Archive for the video games Category

Great Rock Albums of 1983: DNA- Party Tested

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

dnapartytested

We all have songs and albums that we listened to many years ago which still pop up in our minds after all these years. For me, when I began to reflect back to the music of 1983, there was one such band that immediately came to mind. I remember DNA getting plenty of air play in the spring of said year although it was only when I refamiliarised myself with them that I remembered the song in question was “Doctors of the Universe.” Now, this could have qualified them as one hit wonders but I did hear the album “Party Tested” once upon a time and remember liking it. Why I never bought it is something I can not understand. Besides any album made by guitar great Rick Derringer and drumming ace Carmine Appice has to be worth, not only a listen but a post on its own.

Let me tell you that listening to “Doctors of the Universe” after more than thirty years did get me in a party mood. I forgot just how catchy that song was then and now. It starts with a hard guitar riff then comes the hook of the keyboards. They sound clean without going totally synth pop, which was the bucking trend at the time. Then there’s the chorus which you want to sing again and again.

“We are the doctors of the universe, we twist your DNA we like our work”

Needless to say, the guitar solo by Rick, while not a belter, is sufficient for this song.

Listening to the rest of “Party Tested” is like seeing an old friend whom you haven’t seen in years. The old familiarites come back instantly. Most of the songs gave me the distinct impression of “Oh yeah, I remember this one.” That is especially the case of the following track, “Intellectual Freedom for the Masses.” But even more so with track three, “Rock and Roll, Part 2.” I definitely heard that one before and fairly recently. It took me a few minutes of laying nude in the grass in deep contemplation, okay maybe not the nudity in the grass, too cold for that but I do remember where I heard it. It was from an episode of South Park where the new kid brings dance to the school. However, he would rather play basketball but his father makes him dance and bitch slaps anyone who opposes him. They play “Rock and Roll Part 2” at the basketball game at the end to which the father gets up and gets into the song. Of course, that song could have that effect on people.

The bitch-slapping dancing father

The bitch-slapping dancing father

Track four, “The Song That Wrote Itself” is the first noticeable one where Rick Derringer shows why he should be counted among the guitar greats. He really jams out here and while his guitar presence isn’t as in your face as the mentioned song, it is enough to hook you. The title track is definitely one for that and I have to say that “What About?” is a better than decent closer. One thing I must point out is that if you’re expecting major drum solos from Carmine, there are none to be had on “Party Tested.” He doesn’t need to as his drumming is as good as ever on the album. In fact, I will venture forth the opinion that he and bassist Jimmy Johnson make a damn fine rhythm section.

Track Listing:

  1. Doctors of the Universe
  2. Intellectual Freedom for the Masses
  3. Rock And Roll Part 2
  4. The Song That Wrote Itself
  5. Party Tested
  6. The Recipe For Life
  7. What About?
Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice

Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice

Carmine Appice- drums, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar, vocals

Jimmy Johnson- bass

Duane Hitchings- keyboards

I am hoping that when people read about this album, they respond with, “Oh yes, I remember them, that song/album” but I fear that it might draw a blank. Therefore, your assignment should be to have a listen to “Party Tested.” It will get you in the party mood and what a better way to do that in the run up to the holiday season.

Next post: Christmas

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

 

 

 

Three Pronged Metal Assault On Bristol

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

It’s Monday morning and I still haven’t fully recovered from Sunday night’s mayhem. Last night, my stepson and I went to see a concert at the Thekla in Bristol, UK, with viking metal giants Amon Amarth, California metallists Huntress and  homegrown Savage Messiah. Let’s just say that the night was one to remember.

It’s about a forty-five minute ride from my home in Stroud, Gloucestershire to Bristol but that’s not important. We did have Megadeth’s “13” album to make the ride enjoyable and provide the inflight entertainment. Once we landed in Bristol, we immediately headed for a nearby pub called The Gryphon which specialises in metal. Four years ago, I had my most successful book signing evening for “Rock and Roll Children” there. There were only three other people in there plus the bartender but I did manage a pint of real ale and the entertainment provided by Sabbaton on the pub’s sound system. Great place for a pre-concert party.

