular album in my decision to buy it, it wasn’t the case here. “The Final Cut,” at least in my surroundings was slammed mercilessly by deejays, critics and some people I knew who bought it. Therefore, I didn’t. After all, it seemed everybody was saying that the album sucked.

What I and many other people should have realized back then was that any album from Pink Floyd would have a very difficult time following up their mega giant, “The Wall.” That album will always been known as one of the greatest albums of all time, as was their other classic, “Dark Side of the Moon.” Now as I am much older and wiser, (that’s a matter for debate), I am able to listen to “The Final Cut” with a much more open mind.

220px-PinkFloydWallCoverOriginalNoText

pfdom

First and foremost, “The Final Cut” doesn’t suck in the least but I will make the predictable statement that it doesn’t compare to either of the two classic albums shown above. In fact, I hear reminders of both those albums and their 1977 “Animals” album in it. Except unlike that last mentioned album, there are no ten minute long songs on this album. Saying that, on this album, Pink Floyd do make use of sound effects, which was trademark for them throughout the 1970s and early 80s. But what I noticed straight away is that the songs, at least the first few, take shots at Margaret Thatcher.

Pink_Floyd-Animals-Frontal

What Roger Waters was trying to convey in the album was his frustration of seeing all of the liberal achievements made after World War II, where he lost his father, being eroded away by the election of Thatcher. In the very first song, Waters asks “What have we done, Maggie, what have we done? What have we done to England?” I admit that in 1983, lyrics like these would have been lost on me but today I totally understand the meaning.

Maybe it was the fact that many people weren’t quite ready for music to become too political at the time. My eyes were only opening up to such things. However, I think the music to the album is very typical of Pink Floyd and is why I loved listening to them all of these years. Like with any Floyd album, I could easily pop this one on, kick back on the couch and get absorbed into it while puffing the magic dragon. Only now, I would appreciate the lyrics to the songs much more. For me, the standout songs are the title track and “Not Now John,” which I now remember hearing on the radio and watching the video for back then.

Track Listing:

  1. Post War Dream
  2. Your Possible Pasts
  3. One of the Few
  4. The Hero’s Return
  5. The Gunner’s Dream
  6. Paranoid Eyes
  7. Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
  8. The Fletcher Memorial Home
  9. Southampton Dock
  10. The Final Cut
  11. Not Now John
  12. Two Suns in the Sunset

pinkfloyd

Roger Waters- vocals, bass

David Gilmour- guitar, vocals

Nick Mason- drums

Additional Musicians

Michael Kamen- piano, harmonium

Andy Bown- organ

Ray Cooper- percussion

Raphael Ravenscroft- tenor sax

Forget what the critics said, “The Final Cut” is a good album from Pink Floyd. It contains all that I came to love about this band. Unfortunately, it would be the last one that this particular line up would record together.

Next post: Todd Rundgren- The Ever Tortured Artist Effect

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

Merry Maiden Christmas!

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2015 by 80smetalman

Like everyone else in the Western world, I too will be taking a short break over the festive season. I was thinking of posting my second top ten Christmas songs and they too would have been Bob Rivers heavy but a better idea has come up. Having visited my younger son and daughter last week and exchanging gifts, (my daughter is spending Christmas in Norway, at least she has a chance at seeing a white Christmas)I was delighted to receive the new Iron Maiden album, “Book of Souls,” from them. Naturally, I had to play it for the journey home and the album is fantastic. The songs on it just click and their are some really good guitar solos on it, I’m impressed.

imbos

Then last weekend, we made the pre- Christmas trip to visit the mother in law and remaining step children who still live up in Grimsby. Another present exchange went down and what should I get from my eldest step daughter? Well, it was an Iron Maiden t-shirt. That was cool, since my last one I had was over 25 years ago. Since I got these cool gifts, I have decided that this must be an Iron Maiden themed Christmas.

cool t-shirt huh?

cool t-shirt huh?

Since it’s become a tradition, after it became available three and a half years ago, I always buy a couple of bottles of “The Trooper” to enjoy the festivities and have done so. However, this year there has been an added bonus. Last week at my local supermarket, I saw a special featuring The Trooper in a cool looking case, which housed the bottle and a pint glass. Added bonus was it was on sale along with some other themed beers at two for £8, ($12). No, I didn’t buy another Trooper, instead, there was a beer celebrating the fortieth year since the release of the Queen classic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” So, I bought a bottle of Bohemian lager.

I'll show you what's inside next post

I’ll show you what’s inside next post

That’s my yule holiday sorted. No matter how you celebrate this year, whether anyone will join me in the Maiden Christmas or celebrate it in the theme of another band, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

p.s. If you’re stuck for a present, you could always give someone a copy of “Rock and Roll Children.”

