Archive for British

Download 2017: Sunday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

I wonder if anyone obliged them.

Sunday, the final day of Download., we all thought we better make the best of it. Most of the bands I wanted to see this day were playing on the main stage so I didn’t have to travel very far, especially with the headache of packing and loading the car. Everyone in my group all wanted to catch the day’s opener on the main stage, Fozzy. I had seen them at Bloodstock in 2013 and was very eager to see them again and when they came out on stage, they were determined to impress. Lead singer Chris Jerico, now with darker hair, still was the main attraction to this band. Like when I saw him at Bloodstock, he has a stage presence that singers with greater vocal talent don’t. However, he did give his band a little more of the limelight this time around. After all, he does have a good band behind him and I have to say that they seemed to have better material this time around. Check out the new song, “Judas.” A great start to the final day.

Fozzy begin

Jerico goes to the front

With the rest of the band behind him

Chris came my way

The rest of my group returned to camp but I stayed because I very much wanted to see the second band of the day, Orange Goblin. I have some of you bloggers to thank for that, I’m looking at Stone and HMO specifically, because what I have read about them made that decision for me. I have been told that while their music was good, they lacked stage presence, however, I saw no evidence of that when they hit the stage. True, singer Ben Ward is not the showman that Chris Jerico is but he sings well and can get the audience motivated behind the band. I thought they had some good stuff with their combination of doom metal and stoner rock. Will definitely be listening to these guys more and I’m serious about that.

Orange Goblin do have the presence

Ben Ward serenading the Sunday morning crowd

After being wowed by Fozzy and Orange Goblin, it was time to head back to camp, finish packing and load up the car. We managed to do this but because one of the assistants sent us to the wrong car park, we were late in getting back so when only caught the last twenty minutes of Devil Driver on the Zippo Stage. Still, twenty minutes of hard core thrash from Devil Driver is miles better than none at all.

The closest I could get to Devil Driver

After Devil Driver, I headed back to the main stage to see the remaining four bands on the night. The first of these were Australian hard rock band, Airbourne. Remember what I said about Northlane are evidence that not all Australian bands are influenced by AC/DC?  Well, forget about that in this case because the AC/DC influence came through the minute Airbourne was out on stage. The other thing I noticed straight away was that lead singer/lead guitarist, Joel O’Keeffe was the main attraction in the band. Like, Devin Townsend and another artist I would see later on in the day, O’Keeffe was good at both. However, he wouldn’t be so great without the rest of the band behind him. Most of the songs they played were from the “Breaking Out of Hell” album but that’s not a bad thing. I did like the song “It’s All For Rock and Roll, so it’s another album on my to get list. Airbourne warmed things up nicely in preparation for the rest of the evening.

Joel O’Keeffe going straight to the front

O’Keeffe belts out a guitar solo with rhythm section in support

The album cover alone is worth getting the album.

O’Keeffe leading the finish

After Airbourne, I was totally pumped for the next band, Steel Panther, and my feelings were justified. Steel Panther were the unsung heroes on the day. I loved them start to finish and let me put to rest any doubts about their ability, these guys can play, they proved that the second they stepped out on stage with “Eyes of the Panther.” Sure, there is a lot of humour in their songs and I was quite surprised they played, “Thar She Blows” live but whoever said that there can’t be humour in metal? I laughed and rocked out at the same time to the Tiger Woods song. In addition to the great metal, there was some great banter with the crowd and between the band themselves. Bassist Lexxi was the butt of most of the jokes, with constant insinuations he was gay but it was also said that lead singer Mike Starr was 72 years old. If that’s true, then all the power to him I say. Besides I believe them when they say the reason all the other bands hate them was because they sleep with all their girlfriends. I only had to wait halfway through the set to hear the famous “Death to All But Metal” and they played “Fuck All Night, Party All Day” straight after. The biggest surprise was when they played “17 Girls in a Row.” While playing it, they invited ladies up from the crowd on stage and before you knew it, there was a wall of young women across the entire stage and four deep. Most of the ladies seemed content with taking selfies with the band and giving them kisses, not that they minded. Once the girls were back off stage, they ended with what’s for me, the best song possible, “Community Property.” You bet people sang along to that one. So, after seeing them, anyone who insists Steel Panther are a joke band can come see me and I’ll show them my US Marine Corps training.

