Archive for the Music Category

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Virgin Steele- Age of Consent

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2023 by 80smetalman

Not sure if I said this in a previous Virgin Steele post but I was introduced to this band in 1983 by the ultimate metal sister, the late Stacy Kroger. While I got into their previous three albums, the fact that this 1988 album, “Age of Consent,” received little promotion and therefore fewer sales combined with the fact I was living in the UK, this album totally passed me by. To be honest, it’s a pretty good album but it does sound like they compromised their sound a little in order to gain more commercial success. Maybe they should have stuck with what they knew.

“Age of Consent” starts off well enough with a good opener in “On the Wings of the Night.” The theatric keyboard intro draws you in and then the power of the guitars comes in with a powerful but catchy vibe. Exactly what a good album opener is supposed to do. I won’t call the next few songs a let down as they keep the album ticking along satisfactorily but none of them really grab my attention either. I also get the feeling that “Tragedy” was meant to be the single from the album. It ticks all the boxes for a single but for me, there are better songs on the album.

Things change somewhat when you get to the fourth song, a cover of Uriah Heep’s “Stay on Top.” This is a rock song with a bit of 70s swagger and it does generate a renewed vigor to the album. Furthermore, it sparks life into the middle of the album. “Chains of Fire” remind you that Virgin Steele are still a metal band. Then we get to my favourite song of the album, “The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii).” True, there is a bit of history in the lyrics but if more history was taught with music like this in the background, a lot of metalheads would have gotten A’s in history, especially with that guitar solo from Ed Pursino.

Two songs after comes the other standout track from the album, “Lion in the Winter.” While not as theatrical as “The Burning of Rome,” it’s a great straight ahead power metal tune with a catchy melodic chorus. It’s probably singer David De Feis’s best vocal effort. Then the album goes out, first with the power ballad, “Cry Forever,” which is decent but unmemorable and I can say the same about closing track, “We Are Eternal.”

Another reason behind the album’s lack of success was the turmoil going on behind the scenes. During the recording of the album, the band was besieged by financial and legal setbacks. On top of that, bassist Joe O’Reilly was ghosted by Pursion and lead singer David DeFeis. That explains why Pursino is listed in the credits for playing bass on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. On the Wings of the Night
  2. Seventeen
  3. Tragedy
  4. Stay on Top
  5. Chains of Fire
  6. The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii)
  7. Let it Roar
  8. Lion in the Winter
  9. Cry Forever
  10. We Are Eternal
Virgin Steele

David DeFeis- lead vocals, keyboards

Ed Pursino- guitar, bass

Joe O’Reilly- bass

Joey Ayvazian- drums

The end result for “Age of Consent” is that it with all the issues surrounding the band, it would lead to its unofficial break up. Virgin Steele wouldn’t record another album for five years. The tragic aspect is that this album, while I’m not bowled over by it, it’s not bad either. In fact, it’s pretty good.

Next post: Wratchild- The Biz Suxx

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Gone and Done It!

Posted in Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2023 by 80smetalman

There’s another objective achieved, another scratched off my ‘to do’ list. I spent the weekend in Paris and had a really nice time. My main objective, if you haven’t already guessed from the photo above, was to visit Jim Morrison’s grave. Unlike what you see in the film, “The Doors,” there is no graffiti around the grave and it’s now behind a fence. Thank God for mobile phone cameras which let you zoom it. Ever since I got to Europe 36 years ago, it was something I always wanted to do. Covid prevented me from doing so on my 60th birthday but now I’ve done it, hooray!

I don’t know who this derelict is standing in front of Jim’s grave. Oh wait, that’s me.

My daughter Rowena and future daughter in law, Eline

After my objective was achieved, I let my daughter and her fiance pretty much decide the rest of the weekend. On the Saturday, we spent several hours at The Louvre doing all the touristy things. We saw the obvious attractions, The Mona Lisa and the statue of Venus DeMilo as well as many other objects of fine art. A few years ago, I posted about my trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum but The Louvre eats that one for breakfast and lunch. Unless everyone really wants to see it, I won’t post all the photos from there but there was one painting, I can’t remember the artist, which really caught my eye. The reason was that the painting reminded my so much of the video for the song “Mystery” by Dio.

It’s always a mystery.