Inside The Gryphon

Inside The Gryphon

Leaving the Gryphon, we made the ten minute walk to the Thekla, which is an old ship turned into a night club. This turned out to be a bit ironic since the headline act prided themselves on being descended from vikings. An email from them gave me the impression that the show would start at 7 but the reality was that that would be the time the doors opened. So, we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes but some rather partied out concert goers who play too much Skyrim made the wait more amusing. My stepson informed me that they were loudly making quotes from the game, although I can’t remember what they were.

The Thekla

The Thekla

So, we went in, found a good place near the stage and waited. The wait was well worth it because at precisely 7:30, Savage Messiah hit the stage at 300 mph. They might have only been on stage for a half an hour but they made sure you took in every minute of it. They gave every ounce of energy they had into that short time span with some powerful playing. I had little experience of them before this night but they were kind enough to play two songs of theirs I did know, “Hellblazer” and “Minority of One.” Both were done brilliantly as were the other songs they played. They only slowed down long enough for lead singer, Dave Silver, to lament how their van broke down four days into their tour and had to pay over £600 in repairs. He said he was going to put the bill on Twitter, so I may have to check that out. Still, it didn’t detract from their performance one bit and when they finished, they still had enough energy to play another half hour.

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

The audience didn’t have much time to catch their breath before the second band of the night, Huntress ascended the stage. They wasted no time in carrying on from where their predecessors left off. Huntress wowed the crowd with their own brand of powerful metal which brought out all the ghouls and thrashers. It was in the middle of their set that a mosh pit opened up. This only fueled Huntress more. Lead singer Jill Janus lead the procession very well with both her engagement with the crowd and her singing. I loved her quote, “Put the stars in your bong and smoke the galaxy.” Of course all backed up by her band who proceeded to hammer the ear drums of anyone who was inside the Thekla. Like Savage Messiah, I’m not too familiar with Huntress’s material but they did play the “love song” Lemmy wrote for the band, “I Want to Fuck You to Death.” That brought their show to a thrilling climax and when they left the stage a couple of songs later, I was thinking to myself, that couldn’t have been 45 minutes.

Huntress

Huntress

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

The only decent shot I got of Jill and she has her back to me

The only decent shot I got of Jill

From the moment they got on stage, it was crystal clear that Amon Amarth were not going to take any prisoners. Viking drums beat, swords and shields clashed and most importantly, guitars, bass, drums and vocals reigned down fire from Valhala as they launched into their domination of the night. A mosh pit opened up straight away and would stay that way for the rest of the evening. My step-son even went into it only to come out a few minutes later drenched in sweat. Like many of the established head liner acts I have seen over the years, Amon Amarth played exactly the right blend of classic and new material. Songs I remember from the night included “Loki Falls,” “Deceiver of Gods,” “Guardians of Asgard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Just over the midpoint of the show, they paused the carnage long enough for lead singer Johan Hegg to explain that he had lost his voice the night before and his band plus assistance from Jill Janus saved the show. Let me say that last night, there were no signs of any vocals problems with Hegg. The band hammered the rest of the night in style and did return for two encore songs, the last of which Hegg got the crowd to sing along. I can only vaguely remember the first line, something about vikings in a ship. Still, the crowd singing was good enough for Johan to declare us honourary Vikings. When Amon Amarth left the stage, it was to thunderous reverence of having conquered Bristol that night.

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

More Amon Amarth

More Amon Amarth

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Under the green lights

Under the green lights

The residents of Bristol may not realise this but on Sunday January 18, 2015, their town was taken over by vikings assisted by to metal forces in the forms of Huntress and Savage Messiah. The Thekla provided that small club setting which provides an atmosphere all on its own. Three bands reigned supreme that night and I was glad I was there to experience it.

Next post: Outlaws- Los Hombres Malo

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 1982: Rod Stewart- Tonight I’m Yours

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2014 by 80smetalman

rstonightimyours

Balance has been restored in the world now. Rod Stewart’s “Tonight I’m Yours” is the first piece of new music I heard in 1982. It wasn’t the entire album but the second single from the album “Young Turks” which I heard several times on the AM radio of my beat up Chevy Nova during my journey home on my final weekend pass before going overseas. Like many of the Rod Stewart songs I heard throughout the 1970s, minus the two albums previous to this one because I thought they were too disco. Then again, I did like the song “Ain’t Love a Bitch” off the “Blondes Have More Fun” album but I digress. That single did stick in my mind like many of his other singles although I am glad I didn’t have MTV at that time so I was spared the cheesy video of the song where everyone is dancing on the roofs of cars. That experience would come in the April when I discovered that “Young Turks” was number three in the Israeli charts.

