Archive for October, 2019

Great Pop Albums of 1986: The Bangles- Different Light

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2019 by 80smetalman

The_Bangles_-_Different_Light

Clear cut proof that I’m mellowing a little with old age. When the Bangles’ second album, “Different Light,” came out in early 1986,  I pretty much ignored it. The first single, “Manic Monday,” proved to me that they had gone from the new wave sound of their debut album, “All Over the Place,” and had become a top forty band. My thoughts at the time was while the piano sound of the song was unique, it lacked the power chords I was so seeking that year.

Now that I am older and more musically open-minded, I decided to give the album a chance. After a couple of listens, I will be first to say that it doesn’t change my thoughts that the Bangles were going for commercial success. There are no tracks I can say really rock out. The closest comes with the third single from the album, “Walk Like an Egyptian” and the track “Angels Don’t Fall in Love.” The former is the only real track where lead guitarist Vicki Steele does any real shredding.

It is on the non single tracks where any resemblance to the new wave sound of the debut album can be found. This does not go onto mean that the album totally sucks. I like what they did on the track, “Standing in the Hallway,” with the jazz sound. Have to give the girls credit for stretching out on this one, as it’s nicely done. They go sixties meets new wave on “Return Post.” When you listen close enough, the talent of the band does show. But if I have to pick a favourite track, and it was easier than what I’m leading on, it has to be the second single, “If She Knew What She Wants.” It’s presented as a ballad but there is a guitar sound on the song which captures my attention. It’s almost a power ballad.

“Different Light” does explode one major misconception I’ve always had about the Bangles. It is widely held that Susanna Hoffs does most of the lead vocals. True, she sings most of the singles, but on the album, the vocal duties are pretty much split between the four of them. Something which has been pointed out about the Beatles and KISS. One must give them credit for the vocal talents. In fact, three members of the band sing lead on “Walk Like an Egyptian,” and they sing as a group on “Let It Go,” which is the closest song to the new wave sound of the previous album. It would have been a match if it wasn’t for the piano, not really needed there.

Track Listing:

  1. Manic Monday
  2. Different Light
  3. Walking Down Your Street
  4. Walk Like an Egyptian
  5. Standing in the Hallway
  6. Return Post
  7. If She Knew What She Wants
  8. Let It Go
  9. September Gurls
  10. Angels Don’t Fall in Love
  11. Following
  12. Not Like You
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The Bangles

Susanna Hoffs- lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar

Vicki Petersen- lead and backing vocals, lead guitar

Michael Steel- lead and backing vocals, bass

Debbi Petersen- lead and backing vocals, drums, percussion

Additional Musicians

Prince- all other instruments on “Manic Monday”

Rusty Anderson- additional guitars

Barbra Chapman- harp, additional guitars

Mitchell Froome, David Kahne- keyboards

Carlos Vega- additional drums

William Jones- electric sitar

For me, the argument is put to rest. The Bangles’ “Different Light” album is not the new wave rocker the band’s debut was. I will say that it does stand above many of the other pop albums that were coming out at the time. These ladies were all great singers and musicians and if they had been allowed to rock out more, I would have counted them among the greats.

Next post: The Divinyls- What a Life

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://tavacountnec.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1986: 38 Special- Strength in Numbers

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2019 by 80smetalman

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In memorial to the recent passing of 38 Special’s bassist, Larry Junstrom, I thought it only right to kick off the tour of 1986 with the band’s album from that year, “Strength in Numbers.” On reflection back to when the album first came out, I had some concerns when I heard it had been released. When I reviewed their previous album, “Tour de Force” from 1983, I stated that the quality of 38 Special albums had declined with each album. With the previous album, I thought it was okay but that was it. Therefore, I was sort of expecting the next album to suck.

Here’s the paradox of things back then. When I saw and heard the first single from “Strength in Numbers,” “Like No Other Night,” I thought it sounded alright. Not as hard rocking as the material from classics like “Rockin’ Into the Night” or “Wild Eyed Southern Boys,” but the song was okay and maybe it was worth an investment. However, since I saw the song as an MTV video, it was the band’s change in image which really shocked me. Gone was the huge cap of Larry Junstrom and Donnie Van Zant’s Spanish cowboy hat. Instead, they were all wearing trendy 80s style suits and sporting mullets. I could have stomached that but what was the shit kicker for me was listening to guitarists Don Barnes and Jeff Carlisi in a radio interview. They stated that they had shed their “Southern” image and although they didn’t use the terms, basically stated that they were trying to be a top forty band. For me, that was too much. In my mind, using a term widely used in the 1980s, 38 Special had sold out!

