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Great Metal Albums of 1986: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here is one band that totally passed me by back in the 1980s. While I had heard of Tygers of Pan Tang throughout the years, I never got around to listening to any of their material. That all changed about a year ago when a colleague I know from officiating (American) football gave me a bag full of CDs, three of which were from this band. None of those albums was their 1986 compilation album, “First Kill,” but the other albums I did listen to gave me more than enough reason to include them here.

All the tracks, except for the closer, were all from the band’s early days and were recorded live. Having a quick look back through the discography, the only songs which appear on other albums are “Euthanasia” and “Slaves to Freedom,” which appear on the debut, “Wild Cat,” although “Bad Times” and my personal favourite,”Straight as a Die,” appear on the 1997 re-issue. With all of that said, it doesn’t make that much difference because all of the songs appeal to me.

What impresses me the most about the band is the strings section. Guitarist Robb Weir hammers out some great guitar solos on the album, especially on my favourite track. Then again, his best solo is on “Slave to Freedom.” Mr. Weir really goes nuts on that one and because it’s live, I regret not being in the audience. On the downside and why “Slaves to Freedom” is not my favourite song, is because the vocals of Jess Cox sound strained on it. Anyway, I was talking about the strings section and I must point out that the bass playing of Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws is some of the best bass playing I’ve heard. I’m now going to make a bold declaration by saying he belongs in the same category as Billy Sheehan, Michael Anthony, Lemmy and so many others.

It’s not just Weir’s solos that I like. Many of the songs on “First Kill” open with some ear grabbing riffs. “The Final Answer,” “Euthanasia” and “Shakespeare Road” all open with great riffs and establish the songs right from the start. The latter of the three has some another noteworthy guitar solo and not to leave him out, it’s the track which best showcases the drumming of Brian Dick. Putting all of these elements together and listening to the result, I fail to see why Tygers of Pan Tang don’t get more recognition in mentions of new wave of British heavy metal, which they were part of. I guess they were to NWOBHM what the Johnny Van Zant band was to Southern Rock in the very early 80s, a great band that didn’t get the recognition it should have gotten.

Track Listing:

  1. Slaves to Freedom
  2. Angel
  3. Straight as a Die
  4. The Final Answer
  5. Euthanasia
  6. Shakespeare Road
  7. Don’t Take Nothing
  8. All Right on the Night
  9. Bad Times
  10. Small Town Flirt

*”Small Town Flirt” was recorded just prior to the release of the album and done with a different bass player and drummer. This band was officially known as Tyger Tyger and it was the only song they released.

Tygers of Pan Tang

Jess Cox- vocals

Robb Weir- guitars

Richard ‘Rocky’ Laws- bass

Brian Dick- drums

On “Small Town Flirt”

Brian Emerson- bass

Mr. Roland- drums

Better late than never they say. It’s definitely true in my case in regards to Tygers of Pan Tang. This was a great band, actually, they’re back together and touring so after listening to “First Kill” and some of their other albums, I will have to see them if they come around.

Next post: Agnostic Front- Cause for Alarm

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Iron Maiden: Somewhere in Time

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

After Judas Priest’s use of guitar synthesizers on their “Turbo” album, many people in the metal world were waiting with great anxiety on the release of Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” album because the rumours were flying that Maiden were also using guitar synthesizers on their new album, me included. Like so many metalheads at the time, I thought synthesizers were for pop bands and true metal bands didn’t use them. However, when all the anxiety was over and I finally got to listen to the album, I found that the use of guitar synthesizers didn’t turn Iron Maiden into Duran Duran and actually, “Somewhere in Time” is still a cool album.

Taking a step I didn’t normally take back then, I bought the twelve inch single, “Wasted Years.” Normally, I went straight for the album but I guess the guitar synth rumours made me a little nervous. After a listen or two, I found that the synths suited the song very well and that there was nothing to worry about. Iron Maiden remained true to the sound which made them a sensation. Long story short, I loved the song. One piece of 80smetalman history: the “Wasted Years” twelve inch was the first record I bought when I got to England.

If there was any question to whether Iron Maiden rocks out on the album, then have a listen to the track, “Sea of Madness.” The tracks opens with typical Iron Maiden guitar riffs from Smith and Murray before catapulting into a power tune. Bruce’s vocals are as clear as ever, Steve’s bass line is what you expect from the man as is Nicko’s drumming, plus there is a cool guitar solo. Everything’s there on “Sea of Madness” but it still doesn’t get my vote for hidden gem!