Abandoning the disco feel of the previous albums, Rod went a little more new wave with “Tonight I’m Yours” while at the same time, not venturing too far from his rock roots. The new wave part is obvious on the first two singles from the album: The title track and the already mentioned one with the cheesy video. Both are done well and I like Rod’s personal spin on his cover of “How Long?” which was his third single. He does get down to some more serious rock after that. On “Tora Tora Tora (Out With the Boys)” Rod truly rocks out. The guitar breaks in the song are great and the way it interlinks with the sax is nicely done. I don’t know which of the guitarists on the album played the solo here but he should step forward and receive his accolades. A pleasant surprise comes right on the heels of “Tora Tora Tora” in the form of “Tear It Up,” which begins with a piano intro that could rival that of “Piano Man” of Billy Joel fame. However, as far as piano intros go, it still doesn’t quite measure up to the best of all time: “Joan Crawford” by Blue Oyster Cult. Rod continues his rock tradition with the next few songs pausing in the middle to belt out the ballad, “Just Like a Woman,” originally a Bob Dylan tune. The album returns to new wave, with “Young Turks” before going out very nicely with the suitable closer “Never Give Up On a Dream.” This album certainly proves that Stewart’s voice is far more versatile than what some people give him credit for.

Track Listing:

1. Tonight I’m Yours

2. How Long?

3. Tora Tora Tora (Out With the Boys)

4. Tear It Up

5. Only a Boy

6. Just Like a Woman

7. Jealous

8. Sonny

9. Young Turks

10. Never Give Up On a Dream

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart- vocals

Jim Cregan- guitars, backing vocals

Robin LeMesurier- guitars

Jeff Baxter- guitar on “Tonight I’m Yours,” pedal steel guitar on “Just Like a Woman”

Danny Johnson- guitar on “Jealous”

Byron Berline- fiddle

Jimmy “Z” Zavala- harmonica, saxophone

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Duane Hutchins- keyboards on “Tonight I’m Yours” and “Young Turks”

Jay Davis- bass

Tony Brock- drums

Carmine Appice- drums on “Tonight I’m Yours” and “Young Turks”

Paulinho De Costa- percussion

Tommy Vig- tubular bells

Penny Jones- soloist on “Never Give Up On a Dream”

Linda Lewis, The Penetcostal Community Choir- backing vocals

I’m going to come out of the closet here, no not that way, but I am going to admit that I actually like a lot of Rod Stewart’s music. Something I would have never admitted to in male heavy metal circles. True, he’s not hard rocker or metal singer but his vocals and the music behind them is usually quite good. The album “Tonight I’m Yours” is proof.

Next post: U2- October

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 1981: Joan Armatrading- Me, Myself, I

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Me_Myself_I_-_Joan_Armatrading

Here’s an example of how my mind jumps around too much. I knew when I started 1981 that I wouldn’t be able to get everything in regards to my life in perfect chronological order. So in order to talk about “Me, Myself, I” from Joan Armatrading, I have to go back to Rota, Spain. We were granted a night’s liberty that night so my friends and I made a made dash to the Enlisted Men’s Club and started cracking open the Budweisers about 5:30 that afternoon. Providing the entertainment that night would be an English covers band called The Tender Years, who played some good rock tunes that night. What I remember most is because they were playing to a bunch of US servicemen and women, they put up a large sign that read, “We don’t play Freebird.” Of course, that didn’t stop the crowd from shouting out for it. Anyway, one song they played was the title cut of this album which stuck in my head. Good song, I thought to myself. However, I never did anything about it until later on in the summer when I heard that song played again on the radio and while the female lead singer from The Tender Years sang it well, it wasn’t as nearly as good as the original.

Hearing it back then and hearing it again now, I have to disagree with Wikapedia’s labelling of the album as “pop.” I doubt it would have been considered that back then even though disco was in it’s final throes of death. If I put a label, it would have to be soft rock or progressive rock. In some of the songs, “Ma Me Oh Beach” comes to mind here, Joan’s Caribbean roots definitely poke their nose above ground and if listened to carefully, some other songs as well. What really grabbed me is the fantastic guitar solos laid down in the title track and in the more bluesy track, “Turn Out the Light.” The latter also is best for showcasing her vocal credentials. Then  I also love the electric piano at the intro. Hell, it’s the second best song on the album and a good one! “Friends” and “All the Way From America” also stand out on this album for me.

