Archive for Canada

An Evening of Ska-Punk in Newcastle

Posted in Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Well, I’m back from my three days in Newcastle Upon Tyne and before I left, I did promise that if I saw any great bands at Newcastle’s premier rock club, Trillian’s, I would share the experience here. However, the American tourist in me has briefly taken over so before you get to read what great bands Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea were, you’re going to have to view my holiday snaps. Don’t worry, there aren’t many.

The view from my hotel room, It rained a lot on the first day

Great weather on Thursday. Here’s a view from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The bridge opens to let a boat go through

At first, it seemed the rain on the first night was too heavy and I wouldn’t make it past the pub across the road from my hotel room. The Blonde Barrel does do great food though. Thankfully, the Gods of Rock smiled on me and the rain slowed do to a fine spray so I was able to go into the city centre and get to Trillians. I discovered that the two named bands would be playing on the Thursday evening so I went down to the bar where I made another amazing discovery. Motorhead has a beer called Road Crew. Naturally, I had to try some and I can say that it’s very nice.

The next day, I made inquiries about Road Crew being available in shops. I was directed to one place that sold eccentric beers but the owner told me that the beer was massed produced and available in major supermarkets, not where I live. I made a further inquiry at the small supermarket but they didn’t sell it. However, one of the staff advised me to try a small shop in the train station grounds. So I went to a place called CentrAle and yes they did sell Road Crew. Then another surprise, right next to it was another beer called Anthrax War Vance and yes, it’s endorsed by Anthrax. Apparently some cases were left behind after their last UK tour and Bruce, the manager of CentrAle, got them. CentrAle is the only place in the UK where you can get Anthrax War Vance. So, I got lucky there.

Bruce with a can of Anthrax

Eventually, the big night came and I went off to Trillians to see Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea, two bands I knew absolutely nothing about. With nothing to expect, I had a very open mind to them when they came on stage. Faintest Idea took the stage first and that would begin my education. Before this particular evening, I had practically zero experience with ska. I offer no reason for this except it was something I never explored. That will change for sure. Getting back to Faintest Idea, listening to them, I have concluded that the Ramones will never have to go in the ska direction because that’s what this band sounded like. The Ramones playing ska. Every song was done in the ‘one, two, three go’ style that the Ramones made so famous during their career. However, Faintest Idea did it with horns. To that point, I’ve never heard such a tight brass section, fair dues to them. Of course, I can’t take anything away from the guitar, bass (also lead singer) and drums either and together they fused ska and punk very well. Songs I remember the most were “Bull in a China Shop” and “Youth” but all of the songs were played well and I was very much impressed.

Faintest Idea on stage

After a brief intermission where the keg of Road Crew ran dry, headliners Planet Smashers from Quebec, Canada took the stage. My first impression was that there was a Madness influence here. Not a surprise because many put forward the argument that Madness were one of the originators of ska. Madness or not, Planet Smashers stood well enough on their own. Plus, this band has a great sense of humour while on stage. Guitarist/lead singer Matt Collyer knew how to engage the crowd with his banter. However, it was definitely the music that was the main attraction. Not often does one get to see bands with two very tight brass sections on the same night but that’s what I saw. Songs that I remember most were “Life of the Party” and my personal favourite, “Super Orgy Porno Party.” You got to believe that anyone who comes out with a song with a title like that has to be very good and they were.

Planet Smashers

And from the other side

I left Trillians with a much better knowledge of ska music then I had two and a half hours earlier and I’m a much better person for it. But the night didn’t end there. Not feeling tired and knowing the Mrs 80sMetalman and our two granddaughters were asleep, I decided to hit another pub I knew was open later. I can’t remember the exact name, I had too many pints by then. While I was inside, both bands turned up and so I ended up drinking with them. That’s something that doesn’t happen to me every day. The members of both bands were great people and that rounded off a fantastic night.

Meeting up after hours

Next post: Toto- Isolation

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502488199&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Honeymoon Suite

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2017 by 80smetalman

Now that Download is done and dusted, not that I didn’t enjoy posting about it because I totally did, I will go back to the great albums of 1984. One note, Teal, my stepson, was going to give Mastodon another chance after their lackluster performance last year at Bloodstock. He never saw them. I didn’t either because they were on at the same time as Suicidal Tendencies, so for me, there was no hard decision to make.

In 1984, I was totally impressed by a song I heard on MTV from a Canadian band called Honeymoon Suite. That song was “New Girl Now” and although it only reached 57 in the US charts, probably why I liked it so much, it did go gold in Canada. I just like that hard rock intro with the keyboards giving it the right amount of support to compliment the sound. While, I never have had any personal experience from the lyrics, I do like them. Besides, all those ingredients make the song very catchy and the guitar solo is well done. So there, I’ve broken down my all time favourite Honeymoon Suite song.