My vote for hidden gem on the album could be controversial. “Heaven Can Wait” wasn’t released as a single but it was played live on the next few Maiden tours after this one. The other point is the fact that it is definitely up there in my top ten or possibly top five of all time 80smetalman favourite Iron Maiden songs. Therefore, it could be argued that the gem isn’t exactly hidden. Nevertheless, this song just totally kicks ass and it’s a case of taking all the good things I said about “Sea of Madness” and multiplying them two or three times more for “Heaven Can Wait.”

Another track which might qualify is “Deja Vu.” Back in 86, it didn’t really make itself known unto me but listening to the album recently, it has caught my notice and it is a better track than what I used to remember. Of course, the other tracks are just as cool, having been a long distance or semi long distance runner in high school, (I ran the 800 metres), I can identify with “The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner.” While the lyrics ring true with me, Iron Maiden are one of the few bands who can capture it so well in the music.

Steve Harris stated that “Somewhere in Time” was never meant to be a concept album but it just happened that most of the songs on it were to do with time, interesting thought. However, Mr. Harris also keeps to his love of putting history to music with the closing track, “Alexander the Great.” I know if I was ever to have the opportunity to teach children about Alexander, then I would use the song to motivate the pupils.

Track Listing:

  1. Caught Somewhere in Time
  2. Wasted Years
  3. Sea of Madness
  4. Heaven Can Wait
  5. The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner
  6. Stranger in a Strange Land
  7. Deja- Vu
  8. Alexander the Great
Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- lead vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Adrian Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

Guitar synthesizers or not, Iron Maiden put out another great album in 1986 with “Somewhere in Time.” I don’t think the band intended it but the release of the album almost coincided with my arrival in England. It’s not a bad album to arrive in another country to because after listening to it, I didn’t feel like (bad pun alert) a stranger in a strange land.

Next post: Tygers of Pan Tang- First Kill

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

No One Saw Anything

Posted in Books, Uncategorized with tags , , on November 27, 2020 by 80smetalman

Part 3: No One Saw Anything

Drinks were flowing that evening at the Prince William pub in Birmingham. Simon Clay had consumed his fair share of pints and was now feeling the effects. He couldn’t remember when he last had such a good time. It was probably the evening of the day he was acquitted of rape.

His thoughts instinctively drifted back to the day he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. Even though he couldn’t remember much about his celebrations that evening, the trial would forever be etched in his memory. He would also remember that confrontation with the angry black man who had testified against him. Afterwards, his friends feared for Simon’s safety so much, they formed a protective circle around him and escorted him to a nearby pub to begin celebrating his good fortune. The celebrations went on until closing time and Simon got very drunk. While most of the evening was a blur after he arrived at the pub, he did remember blurting out, “The fucking slag wanted it!” at some point in the evening. He also remembered wishing that excellent barrister who got him off was there so he could buy him a drink.

Life for Simon after his ‘ordeal’ was good. Fears about reprisals from lesbian women’s groups or that angry black man or any black rights organization never materialized. Five months on, he felt that he no longer needed to worry. All was well and he could get on with his life without having to look over his shoulder.

While he was feeling very merry, he wasn’t as intoxicated as on the night of his acquittal and was still in charge of his faculties. Still, he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or it was the effects of the alcohol, but he was sure the pretty young blonde lady sitting at a table next to his was smiling at him. Taking another look, he saw that she was now walking towards him. Watching her come closer, he was definitely sure she was looking at him and she flashed an inviting smile as she went past. The young lady’s tight black mini-skirt and tan tights continued to hold his gaze as she walked away from him. Hope overrode disappointment when he saw that she was simply going to the little girl’s room and vowed inwardly to go talk to her once she returned.

Fortune seemed to be with Simon that evening as not only he but his three mates who were with him had no doubt the mysterious blonde was interested in him. Seeing her return to her seat at the next table, his friend Mick whispered, “You better hit that.”

Needing no encouragement from his friends, Simon was over like a shot to where the young lady sat. Seeing her in her full glory, he realized she was even more stunning that what he first had though. Pulling out an empty chair at the table, he boldly sat down while he introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Simon.”

She watched him sit down and her infectious smile broadened, she returned, “I’m Cynthia.”

They exchanged small talk as each one gained details about the other. Simon became quickly aware that Cynthia’s words were laced with innuendo and allure. He clung onto every one of them. Even when she talked about her job as a nurse at Birmingham City Hospital and about how she loved to play doctors and nurses, she made it all sound very sexy. Simon felt as if he had won the lottery. The more they chatted away, the more he was convinced that this was going to be his night and that she was up for some fun. The only break in the conversation came when he went up to the bar to replenish their drinks. He was so eager to get back to Cynthia that he nearly spilled her half pint of cider.

