Archive for the Books Category

Part 2: Home Defences Breached

Posted in Books, Uncategorized with tags on November 17, 2020 by 80smetalman

Seventeen year old Jacob Beech was certainly feeling the effects of the weed as he swayed back and forth to his front door. Maybe that was why the van parked on the road near his home looked unfamiliar. After a short fumble, he took his keys out of his pocket and let himself into his council house. However, when he tried to close the front door, it immediately stopped and swung back open. A group of people stood in the doorway. All Jacob could think was, “I thought I hadn’t seen that van around here before.”

The first of the bodies bulldozed his way past. making room for the others to start pouring in to his house. Before he could register what was going on, two more bodies pinned Jacob up against the wall, allowing the remainder of the group to rush in. A female voice suddenly called out, “Jacob, is that you making all that noise? You better pack that in or so help me!”

After receiving no reply to her question, Jacob’s mother, Angie Beech, stood up. As she did, two shadowy figures burst into the living room and were quickly upon her. Her scream was shortened by a quick slap to her face, which put her down onto her bottom while the second figure stomped out the cigarette which had from her hand. Before she could react further, she was grabbed under her armpits and hoisted back up to her feet. Angie’s struggles quickly proved useless and she watched the remaining invaders swarm into the living room, three of which forcibly brought Jacob in with them.

Mother and son were now forced to watch as one of the invaders produced a steel bar and brought it crashing down on the digital television. After three successful swings, the expensive television shattered into what a million pieces. He turned and inwardly struggled to contain his glee when he was the terrified faces of the two hostages. While this was going on, another intruder snatched up Angie’s mobile phone from off the coffee table while Jacob was quickly searched and his mobile was discovered and taken. The two mobile phones looked as if they had all the latest technology on them and were hurled mercilessly onto the floor. When one didn’t break and the other only breaking in half, several of the invaders joined in the game of mobile phone stomping until both phones were in similar condition to the television set.

The one holding the steel bar looked around for more things to smash up. Seeing two shelves on a nearby wall holding an array of small ornaments and family photos, the armed figure went over and with one mighty downward stroke, split both shelves in two, sending everything on them crashing to the floor. What didn’t shatter upon initial impact, did so after a few stomps from heavy boots. Angie and Jacob could only gasp in horror.

As quickly as they had entered, the hooded home invaders began exiting the house. As the thugs made their departure, one paused and produced a piece of A4 sized paper. He handed it to Angie. While she read the message in large black print, “Now you know what it’s like to have your home broken into,” the remaining invaders made their escape.

Jacob managed to come down from the effects of the weed enough to rush out the door in an attempt to see any of the home invaders or that mysterious van. Unfortunately, the van was already gone and all he could make out was the last couple of invaders disappearing at the end of his close.

The van, now moving very slowly on a road adjacent to the close where it had launched the raid, paused until the last of its passengers had slipped inside. It drove out of the estate and went a further half mile down the road. When the driver and passengers were fully confident they were away from any witnesses or CCTV cameras, the van pulled over. One hooded figure swiftly jumped out and removed the pieces of cardboard which hid the van’s registration number before just as swiftly getting back in. It was only when the van was back on the road did those inside breathe a collective sigh of relief and began removing their hoodies.

No one spoke as the van drove through the streets of Hull that night. They made two stops to let out some of their passengers, who quickly disappeared into the night. On the third stop, four men got out and walked to a nearby car park. They immediately found their car and got in before driving off into the night. It took fifteen minutes for the driver to navigate his way out of the unfamiliar streets of the city. When they were clear of the city, the silence was finally broken.

“You couldn’t have planned that any better,” Gurpreet congratulated a rather pleased looking Phil Baker.

“Aw, come on,” Phil said trying to sound humble. “It was a team effort.”

Looking over to his friend sitting in the passenger seat, Christian added, “True, but your plan worked perfectly and I really enjoyed smashing up those smug white trash people’s television.”

Not wanting to ruin a great night and a job well done, Phil inwardly agreed to accept his friends’ compliments. Besides, the raid was a bigger success than even he would let himself imagine. Therefore, he and his friends basked in the feeling of victory which engulfed the car all the way back to London. Phil was especially exuberant and he believed he had masterminded the perfect revenge plan.