What I know now that I didn’t know then was the amazing array of musicians that assist in propelling Joan to her glory. Paul Shaffer from David Letterman fame plays keyboards on the album and Clarence Clemmons from Bruce Springsteen’s band does what he does best with the sax. But one further surprise, the drumming chores are carried out by none other than Anton Figg, who has played for KISS and later Ace Frehley. So with an ensemble like that behind her, no wonder this album is so good.

Track Listing:

1. Me, Myself, I

2. Ma Me Oh Beach

3. Friends

4. Is It Tomorrow Yet

5. Turn Out The Light

6. When You Kisses Me

7. All The Way From America

8. Feeling In My Heart For You

9. Simon

10. I Need You

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading- vocals, acoustic guitar

Chris Speddig- guitar

Hiram Bullock- guitar

Ricky Hirsh- guitar

Dan Fedderici- organ

Paul Shaffer- piano

Phillip St John- piano

Tim Sowell- synthesiser

Clarence Clemmons- saxophone

Will Lee- bass

Marcus Miller- bass

Anton Figg- drums

With her great voice and an assembly of masterful musicians, it’s no wonder this was the most successful of Joan Armatrading’s albums. It can stand along with many of the great rock albums of the time. I’m only surprised it didn’t do more to break down racial barriers at the time. Oh yes, back to that night in Rota. I drank enough Buds that I was dancing on the table when The Tender Years played “Smoke On the Water.”

Next post: The Fools- Heavy Mental

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 1981: Fleetwood Mac- Live

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Mac_Live

First of all, I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and got all of the things you wanted and the same goes for any who don’t celebrate it. I did get the Black Sabbath “13” album and am looking for an excuse to go out in the car so I can play it. Also, I might have gotten another CD from my daughter but I won’t see her until Sunday.

Fleetwood Mac has always been one of those intriguing, controversial bands who put out some great albums in the 1970s and 80s. Most everyone knows of their best known “Rumours” album and a good many can say the same for the follow up “Tusk” album. Both are great albums and probably one of the reasons they put out a live album on the wake of the previous two. Much of the material from the mentioned studio albums is to be found on “Live” and for good reason. Those albums gave us so many great classic songs. For me, however, and this will be an ongoing theme for me throughout the tour of 1981, it had some personal meaning in my own life at the time. One of my comrades in arms bought this album at the PX in Rota, Spain just before we sailed back to the USA. It got played a lot on the voyage home and it was this album that made the trip home a lot easier.

Fleetwood Mac “Live” not only had great musical  memories, it also gave me one small regret and hearing again after so many years brought it back. That regret is the fact that I never saw them live. Listening to this album, I can safely say that it would have been totally awesome to see Fleetwood Mac in concert. Not just the great songs on it, but the energy they put behind each of the songs they play.  I have always said the Lindsey Buckingham does not get the respect he deserves as a guitarist, his efforts on the live album are proof of that. I mean, the man can play. Of course, the rest of the band are all very good on the album.

While, the album is heavy laden with songs from “Rumours” and “Tusk,” there are some classic gems from Fleetwood Mac’s past that pop up on the album too. I absolutely love the live version of “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” is nicely done as well. Then there is the live version of my all time favourite Mac song, “Go Your Own Way.” If there is a heavy metal cover of this song anywhere, someone please let me know because I would love to hear it. This song would sound fantastic if it was metallised. Saying that, if I have to pick out one personal disappointment about “Live,” it’s the absence of “The Chain” on it. I would have loved to have heard John McVie play my all time favourite bass line live. By way, I have heard Shark Island’s cover of said song and it is done well.