After some more small talk and with their drinks finished, it was Cynthia who suggested, “Let’s go somewhere more private,” much to his surprise and delight. Hand in hand, they left the pub. Simon was just able to catch a glimpse of Mick signaling a ‘thumbs up’ as they walked past. Leaving the pub, she led him down a main road for a few hundred yards before turning down a narrow alley. All the while, his tingling hormones overrode any sense of where he might be going. The alley led to an open space behind some buildings. Stopping at the edge, Cynthia turned to him and smiled, “We’re alone now.”

Like magnets, lips passionately pressed together. Simon was convinced he was in heaven as he and Cynthia engaged in a bit of tongue wrestling. She didn’t seem to mind his hands slipping from her waist down to her bottom, which he began massaging. Seconds later and more to his surprise and delight, she took his left hand and placed it on her breast before breaking the kiss for a quick breather.

Suddenly, Simon felt someone behind him but before he could react, a cord was wrapped around his neck and dragged him to the ground. The second he hit the ground, a dozen black shapes were upon him, some striking him with brass knuckled fists.

Cynthia left the mob to do its work. As she passed by, one of the hooded shapes handed her a small ruck sack. Moving where she was less likely to be seen, she opened the ruck sack and took out a pair of baggy track suit bottoms which she immediately slipped over her tight mini dress. Next, she produced a pair of high top trainers and ditching her high heels into the sack, put them on. She then pulled a large black hoodie from the sack and once that was adorned, the blonde wig went into the sack in exchange. In just over a minute, Cynthia had transformed back into Rochelle Dibley.

Upon her return, Rochelle could see that the mob had already given the target a good hammering. The man’s face was badly cut up and a steady flow of blood ran from his nose. Taking a glove from the pocket of her hoodie, she put in on and then accepted the brass knuckles one of the mob handed her, though she knew she really didn’t need them. She walked over to the man she had been in the pub with that evening. He was on his knees with four of her comrades holding him tightly. Without hesitation, Cynthia delivered a brass knuckled blow to the man’s jaw which snapped his head back and sideways in one motion, just like she had done to Amazon Glenda and that punk kid on Brighton Sea Front. Seeing the force of Cynthia’s blow on the target, the ones holding him let him drop face forward to the street, confident he wouldn’t be getting up for awhile. Like rats in the night, they all dispersed but not before one of them stuck a piece of paper to his back.

Simon didn’t know how long he’d been out for but when he came to, he wasn’t surprised that his attackers were long gone. It took an immense to get to his feet because each little movement brought excruciating pain. Once upright, he had to wait another few minutes before the strength returned to his legs and the dizziness in his head went away. Only then, did he have the confidence to walk on his own. He went back up the alley where Cynthia, if that was her real name, had led him down and was soon back on the main road. Staggering in the direction of the pub, he found a lamppost, which he used as support while he fumbled to find his mobile phone. Fortunately, his beating hadn’t effected his sight and using the light from the post, he searched his contact list in order to call Mick.

“What did you shag that bird already?” Mick asked light-heartedly when he answered the call.

“It was a trap!” Simon said before spitting out a mouthful of blood. “She had a bunch of people waiting for me in an alley and they duffed me up good. I need picking up.”

“What the fuck!” Mick exclaimed. “Where are you? I’ll come and get you.”

“Just down the road from the pub.”

Ending the call, it suddenly dawned on him to use the selfies app to see how badly he was beaten up. The image on the phone’s screen did not surprise him. His face was cut in several places and there was a large bruise already forming under his right eye. Plus, the pain in his cheekbone was agonizing, even when he wasn’t trying to speak.

“I am a rapist,” called an unfamiliar voice from behind.

Turning around, he saw a young man and woman. The man gestured, “That’s what it says on the back of your coat.” Then seeing Simon’s face, he exclaimed, “Christ, someone got you really good.” It appeared as if the man was going to offer assistance but the girl tugged on his sleeve and they walked off together.

He watched the couple continue down the street for about forty metres. Then remembering what the man had told him, he took off his jacket and looked on the back. Sure enough, the man’s exact words were written on a piece of paper which had been taped to it. It took him,a couple of minutes to remove the well taped on note, his state of inebriation combined with the beating he had taken added to the difficulty.