I have come to the conclusion that Honeymoon Suite did things ass backwards on their 1984 debut album. Listening to some of the other songs, you would have thought they would have been more successful as a single than “New Girl Now.” All of the first four tracks were released as singles and my fave was the only one to chart in the US. However, the other three songs have more of that 80s soft rock single feel to them. Especially, the fourth track, “Stay in the Light.” As for the second track, “Burning in Love,” I ask myself, “Are these guys trying to imitate Rush here?” The middle of the song goes very keyboards progressive rock, that’s all. Saying that, it is very well played.

After those four songs, the album goes more hard rock. “Now That You Got Me” doesn’t send me headbanging away but I do like it. The guitar talents of Derry Grehan show themselves more here and do so more on the remaining tracks. “Funny Business” is a real rocker. That one does get me headbanging away to it. However, it does sound that lead singer, Johnie Dee’s voice sometimes struggles to keep up with the song. But that criticism is swept away by another Grehan guitar solo. Each solo does seem to get better with each song from track five on. Dee’s voice is more suited for the track after, “Heart on Fire,” which is just as rocky as the predecessor, only there’s more of a keyboard accompaniment on it. “Turn My Head” is a bit of a paradox. It starts out as a rocker but goes 80s soft rock in the middle only to finish off hard again. “It’s Your Heart” is a total rocker but the album ends with a ballad, “Face to Face.” It’s nothing spectacular except that Grehan plays his best guitar solo on it and that’s a great way to end the album.

In short, Derry Grehan is a fantastic guitarist and I have to give credit where due to keyboards player, Ray Coburn. Furthermore, the rhythm section of Brian Brackstone and Dave Betts is sound. I don’t want to criticize lead singer Johnnie Dee, he does have a good voice but he wouldn’t have the range for a metal band. It seems that the rest of the band has to slow down for him on the harder songs. On the other hand, he does nail “New Girl Now” very well.

Track Listing:

  1. New Girl Now
  2. Burning in Love
  3. Wave Babies
  4. Stay in the Ligtht
  5. Now That You Got Me
  6. Funny Business
  7. Heart on Fire
  8. Turn My Head
  9. It’s Your Heart
  10. Face to Face

Honeymoon Suite

Derry Grehan- lead guitar, vocals

Johnnie Dee- lead vocals

Brian Bracksotne- bass

Ray Cobourn- keyboards, vocals

Dave Betts- drums

I have to admit, in 1984 I liked the song “New Girl Now” as much as I did many of the metal songs going around at the time. It is a great song and fortunately, the rest of the album is pretty cool too.

Next post: Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth- The Warrior

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1498510735&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Rush- Grace Under Pressure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

Nearly everyone and their sibling says that the “Grace Under Pressure” album was the beginning of Rush’s synthesizer period. In reality, the band had started to go in that direction with their previous album, “Signals.” What was popularly believed at the time was that as a result of my favourite Rush album, “Moving Pictures,” some misguided persons heard songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” and called Rush a heavy metal band. Therefore, in reaction to that, they went for the more synthesizer sound to squash the stereotype. At first I believed it but now in my old age, I don’t really care if it was true at the time or not. I just like the album.

While Rush are not heavy metal, it doesn’t stop many metalheads like myself from liking them, a lot. In the opening pages of “Rock And Roll Children,” the main characters play “Grace Under Pressure” to mellow out a bit after an evening of heavy metal records. I have to admit, when I heard the first single, “Distant Early Warning,” I wasn’t too sure about them. Maybe they had sold out and gone commercial. I guess in my naivety, I expected them to continue in the same vein as my favourite Rush album. But believe me, “Grace Under Pressure” was no sell out and it was many levels above some of the other synthesizer music that was manifesting at the time.

What Rush did with “Grace Under Pressure” was take the emerging synth sound and made it into something of their own. I’ve said a number of times that all three members are talented musicians and together, they can create some fantastic music which all will enjoy no matter what camp you’re in. For me, sure I was slightly disappointed at first that the guitar takes a back seat on the album, but it doesn’t go away completely. You can clearly hear Liefson’s licks laying down the foundation along with Peart’s beat in support of Lee’s keyboard skills and vocals. I have always stated that Lee has been underrated as a keyboards player. As for Alex, he does nail solos on “The Body Electric”  and the closer, “Between the Wheels,” and I do like his intro on “The Enemy Within.” That has to be my favourite track on the album. Now, I won’t break down the album into individual songs because they all are good on their own and all compliment each other and that makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Distant Early Warning
  2. Afterimage
  3. Red Sector A
  4. The Enemy Within
  5. The Body Electric
  6. Kid Gloves
  7. Red Lenses
  8. Between the Wheels

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, synthesizers, bass

Alex Liefson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

I think that “Grace Under Pressure” achieves what Rick, Frankie, Jeff and Bob were going for in “Rock and Roll Children.” They were looking something to just kick back and listen to. The album allows you to do that because that’s when you begin to hear and appreciate all the small intricacies contained there in and that’s when you know how good it is.