Thirty-three years later, I am older, I am wiser and much more opened minded. So, I gave “Strength in Numbers” a couple of listens. First of all, the album doesn’t suck, nor has the quality of the album declined in comparison to “Tour de Force.” The Southern Rock, while given way to a more AOR melodic rock, still rears its head from time to time. Don Barnes and Jeff Carlisi still show they were as good lead/rhythm guitar duo as any others. Jeff, especially, lays down some decent guitar solos on “Like No Other Night,” “There Never Has Been a Good Goodbye” and “One in a Million.” The latter is a blues/ballad which works on several levels.

Like with the previous two albums, Don Barnes does most of the vocal duties, singing on seven of the songs while Donnie Van Zant sings lead on the final three songs. Donnie V does sing the rockers like “Hearts on Fire” very well and this strengthens my previous argument that the more songs he sings lead on, the better the album. Let, Don sing the singles though because it has worked so well in the past.

“Strength in Numbers” is at least on a par with “Tour de Force.” However, I think that if the guitars had been turned up on the songs, it would have been better. I can’t help thinking that the band really wanted to rock out but was constrained by the record company or producer, so they had to turn it down a bit too much. There are keyboards used but unlike so many other bands, they don’t take over the songs, so full marks to the band there.

Track Listing:

  1. Somebody Like You
  2. Like No Other Night
  3. Last Time
  4. Once in a Lifetime
  5. Just a Little Love
  6. Has There Ever Been a Good Goodbye
  7. One in a Million
  8. Hearts on Fire
  9. Against the Night
  10. Never Give an Inch
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38 Special

I much prefer this image of the band

Don Barnes- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Donnie Van Zant- lead and backing vocals

Jeff Carlisi- lead guitar

Larry Junstrom- bass

Jack Grondin- drums

Steve Brookins- drums

Additional musicians

Carol Bristow, Tom Kelly- backing vocals

Bill Cuomo- keyboards

Earl Lon Price, Jerry Petersen- saxophone

Nick Lane- trombone

Michael Cichowicz- trumpet

Mike Porcaro- bass

Jim Vallance, Denny Carmassi- drums

Oh the naivety of the young. Like the angry young man I was back then, I was quick to brand 38 Special a ‘sell out’ when “Strength in Numbers” came out. Having listened to it with an open mind, I can say that they haven’t strayed from the formula which had made them great. It’s a decent album. Now a spoiler alert, there is one band that definitely deserved the sell out brand in 1986. Stay tuned.

Next post: The Bangles- Different Light

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://tavacountnec.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1986: The Year Metal Begins to Fragment

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2019 by 80smetalman

Before 1986, any music I thought worthy of being called heavy metal, I would call it such. Though back then, there were some heavy debates as to which artists were metal and which were not. Night Ranger and Foreigner featured heavily in this debate, although for me, both bands’ albums in 1985 put aside any doubt in my mind. Neither band was metal. Still, their albums, at least Foreigner’s “Agent Provocateur” were cool albums regardless. However, come 1986, there were terms like thrash, speed, black and glam being attached to metal. This was the start to the many sub genres we see in heavy metal today.

None of the labeling really mattered that much to me. Sure, I was listening to more thrash and loving it but if an album came out that I liked, I would listen to it. Especially as the backlash which started a year earlier seemed to continue to gain momentum. In 1986, even going to concerts wasn’t safe from the anti-metal brigade. Believe me, there will be plenty of words written about that. But here was the great thing about 1986. Heavy metal would hardly ever be played on the radio although in the summer of this year, MTV would devote a half hour slot to metal videos and that was it. However, against this backlash, metal bands would still sell loads of albums and play to sold out arenas world wide! Take that Tipper Gore!

Changing the subject, in regards to last post about my top 15 front persons, it proved my senility is getting worse. I mean how in the world could I leave out Alice Cooper? Although I only saw him once, it proved that he was the great front man he is, always was and always will be. If I were to slide him into the list now, I’d put him fourth, joint with Bruce Dickinson.

Alice Cooper - Raise The Dead Tour - 2012 - 2013 - promo flyer

So, all I can say is welcome to the rock and metal tour of 1986! Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Next post: In memory of the passing of 38 Special bassist, Larry Junstrom, the first album of this year will be their 1986 “Strength in Numbers” album.