There are two other interesting happenings over the weekend which are worth me sharing. In my hotel room on the Friday night, I caught a French album show on TV. Most of them weren’t to my musical tastes until the last two. First of these was a band called Indochine. Judging from the video performance where they played to a packed out arena, they’re very big in France. Having just read their biography, this band has been around since the 1980s! Why haven’t I heard of them? They’re considered soft rock/new wave and they sounded quite good. Closing out the album show was a band I introduced last year, Maneskin, from Italy who won last year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The video was of their latest song, a power ballad called “Loneliness” and it’s very good.

Indochine

Måneskin during Rock am Ring at Nürburgring, Nürburg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany on 2022-06-03, Photo: Sven Mandel

As for the second happening, I feel that I would be letting everyone down if I hadn’t discovered a cool heavy metal bar while in Paris. Fortunately I did. It is called Le Black Dog and is located about five minutes walk from The Louvre. It’s not a very big place and unfortunately they were all booked up so we couldn’t sample the cuisine which is said to be very good. I did enjoy a new beer called Polar Dog and they played some great death metal. Another interesting note, there was one guy in the bar who could have been the result of a liaison between Lemmy and a female Motorhead fan. He did look a lot like him. So, if you’re in Paris, you know where to go for a good metal time. I just wished we could have stayed longer.

Patrons of Le Black Dog

My refreshing pint of Polar Dog

Some more cool decor, I took this photo from my stepson Teal

Overall, I had a great weekend in Paris and I hope you all enjoyed reading about it. At least, should you ever go there, you know of a great place to go to and yes, I didn’t have a bad meal the entire weekend.

Next post: Virgin Steele- Age of Consent

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Helloween- Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2023 by 80smetalman

When I posted about Helloween’s previous album, “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I,” Keepsmealive, I’m not sure if it was Aaron or James, asked me if it was worth checking out Part II. I told him I would let him know when I got to the album on the tour of 1988. Well, now I can answer that question and confidently say that he should check out this album. With “Part II,” Helloween pretty much stick to the formula from their previous albums. The only difference might be that this particular album may border more on melodic metal while “Part I” was my introduction to power metal.

In keeping with Helloween tradition, the album opens with a short, just over a minute long instrumental before going into a melodic/power metal foray. “Eagle Fly Free” is a brilliant opening of what’s to come. As with all the album, Michael Kiske’s vocals are superb, he is definitely an underrated singer but you get some great power chords and a cool guitar solo. There’s even a short bass solo from Markus Grosskopf.

Power metal isn’t lost on “You Always Walk Alone” as there are power chords galore to keep you entertained. There is a very interesting musical interlude in the middle of the song, between the two guitar solos where light guitar notes accompany a bass line with cymbal drumming. It’s all quite good and that brings us right to the hidden gem of the album, “Rise and Fall.” This is one of those uplifting anthem type songs where Ingo Schwichtenburg brings in on his drums. The chorus is quite amusing and I like the faster tempo changes and of course, a blistering guitar solo trade off between Kai Hansen and Michael Weikath.

After the hidden gem comes the first single released from the album, “Dr. Stein.” This is a straight forward metal tune and I can hear why it was released as a single. It had me bobbing my head along with the beat and the anthem style chorus followed by some great power chords. The addition of keyboards gives it an extra hook. However, it’s the song three tracks down the line which is the best known song from the album, “I Want Out.” It’s one where it can be said that if you haven’t heard of this song, then you don’t know Helloween. Most people in and out of metal identify the band with that iconic song.

In between those two singles are the tracks, “We Got the Right” and “March of Times.” Both are great power metal anthems and “We Got the Right” shows the versatility of Michael Kiske’s vocals while “March of Times” is another hidden gem, with that guitar solo tradeoff. Now, remember what I said about not straying too far from the formula. Well, like “Part I,” “Part II” ends with an ten minute plus blinder of a song in the form of the title track. Youtube must have read my post on “Part I” because I got the entire thirteen minutes and fifty two seconds of full Helloween inspired metal glory. It’s a great way to end the album.

The CD version of “Part II” has a tenth track called “Save Us.” There is nothing wrong with the song, but it shouldn’t have been stuck on at the end because of what a great closer the title track is. Now, it’s said that Americans are always getting it wrong but in the case of the CD version here, they got it right as “Save Us” is the seventh track on the US version. I think it was better placed there.

Track Listing:

  1. Invitation
  2. Fly Eagle Free
  3. You Always Walk Alone
  4. Rise and Fall
  5. Dr. Stein
  6. We Got the Right
  7. March of Times
  8. I Want Out
  9. Keeper of the Seven Keys
  10. CD bonus track: Save Us

Michael Kiske- lead vocals

Kai Hansen- guitar, backing vocals

Michael Weikath- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Markus Grosskopf- bass

Ingo Schwichtenburg- drums

Listening to “Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part II” I am wondering which of the two parts is the better album. Therefore, I am going to have to listen to them in conjunction in order to decide. Oh, the things I have to do.