Feel the Steel

Michael Starr sings while Satchel hammers a solo

Starr and Lexxi come my way

The ladies answer the invite to come on stage

Ladies on stage

I only became familiar with Alter Bridge a week before I went to Download but after hearing their mix on Youtube, I made up my mind to go and see them. Myles Kennedy was already known to me on account of his work with Slash so that made me more determined to see them. He is a great singer but what I never knew was that he can play a guitar a bit as well. He really wailed away on quite a few of the songs so I was doubly impressed. While I can remember specific song titles, I can say that the songs I heard were absolutely brilliant. I think that after seeing them onstage, they are quickly becoming a favourite with me.

Welcome Alter Bridge

Myles came my way to play a solo

Don’t forget, there are three other great musicians in Alter Bridge

We all know Myles is a great singer too

More great guitar work

They played on til the end

Now common sense says that I should have stayed put after Alter Bridge so I would have a spot for headliners, Aerosmith. However, who says I have any sense? What did I do? I went over to the Zippo Stage to catch twenty minutes of headliners Slayer. Sure, I have seen them twice recently but who in their right mind would pass up any chance to see Slayer? I didn’t and don’t regret it.

Slaaaayyyeeeerrrrrr!

I did manage to get back well before the main event and managed to jockey into the best place possible to see the band that helped me through high school. Aerosmith came out to all the royal fanfare a band of their magnitude deserved. While I knew that their set would be a ‘greatest hits’ one, neither I or any of the tens of thousands there to see them cared. The hits came straight away, their was “Crying,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Living on the Edge” and “Jaime’s Got a Gun” for starters. It was common knowledge that the last song was about domestic abuse but I was a little surprised at Steve’s revelation that he got the idea for it while he was in rehab. Sometime in the middle of the set, guitarist Joe Perry was allowed to sing lead on a couple of songs, the first one was a blues number and the second one, Brad Whitford played a guitar solo. I always suspected Brad was capable of such things. After all, he’s been a brilliant rhythm guitarist for over forty years! After Joe’s spot, Aerosmith went back to the hits starting with the film classic, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” It was here that Steve Tyler introduced guest keyboards player Buck Johnson. Believe me, he went well with the band. Tom Hamilton played a bass solo but there was no surprise which song was to come after when Steve introduced him as Mr Sweet Emotion. This was the icebreaker for more of their 70s and 80s stuff. There was “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and of course “Dream On,” which the band left the stage. No fooling they would come out for encores and the audience was treated to a song I can’t remember before “Walk This Way.” The night ended with confetti and great fanfare. Now, there are rumours that this would be Aerosmith’s last tour. If so, they went out on an absolute high.

Aerosmith ended a night and a weekend of great metal! I went home feeling very satisfied and fulfilled. Download was great but I will not enter into any debate as to which is better between Download and Bloodstock. Both offer me everything I look for in metal. One thing, I must do in the future is to save my pennies so I can go to both festivals in the same year.

Steve and Joe in the front

Aerosmith rocks!

They rock some more

Cool lights

Tom’s bass solo

More Steve and Joe

A great end to the night!

Rock and Roll Children is still available on Amazon.

Next post: Honeymoon Suite

Download 2017: Friday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2017 by 80smetalman

Up early and eager to go on the first full day of metal mania at Download. Teal, my stepson and his friend Joe, were disappointed that the sport of bin jousting hasn’t caught on at Download and is exclusive to Bloodstock. However, Friday at Download is a dress up day and the theme was wrestling. Therefore, there were a lot of people dressed up as such. Some dressed up as other things like super heroes. I did like the Supergirl outfit I saw.

This gentleman was ready for the day’s festivities.

Inside the arena

I noticed that it has been a sub-concious tradition on my part at all festivals to go check out the first band on stage. On this day, it was Australian metal core band, Northlane. Now, it is the stereotype belief that all Australian bands are influenced by AC/DC. Obviously, somebody forgot to tell that to Northlane. If anything, they sounded more like Marilyn Manson than AC/DC. They came out on stage with the determination to leave their mark on the day and they did with their hard sound. They did slow things down in the middle of their set with songs “Rotten” and the newly released on video, “Solar” but they came back even harder after that. Even though they were only on stage thirty minutes, Northlane was a great way to start the weekend.