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://tavacountnec.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

80smetalman’s Top 15 Front Persons

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2019 by 80smetalman

Everyone knows that having a good lead singer is a key for any band and over the years, I have witnessed many a great singer. However, another trait for a successful singer, especially in heavy metal circles is to be able to communicate with the crowd in order to get them going. Throughout the years of going to concerts, I have seen many who could do this and some who didn’t. Fortunately for the latter, many of them were in bands that made great music anyway. There were some who think they were great at getting the crowd going but not me. For example, if I had seen Bon Jovi in my teens, I might have put Jon in my upcoming list, but I was nearly 23 the first time I saw them and he does seem to appeal to a younger crowd on stage. Then there’s Bono who likes to use the mic for his political rants.

Therefore, before I move onto 1986 in my tour of the golden decade of metal, I thought I would share my top 15 singers who are great at getting the crowd going, whether it be through the gift of the gab or exhibiting sheer energy. Putting this list together took a lot of thought so, I’d start with three who were heavily considered but didn’t quite make it. Those were Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies), Wendy O Williams and Ted Nugent.

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Mille leads Kreator onto the stage

15. Mille Petrozza, Kreator (joint)

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15. Paul Stanley (joint)

I couldn’t decide between Mille and Paul and didn’t want to leave either off the list. My memories of Paul go back thirty years but are still there while Mille surprised me at his ability to engage the crowd at Download 2018. One must also take into consideration that English is Mille’s second language.

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14. Joey Belladonna- Anthrax

Having seen Anthrax six times, all with Joey at the mic, I can safely say he belongs in this list.

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13. Dave Mustane- Megadeth

Dave just has this sinister sounding voice when he’s on stage and it’s excellent

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Better pics with Doro

12. Doro Pesch

Not only is English her second language, Doro brings a hell of a lot of energy when she gets on stage.

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11. Steve Tyler- Aerosmith

Still igniting crowds after more than forty years

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10. Minoru Nihara- Loudness

He can excite a crowd in spite of the fact he sings better in English than what he speaks.

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9. Billy Milano- Stormtroopers of Death

This larger than life character lets you know he’s on the stage.

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8. Ronnie James Dio

ozzy

7. Ozzy Osbourne

If Ronnie was still with us, he and Ozzy’s places might have been swapped around. Ozzy won out because he showed me at Download 2018 that he still has it.

iang

6. Ian Gillan- Deep Purple, Gillan

He absolutely wowed me the one time I saw him. I have also had an eye witness account of how he helped out a fan who was thumped by an overzealous security guard at one stage. Ian is a class act.

robh

5. Rob Halford- Judas Priest (joint)

He can still excite a crowd while wearing all that leather.

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5. Sammy Hagar (joint)

I’ve seen Sammy with Van Halen and as a solo performer and his energy knew no bounds.

220px-Iron_Maiden_en_Costa_Rica_Bruce

4. Bruce Dickinson- Iron Maiden

I never saw him as a solo performer but the four times I saw him with Iron Maiden were magic.

dlr

3. David Lee Roth

I only saw Dave as a solo performer but he definitely has the gift of the gab on stage. So much so, he tends to talk his way through songs.

IMG0268A

Chris in his coat

2. Chris Jerico- Fozzy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Chris has a commanding stage persona.

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Dee showing he still got the vocals while Mark beats his bass to death

  1. Dee Snider- Twisted Sister

Nobody, in my opinion, commands the stage or the entire venue for that matter like Dee

As always, many of you will have your own ideas as to who should be on the list and as always, I would love to read your suggestions. But these are mine, respectfully submitted this day.

Next post: 1986- Fragmentation

https://tavacountnec.ml/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Would Have Rewritten “Rock and Roll Children” Differently

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2019 by 80smetalman

rockandrollchildren-cc11.jpg

Way back in the days of yesteryear, when I first started writing this blog, my main motivation behind it was to promote my then new book, “Rock and Roll Children.” Some of you might have bought and read it. However, since it was my first book, I would agree with anyone who says that I made a lot of rookie mistakes on the book. One review of the book from a guy called Metal Mark, who wrote a blog called “Heavy Metal Time Machine,” pointed out some of those mistakes. Although there was comment that I thought was rather unfair, most of what he said about the book was accurate. Having had nearly ten years to reflect upon things, if I was to write the book again, there would be some major changes, which I’m going to put here.