Next post: After being in Europe for 36 plus years, I am finally going to Paris to visit Jim Morrison’s grave. I will tell you all about it when I get back.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Guns N’ Roses- Live From the Jungle

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2023 by 80smetalman

I now know why I hadn’t heard of this live album from Guns N’ Roses for a long time. In 1988, it was only released in Japan. There seems to be a lot of controversy over the tittle of the album, mainly down to the Japanese writing. It is on account of an interpretation of the large red text on the album’s obi strip people have called it “Live From the Jungle.” To be honest, I only write that because it’s part of history so let’s get down to the EP itself.

Three of the six tracks were recorded live at the famous London Marquee Club. Since the performance took place in 1987, I am sure that my old buddy Dave Williams and Co was in the crowd. The first of the live tracks is the opening live performance of “It’s So Easy,” from the “Appetite for Destruction” album. It starts off with the famous English chant, “Here We Go” before the band comes on and gets down to business. To be honest, there is no problem in telling that the song was recorded live on account of the production. Still, it gets things going.

Second track, “Shadow of Your Love” is said to be recorded live but according the notes on Wikipedia, it was a faux live recording with crowd noises dubbed in. The production on this one is definitely better than the opener and I will go out on a limb a bit and say that this could have been a forerunner to the classic, “You Could Be Mine,” as it sounds similar. Axl’s vocals are clear, the band is tight and Slash nails a cool guitar solo. All in all, a great tune, it’s the hidden gem for sure.

“Move to the City” comes in with a nice blues swagger to it. This is one to get the blood pumping and I could say that it’s the best track on the album. No mention of where it’s recorded but the notes state that it’s the same version as on “Live?!*Like a Suicide” album. Following on is an early live version of a song which would be a huge hit for them a few years down the line, a cover of the Bob Dylan blockbuster, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Admittedly, the studio version is more polished than this live recording but I really dig this recording. At least on the live version, Axl’s singing “do-oh” isn’t so magnified. This was the second song recorded at the Marquee Club and this track alone makes me regret not being there that night.

Linking past with the present, when I listen to the final song recorded at the Marquee, Guns N’ Roses cover of AD/DC’s classic, “Whole Lotta Rosie,” I can see why Angus Young would choose Axl to sing for AC/DC on tour. Axl admits he’s no Bon Scott, (there is no other Bon Scott), but he does do the song justice. This is a very likeable cover of a cool song. The EP closes with the only studio recorded song, the famous “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Is there any need to say more about this closer? It’s still my favourite Guns N’ Roses song and I would probably just repeat what I wrote when I reviewed the “Appetite for Destruction” album.

Track Listing:

  1. It’s So Easy
  2. Shadow of Your Love
  3. Move to the City
  4. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
  5. Whole Lotta Rosie
  6. Sweet Child O’ Mine

Gun N’ Roses

W. Axl Rose- lead vocals

Slash- lead guitar

Izzy Stradlin- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Duff ‘Rose’ McKagan- bass, backing vocals

Steven Adler- drums, percussion

It’s a shame that “Live From the Jungle” or whatever you want to call it was only released in Japan. Yes, I know you can get it now these days but if I had known about it back in 1988, I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat.

Next post: Helloween- Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To give Bruce Dickinson his well deserved knighthood, along with the postage stamps, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

In Case You Missed Them

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2023 by 80smetalman

Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that no one commented on my Iron Maiden stamps. Then again, I can understand because Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” album is good enough to distract from anything else. Anyway, here’s a couple of strips I bought the other day and I will buy the presentation pack.

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Cinderella- Long Cold Winter

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2023 by 80smetalman

“Long Cold Winter” is Cinderella’s second album, following on from their noteworthy debut, “Night Songs.” With this album, they moved away from the glam metal and produced a more bluesy rock album. That comes through straight away on the opener, “Bad Seamstress Blues/Falling Apart at the Seems.” I really dig the bayou sounding intro to the track before it goes into more harder rock waters, although there’s a cool blues type riff in the middle. However, you can still tell it’s Cinderella.