Mick’s car pulled up beside him. “Oh God, they really did one on you!” he exclaimed.

Paying no heed to his friend’s words, Simon got in the car. It had gone about half a mile when Mick asked, “Do you think this had anything to do with your rape trial? I remember the bitch who accused you and that bird you were with wasn’t her.”

“It probably had something to do with it.”

“Do you think it was that girl who accused you who set it up?”

Simon thought for a second. “Possibly, it’s either her or that coon who testified in court against me.”

Mick responded with, “It wouldn’t surprise me. He did seem disappointed that you got off.” They said nothing further as the car drove home in the night.

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Samson- Joint Forces

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2020 by 80smetalman

Even as early as 1986, the British heavy metal band, Samson, was already becoming known as “the other band Bruce Dickinson was in.” No prizes for knowing Bruce was in Samson before leaving to join Iron Maiden. In fact, I probably should have been posting Samson albums in the previous years leading up to 1986. I blame my crap memory. If anyone’s interested, I could visit those albums after the tour of 86 is done before moving onto 1987.

Guitarist Paul Samson wasn’t going to throw in the towel after Bruce’s departure and continued the band and lead singer Nicky Moore proves to be a capable replacement on Samson’s 1986 album, “Joint Forces.” In spite of the fact that I had heard of Samson before coming over to Britain, I never listened to them until I saw them open for none other than Iron Maiden. It was a result of that concert, I finally got around to listening to Samson. That was the problem in 1986, so much good metal and not enough time to listen to it all.

Starting with both ends of the album, the opening and closing tracks lay down the framework to what is a great album. “The Chosen Few” is a very fast paced song which grabs your attention from the start, the closest track to thrash. Then, while the contradiction may not work on other albums, the closing power ballad, “Reach Out to Love” is the perfect way to end the album. I don’t remember if they played the song when I saw them but if I was to go back in time and Samson was playing in the US, my cigarette lighter would have been held aloft all throughout the song.

That leaves the songs in between and let me say that there is no let up anywhere on the album. I like the reggae/metal feel to “No Turning Back” and “Tell Me” is a real power rocker. Paul really lets go with the guitar on this one. “The Russians are Coming” is a short but sweet speedy rocker. It’s a good dig at then president Ronald Reagan’s paranoia that the Russians were going to invade America at any moment and it has a cool guitar solo from Paul. However, of all these tunes, my favourite has to be the mid tempo, melodic metal jam, “Burning Emotion.” For me, this track embodies everything Samson does well on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Chosen Few
  2. Tramp
  3. Burning Emotion
  4. No Turning Back
  5. Tell Me
  6. Tales of the Fury
  7. That Ain’t All
  8. Power of Love
  9. The Russians are Coming
  10. Reach Out For Love
Samson

Nicky Moore- vocals

Paul Samson- guitar

John Mccoy- bass

Chris Shirley- drums

Whether Samson was Bruce Dickinson’s other band or not seems a mute point. What I know is that I missed out on a great band in Samson, something I need to rectify.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Somewhere In Time

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Wrathchild- Trash Queens

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2020 by 80smetalman

One very interesting British band which came my way in London in 1986 was Wrathchild. First, I am fairly sure they didn’t get their name from an Iron Maiden song, at least it seems to be the case according to the band’s history. However, they were one of the ever growing list of glam metal bands who wore more make up than a lot of ladies I know.

Wrathchild’s 1986 album, (for me it’s 86 because I never heard of them before I got to England in that year), “Trash Queens” was my introduction to them. According to history, the album is a compilation of the single and opening song, “Do You Want My Love,” their EP “Stackheel Strutt” and three live tracks which appear at the end.

The said single, I can see why Wrathchild would have released it as one, it’s got a radio friendly catchy vibe to it. Still, it never got in the charts nor do I remember it being played at any metal club I went to back then. Still, it’s an all right track. Saying that, maybe they should have released the B-side second track, “Rock the City Down.” This is a more upbeat song with some good power chords and harmonizing and a catchy riff in the middle. My choice for song of the album.

It took me a couple of listens to get into “Lipstick Killers” before I decided it was a cool track and not just an amusing title. Following that, the next two tracks are two good rockers. Not anything I would go nuts about but they are okay. The title track has some good guitar work from Lance Rocket and “Teenage Revolution” has some cool chords at the intro. Then we get to the three live tracks. Once again, they’re okay although “It’s a Party” does end the album on a good note.