More Stories: No Proof Needed

Posted in Books, Uncategorized with tags on November 13, 2020 by 80smetalman

I haven’t posted any writing in quite awhile and so now that I’ve completed a chapter in my next book, I thought I would share it. Nice of me, I know. The chapter is called “First Strikes,” and it’s broken down into smaller stories. If you remember, the characters in my previous chapters were let down by the law, this is the revenge chapter. So without further ado:

First Strikes

Part 1: No Proof Needed

At this time in the afternoon, the bus usually stopped a little longer to let in the influx of children from nearby Manor Park School, who were going home for the day. Like every other day, the most popular venue was the top level of the red double decker bus. It was here where two large groups splintered off and sat in their groups at opposite ends of the bus, while a few stragglers found empty seats where they could. If any of them noted the fifteen or so hooded figures sitting around the bus in different places, none of them said anything.

Two uneventful stops gave the impression that it was going to be another mundane bus ride home. However, around thirty seconds after the bus was on its way again, a boy from the large group of teens near the front of the bus sauntered up to the very front and had a quick scan to see if anyone was watching. Thinking no one was paying attention to him, he stuck a piece of paper over what was the bus’s camera. Once that was done, the forward group got up and suddenly surrounded a vulnerable looking boy with large black glasses and a hamster like face, sitting on his own. Without warning, the entire group rained slaps upon the boy’s head in between taunts of “Take that, weirdo!” When the victim attempted to slide down in his seat for protection, he was pulled up by his coat and the group continued their assault.

Meanwhile, the rearward group of teens surrounded a young girl who didn’t look as vulnerable. She had straight, auburn hair which slid down to the middle of her back and seemed to highlight her pale blue eyes. They in turn seemed to augment her slender body which gave the impression that she could be a model.

“Hey you bitch, you think you’re so much better than me!” shouted a short, stocky girl with short black hair that would have curled if allowed to grow. Before, the seated young lady had any chance to respond, the aggressor swung her arm and landed a back hand across her target’s face. Again, before the girl had any chance to respond, two boys from the group grabbed her arms. Now helpless, the aggressive female continued her slaps, joined by a second girl who aimed her slaps at the top of her target’s head. With their victim powerless, the two girls continued their onslaught to the laughter of the boys holding her arms.

Both groups continued their beat downs until a boy from the forward group spied a hooded figure removing the piece of paper used to cover the camera lens. “He’s taken the sticker off!” the boy shouted raising the alarm.

The forward gang immediately stopped their assault. “You better put that back or we’ll give you a hiding,” warned the tallest and toughest looking boy in the group. While he was talking, two of his friends suddenly fell forward into him. As he turned around, the two friends were grabbed back and four hooded figures were punching and kicking them. Before the tall boy could help his friends, he was sent flying forward by a well placed kick to the middle of his back. As he tried to recover, he was pulled up by his collar and received a fistful of brass knuckles across his cheekbone. Bewildered by what was going on, the two remaining members of the group, one a girl, both received brass knuckle sandwiches before they could react.

Someone from the aft group spotted what was going on at the front of the bus and shouted out, “Oh my God!” Whereupon the rest of the group, including the two girls, stopped their assault on the young girl to see what was happening. Suddenly, seven more hooded figures surrounded them and brass knuckled fists found their marks on the assailants. The speaking girl was punched several times while the boy holding the victim’s arms, closest to the window was grabbed by two pairs of strong hands and his head smashed against the bus window. Seven hooded figures now rained punches and kicks and in the case of the non-speaking girl, she was grabbed by the hair and her face smashed into the seat. The attack continuing for several minutes before the hooded gang made sure no one was able to get up.

“You need to get off the bus,” was whispered to both of the original intended victims.

“But this isn’t my stop,” the boy victim whined to his saviours.

The female victim also indicated she had five more stops to go but the hooded group was having none of it. A reassuring voice whispered to her, “Don’t worry, we have that sorted.”

At the next stop, the vigilantes took the two youngsters they had rescued and escorted them off the bus. None of the beaten teens dared to do anything to hinder the departure. However, as the last hooded figure made their way to the steps to go down, one brave boy from the beaten hoodlums shouted, “I’m calling the police on you!”

Before the last hooded figure turned to deplane the bus, they responded with a voice which was obviously disguised through a voice distorter, “Go ahead. Now, you’ll think again before you attack any innocent victims on the bus.”