Repetition: At just about every concert the characters went to at the Philadelphia Spectrum, the reader was told about the car crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge, pre- concert parties and getting searched upon entry into the Spectrum. I only needed to do this once or twice. Though, I would have definitely kept the rumour of the police getting a warrant to search the parking lot before the Motley Crue concert.

One Main Character: What the final 120 pages of the book, where the Jeff character goes to England, taught me was that I was better focusing on one character. Reflecting back, I should have made Jeff the main character, especially since all four main characters were some from of dispensation of me. This would have meant changing many things like sending him off to college in Delaware. I would have kept him local so he could still interact with the other characters. Additionally, because I wanted the Mitch character’s back story about serving in Lebanon told, I would have made Mitch Jeff’s brother and Tammy would have become Bob’s sister. That meant that Bob would have made the crack about his sister not needing to phone Dr Ruth saying she doesn’t orgasm.

drruth

Dr Ruth

More Interesting Characters: While making Jeff the sole main character would have made it much easier to make him more interesting, my biggest mistake was thinking that simply making the main characters typical metalheads would be enough. It wasn’t. Even the Bob character being a champion swimmer wasn’t enough, although my motivation there was to highlight how schools the world over ignore the so-called minor sports.

Putting More in the Concerts: The comment I thought was unfair when Metal Mark made in his review was that he called the concert accounts, ‘bare bones’ stuff. The reason I felt this was unfair was because I was relying on memories from over 25 years before! I didn’t tell him this but I wonder how much of concerts people can remember from that far back. Still, I could have been more creative about the concert accounts. At the time, I was paranoid of getting sued by the artist whose concert I was writing about. I did sail pretty close to the storm about some of the things I actually did see like Marc Storace accepting a joint from the audience and then taking a sly hit on it before handing it back. Then there was the recently mentioned Motorhead concert where I left thinking Lemmy was a bit of an asshole. Those things actually happened but I should have used a little more creative license.

One Thing I Would Not Change!

It was pointed out that throughout the story, I overpounded my point of how metalheads were discriminated against in the 1980s. The sad truth was that they were! My personal experiences weren’t as bad as some of the ones I wrote about but I do know of instances such as getting blamed for fights they didn’t start or other things, like the instance of being wrongly accused of swearing. If I went on about it too much, then maybe it was a case of too much repetition although all of the single experiences of maltreatment of metalheads were unique. It needed to be said and I felt a lot better for saying it.

Now that I have written all of this, no one will probably ever buy or download the book again. Yes, I made some mistakes but one thing I hope I successfully did was to dispel any myth that the 1980s was all Frankie Goes to Hollywood and that metal wasn’t the big force it actually was. All I can say is buy or download it and read it for yourself!

Next post: My Top 10 Showmen

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N2GFIGK?pf_rd_p=330fbd82-d4fe-42e5-9c16-d4b886747c64&pf_rd_r=6TCGP227ZQPQ8PG48BP7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Best Kept Secret Came to Bristol and Brought Some Friends

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2019 by 80smetalman

You might remember, roughly a year and a half ago, while in the States, I uncovered America’s best kept secret in the form of Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin’ Stones. At the time, I gushed about what a great singer and guitarist Hannah was and would love the chance to see her live. Well, I got that chance last night when she and her band came to Bristol, England, along with two other bands.

The gig took place at a pub called The Exchange near the centre of Bristol. It doesn’t look like much from the outside and inside looks a bit hippy like. Plus, the actual room where the concert took place was rather tiny but none of that mattered.

I managed to persuade my step-daughter Lorretta to come see the show with me. We left early because the tickets said the show started at 6:30. The tickets also gave the impression that there were going to be four bands on the night because it looked like a band called Roadstar was headlining after Hannah. It turns out, Roadstar was simply the name of the show. Anyway, on account of this, we got there just after six and found the show wasn’t to start until half seven. No problem, we just had a pint each and waited for things to begin.

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The Exchange

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Lorretta and me

First up on the night was UK band Piston and when they hit the stage, people noticed. They brought their own version of hard rock and it went down a storm. Their opening song grabbed my attention right away and the second song they played had me hooked. Then, they played their single, “One More Day,” which hooked me even more. Even their power ballad and their cover of the AC/DC classic “Gone Shootin'” only made their set that much better. Then sometime in the middle of the set, guitarist Jack Edwards just started wailing away, creating some beautiful licks. The man can wail! Furthermore, singer Rob Angelico proves himself a very capable singer and very good at getting the crowd involved and I’m not taking anything away from the rest of the band, they were all brilliant. While I won’t get dragged into which band was best debates, I will say that Piston had the most fun during the 45 minutes they were on stage.