Track Listing:

  1. Do You Want My Love?
  2. Rock the City Down
  3. Lipstick Killers
  4. Trash Queen
  5. Teenage Revolution
  6. Twist the Knife
  7. Cock, Rock, Shock
  8. It’s a Party
Wratchild

Rocky Shades- vocals

Lance Rocket- guitar

Marc Angel- bass

Eddie Starr- drums

After being introduced to so many great bands when I got to the UK, it was only a matter of time before I came across a band that was good but not great. That was Wrathchild. Although, “Trash Queen” is an okay album but not one I will go back to again and again.

Next post: Samson- Joint Forces

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

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Mama’s Boys- Power and Passion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 19, 2020 by 80smetalman

Something I’ve realized in my later years actually manifested itself back in 1986, I just didn’t see it at the time. That is that heavy metal transcends national borders. Attending university in London, the metalheads of the university all banded together, united in metal. When walking home from a gig one night, one of the group made the observation, “We’re a right bunch here. We have an American, a Welshman, an Englishman, an Irishman and a Northerner.” (The Northerner was from Blackpool in the north of England.) Proof then that heavy metal can unite the world! I do recall this event in “Rock and Roll Children.” Why am I telling this story? Because it was the Irishman in the group, actually he was from Northern Ireland, who introduced me to a band from his homeland, Mama’s Boys.

I had heard the name Mama’s Boys before I arrived in the UK but my local record store in the US did not stock any of their albums. They were rather useless. It was my new friend Kieran, (the Patrick character in “Rock and Roll Children” is based on him), who opened my eyes to the band via their album, “Power and Passion” and I was very glad about that.

“Power and Passion” is a straight-forward 80s heavy metal album. There is simply some great musicianship combined with some great hooks in many of the songs. It has a decent opener in “Hard’n Loud” and there are hooks a plenty on the slower, more bluesy track, “Needle in the Groove.” Some great intro riffs and a cool guitar solo on “Run” and there is an interesting instrumental in the form of penultimate track, “The Professor II.” More straight ahead rockers and a closer which will make you come back to the album again and again. However, the song that does it most for me is “Lettin’ Go.” This track defines the album the best. Some great hard rocking riffs, a pounding rhythm section while keeping to their more melodic metal sound and of course, another great guitar solo.

If the three McManus brothers were to keep to the guitar, bass, drum formula, they would have still sounded great. No one can question the commitment and talent of these three but they do contribute their Gaelic roots by adding such instruments as a fiddle, whistles and bagpipes. This makes them even more unique and this album even better!

Track Listing:

  1. Hard’n Loud
  2. Straight Forward (No Looking Back)
  3. Lettin’ Go
  4. Needle in the Groove
  5. Run
  6. Power and Passion
  7. Don’t Tell Mama
  8. The Professor II
  9. Let’s Get High
Mama’s Boys

Pat McManus- guitar, fiddle, backing vocals

John McManus- bass, lead vocals, backing vocals, low whistle, tin whistle uilleann bagpipes (Irish bagpipes)

Tommy McManus- drums, bodhran drum (Irish drum), backing vocals

With all the metal bands coming out all over the world, it seems only natural that there would be at least one from Northern Ireland. With “Power and Passion,” Mama’s Boys do their country and heavy metal proud.

Next post: Wrathchild- Trash Queens

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

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.

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Magnum- Vigilante

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2020 by 80smetalman

By November 1986, being in England for three months, my introduction to British bands I had not heard of in the USA was in danger of becoming over-saturated. This could be down to the fact I was in London and there were so many rock and metal clubs that I could have gone out any night of the week and discovered a new metal act. Finances prevented that from happening. However, one band which I was introduced to at the time was Magnum.

What I didn’t know was that Magnum had a pretty long history before I had heard of them. They went back as far as 1978 but my first experience of them was their 1986 album, “Vigilante.” It was the title track which really hooked me, I spent quite a few Autumn Fridays night at the metal club headbanging away to it. Ah, great song and great memories!

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to its great title track. In fact, after a listen or two, I thought that maybe Magnum shouldn’t be called heavy metal and that was even before people started putting metal into categories. Personally, I would class them as straight forward rock or melodic hard rock, possibly in the vein of Night Ranger.

The first three tracks of “Vigilante” are ready for radio commercial rock tunes. In fact, to my surprise, it was the album’s opener, “Lonely Night” that was released as a single. I thought it should have been the title track but remembering how things were back then, it was probably a good call or it would have been if the song had managed to chart, it didn’t. “Sometime Love” or the fourth track, “Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)” would have been better candidates. There is enough of a guitar riff on those tracks that might have enticed more metalheads to by the single. Plus, “Midnight” has a cool sax solo.