After the bus had departed for its next stop, the hooded group did everything possible to reassure the bewildered teens they had just rescued that all would be well. “They won’t ever bother you again, if they try, we’ll be back,” one of the group promised. Meanwhile, a taxi suddenly appeared from nowhere and stopped and one rescuer indicated, “Here’s the taxi, I called.” Both children were ushered into it and one of the hooded figures handed the driver a twenty pound note with the instruction that he take both children home.

The hooded group watched the taxi drive off and then, without any congratulatory ceremony, splintered off in different directions. In less than a minute, it seemed as if the vigilantes had never been there.

Marcel Richards, known as Denzil Washington to the group because he liked “The Equalizer” movies, had walked half a mile before he was confident that he was on his own. Trying to be as discreet as possible, he scanned the surrounding area looking for surveillance cameras. Seeing none, he continued up the main road before turning into a narrow side road some one hundred feet further. Walking a little ways down that road and positive no one was looking, he removed the hoodie which had concealed his true identity. Tucking it under his arm, he reversed direction and headed back to the main road, all the while, feeling a great sense of justice and satisfaction. He had helped in dispensing justice that had been previously denied. While he walked to the remaining distance which would take him back to the train station to go back to Birmingham, Marcel could only hope that the same type of justice would be meted out in his case.

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Ratt- Out of the Cellar

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here’s a scene from “Rock and Roll Children.” One night, after unsuccessfully trying to get into bars, the four main characters decide to head to one of the group’s houses. While driving with the radio on, some power chords come blasting through the car’s speakers. Intently listening to whoever the mysterious artist is playing, these words coming ringing true.

“I knew right from the beginning

That you would end up winning,

I knew right from the start,

You’d put an arrow through my heart.”

The big single “Round and Round” brought Ratt into the homes of many Americans in the summer of 1984, with it being constantly played on radio and MTV. I can’t deny the fact that it is most likely my favourite Ratt song of all time although there are a couple of others that might come close. I can’t explain why this song is so good, not just to metalheads but many non-metalheads liked it too. That’s why it got to number 12 on the Billboard charts.

Like the big hit, one thing that many of the songs on Ratt’s debut album, “Out of the Cellar” have catchy intros that make your ears perk up and pay attention. True, some of the songs trail off a bit and end not as exciting as they begin but there isn’t a bad song on the album. Saying that, except for “Round and Round” the second half of the album is better than the first. It’s probably why the said single was put third on the album. A kind of high point on a more level ground. Furthermore and this is me totally nit picking here, I would have swapped “She Wants Money” as the opener and “Wanted Man” would have been fifth. The latter is a good song, I just think the former would have made a better opener.

Having heard “Out of the Cellar” on vinyl, flipping to side two, one is greeted with a great side opener in “Lack of Communication.” This song opens the doorway for the best to come. “Back For More” was the second single on the album and I liked it more than what the charts indicated. I think it only got to 27 but that never bothered me because it is a cool song. The acoustic intro makes a great change up to the album and I can’t fault Warren DeMartini’s guitar playing on it or on any song actually. However, after single number two comes the hidden gem on the album and the one to rival “Round and Round” for my affections. “The Morning After” is just a fantastic song. I love all the tempo changes in the guitars on it and how they kick in big time on the chorus. It’s hard to describe in words but even thirty three years on, I still don’t tire of this song. Shit, maybe I should call it number one.

The last two tracks are strong and solid ones. I sometimes wonder if “I’m Insane” applies to me. After all, I feel that way sometimes. “Scene of the Crime” isn’t the greatest album closer in history but it is probably the best song to close the album, especially with the intro.

Track Listing:

  1. Wanted Man
  2. You’re In Trouble
  3. Round and Round
  4. In Your Direction
  5. She Wants Money
  6. Lack of Communication
  7. Back for More
  8. The Morning After
  9. I’m Insane
  10. Scene of the Crime

Ratt

Stephen Pearcy- vocals

Warren De Martini- guitar, backing vocals

Robbin Crosby- guitar, backing vocals

Juan Crocier- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Blotzer- drums, percussion

When people talk of the metal explosion of 1984, Ratt always gets a mention. Though many would accuse them of being too much the same on later albums, there is no debate that “Out of the Cellar” album was something fresh, at least to me.

