Archive for the Books Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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