With “Night Songs,” the band was constantly compared to Bon Jovi although it was Jon who helped Cinderella with that album, which led to their success. While I don’t think “Long Cold Winter” is like “New Jersey,” what it does have in common with that album is that it also produced four big singles. After the opener, you get three on the trot. The cool rocker which is “Gypsy Road,” the mega successful ballad, “Don’t Know What You Got, (Till It’s Gone)” and “The Last Mile.” Of the three, it’s the last one I was least familiar with, (I don’t have it on any compilation albums). But I do like the guitar intro before it goes into rock mode. Of the four singles, this is the one I like best. It’s a more straight up rocker, maybe except for the harmonizing at the chorus but the guitar riffs and Tom Keifer’s guitar solo make up for it.

After the singles, we get into lesser known songs territory. While “Second Wind” is not filler, it’s not the hidden gem on the album. It does it’s job in keeping the album ticking over and in this case, that’s not a bad thing because the title track is a real burner. This is a blues based cooker. The guitars are just awesome, starting with the very blues lead guitar intro. That alone makes it the hidden gem, although Tom’s fits his vocals to the song very well. See, on their first hit, “Shake Me,” from the debut album, Tom was accused by some of trying to sound too much like AC/DC. He definitely silences his critics here. However, I still enjoy the guitar work more.

In spite of my gushing over the title track, it did have some competition from the tracks, “If You Don’t Like It” and penultimate track, “Fire and Ice.” Need I say that the latter isn’t a cover of the Pat Benatar classic? Oh, I just did. It’s a great track in it’s own right and “If You Don’t Like It” shows that Cinderella are still a metal band. I can hear a bit of influence from the Aerosmith classic, “Walk This Way” in places and it sounds as if Tom and Jeff LaBar do a bit of a guitar solo trade off.

Sandwiched between the hidden gem contenders is the fourth single, “Coming Home.” It’s a ballad and a decent one. I like the melodic feel to the song, though Tom could have toned down his vocals a little. “Take Me Back” takes the album out very well as an upbeat rocker.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart at the Seems
  2. Gypsy Road
  3. You Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
  4. The Last Mile
  5. Second Wind
  6. Long Cold Winter
  7. If You Don’t Like It
  8. Coming Home
  9. Fire and Ice
  10. Take Me Back

Cinderella

Tom Keifer- vocals, guitars, steel guitar, harmonica

Jeff LaBar- guitar, lead guitar on tracks 1 and 8

Eric Brittingham- bass, backing vocals

Fred Coury- drums (credited but does not play on the album)

Additional Musicians:

Jay Levin- steel guitar

Cozy Powell- drums, except track 5

Denny Carmassi- drums on track 5

Rick Cirinti- piano, organ, synthesizer

Kurt Shore, John Webster- keyboards

Paulinho Da Costa- percussion

With this album, Cinderella proved they could succeed in their own right. It’s unfortunate that they would fall away a few years down the line while the other band would continue to achieve great glories. Still, this is a really good album.

Next post: Guns ‘N’ Roses- EP

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson his knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Last week in the UK, Iron Maiden postage stamps went on sale. Here’s some I bought and I won’t be posting any letters with them.

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Queensryche- Operation Mindcrime

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2023 by 80smetalman

This was an actual Facebook conversation I had when I posted about King Diamond’s “Abigail” album.

Me: Read why King Diamond’s “Abigail” album is my joint favourite heavy metal concept album of all time.

Responder: I bet the other one’s “Operation Mindcrime.”

Me: It is, am I that predictable?

Responder: No, because “Operation Mindcrime” is such a good album.

Actually, the background as to how the concept album “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche came to be is quite an iteresting read. Singer Geoff Tate was living in Quebec at the time and he picked up on loose talk from friends there who were Quebec separatists who talked about terrorism and bombing. He also lamented over friends who became derelicts due to drink and drugs. Putting the two together, he came up with the concept for the album. His biggest challenge was selling the idea to the rest of the band, which he did one at a time, although guitarist Chris DeGarmo was on board almost from the beginning. Eventually, the rest of the band agreed and a great concept album was born.