Next post: Twisted Sister- Stay Hungry

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Judas Priest- Defenders of the Faith

Posted in 1980s, Books, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

If I thought I didn’t do Great White justice when I wrote about theirs as the first concert to take place in “Rock and Roll Children,” then I should grovel to Judas Priest begging their forgiveness. The Judas Priest/Great White concert that happens in the first few pages of the book is the one I knew least about. I couldn’t go on account of work and only had patchy accounts of the concert from people I spoke to who went. This meant my account of that night was, as one critic put it, bare bones, if that. So, to Judas Priest and their hardcore fans, I’m sorry. Though I do make up for it when I write about their 1986 concert. One of my biggest critics, my sister, said I nailed that one.

While the first Judas Priest concert might have been lacking in substance, the album they were touring in support of, “Defenders of the Faith” did get a good number of listens from the characters in “Rock and Roll Children.” I have always held this album in great esteem and will put my head in the lion’s mouth and declare that it is Judas Priest’s most underrated album, ever! Sales wise, it did not match the numbers of its mega fantastic predecessor, “Screaming for Vengeance,” and I put it a half a mark below it but “Defenders of the Faith” is one fantastic album.

The first seven songs are the reason why the album is soooo good. One by one each of those songs launch into an all out assault on your ears with such ferocity, you can’t help but to head bang away and jump up and down to it. Even when one song ends, the next one grabs you by the throat and makes you give your undivided attention to it. When I say the first seven songs, I mean all of those songs, not just the ones some might be more familiar with like “Freewheel Burning” and “Love Bites,” who when the premier of the video for it was announced on MTV was called “a family affair.” Of course there’s also my favourite track from this album and my third all time favourite Priest song, “Some Heads are Gonna Roll.” I just love that song. “Jawbreaker,” “Rock Hard, Ride Free” and “The Sentinel” all can cause an unsuspecting listener to lose control of their bodily functions as well. Plus, there’s the amusing “Eat Me Alive” which a year later would be rank on the PMRC’s hit list as the third dirtiest song. All great!

This not to say that the last three songs are in any way not up to scratch, they are good songs but intensity levels do tail off after “Some Heads are Gonna Roll.” Things go slower tempo with the remaining three songs but the pounding doesn’t let up. It just takes on a different form, nor does it detract from this great album in any way.

Track Listing:

  1. Freewheel Burning
  2. Jawbreaker
  3. Rock Hard, Ride Free
  4. The Sentinel
  5. Love Bites
  6. Eat Me Alive
  7. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  8. Night Comes Down
  9. Heavy Duty
  10. Defenders of the Faith

Judas Priest

Robert Halford- lead vocals

Glenn Tipton- guitar

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

Dave Holland- drums

I’ve never really ranked Judas Priest albums before, except I knew that “Screaming for Vengeance” was my favourite. I have called “Defenders of the Faith” underrated but I am now declare it number two and not by much. It is a great under appreciated album.

Next post: Quiet Riot- Condition Critical

https://spread-luv.ga/info/kindle-free-e-books-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-9781609763558-pdf.html

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Heaven- Where Angels Fear to Tread

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

heaven_waftt

When my household finally got MTV in the final month of 1983, one video I remember seeing getting a good amount of airplay was the one for the song, “Rock School” by Australian rockers, Heaven. The song itself was okay although at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the horns in it. What I did enjoy was the actual video. It cast the band as your typical high school hoods causing havoc at their school. My favourite part was when they whip the high school football team in a rumble. I think that was the highlight for many metalheads at the time.

Now, I am not anti- American football or school sports. After all, I officiate the game here in the UK and when I went to the states two and a half years ago, had the opportunity to officiate a high school junior varsity game. What I am opposed to is the mentality in schools that a boy isn’t anything unless he plays football and that football prepares a young man for life. It was around this time in the US that schools began pushing sports over learning and treating the jocks as mollycoddled gods. There is an instance in “Rock and Roll Children” about this when two football players try to pick on one of the character’s friends and a fight starts. When the smoke clears, the teachers, the PE teacher especially, seem to be more sympathetic to the football players’ side of the story. The PE teacher simply wants to dismiss the metalheads’ story and only a more fair minded teacher stops him. Trust me, things like this happened in school back then and probably still do so now. So, it would have amused many a metalhead in 83 to see one of their bands duffing up some football players.