Northlane begins the festival

And they kept it going

Teal advised me to stick around for the second band and so with no plans to go anywhere else, I did. After their acoustic sounding intro, Motionless in White blasted onto the stage. While Northlane might have sounded like Marilyn, Motionless in White’s lead singer, Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli sort of looked like him. He did have a great stage presence. While being bashed about by their hardcore metal sound, they did introduce their new song, “Unnecessary Evil” and ended things with one of their best known songs, “Abigail.” When they finished, I was glad that I had listened to my stepson’s advice.

Chris ‘Motionless’ leading the charge.

And the band followed.

It had always been my intention to catch the next band out on the main stage, Sabaton. I saw these Swedish metalers at Bloodstock two years prior so I was looking forward to more of the same. This time, they wasted no time in getting the tank on stage as I watched it being set up before the band even got on stage. When they did, the tank did it’s job in producing a great display of firepower in support. The pyro in the first song, gave way to their classic, “Art of War.” As always, Sabaton put on a great stage show and they played great songs like “Sparta” and “Primo Victoria” to commemorate the 73 years plus three days anniversary of D-Day. The audience also found out that the tank was named Walter and so the crowd started chanting the tank’s name. All very amusing and I if they had played more than forty minutes, I would have said they were better than what they had been at Bloodstock. With the time cut, they were about the same.

Wheeling in Walter

Sabaton under a cloud of smoke

Sabaton leads to victory.

After watching three bands back to back, I thought I needed some lunch. So after a quick refuel, I headed over to the Zippo stage for the next band I wanted to see. When I got there, I managed to catch the last five to ten minutes of Machine Gun Kelly. Normally, rap metal isn’t my thing but these guys were pretty good. On the last song, the lead singer sang directly to a lady in the audience. What I saw of them was okay.

Machine Gun Kelly finishing up.

Once MGK left the stage, I managed to manoeuvre my way to the front in anticipation for a band I had been waiting over thirty years to see, Suicidal Tendencies. When they propelled themselves onto the stage, they were manic from start to finish. Lead singer Mike Muir was a complete psycho. He would rev himself up by doing this little dance and than dart madly across the stage. Opening with “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” they went straight into their own version of “God Save the Queen,” “I Shot the Devil.” For those familiar with that song, it actually begins with Mike bellowing out, “I shot Reagan!” These days, it might be cool if he changed Reagan to Trump. But the audience sang along to it anyway. We were also treated to “War Inside My Head” and “Subliminal” to name a few. During the set, Mike spoke to the crowd about doing things for yourself instead of blaming others and he jumped off stage and high fived people in the front. One of them was me. One surprise they unleashed was when they announced that Slayer’s Dave Lombardo was on the drums, that got lots of cheers.  The other thing I can say about ST is Dean Pleasants is very underrated as a lead guitarist, the man can lay down some jams! I would like to say that it was the perfect forty five minutes. Unfortunately for me, there was a major disappointment. The band played neither of my two favourite tracks, “Institutionalized” and “I Saw Your Mommy.” While they were absolutely brilliant, I can’t say they were perfect.

Welcome Suicidal Tendencies

Mike Muir and Co

Pleasants wailing away

On my way back to the campsite, I stopped again at the main stage because Five Finger Death Punch were playing. Their good aggressive metal enticed me to stay and have a listen. What I didn’t know was that they had been previously banned from Download, I don’t know the details. There was one part, where lead singer, Ivan Moody stated guitarist Jason Hook could play any song. Left to his devices, Hook began to play the Ozzy classic, “Crazy Train.” When told to stop, he began playing “Smoke on the Water.” After that, Moody told the crowd they were ‘bad company’ before going into a cover of the classic tune. I have to say, even their acoustic number was pretty good. I have since been told that Moody has left the tour and checked into rehab. Tommy Vext will take over the singing duties for the rest of the European tour.

Five Finger Death Punch

Back to the Zippo Stage, this time to get ready for the headliner. But before they came out, I did catch a good chunk of Good Charlotte. I only know the one hit, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” which they closed with. However, I thought they’re overall performance was good.