Things look up on the second half of the album as things go more hard rock at this point. “Red on the Highway” starts things off very well. This song cooks and leaves me to question why more songs weren’t like this one. This is the first track which actually got my head to bang along with it. A cool guitar solo from Tony Clarkin helps too. The next track, “Holy Rider” is even heavier with some cool riffs. Both of these could be classed as hidden gems.

Here’s my final misgiving about “Vigilante.” The ballad, “When the World Comes Down” should have been the closer. It’s a good ballad but what I like best is that it has that ‘hold your cigarette lighters in the air while singing along’ feel to it. That makes it a great closer. That means, placing the title track after the two rockers would have made that part of the album sound phenomenal and the actual closer track would still be good coming after “Vigilante” but as a penultimate track. That would have set up my choice for closer exceptionally well. That’s just my thought.

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Night
  2. Need a Lot of Love
  3. Sometime Love
  4. Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)
  5. Red on the Highway
  6. Holy Rider
  7. When the World Comes Down
  8. Vigilante
  9. Back Street Kid
Magnum

Bob Catley- vocals

Tony Clarkin- guitar

Wally Lowe- bass

Mark Stanway- keyboards

Mickey Barker- drums

In one case, it’s a little surprising Magnum didn’t have more success in the US. I think they would have appealed to those who were into more melodic rock like Night Ranger or Survivor. They appeal to me more as I’m mellowing a bit with age but in 1986, as someone looking for the loud power chords, it was just an okay album.

One final note: The cigarette lighters in the air at concerts is definitely an American custom.

Next post: Mama’s Boys- Power and Passion

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

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 Metal Albums of 1986: Waysted- Save Your Prayers

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2020 by 80smetalman

Whenever you go to another country, a great experience to have is to sample the local acts who haven’t quite made it to your own country. When I got to London in 1986, my new friends introduced me to this band called Waysted and their legendary bassist, Pete Way. Being eager to learn about and listen to new metal bands, I delved into them and I was very impressed with what I heard.

Needless to say, I could concur Pete Way lived up to the hype my new friends were giving about him and I can add that I was also blown away by the guitar work of one Paul Chapman. What I am kicking myself over was not knowing at the time that the vocals came from the most under appreciated singer ever, Danny Vaughn. I wouldn’t really get familiar with his vocals until I listened to Tyketto some six years later. Knowing this now, I love their album, “Save Your Prayers,” that much more!

Danny Vaughn

Applying what I know now to what I didn’t know then, I can hear some of the magic Danny would take to Tyketto on this album. A great example is the track, “Singing to the Night.” This could have easily been a Tyketto song but Chapman rips a killer solo on it. It’s a great melodic hard rock tune. However, Waysted show they still have the heavy metal chops. The first two tracks are total indication of this fact and “Hell Comes Home” is a total rock out. My vote for the best song on the album.

Midway through the album, Waysted take things down a notch with a couple of ballads, “Heroes Die Young” and “Heaven Tonight.” Actually, “Heroes Die Young” starts out as if it’s going to be a ballad with the somber piano intro but then increases its speed by several hundred mph and just kicks ass. The fastest song on the album. “Heaven Tonight,” on the other hand, is a total power ballad and Vaughn’s vocals have always been well suited for ballads and are so suited here. The guitar solo is well suited to the song too.

An interesting track is “How The West Was Won.” Originally, I thought it might have been about the mal-treatment of Native Americans, especially when ‘torn up treaties’ is mentioned in the lyrics, but alas, it is more of an innuendo to a love song. It’s still a cool jam. Then speed increases once again on “Wild Night” and power on through with “Out of Control” and another ripping guitar solo from Chapman. Unless you have the album on CD, the album closes with the ballad, “So Long” and it’s a great way to close this dynamite album.

Track Listing:

  1. Walls Fall Down
  2. Black and Blue
  3. Singing in the Night
  4. Hell Comes Home
  5. Heroes Die Young
  6. Heaven Tonight
  7. How the West Was Won
  8. Wild Night
  9. Out of Control
  10. So Long
  11. Fire Under the Wheel (Bonus Track)
Waysted

Danny Vaughn- vocals

Pete Way- bass

Paul Chapman- guitar

John Diteodoro- drums

I never knew if or how well Waysted were received outside the UK. I fear that if I hadn’t come to England, they might have passed me by and with this album, it would have been a damn shame.

Next post: Magnum- Vigilante

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