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

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

Great Rock Albums of 1983: DNA- Party Tested

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

dnapartytested

We all have songs and albums that we listened to many years ago which still pop up in our minds after all these years. For me, when I began to reflect back to the music of 1983, there was one such band that immediately came to mind. I remember DNA getting plenty of air play in the spring of said year although it was only when I refamiliarised myself with them that I remembered the song in question was “Doctors of the Universe.” Now, this could have qualified them as one hit wonders but I did hear the album “Party Tested” once upon a time and remember liking it. Why I never bought it is something I can not understand. Besides any album made by guitar great Rick Derringer and drumming ace Carmine Appice has to be worth, not only a listen but a post on its own.

Let me tell you that listening to “Doctors of the Universe” after more than thirty years did get me in a party mood. I forgot just how catchy that song was then and now. It starts with a hard guitar riff then comes the hook of the keyboards. They sound clean without going totally synth pop, which was the bucking trend at the time. Then there’s the chorus which you want to sing again and again.

“We are the doctors of the universe, we twist your DNA we like our work”

Needless to say, the guitar solo by Rick, while not a belter, is sufficient for this song.

Listening to the rest of “Party Tested” is like seeing an old friend whom you haven’t seen in years. The old familiarites come back instantly. Most of the songs gave me the distinct impression of “Oh yeah, I remember this one.” That is especially the case of the following track, “Intellectual Freedom for the Masses.” But even more so with track three, “Rock and Roll, Part 2.” I definitely heard that one before and fairly recently. It took me a few minutes of laying nude in the grass in deep contemplation, okay maybe not the nudity in the grass, too cold for that but I do remember where I heard it. It was from an episode of South Park where the new kid brings dance to the school. However, he would rather play basketball but his father makes him dance and bitch slaps anyone who opposes him. They play “Rock and Roll Part 2” at the basketball game at the end to which the father gets up and gets into the song. Of course, that song could have that effect on people.

The bitch-slapping dancing father

The bitch-slapping dancing father

Track four, “The Song That Wrote Itself” is the first noticeable one where Rick Derringer shows why he should be counted among the guitar greats. He really jams out here and while his guitar presence isn’t as in your face as the mentioned song, it is enough to hook you. The title track is definitely one for that and I have to say that “What About?” is a better than decent closer. One thing I must point out is that if you’re expecting major drum solos from Carmine, there are none to be had on “Party Tested.” He doesn’t need to as his drumming is as good as ever on the album. In fact, I will venture forth the opinion that he and bassist Jimmy Johnson make a damn fine rhythm section.

Track Listing:

  1. Doctors of the Universe
  2. Intellectual Freedom for the Masses
  3. Rock And Roll Part 2
  4. The Song That Wrote Itself
  5. Party Tested
  6. The Recipe For Life
  7. What About?
Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice

Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice

Carmine Appice- drums, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar, vocals

Jimmy Johnson- bass

Duane Hitchings- keyboards

I am hoping that when people read about this album, they respond with, “Oh yes, I remember them, that song/album” but I fear that it might draw a blank. Therefore, your assignment should be to have a listen to “Party Tested.” It will get you in the party mood and what a better way to do that in the run up to the holiday season.

Next post: Christmas

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 Rock Albums of 1983: Weird Al Yankovic

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Weird_Al_Yankovic

Madness had finally broken through to America and Frank Zappa put out a fantastic album but if there was any more proof needed to forward the belief that 1983 was a good year for humour in music, it would be the debut album of Weird Al Yankovic. In fact, since this year, many people would forever compare Weird Al with Frank on account of their love of humour. So much so, that twenty years after this album, Weird Al would have a track on an album that if you didn’t know any better, you would think it was Zappa himself. As for me though, it would only be the humour and the fact that both are true musical geniuses being the only things they have in common. They have totally different styles.

Hearing the tracks “Ricky” and “Stop Dragging My Car Around” on the radio in the spring of this year would convert me to Weird Al forever and I don’t care if people think I’m sad for it, (some do.) Those songs had me rolling on the floor in laughter and when I heard it, so did the self titled debut album. Nobody, now or then, does parody better than he does. What’s even more impressive is how he is able to adjust to the musical style of the song he’s parodying even if he sometimes does it with an accordion. That’s another amazing thing about him, no one else has been able to employ an accordion in rock songs the way he does.

On the debut album, the parodies come thick and fast. Not only do many of them take the piss out of classic songs, they are also parody other things. Take the two already mentioned. “Ricky” is obviously a parody of one hit wonder Toni Basil’s “Mickey” but it also parodies the old “I Love Lucy” show. Same with “Stop Dragging My Car Around.” Yes, it’s a humourous version of the classic Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” but it also rips on the the culture of towing cars away. Other great ones are “Another One Rides the Bus,” which is a parody of a Queen classic and if you have ever ridden on a crowded bus, then you would appreciate the sentiments on this song. Others great parodies are “My Bologna” which pokes fun at The Knack’s “My Sharona and “I Love Rocky Road,” a dig at the famous Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song. However, not all of Weird Al’s songs parody other songs. Some are just simple digs about other things. “Buckingham Blues” makes fun of the Royal Family. “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” is a dig at the hippy culture. Then there’s “Gotta Boogie,” let me just say this song has nothing to do with dancing. In any case, unless you have no sense of humour at all, and there are people out there who do, you can’t stop laughing out loud at the songs from this album. Weird Al proves to the world just how weird he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Ricky
  2. Gotta Boogie
  3. I Love Rocky Road
  4. Buckingham Blues
  5. Happy Birthday
  6. Stop Dragging My Car Around
  7. My Bolgna
  8. The Check’s in the Mail
  9. Another One Rides the Bus
  10. I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead
  11. Such a Groovy Guy
  12. Mr Frump in the Iron Lung
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- accordion, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar

Steve Jay- bass

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rich Bennett- ukulele, banjo, guitar

William K Anderson- saxophone, harmonica

Joel Miller- bongos

Mike Kieffer- percussion

Dorothy Ramsen- harp

Tress MacNeille- voice of Lucy Ricardo on “Ricky”

Dawn Smythey, Zaidee  Cole, Joan Manners- backing vocals

Weird Al Yankovic, along with Frank Zappa of course, proved to the world in 1983 that humour and music could go together. The debut album from Weird Al continues to have me in stitches each time listen to it.

Next post: DNA- Party Tested

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 Rock Albums of 1983: Frank Zappa- The Man From Utopia

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Man_From_Utopia

If there was any more evidence to further my belief that 1983 was the year for humour in music, then it would have to be the album “The Man From Utopia” by Frank Zappa. For over a decade and a half before the release of this album, Frank had been successfully carrying out a two pronged assault of making some fantastic music while at the same time, making us laugh our asses off with his humourous lyrics. In the late 1970s, listening to Zappa was practically a requirement at my high school. 1983 would be the year that one of his songs would actually get airplay on commercial radio. Before that, his only access to radio play was via the Dr Demento Show. Yes, I know that “Valley Girl” broke into the top forty charts in 1982 but that song will always be associated with his daughter Moon.

Doctor Demento

Doctor Demento

That all changed when one day, while listening to the one decent rock station in Jacksonville, North Carolina, I heard the track “Cocaine Decisions.” Okay, the song never broke the top forty singles chart, but who really cares about that? I just thought it was great to hear Frank on the radio. True, “Cocaine Decisions” is an anti drug song. However, it is not aimed at the common man. Instead it pokes fun at all the high class executives who used to snort. There was a saying back in the 80s that went, “Cocaine was God’s way of telling you that you make too much money.” Frank’s song parodies that.

The rest of the album consists of everything that Frank Zappa has been doing to entertain us for all those years. There are a load of great parody songs on the album. At first, I thought “The Radio is Broken” was going to be about a broken radio. Instead, Frank is being a kind of prophet here. It would only be less than two years later when, in my view, commercial radio started to suck. This song is about that.

Then there’s “The Dangerous Kitchen.” This one takes the piss out of the rising health and safety culture and look where it is now these days. The track “The Jazz Discharge Party Hats” rips on musicians trying to get laid after every gig. However, my favourite track on “The Man From Utopia” is “The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou.” While the song is done with the usual Zappa sense of humour, there is a serious side to it. It’s about a down trodden housewife who gets away but then gets revenge by fleecing men. It is on this track that Ray White’s underrated vocals come out. Oh yes, “Sex” is a pretty funny track too.

If I were to nit pick anything about the album, it would be the absence of Frank Zappa’s guitar playing ability. He doesn’t go into any great solos and it could be said that there is a lack of guitar great Steve Vai’s skills. Honestly, I’m not really bothered. There are three instrumentals, “Tink Walks Amok,” “We’re Not Alone” and “Moggio,” on the album and they all boast the great musicianship from the people Frank gets to play on his albums. I think that “The Man From Utopia” might be his best album since “Joe’s Garage Act 1.”

Track Listing (CD)

  1. Cocaine Decisions
  2. Sex
  3. Tink Walks Amok
  4. The Radio is Broken
  5. We’re Not Alone
  6. The Dangerous Kitchen
  7. The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
  8. Stick Together
  9. The Jazz Discharge Party Hats
  10. Luigi and the Wise Guys
  11. Moggio
Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, guitar, drum machine

Steve Vai- guitars

Ray White- guitar, vocals

Roy Estrada- vocals

Bob Harris- boy soprano

Ike Willis- vocals

Bobby Martin- keyboards, saxophone, vocals

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Arthur Barrow- bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards

Ed Mann- percussion

Scott Thunes- bass

Chris Wackerman- drums

Vinnie Colaiuta- drums

Craig Twister Stewart- harmonica

Dick Fegy- mandolin

Marty Krystall- saxophone

Frank Zappa was still going strong in 1983 as “The Man From Utopia” shows. After all, if 1983 was a year for humour in music to step forward, it wouldn’t have been able to do so without Frank.

I have also made a rather disappointing discovery. As a teen forty years ago, I thought that by now, 2015, wars would no longer exist but there would be ROLLERBALL!

Rollerball

Rollerball

Next post: Weird Al Yankovick

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