Good Charlotte on stage

See, I must have liked them, I took a second picture

And a third

Friday’s headliner at the Zippo Stage was Sum 41, a band I have always liked but never admitted it to anyone over the age of 40. Although fifteen years ago, my eldest son thought his dad was cool because he liked them. Let’s just say right away that they were brilliant from start to finish. In the early minutes of the set, they got three people out of the audience to view the show from back stage. No, I wasn’t picked. They did play a good combination of material and a crazy mosh pit opened up near me. One lady went especially crazy but after the show, she said she had waited fifteen years to see this band, so one can’t really blame her. In the middle of the set, they played some covers. They began playing Maiden’s classic, “The Trooper” and were astounded when the crowd sang the lyrics back to them. They also played a little of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.” Lead singer Deryck Whibley played the opening chords to the first two songs he learned to play on the guitar, “Smoke on the Water” and White Stripes’s “Seven Nation Army.” Sum 41 ended the covers portion with one of Queen’s famous “We Will Rock You,” played very similar to the way it’s done on the “Live Killers” album. At one point, the band left the stage to see a skeleton inflate behind the drums. When fully inflated, it was making the ’41’ hand gesture. Deryck also told about the time he spent in hospital and what got him through it was a picture of himself playing a gig in the UK. I thought that was touching. The brilliant night ended with their two best known songs, “In Too Deep” and of course, “Fat Lip.” That ended things very well.

Sum 41 under the lights

This young lady was really into them

A good shot of the band

They disappear under the lights

Only for the skeleton to emerge

Sum 41 finish in a flurry

After Sum 41, I did venture past the main stage to watch a little of System of a Down. I stayed long enough for hear “Chop Suey” but didn’t stay too long, not my thing. For me, Sum 41 was the best end to a thrilling first day.

Hopefully, Rock and Roll Children will have its own link again soon. It is still available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download 2016: Thursday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

The Campsite village

The most difficult thing for me not to do with these next four, possibly five posts is to make constant comparisons and contrasts between Download and Bloodstock. In the hopes of avoiding this, I will sum the two festivals using a quote from my stepson’s girlfriend, Gemma. She states that the two festivals are siblings. I can see that, some of the bands I would see at Download over the weekend I had seen previously at Bloodstock. However, Gemma reckons that Download is the calmer elder sibling while Bloodstock is the angry younger one. She certainly has a point.

We left Stroud just before one in the afternoon and our journey wasn’t too bad as far as traffic goes. The Disturbed and the tribute to Twisted Sister album provided the in flight entertainment. What we did realize shortly into our journey was that I had forgotten to pack a pan to cook all our wonderful gourmet meals in over the weekend. There were a few other things as well. So, we had to make an unplanned stop a few exits before the one we needed. That added forty-five minutes to our journey. Still, we managed to get Donington Park by quarter to four.

Learning our lesson from Bloodstock, we packed our gear into to small carts and followed the procession to the main gate. Once we got there, we had to wait in a large queue as all bags were searched. I was expecting this after the recent attacks here in the UK. With security not able to find drugs or explosives on us, we began the long walk to the campsite village. This seemed to be a trek and there was a second gate where some of our stuff was searched again and we exchanged our tickets for the weekend wristbands. After more walking, we finally got to the campsite village where we met our friend Joe. Only instead of heading into the campsite, after some queries with the stewards, ended up taking us back the other way to the caravan site. It turned out that Joe had some friends who let us pitch our tents by their camper van. That would prove to be a distinct advantage over the weekend.

Once all the campsite necessities were completed, including drinking a couple of cans, which I sorely needed to do, we headed back to the campsite village. Lots to do and see and there was a band playing at one of the tents when we arrived, though they finished shortly after. So, we headed for the Comedy Tent to catch the last three comedians of the night.

The first comedian was an American lady called Abdiliah, I didn’t catch her last name. She was quite funny and like so many American comedians in the UK, make funny comparisons between the two countries. As normal, this put a tiny number of people off who left but for the most part, she was very funny.

Next up was a British man named Andrew O’Neil. What I remembered most about him was his ripping on Saturday’s main stage headliner, Biffy Clyro and his impression of System of a Down, which he got the audience to assist him with. One side of the tent did the bass bit while the other side impersonated the lead guitar. Obviously, I can’t show it here but it was pretty hilarious. All his material was very funny.

The final comedian of the night was a Canadian by the name of Greg Campbell. He talked about his trip to Russia and how the Russians, unlike Americans or Brits, don’t have a word for getting people to hurry up. Americans use ‘pronto’ and Brits use ‘stat.’ He did an impression of a Russian who stated that when they want something done, they expect it to be straight away and don’t need buzz words. I know it doesn’t sound funny here but the way Greg Campbell told it, had me rolling on the floor.