Track Listing:

  1. I Remember Now- The short track takes place inside a hospital with the nurse asking a patient, “It’s fifteen minutes past curfew, why are you still up? Perhaps you need another shot.” After she gives the shot, she says, “Sweet dreams, you bastard.” The story’s protagonist, Nikki, suddenly realizes, “I remember now, I remember everything.”
  2. Anarchy X- It’s a cool sounding instrumental which paves the way for the next track.
  3. Revolution Calling- Heroin addict Nikki is frustrated by the hypocrisy and political corruption going on around him and is manipulated into joining a revolutionary group. The rhythm guitar on this track is phenomenal. I love the lyrics, “Who do you trust when the media’s the crook?”
  4. Operation Mindcrime- A great intro here and the is the first of several songs on the track where the bass talents of Eddie Jackson reveals itself. Dr X is the leader of the revolutionary group and he uses mind control techniques to get Nikki become his puppet and carry out assassinations.
  5. Speak- Nikki relishes his role as an assassin and it inflates his ego. He enjoys exterminating the Fascists as the rich control the media and law on this faster tempo track. The backing vocals on the chorus make the point.
  6. Spreading the Disease- My vote for hidden gem on the album. The story sidetracks to a girl named Mary who has run away from home and working as a prostitute. She is rescued from her life by a Father William but the priest isn’t as holy as you might think through the lyrics: “He takes her once a week on the altar like a sacrifice.” Father William is an associate of Dr X and through both of them, Mary’s services are offered to Nikki. This track just purely rocks, both lyrically and musically.
  7. The Mission- Through his relationship with Mary, “She washes my sins sway,” Nikki begins to question what he’s doing and Dr X’s nefarious agenda. The track opens with a cool acoustic intro and then builds up into a rocker. The drumming of Scott Rockenfield is noteworthy on this tune. Saying that, Chris DeGarmo hammers out a cool guitar solo.
  8. Suite Sister Mary- A ten minute plus long progressive metal extravaganza, with Scott adding keyboards and complete with choir, augments Dr X’s instruction to Nikki to kill Mary and Father Williamsas he senses the effect the nun is having on his assassin. He kills the priest but can’t bring himself to kill Mary. His agonizing over it is clearly reflecting in the song and is backed up by some great guitar work. I’m adding this track to my list of great songs over ten minutes long.
  9. The Needle Lies- Nikki goes to Dr. X and tells him he’s out but Dr X reminds him of his drug filled past and how he would still be in that life if it hadn’t been for the Doctor. Nikki leaves feeling conflicted. All of this is told in a very fast paced track.
  10. Electric Requiem- Nikki returns to find Mary dead and Geoff Tate speaks his lamentations very well backed up by some eerie sounding guitars.
  11. Breaking the Silence- Nikki can’t cope with Mary’s death and wonders if he killed her. His grief causes him to lose his sanity, running through the streets calling her name. The police arrive and attempt to subdue him. The rocking melody fits the lyrics extremely well and there is a great guitar solo tradeoff between Chris and Michael.
  12. I Don’t Believe in Love- My favourite Queensryche song of all time! As part of a story or not, this song is just simply fantastic. A gun is found on Nikki and he is arrested, suspected for Mary’s murder and those he committed on the orders of Dr X. He is put into a mental hospital as he in full mental breakdown. Eddie’s bass line is brilliant and the guitars are superb.
  13. Waiting for 22- A cool instrumental which sets the stage for the next track.
  14. My Empty Room- In the mental hospital, Nikki tries to retrace his final moments with Mary as he’s suffering from a complete memory loss. Tate’s vocals bring home Nikki’s mental torture.
  15. Eyes of Stranger- Back in the room in the first track, Nikki has regained his memory but he doesn’t recognize the image he sees in the mirror. He doesn’t know who he is or what he’s become. The music behind the lyrics make it and ideal closer for the album which ends with Nikki saying, “I remember now.”
Queensryche

Geoff Tate- lead vocals, keyboards, whistles and blurbs

Michael Wilton- guitars

Chris DeGarmo- guitars, steel guitar, guitar synthesizer

Eddie Jackson- bass

Scott Rockenfield- drums, percussion, keyboards Track 10

The Cast:

Pamela Moore- Sister Mary

Anthony Valentine- Dr X

Debbie Wheeler- The Nurse

Mike Snyder- The Anchorman

Scott Malteer- Father William

The Moronic Monks of Morin Heights- choir

What more can I say? “Operation Mindcrime” is considered Queensryche’s best album by critics and many fans alike. The only criticism I know of was one who said they were too intellectual for their own good. That should be a compliment because back in the 80s, it was metalheads and the bands they followed who were considered to be stupid. We know this was never the case, another rebuttal comes with this album.