Track Listing:

1. Monday Morning

2. Say You Love Me

3. Dreams

4. Oh Well

5. Over and Over

6. Not That Funny

7. Sarah

8. Never Going Back Again

9. Landslide

10. Fireflies

11. Over My Head

12. Rhiannon

13. Don’t Let Me Down Again

14. One More Night

15. Go Your Own Way

16. Don’t Stop

17. I’m So Afraid

18. The Farmer’s Daughter

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham- guitars, vocals

Stevie Nicks- vocals

Christine McVie- keyboards, vocals

John McVie- bass

Mick Fleetwood- drums, percussion

My fellow music blogger Every Record Tells a Story recently posted his view of the top ten double live albums. This album wasn’t mentioned. I’m not saying that it should be in the top ten of any double live album list, especially against the albums ERTaS lists. However, this album is worth a definite mention as a great double live album. For me, it will forever be the closest I ever get to seeing Fleetwood Mac live.

Next post: REO Speedwagon- Hi Infidelity

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

1981- More Cracks Emerge

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2013 by 80smetalman

As we have seen, (sorry it’s the teacher in me) 1980 gave us many a great rock and metal album. In fact many of the great all time classics came out in this year. So it was only natural to assume that we should expect more of the same in 1981 and I will endeavour to show that this was the case.

Bezerk

Bezerk

Many changes were a foot in this year in and out of music and with me personally. Space Invaders gave way to Pac Man and the forerunner of Mario with Donkey Kong. However, my game in that year was definitely Bezerk. Loved killing all of those robots and the fact that Evil Otto was indestructible didn’t stop me from shooting at him anyway. America returned to conservative leadership under the presidency of Ronald Reagan but it would be another two and a half years before my mind changed about him. All that aside and I know that this is going to sound very clichéd but I don’t give a rat’s bottom, music got me through 1981. I had some challenging times while serving my country in that year. Without going into too much personal detail, let’s say that I had a lot of sympathy for Joe in a particular Jimi Hendrix song. It was some of the great albums that will be visited here that helped me through the tough times.

1981 wasn’t all doom and gloom. I bought a car that year and although it gave me lots of problems, (putting 24,000 miles in ten months on any car has that effect) my 73 Chevy Nova would be the undisputed party wagon of the year. I bet if someone lifted out the back seat, they would still find a roach or two and I’m not talking about insects. The music was still there to add to that party atmosphere. So, without further wait, I will go onto the great albums of 1981.

Next post: John Lennon- Double Fantasy

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 1980: Warren Zevon- Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School

Posted in 1978, 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by 80smetalman

Warren_Zevon_-_Bad_Luck_Streak_in_Dancing_School

I plead guilty to the fact that when you hear an album from a particular artist, you expect their next album to be pretty much exactly the same and you are a bit disappointed when it’s not. However, I know I’m not the only one. This was the case when I heard this 1980 release from Warren Zevon. His 1978 album “Excitable Boy” had me rolling on the floor in stiches with songs like “Excitable Boy” and “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” Even the hit single “Werewolves of London” deeply amused me. However, I can’t say the same with “Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School.” None of the songs had me laughing the same way and maybe that was a good thing. I now appreciate how good of a musician Warren Zevon actually is.

Okay, so the album wasn’t as hilarious as its predecessor. The most amusing songs on the album are “Jeannie Needs a Shooter” (co written with Bruce Springsteen) and “Gorilla, You’re a Desperado” and then there’s the song “Play It All Night Long” which satirizes the famous Lynyrd Skynyrd tune “Sweet Home Alabama.” The rest of the album just contains some decent songs which are still enjoyable to listen to. It leaves me to conclude that Warren Zevon never got the recognition he deserved for his talents as a singer, musician and song writer. Furthermore, he puts a good band behind him and there are contributions on the album from Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Glen Frey, Don Henley, Don Felder and Joe Walsh to name a few.

Track Listing:

1. Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School

2. A Certain Girl

3. Jungle Work

4. Empty Handed Heart

5. Interlude No.1

6. Play It All Night Long

7. Jeannie Needs a Shooter

8. Interlude No. 2.

9. Bill Lee

10. Gorilla, You’re a Desperado

11.Bed of Coals

12. Wild Age

warren

Warren Zevon- vocals, piano, bass, guitar, organ, synthesiser, keyboards, harmonica

Jorge Calderon- guitar, vocals

David Lindley- guitar, violin, steel guitar

Rick Marotta- drums, percussion, bells, vocals

If you fancy a listen to a decent light hearted rock album, than this one is a sure thing. There are some amusing moments on it with some good songs to get into. I know, I’ll be checking out more of Warren Zevon’s work in the future.

Next post: Heart- Bebe Le Strange

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

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