Scenes from the video for "Rock School."

Scenes from the video for “Rock School.”

As for the rest of the album, “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” let me say that it is pretty much a good rocking album. The single, “Rock School” blends in well with the rest of the album. The opener and title track is quite good and the second track, “Love Child” pretty much goes hand in hand with the same hard, feel good vibe. Without a doubt though, my favourite track on the album has to be “Hard Life.” This is just a great standard rocker! Heaven just goes all out on it and it has the best guitar solo on it so double bonus points there. The closer, “Sleeping Dogs,” is a powerful rocker too and I don’t think it should be the closer. Maybe one of the two before it would have been better but who’s to say. “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is damn fine album.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Angels Fear to Tread
  2. Love Child
  3. Scream for Me
  4. Don’t Mean Nothing
  5. Rock School
  6. Madness
  7. Hard Life
  8. She Stole My Heart
  9. You
  10. Sleeping Dogs

heaven_b

Allan ‘Eddie’ Fryer- vocals

Kelly- lead guitar

Laurie Marlow- bass

Mick Cocks- rhythm guitar

Joe Turtur- drums

I wonder how many people who were living in 1983 actually remember seeing the “Rock School” video on MTV. Believe me, it was on quite a lot then and some people probably have Heaven down for one hit wonders. The “Where Angels Fear to Tread” album makes them much more than that.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Bark at the Moon

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

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in Peace Leonard Cohen

Posted in Books, Death, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 11, 2016 by 80smetalman

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

With already so many great musicians, actors and producers going to the great gig in the sky this year, I was hoping that we could get through the rest of 2016 without any more sadness. I was wrong. It has come to my attention via my son of the passing of Canadian born novelist, poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. The exact details of his death are not known but a statement from his son states that Leonard died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles.

Personally, I never owned any of his records though I often heard his name mentioned in many musical circles. Anyone who has heard the song “Hallelujah” will have heard him, even if they didn’t realize it was him singing. His work both musically and literary explored many topics including sexuality, politics, religion and relationships to name a few. Therefore it saddens me to read of his passing. May he Rest in Peace.

 

 

 

Clarifications and Corrections

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2016 by 80smetalman

It has come to my attention via Facebook, that in my previous post “Great Metal Albums of 1983: Slayer- Show No Mercy,” that I may have stated something that wasn’t entirely accurate. In that post, I said that the mentioned debut album from Slayer may have paved the way for bands like Metallica. I have been informed and I have checked and found it to be so that Metallica’s debut album “Kill ‘Em All” actually came out before the Slayer album. Therefore, if anything, Metallica would have paved the way for Slayer.

Slayer

Slayer

Metallica

Metallica

There is absolutely no excuse for not checking my metal facts! I know that this is no explanation nor is it any attempt to be but I remember reading an issue of “Hit Parader” magazine, (I used to call it Motley Crue magazine) in December 1985. That magazine had an article on Metallica and their album “Ride the Lightning” and it being so late in the year, I assumed that this album was released in 1985 and subsequently the debut album “Kill ‘Em All” in 1984. Why I never checked to be sure is beyond me but it is no excuse.

One thing I have always prided myself was unlike Hollywood, I always got my facts right. It was the same way when I wrote “Rock And Roll Children.” The one thing I can take pride in from that book was that it was historically accurate. Therefore, I must humbly apologize to Metallica and Slayer fans for my error and promise to be more diligent in the future.

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Joan Armatrading- The Key

Posted in Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Key,_Joan_Armatrading_-_album_cover

In Laina Dawes’s book, “What Are You Doing Here?,” which is about a black woman’s liberation through heavy metal and the prejudice she experienced as a female metalhead of African origin, she mentions great black female rock singers like Joyce ‘Baby Jean’ Kennedy from Mother’s Finest and Skin from Skunk Anansie, both of whom have made a big impact on the rock scene. However, I don’t remember, though I could be wrong, any mention of another great lady who belongs with the two already mentioned, Joan Armatrading. Note to self: find and reread that book. The two Joan Armatrading albums I’ve listened to, the 1981 album “Me Myself I” and her 1983, “The Key,” are both great rocking albums. Therefore, I am forced to think that Joan doesn’t get the musical respect she deserves.

untitled

Way back in 1983 during my final weeks in the marines, Joan’s single from the album, “I Love it When You Call Me Names,” got a good amount of airplay. I love the hard rocking edge to the song and the lyrics just cracked me up. This song appears to be about a sado- masochistic couple who get off on abusing each other. The lyrics, “He loves it when she beats his brains in” are sufficient evidence to the fact and there’s a cool guitar solo at the end. That song continues to amuse me to this day and I’m a little surprised that no thrash band has covered it.