Next post: Cinderella- Long Cold Winter

To Buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Technically, with this post, I shouldn’t include the link to sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood because according to Bruce’s autobiography, he and Geoff Tate didn’t like each other. Anyway, if you want to rise about their squabble, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Bon Jovi- New Jersey

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2023 by 80smetalman

An old friend of mine, his name is Leigh Griffiths and he was the guitarist in the band Torque Show, (he’s second from the left in the photo in the “Curry With Guns N Roses” post), once said that Bon Jovi represented everything that was wrong with heavy metal in the 1980s. He sites their 1988 album, “New Jersey,” as his evidence. Personally, I don’t think there was anything wrong with heavy metal in the 80s but I’m still going to write the post in light of Leigh’s comment.

Stating the obvious, the album named after the state I grew up in demonstrated a shift to a commercial sound for Bon Jovi. However, unlike a lot of metal bands who attempted this back then, it worked for Bon Jovi. The album went number one in several countries and produced five singles which hit the top ten. “Bad Medicine” went to number one. So again, they must have found the right formula. On the flip side, some hardcore metalheads paid little attention to the album, accusing Bon Jovi of selling out and pointed the commercial success to the fact that Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Ritchie Sambora tingled the hormones of teenage girls. I admit, I kind of distanced myself from Bon Jovi at this time and would later join the chorus of male metalheads who claimed they only listened to Bon Jovi because their girlfriends were so into them. I admit that in my case it’s bullshit.

Most people know the singles from the album, so I won’t spend time going over those. Besides, it’s easy to see why they were so successful. “Lay Your Hands on Me,” “Bad Medicine,” “Born to Be My Baby” “Living in Sin,” and “I’ll Be There for You,” which reminds me a lot of the Beatles song, “Don’t Bring Me Down,” are all well known songs, even if you weren’t heavily into Bon Jovi. What I like about the structure of the album is that four of the singles are the first four tracks on the album. So for me, it was easier to get to and appreciate the lesser known tracks on the album and that starts with the real hidden gem on the album, “Blood on Blood.” I really love the piano harmony on the track backed up by Ritchie’s guitar. The lyrics take me back to my younger days when I was a bit more rebellious. Although I didn’t get ‘turned into a man’ until I went into the service, it does bring back the memories. It’s a great uplifting song and I won’t disagree with anyone who thinks David Bryan is an underrated keyboardist.

“Homebound Train” is another good track. This is most rocking track on the album and it’s reassuring to hear that Bon Jovi haven’t completely sold out. I love it’s swagger and the Ritchie is the hero here. Giving credit where due, the late Alec John Such lays down a groovy bass line. On “Wild is the Wind,” they attempt to build on like sounding song from “Slippery When Wet,” “Wanted Dead of Alive,” using the acoustic intro. While “Wild is the Wind” doesn’t come up to my all time favourite Bon Jovi song, it’s still a cool track. “Stick to Your Guns” is a nice ballad and I wouldn’t have argued against it being released as a single as well.

With all of that said, there are two tracks which I feel don’t really belong. My theory is that they were put there in an attempt to add a bit of humour to the album. “Ride Cowboy Ride,” thankfully it’s only just over a minute long but I can’t help thinking it’s an outtake that was left on the album. Then there’s the closer, “Love for Sale.” I think this was also left in for humour purposes because if it wasn’t there, “99 in the Shade” would have been a brilliant closer. It just has that great album ending swagger where everything just seems to come together.

Track Listing:

  1. Lay Your Hands on Me
  2. Bad Medicine
  3. Born to Be My Baby
  4. Living in Sin
  5. Blood on Blood
  6. Homebound Train
  7. Wild is the Wind
  8. Ride Cowboy Ride
  9. Stick to Your Guns
  10. I’ll Be There For You
  11. 99 in the Shade
  12. Love is For Sale
Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi- lead and backing vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar

Ritchie Sambora- guitars, mandolin, backing vocals and accompanying lead vocal on “I’ll Be There For You”

David Bryan- keyboards, backing vocals

Alec John Such- bass, backing vocals

Tico ‘The Hit Man’ Torres- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Scott Fairbairn- cello

Audrey Nordwell- cello

Bruce Fairbairn- percussion, horn

Proof I’m maturing in my old age: in the 1980s, I called “New Jersey” a too commercial album and accused Bon Jovi of selling out. However, these days, I appreciate the album much more. While some grumpy metalheads might have called the album a sell out, many metalheads must have bought it because the album was such a huge success for the band. In my old age, I can understand why. If there was anything wrong with heavy metal in the 1980s, it wasn’t on account of Bon Jovi.