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Piston take the stage

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Jamming away!

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Rob leading the way

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Jack laying down the jams

Just when the patrons in The Exchange had recovered from the onslaught of Piston, the second act on the night, Gorilla Riot, took the stage. Gorilla Riot have been described as a dirty blues rock band from Manchester. I can say right now that the description is dead accurate. For me, they are the love child of ZZTop and Kenny Wayne Shepherd and in addition, Gorilla Riot are the first band I’ve seen since Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet to use the three guitar attack. And they use it very effectively! All three guitarist took it in turns to lay down some cool solos, while Arjun Bhishima also undertook the vocal duties and did so very well. He also brought a sense of humour to the mike but I’m sure he really was joking when he asked the audience if they had enjoyed Piston before saying they were a bunch of wankers. Anyway, it was a case of another band adding to my enjoyment of the evening with some good, hard blues rock. One song which really stood out for me was “Bad Son,” which I’m sure I’ve heard before.

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Gorilla Riot take the stage

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I’m not sure if this is Liam Henry or Charly T, but he laid down a cool solo

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Meanwhile the other two guitarists support the attack

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Arjun plays a blinder of a solo

The half hour wait between Gorilla Riot and Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin’ Stones went by fast. Before anyone realized it, they were on stage with Hannah simply wailing away on her guitar. In fact, she spent the first five or so minutes doing so with her rhythm section dutifully following in support. Having her self-titled album, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when she went straight into the album’s opener, “Bomb Through the Breeze.” It’s a great song to open both an album and a live performance. However, when she played the second song from the album, “Ghost,” I became convinced that she was simply going to play her album through in order; not a bad thing really. At least, I wouldn’t wait for her to play my favourite, “Looking Glass,” as that came right after. I was prepared to shout for it if it hadn’t been played by the time the concert was near the end.

After being wowed by my favourite song, Hannah changed things up with a very hard blues rock cover of the Neil Young classic, “Ohio.” I think I now prefer her version to Neil’s now but it did show her magnificent voice. After playing a few more songs, I definitely remember “Mama Said,” the rhythm section left the stage for Hannah to play solo for a couple of songs. Her playing of “Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces,” which she said is her favourite song to play live, was just totally out of this world!

The rhythm section returned after that and played with Hannah to the glorious finish. There was more guitar jamming and two songs I remember from the album, “Crushin'” and now my memory is a bit ify here but I’m sure she finished on “Strawberry Moon.” It was a great song to end the night. Before this night, I was a Hannah Wicklund fan but now I think I’m a disciple. She totally blew me and I hope, the rest of the Exchange away. Afterwards, Lorretta said that she was impressed. But you want to know the most amazing thing? Hannah is the same age as my daughter, so there should be many years of some great music.

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Hannah starting the show. I was glad I was able to position myself  in front of where she was on stage. 

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The two Steppin’ Stones

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Jamming on “Looking Glass”

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Her voice is as magnificent as her guitar playing

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Ending the night in style

Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me upload the video I took of Hannah so you’ll have to see her official video for “Shadowboxes and Porcelain Faces.” Trust me though, all three bands came together to make a great night in Bristol.

Next post: How I Would Have Done Rock and Roll Children Different

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Children-Michael-Lefevre-2010-11-16/dp/B01N2GFIGK/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=michael+d+lefevre&qid=1570828282&s=books&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest In Peace Ginger Baker and Larry Junstrom

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2019 by 80smetalman

For the past two days, the UK media, many of my friends and even Mrs 80smetalman have talked about the passing of former Cream drummer, Ginger Baker. Ginger died on Sunday as a result of health issues. He’s best known for being the drummer in what has been called the first ‘super group,’ Cream. The band wasn’t around for too long but even half a century later, their influence is still felt, especially in the heavy metal world.

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Ginger Baker

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Cream

If the passing of Ginger wasn’t enough, we had another rock and roll death on the same day. Larry Junstrom, bassist for .38 Special and one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd has also passed away, aged 70. While he wasn’t as famous as Ginger, especially here in the UK, those of us who were into Southern Rock in the early 1980s certainly knew of him. I’ll never forget his oversized policeman’s hat, which he wore when I saw the band live in 1984.

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Larry Junstrom

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38 Special

Imagine what a rhythm section Larry and Ginger would have made.

Rest in peace Ginger and Larry.