While it may not have the amusing lyrics like the single, the rest of “The Key” is a really cool album. There are the straight forward rockers like “Drop the Pilot,” “Tell Tale” and “What Do Boys Dream.” Then there’s the power ballad, “Everybody Gotta Know” and while “Foolish Pride” incorporates horns, it is still a decent song that will dent anyone’s belief that horns can’t be used in a rock tune. Joan does show her versatility with the reggae sounding title track. This is a good bouncy song that has you repeating the chorus, “I found the key to your heart,” for several minutes after the song’s conclusion, a fine album by a fine singer.

Track Listing:

  1. I Love it When You Call Me Names
  2. Foolish Pride
  3. Drop the Pilot
  4. The Key
  5. Everybody Gotta Know
  6. Tell Tale
  7. What Do Boys Dream
  8. The Game of Love
  9. The Dealer
  10. Bad Habits
  11. I Love My Baby

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading- lead vocals, guitars, piano

Adrian Belew- guitar

Daryl Stuermer- guitar

Gary Sanford- guitar

Tony Levin- bass

Larry Fast- synthesizer

Stewart Copeland- drums

Jerry Marotta- drums

Julian Diggle- percussion

Mel Collins- saxophone

Annie Whitehead- trombone

Guy Barker- trumpet

Dean Klavatt- piano

Jeremy Meek- bass vocal

I never realised it before but there are some great musicians who play on “The Key.” One reason why this album is so good. However, this takes nothing away from Joan and her great vocal ability and song writing skills. She is certainly a power force in rock.

Next post: ZZ Top- Eliminator

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: Paul Kantner- Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra

Posted in 1980s, Books, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2016 by 80smetalman

PERRO_Paul_Kantner_album

It figures that my weird mind would notice that Paul Kantner’s very recent passing would occur right when I was going through the music history of 1983, the year his solo album was released. I was going to visit his album “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” further along down the road as it didn’t come to light until near the end of said year. Actually, I remember the opening title cut getting some airplay on radio back then. Mind you commercial radio didn’t completely suck in 1983. Like I said last post, I always preferred the songs Kantner penned on Jefferson Starship albums, so it was a no brainer that I would get this one.

What I never knew was that this album was written to be a soundtrack for Paul’s second novel “The Empire Blows Back,” which was a sequel to his first “Blows Against the Empire.” Listening to the album again, I can see how it fits. “Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra” or PERRO for short is a mixture of hard, progressive and space rock and it’s nicely done. Many of the musicians who appear on the album were current or former members of Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick does lead vocals on two songs and backing on many of the others. Furthermore, Craig Chaquico works his guitar magic as does Pete Sears with the keyboards, just like all three of them do on Jefferson Starship albums.

The album starts out in a fine hard rock form with the first three songs. The title cut opens things very well and I’m very impressed with track 2, “(She is a) Telepath.” “Circle of Fire” was originally meant for the “Winds of Change” but it fits very well here. The next few tracks go very spacey and I think that possibly when these tracks are listened to, maybe one should partake of the same substances they would if listening to a Pink Floyd album. “The Mountain Song” combines both hard and space rock and to me has the typical trademark of a Kantner song. I have since learned that Paul co wrote it with Jerry Garcia so that may explain a lot. Then , out of the blue comes the very amusing track, “Declaration of Independence.” Sung by Paul and Grace’s daughter China Wing Kantner, the song is almost country with Paul playing along on the banjo, a very amusing song to say the least. China, who was only 12 at the time, provides the perfect vocals for it sounding like a little girl. The last two songs end things very well, especially the closer, “Let’s Go.” I remember once when listening to the track “I Came Back from the Jaws of the Dragon” off Starship’s “Winds of Change” album, my ex wife commented that it sounded like Godspell. Yes, Paul had a thing for harmonies in that style on many of the songs but on “Let’s Go,” it concludes the album in masterful form.