Next post: Queensryche- Operation Mindcrime

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Great Metal Albums of 1988: AC/DC- Blow Up Your Video

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2023 by 80smetalman

My mind is in a bit of a quandary here in regards to AC/DC’s “Blow Up Your Video” album. I’ve read accounts from people who have rubbished this album on line. One or two have said it’s their worst album. However, my research suggests otherwise. It had amazing chart success and for the most part, good critical reception at the time. So, who am I to believe? The obvious answer is to listen to the album and make my own decision. Okay, it’s a bit rudimentary but I thought I had to bring a little suspense in.

If I could find any fault with the album, I would say that AC/DC were simply painting by numbers when they made it. Then again, they had a great formula which worked for them over several albums so why change it? That brings me to the good point, sure, they might have been painting by numbers but in no way does the album sound tired or done before. The album hosts ten fresh sounding songs. This even includes the penultimate track, “Two’s Up.” If I was to rank all the penultimate tracks from all AC/DC’s albums, then this one would be up in the top five, possibly even number one. Angus’s guitar solo is the best on the album. Another plus for the album is that it’s definitely not the dirge that was “Fly on the Wall.”

Listening to the album opened locks in my mind and let out things that were stored inside for over thirty years. My Swiss cheese mind forgot that there was a good single released from the album in the form of “Heatseeker.” I forgot how good of a track it was and the fact that it did so well in the UK charts. Then again, the purpose of this blog is to get you and me to go back and listen to long forgotten albums and bring back great memories. It worked for me in this case.

Since it appears third on the album, I will go directly to the hidden gem, “Meanstreak.” If any track on this album reninded me what I loved about AC/DC over the many years, it’s this one. Traditional AC/DC at its best is all I can say. “Go Zone” is a second but slightly less shiny hidden gem. Not quite as great as “Meanstreak” it too reminds me of what I like about this iconic band. It has a great opening riff and by the way, so does “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock and Roll.”

On the subject of sounding fresh, “Kissin’ Dynamite” is the track. They don’t do anything experimental or go way out there and the AC/DC stamp is all over it but somehow, maybe it’s just my weird mind, it sounds different and fantastic as well. You get some great rhythm guitar riffs on “Nick of Time” and Malcolm and Angus prove why they are such a good lead/rhythm guitar combination.

If I had to pick a least strongest track, and I would only do it under protest, it would “Some Sin for Nuthin.'” It’s not a bad track at all but it just kind of comes and goes. But no worries, “Ruff Stuff” comes and wipes out any doubts as it blows you away. Another hidden gem. After the already mentioned penultimate track, the album goes out on a total high with “This Means War.” It brings back memories of the classic, “Beat Around the Bush” from “Highway to Hell.” All in all, I think “Blow Up Your Video” is a very good album. I won’t rate it as high as “Back in Black” or “Highway to Hell” but it’s a good album in its own right. Definitely needed after some AC’/DC fans began to lost faith in the band. Faith was restored!

Track Listing:

  1. Heastseeker
  2. That’s the Way I Wanna Rock and Roll
  3. Meanstreak
  4. Go Zone
  5. Kissin’ Dynamite
  6. Nick of Time
  7. Some Sin for Nuthn’
  8. Ruff Stuff
  9. Two’s Up
  10. This Means War

AC/DC

Brian Johnson- lead vocals

Angus Young- lead guitar

Malcolm Young- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Cliff Williams- bass, backing vocals

Simon Wright- drums, percussion

It was great to see that an old dog could come up with new tricks. I don’t care what naysayers might say about “Blow Up Your Video,” for me, it’s a great album.

Next post: Bon Jovi- New Jersey

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

David Williams: My Curry With Guns & Roses

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2023 by 80smetalman

So, after the gig had finished, we decided that we were going to find out where they were going, and crash whatever wild party that had been thrown in the honour of Axl and co, in whatever glamourous venue, probably in some amazing venue in the Wild West End!

But how? Around the side of Hammy O we went, as near to the stage door as possible, to hang out with rock stars and find out our eventual destination. Various rock stars appeared, most lost in my memory, but the two conversations that still stick in my mind are when John Gerring asked John Sykes, ‘John, John, is Coverdale still in Whitesnake…???!!’ which was met with a rather bemused look, and the following exchange, between me and one of my absolute heroes.

Me: Hello Pete

Pete Way: Hello mate, I know you, you’re Swedish ain’tcha, with that pretty girlfriend.

Me: No Pete, I’m Welsh

Pete Way: Ah, right yeah. Got any heroin?