When the comedians finished, I ventured back to the tent the band had been playing. The band had left but there were two young ladies on stage dancing with flaming batons. Unfortunately, with all the lights, I couldn’t get a decent photo. However, most of the action in the late night was in the cinema tent. No films being shown but many people were gathered around the screen as the news of the General Election began to come in. Let’s just say that if the election had been decided by metalheads, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party would have been elected by a landslide. I didn’t stay to long into the night knowing that I needed my beauty sleep for the day’s metal which lay ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Queen- The Works

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2017 by 80smetalman

Here is a perfect example of why I never buy or not buy an album on account of one song. When the first single from Queen’s album, “The Works,” came on the radio, my response was “What the hell?” I thought “Radio Ga Ga” was several steps down from what I had loved about Queen throughout my teenage years of the 1970s. The conclusion I was starting to draw was that they were departing from the harder rock music I enjoyed and were selling out to the synth pop of the 1980s. Fortunately, I didn’t let one bad song close my mind so I didn’t miss the rest of this cool album.

I have always had this sneaking feeling that Queen knew exactly what they were doing. “The Works” might open with the mentioned single which might alienate some of their hardcore fans, therefore, they followed up “Radio Ga Ga” with the hard rocking second track, “Tear It Up.” After the first ten seconds of rocking out to that song, you are completely thinking, “Radio Who?” Then if the hard rock of “Tear It Up” isn’t enough to grab you, Queen hit you with a very Queen sounding “It’s a Hard Life.” This song is Queen as they have always been as it follows the script of all the great classics. “Man on the Prowl” is a very likable rockabilly song in the vein of the famous, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” I love the little piano bit at the end. “Machines (Back to Humans) is a very progressive sounding tune. While there are elements of hard rock, there are some very quirky sounding keyboard sounds on the song, some of them sounding like a robot. Plus there is the famous harmonizing from the band. This is my favourite track on the album because Queen do hear what they have always done best. Incorporate several different musical genres into one song. On my first listen and the many subsequent listens after, by the time my favourite track was at its conclusion, I had totally forgotten “Radio Ga Ga” was even on the album.

Some may argue that “I Want to Break Free” is on the line of that first single. I have to slap down such fools. True, there is a little disco back beat to it but May’s guitar is definitely present, especially when he does that solo. Yes, some people might have discoed down to it but I just listen to it. Saying that, it’s not the best track on the album, there are so many better ones. The next one in fact, “Keep Passing the Open Windows.” This is on the lines of my favourite track, but not quite to the same level. “Keep Passing the Open Windows” is my third favourite track. There’s some good Queen elements on here as well. BTW, “Tear It Up” is my second favourite. “Hammer to Fall” is a good rock out and it follows on very nicely. I do like May’s guitar solo on it. “The Works” ends on a interesting note. It’s a ballad type song, “Is This the World We Created.” It’s almost an anti- climax to the album but the band makes it work and end the album on a good note.

Track Listing:

  1. Radio Ga Ga
  2. Tear It Up
  3. It’s a Hard Life
  4. Man on the Prowl
  5. Machines (Back to Humans)
  6. I Want to Break Free
  7. Keep Passing the Open Windows
  8. Hammer to Fall
  9. Is This the World We Created

Queen

Freddie Mercury- lead and backing vocals, piano

Brian May- guitar, backing vocals

John Deacon- bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Roger Taylor- drums, keyboards, backing vocals

Thank God, I never let one song on an album influence my decision to purchase it. If that was the case, I would have completely missed out this great album from Queen.

Next post: Tony Carey- Some Tough City

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 1984: Roger Waters- The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by 80smetalman

Proof how sometimes initial impressions can be misguided. While Pink Floyd have continued on strong since Roger Waters departed the band and it’s been said that Roger’s career hasn’t exactly flourished, (that’s a matter for debate), things seemed a lot different in 1984. There was little or no mention of Pink Floyd in this year but Roger Waters delivered a killer solo album in the form of “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.” Roger hadn’t left the band yet and it turns out that way back in the late 1970s, he brought the concept for this album to the band along with that for “The Wall.” He told them the band would make the one and the other concept he would do as a solo album. History can tell you which concept was chosen by the band leaving “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” for Roger to do as a solo album.