Track Listing:

  1. Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra
  2. (She Is a) Telepath
  3. Circle of Fire
  4. Mount Shasta
  5. Lilith’s Song
  6. Transubstantiation
  7. The Mountain Song
  8. Declaration of Independence
  9. Underground (The Laboratories)
  10. The Sky’s No Limit
  11. Let’s Go

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica, synthesizers, lead guitar on “Underground”

Grace Slick- vocals, piano on “The Mountain Song” and “The Sky is No Limit”

Jack Casady- bass

Chiam Wing Kantner- vocals on “Declaration of Independence” and “The Sky Is No Limit”

Alexander Kantner- vocals on “Underground”

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar

Pete Sears- piano

Aynsley Dunbar- drums

Scott Matthews- guitar, harmonica, synthesizers, pedal steel guitar and Linn drums

Ron Nagle- piano and vocals on Transubstantiation

Ronnie Montrose- lead guitar on (She is a) Telepath

Flo & Eddie- vocals

Mickey Thomas- vocals on Circle of Fire

David Freiberg- synthesizers and vocals on Circle of Fire

The problem with “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” was that it wasn’t mainstream enough. That’s why it go only limited airplay on radio. Even if it didn’t I believe that I would have eventually discovered it and bought it anyway. This is a cool album and I think it would be only fitting to honour Paul Kantner by listening to it.

Next post: (Hopefully) Billy Idol

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go t 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 1981: Pat Benatar- Precious Time

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Kings and queens of rock music have come and gone throughout the years but it can be safely said that in 1980 and 81, Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock. She ascended to the throne in 1980 on the wings of her second album “Crimes of Passion” after the previous rock queen, Debbie Harry, in my view, abdicated. The more astute among you probably realise that I never visited Blondie’s “Auto-American” album and for good reason. While “Crimes of Passion” ascended Pat Benatar to her rightful throne, her third album in 1981, “Precious Time,” kept her firmly seated there.

“Precious Time” continues on in the same hard rocking theme that made Pat Benatar a household name in rock circles. I admit, when I first heard the introduction to the opener, “Promises in the Dark,” I thought she might be going a bit softer but about thirty seconds in, the guitars take over and that Benatar sound is back in full swing. The second track is the big single, “Fire and Ice” and contains what I think is the best ever guitar solo from Neil Giraldo. “Just Like Me” and the title track are both traditional Pat Benatar rockers and the track “It’s a Tuff Life” goes quite reggae but nonetheless is a great track. In all of these tracks and the following, “Take It Anyway You Want It,” the vocals of Pat Benatar combined with the guitar of Neil Giraldo definitely work well like they did with the two albums.

Now, if they were ever to make a film from either of my books, “Rock And Roll Children” would be filled with some great concert footage, but with my latest one, “He Was Weird,” I would insist that one song from this album, “Evil Genius,” be on the soundtrack. While the lyrics of this song don’t exactly fit in with the main character in the story, the song itself would greatly add to the ambiance of the movie. The lyrics are spot on here and that helps make the song even better for me. I can’t leave out the fact that this album proves that The Beatles wrote a song that had an impact on hard rock and heavy metal. This album provided me with my first opportunity to hear the classic “Helter Skelter” covered by a great hard rock act. Here, Pat Benatar, to quote Cheryl Cole, makes the song her own and no I don’t watch “X-Factor.”

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Track Listing:

1. Promises in the Dark

2. Fire and Ice

3. Just Like Me

4. Precious Time

5. It’s a Tuff Life

6. Take It Anyway You Want It

7. Evil Genius

8. Hard to Believe

9. Helter Skelter

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Clair Sheets- rhythm guitar

Roger Capps- bass

Myron Grombacher- drums

With “Precious Time,” it is easy to see why Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock in 1980 and 81. Come the following year, there would be a serious challenge to her rule but that is best left for another time. In the world of hard rock, 1981 was without a doubt Pat Benatar’s year and “Precious Time” backs this up.

Next album: Frank Zappa- You Are What You Is

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

To buy He Was Weird go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403623312&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird

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