Me: No Pete, I don’t do drugs

Pete Way: Good man. Got any coke?

Me: No Pete.

Then his accomplice led him away to where Phil Mogg was standing and off they went away into the night, like the title of a UFO song….

But where the heck were G’n’R going???

Hang on, there they were getting on a coach. We sprinted for Kieran’s van and set off in hot pursuit. Through West London we went, keeping up with the coach despite the traffic lights getting in the way. Finally we caught up with the now parked up coach on Westbourne Grove, and it was voted that as I was the singer and the one with the mouth (lol) who goes to restaurants, that I should go and find them. Off I went and despite peering through the windows of every still open pub/bar/restaurant I could find, my search sadly drew a blank. Oh well, we’d still had an amazing night, we’d seen Faster Pussycat, (I’d even got Brent Muscat’s autograph), our mates The Quireboys (hooray!), and the all-conquering Guns’n’Roses, and then star spotted around the back of the legendary Hammy O. What more could you want from a night out? Kieran turned the ignition of his company van and we started the cross town journey back to the glamour of our East Ham home.

But then, to our amazement, we saw Duff walking along the pavement by the side of the van! Down went the window and Duff was duly summoned, I still don’t know who was more surprised, him or us! He explained that he was looking for ‘a payphone to call Seattle…’ We immediately told him to get in the van, he did look at us suspiciously at first, but when he saw the way we were dressed, and we told him we’d not only been at the gig that night but also at the Marquee shows back in the summer, in he got, off we went, and a pay phone was found a few hundred yards up the road, so out he got and made his call home. We were now beside ourselves with excitement, your actual Duff, in the van, and we’d done him a favour! Surely we’d now be invited to the wild soiree that he’d escaped from.

Duff got back in the van, thanked us all for our help and suggested that we should all, ‘come and have a ****ing drink with Guns and Roses!’. This was it, now what crazy rock and roll hot spot were we going to be invited into for an evening of (hopefully) free Jack Daniels and rock and roll goddesses? Much to our surprise he pointed out the Khyber Indian Restaurant, the Escort van was parked outside and, much to the shock/bemusement/horror of the respectable diners coming to the end of their meals, a line of leather jacketed, big haired rock and rollers followed him in and down the stairs at the back of the restaurant (the reason why I’d not seen them), where he was greeted by (I think) Alan Niven with the words, ‘Oh my God, what’s he done now….’. Not to worry, we were his new friends, so seats were found, beers and Chicken Kormas were ordered, and I sat there, caught my breath and looked around.

So who was around the tables then? If I remember correctly, it was 35 years ago after all, it went, in clockwise fashion, me, Leigh, John, Slash (in a bootleg t-shirt he’d got outside the Odeon), Sally the Dancer, (who we knew from various gigs and nights out), maybe Alan Niven. Duff, Steven Adler, a girl called Nellie who looked like she could have been Slash’s sister, two German girls, Kieran, Carol and Martin. So who’s missing you’re asking? Just as we arrived at the restaurant, Izzy had to leave as he wasn’t feeling very well. He had indeed spent the whole gig looking extremely cool but sort of not moving very much, so not sure what had happened there. Axl was sitting away from the band further down the restaurant with, I think, Erin Everly herself. The two of them didn’t seem really interested in joining us as they appeared to be in deep conversation but I do recall him playing with a rather large ornate knife and also looking daggers at me when I proposed a toast to the band and their success.

Never mind, what fun conversations we were all having, I wish I could remember them all; Duff asking me to translate into German his intentions to the two German girls, Steven Adler being very funny and charming and maybe Alan Niven being quite relieved that we were actually a well behaved group of reprobates that Duff had brought into the restaurant.

All too soon at approximately 2am, it was time to leave the restaurant. Hugs, handshakes were exchanged and our demo tapes were given to the band and we got back into Kieran’s Escort van for the journey home to East Ham.

What a night, as is often said, if only we’d had phones with cameras in those days! I’m lucky that I still go to gigs and meet all sorts of various famous and infamous musicians, but that night will always be one of the most special, heck, I’ve still the matches from the restaurant somewhere….

Dave, (second from right) how he looked back then when he was singer in the band Torque Show.

David’s favour Guns and Roses Song.

Thanks to Dave for sharing this great account. My only regret was that I couldn’t be there. I had to work that evening and had spent the day with my bride to be flat hunting.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmal.com

To sign the petition to have Bruce Dickinson knighted, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false