The similarities between the two albums come through immediately. Like “The Wall” and even “Dark Side of the Moon” the songs sometimes blend together where you have to listen very carefully or at least have the album cover with you so you can pinpoint where one track ends and the next one begins. Then again, like many a Pink Floyd album, this album can be best appreciated whilst mellowed out in a room and smoking things. It joins a great line of albums to space out to. Also like Pink Floyd’s famous album, it tells a story. The concept is about the thoughts of a man who is driving through California and how he would like to commit adultery with the female hitchhiker he picks up. It’s an interesting theme set to the music.

One thing that I noticed the very first time I ever listened to the album was that the guitarist can really wail. Teach me to read the credits before putting an album on because that was an absolute no brainer. The guitarist was Eric Clapton and he does what he always does with the guitar. There are some really cool solos throughout the album, I really like the one he lays down on “Sexual Revolution” but his presence his felt very strongly all through the album. Roger definitely achieved a major coup by having Eric play on the album but he orchestrates other instruments very effectively too. The horns and the backing vocals are prime examples.

Since it was hearing the title track on the radio that alerted me to the album, that has always been my favourite track on it. Clapton plays a killer solo on it as well and all the other elements I’ve previously discussed are there too. Saying that, the way the album is laid out, it is easy for such a song to stand out although I do like the near seven minute “Go Fishing.” After listening to the “Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” after so many years, I’m as excited about it now as I was then.

Track Listing:

  1. Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad
  2. Running Shoes
  3. Arabs With Knives and West German Skies
  4. For the First Time Today Part 2
  5. Sexual Revolution
  6. The Remains of Our Love
  7. Go Fishing
  8. For the First Time Today Part 1
  9. Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin
  10. The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking
  11. Every Stranger’s Eyes
  12. The Moment of Clarity

Roger Waters

Roger Waters- bass, lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Eric Clapton- lead guitar

Ray Cooper- percussion

Andy Newmark- drums, percussion

David Sanbourn- saxophone

Michael Kamen- piano

Andy Brown- organ, 12 string guitar

Madeline Bell, Katie Kissoon, Doreen Chanter- backing vocals

Raphael Ravenscroft, Kevin Flanagan, Vic Sullivan- horns

When Roger Waters did leave Pink Floyd in 1985, I wasn’t worried that we had seen the last of him. After all, he had put out a great solo album a year earlier. While not different from the material he did with the band, it’s still a great one to enjoy.

Next post: Duke Jupiter- White Knuckle Ride

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 1984: The Pretenders- Learning to Crawl

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by 80smetalman

Normally, I tend to go off artists who have too many commercial radio hits, especially if they altered their sound in order to gain that commercial airplay. Fortunately, I can’t say the same for The Pretenders with their album, “Learning to Crawl.” There are a good number of songs on this album which I remember getting a good amount of play on radio and more so on MTV. Some even breached the Top 40! Do you know what the best part is? The Pretenders made little or no change to their sound. They simply did what they did so well on their first two albums and in my not so humble opinion, they did it better on “Learning to Crawl.”

Let’s start with the songs we do know. “Middle of the Road” was the first single I remember hearing when the album was released in January, 1984. At this stage in my life, I was becoming very politically aware and found myself seeking out music with political overtones. While The Pretenders aren’t really a politically motivated band, the lyrics of “Middle of the Road” did get my attention. Also the fact that it’s a good straight forward rocker and very worthy to be the opener.

Although it was released as a single in 1982, (see my posts on one hit wonders of 1982), “Back on the Chain Gang” was included on the album. Even more reason for me to like it and what’s more, they didn’t change the song for the album. It’s still my all time favourite Pretenders song of all time. I was surprised to see that the ballad like, “Thin Line Between Love and Hate” only reached 83 on the US charts. I did remember hearing it a lot at the time and it often gets used in romantic films.

One song that I can identify with more and more theses days is “My City Was Gone.” On this song, Chissie Hynde laments how her home town of Akron, Ohio has changed beyond recognition. I can feel for her on this one. Since I’ve been living in the UK, every time I return to New Jersey for a visit, I see that it has changed. At first, it was just less woodland and like in the song, more shopping malls. However, the arrow through my heart happened in 2001 when I went to my childhood stomping ground of Wildwood. All my favourite amusements, especially the walk through pirate ship, were gone and replaced by go-cart tracks. It was then I realized my childhood had died. During the same visit, I discovered the woods I used to build forts in, (that’s dens for my UK readers), was bulldozed down for new housing. So Chrissie, I can feel for you on that song.

Now for the non hits. I say non hits but there is a definite, I heard this before feel whenever I listen to “Time the Avenger” and “Show Me.” I’m talking about those songs themselves, I can’t remember hearing either one anywhere else but the album but they give me the feeling otherwise. The band goes a little country with “Thumbelina.” I was used to frequent a bar that had live country music back then because it was staggering distance from my house and that song wouldn’t have been out of place if had been played there. “I Hurt You” is a solid song and the closer, “2000 Miles,” does get some airplay around Christmas time.

Track Listing:

  1. Middle of the Road
  2. Back on the Chain Gang
  3. Time the Avenger
  4. Watching the Clothes
  5. Show Me
  6. Thumbelina
  7. My City Was Gone
  8. Thin Line Between Love and Hate
  9. I Hurt You
  10. 2000 Miles

The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica

Robbie McIntosh- lead guitar, backing vocals

Malcolm Foster- bass, backing vocals

Martin Chambers- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Billy Bremner- lead guitar on “Back on the Chain Gang” and “My City was Gone,” rhythm guitar on “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”

Tony Butler- bass on “Back on the Chain Gang” and “My City Was Gone

  • Andrew Bodnar- bass on “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”

Paul Carrack- piano, backing vocals on “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”

Three weeks into 1984 and things were starting off very well musically for this year. The “Learning to Crawl” album from The Pretenders was part of that.

Next post: The Go Gos- Talk Show

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 1984: The Alarm- Declaration

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by 80smetalman

In very early months of 1984, when MTV was still playing lots of good music, one song definitely caught my attention. It wasn’t metal, not even hard rock. If I were to categorize it, something I don’t like doing, I would say it was post punk or new wave. Categories and labels a side, what I knew for sure was that I really liked the song “Sixty Eight Guns” by the Alarm. This song was a true anthem for me at the time and I still find myself singing it after all these years. The guitars were hard enough for my tastes but the way the chorus was belted out totally blew me away.

“Sixty Eight guns will never die

Sixty Eight guns our battle cry.”

As I’ve said many times, I will not buy an album on account of one song so you have to know that the rest of the album kicks just as much ass as the feature song. Most of the first half of “The Declaration” are straight ahead new wave rockers and really cook. I do detect a little Irish folk influence in the track “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke.” Then again, when doing further research on the band, I discovered they were Welsh, so I’m not surprised at this. “We Are the Light” is an acoustic track but even that doesn’t limit the powerful vocals of lead singer Mike Peters. For years, I have underestimated his vocal ability, I’ll never do that again.

“Shout to the Devil” is not a Motley Crue cover but very intelligently combines the acoustic flavour of the previous track and the more powerful sounds of the previous songs. Again, it’s very catchy. “Blaze of Glory” is also a good anthem like “Sixty Eight Guns” and like that song, I found myself wanting to sing along to the chorus. Only the lyrics aren’t quite as straight forward as “68 Guns.” I can at least sing the first part over and over, “Going out in a blaze of glory.” I do like how they use the horns on it. “The Deceiver” has an eerie introduction before going into a fast acoustic track with some good harmonica played on it. In fact the second side, isn’t quite as hard rock as the first but that doesn’t diminish the quality of “The Declaration” in the slightest.

Track Listing:

  1. Declaration
  2. Marching On
  3. Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
  4. Third Light
  5. Sixty Eight Guns
  6. We Are the Light
  7. Shout to the Devil
  8. Blaze of Glory
  9. Tell Me
  10. The Deceiver
  11. The Stand
  12. Howling Wind

The Alarm

Mike Peters- vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica

Dave Sharp- acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals

Eddie MacDonald- bass, guitar, backing vocals

Twist- drums, percussion, backing vocals

When I listen to “The Declaration” I wonder why The Alarm didn’t get more commercial success. Some misguided people did say that they were too much like U2 but I never thought so. They were unique enough to avoid that. So, I wonder if it’s down to the discovery I made about them in the early summer of 1984, they were born again Christians. True, Christian rock was getting more attention at this time, something I’ll talk about in a future post, but I don’t hear any obvious Jesus lyrics in any of the songs that would frighten off listeners. For me, The Alarm’s “The Declaration” defined the direction I was heading in 1984 and it’s still a great album.

Next post: The Pretenders- Learning to Crawl

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