Next post: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcements and News

Posted in Concerts, Death, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2017 by 80smetalman

Famous deaths in 2016 weren’t just limited to rock stars, (looks like 2017 is heading in the same direction). I was also saddened to learn last night that my childhood hero who wasn’t a rock star also passed away in 2016. Ice hockey legend, (if you’re a fanatical Philadelphia Flyers fan like myself), Rick MacLeish passed away on May 30 last year from multiple complications, he was 66. Born in Lindsay, Canada in 1950, Rick was the first Flyer to score 50 goals in a season and scored the winning goal in Philadelphia’s first Stanley Cup victory. Even hearing about it ten months on, I am saddened to hear of his passing.

R.I.P Rick MacLeish

On a much happier but surprising note, I have to announce that I won’t be attending the Bloodstock Festival this summer. Other commitments have gotten in the way plus this year, I think the Download Festival in June has a line up more to my liking. I understand that for hardcore metal fans that this is an act of treason but I will definitely share my experiences from the Festival on here.

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Lee Aaron’s First LP

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-lee_aaron_-_1984_-_lee_aaron_reissue

Before I launch into the debut album from one of Canada’s best heavy metal exports in the 1980s, I have to confess that my brain hasn’t been in gear this past week. I can’t believe that when I compiled my compilation album of music stars who died in 2016, that I left out Rick Parfitt from Status Quo. Therefore, to rectify this major screw up, I would add two Status Quo songs on it. One from the “1+9+8+2” album I posted about, the song being “Want the Whole World to Know.” The other, the one I consider the better of the two songs a corporate record producer would use: “Rocking All Over the World.” Rest in Peace, Rick Parfitt.

Rick Parfitt

Rick Parfitt

Status Quo

Status Quo

 

Onto the debut album from Canada’s own Lee Aaron. Now, something else that the music websites say I got wrong. It seems that this album didn’t come out in 1983. Originally it was released in 1982 and re-issued in 1984. However, I got this on cassette as part of a double album set with Lee’s next album, “Metal Queen.” Anyway, I thought for sure that it said on the cassette that the “Lee Aaron’s First LP” was copyrighted in 1983 and have had it in my noggin for over thirty years that it came out in said year. Since it’s too much trouble to go up into my attic and dig out the cassette to check, I must ask for clemency on any misrepresentation of this album.

Now that’s over, let’s move on. I remember reading an interview of Lee Aaron in 1987 where she said she laughs when she hears this, her first album. I can see where she is coming from. Back then she was brand new to the industry and rather naive and listening to the album, one can probably say that if she had more say on the album, it might have sounded different. She only wrote on four of the songs. Lee, I hope it wouldn’t have sounded too much different because this first LP really rocks!

While she might slightly blush over the lyrics of the tracks, “I Like My Rock My Hard” and “Should Have Known,” hell, I blush for her but they are still good sounding metal songs. In fact, I have to take my hat off to Rik Emmett of Triumph who produced the album. I always thought he did a good job of taking Lee under his wing because I can’t fault any of the tracks on here. Her vocals are just phenomenal and there are some good musician work to accompany those vocals. Though I can’t ascertain why Rik only played on one song, the opener, “Under Your Spell.” Stand out tracks for me are “Night Riders” and “Took My Heart Away” to begin with. Her cover of the famous Willie Dixon blues classic, “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” which has been covered by so many bands is one of the best. Before, I heard her version, it was Foghat’s version I liked but now there’s a power struggle in my brain. However, my favourite tracks on the album are definitely “Texas Outlaw,” where she doubles with Buzz Sherman and the closing track and even though it’s only on the 1984 re-issue, I’m going to include it here, “Under the Stars.” This track is recorded live and makes me regret never seeing Lee Aaron live. So, while she might laugh at this album, I really like it.

Track Listing:

  1. Under Your Spell
  2. Lonely For Your Love
  3. Night Riders
  4. Texas Outlaw
  5. I Like My Rock Hard
  6. I Just Want to Make Love to You
  7. Runnin’ From His Love
  8. Should Have Known
  9. Took My Heart Away
  10. Under the Stars

Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- lead vocals

Rik Emmett- guitar, track 1

Dave Alpin- guitar, tracks 1 and 7

Rick Santers- guitar, tracks 2-4, 6, 8, 9

Earl Johnson- guitar, tracks 4,6,8

Frank Soda- track 5

John Albani- guitar, track 10

George Bernhardt- guitar, track 10

Buzz Sherman- co-lead vocals tracks 4 and 8, backing vocals track 8

Bill Wade- drums- tracks 1 and 7

Mark Santers- drums, tracks 2-4, 6, 8, 9

Gen Gratto- drums, track 5

Randy Infuso- drums, track 10

Gene Stout- bass, track 1 and 7

Rick Lazaroff- bass, tracks 2-4, 6, 8, 9

Peter Crolly- bass, track 5

Jack Meli- bass, track 10

Like I said, Lee Aaron might have been embarrassed about her first album but I’m sure not. It is a good rocking album even if the lyrics of some of the songs on it do sound a bit childish. Still, you can’t fault her fabulous vocals and the musicians Rik Emmett put together to make this fine album. One of these guitarists will stay with Lee but you’ll have to wait to her future albums before I sing his praises. In the meantime, enjoy this one.

Next post: Mercyful Fate- Melissa

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

 

 

 

 

 

Rest in Peace Leonard Cohen

Posted in Books, Death, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 11, 2016 by 80smetalman
Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

With already so many great musicians, actors and producers going to the great gig in the sky this year, I was hoping that we could get through the rest of 2016 without any more sadness. I was wrong. It has come to my attention via my son of the passing of Canadian born novelist, poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. The exact details of his death are not known but a statement from his son states that Leonard died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles.

Personally, I never owned any of his records though I often heard his name mentioned in many musical circles. Anyone who has heard the song “Hallelujah” will have heard him, even if they didn’t realize it was him singing. His work both musically and literary explored many topics including sexuality, politics, religion and relationships to name a few. Therefore it saddens me to read of his passing. May he Rest in Peace.

 

 

 

An Anvil Got Dropped on Gloucester

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by 80smetalman

It’s been less than 24 hours since I went to Gloucester to see the metal delights of Anvil. To make a long story short, Anvil totally kicked ass at the Guildhall in Gloucester, UK. However, it wasn’t only a great night on account of Anvil, the two bands in support played their part in making metal history in Gloucester.

It was close, after fighting loads of traffic in my home town of Stroud and then trying to find a parking place in Gloucester, (Geography lesson: Stroud and Gloucester are about ten miles apart), then walking to the Guildhall, waiting in line only to be told that the tickets I ordered on line were waiting for me at the door, getting there and quickly buying my t-shirt, we got there just in time for the opening band.

Classic French metallers, Mystery Blue, opened things up very nicely. They are a five piece band front by lead singer Nathalie Geyer. While the sound sometimes made it difficult to tell, she does have a very good voice. But she is assisted by lead guitarist Frenzy Phillipon who knows a thing or two on how to smoke a fingerboard. Together with a sound rhythm section, Mystery Blue got the crowd in the mood for metal that night. While I can’t remember all their songs, the two that stood out were “Running With the Pack,” not a cover of the Bad Company classic and the title track from the latest album, “Claws of Steel,” which ended their half hour on stage exceedingly well. I’d definitely recommend this band and I was going to go out on a limb and say that Mystery Blue were the best thing to come out of France since Gojira but after a look on their website, I found they have been around longer than their mentioned countrymen.

Mystery Blue begin their dominance

Mystery Blue begin their dominance

Nathalie proving she has the voice

Nathalie proving she has the voice

Second up was German thrash metal band Rezet. While I can’t say that they were the best thing out of Germany since The Scorpions, Accept, Bonfire, Helloween, Kreator or Doro, they were a brilliant band nevertheless. The first thing I noticed about Rezet was there was a definite early Metallica influence here and I’m not just talking about their sound either. Their look was the same as Metallica from that era. I remember an article in Hit Parader, (Motley Crue Magazine), in 1985 which stated that Metallica looked like they belonged in the high school detention class. Rezet were just as youthful looking and like the band mentioned, they played like they were just as hungry as that band was in 1985.

Rezet compounded the assault on the audience with some really good thrash. The comments about detention hall kids definitely applied to both guitarists who traded off solos on some songs and played individual ones on others. Frontman Ricky Wagner proved to be both a good singer and guitarist but the rest of the band played their part too. The most memorable song was “Gargantua,” which as dig at modern politics and they closed with a tribute to Lemmy by playing the Motorhead classic, “No Class.” This is definitely another band worth checking out.

Ricky Wagner and Rezet get things going

Ricky Wagner and Rezet get things going

Thorben Schultz can also crank out the solos

Thorben Schultz can also crank out the solos

Rezet coming down the the finish

Rezet coming down the the finish

Everything I expected from Anvil went away as soon as they hit the stage. Things started with Lips going into the midst of the crowd to play and he got a very welcoming response as he jammed away for several minutes. When he got back to the stage, I thought, “Okay, now they’re going to play ‘Metal on Metal,’ they didn’t. The first official Anvil song of the night was “Sex” but it got the crowd going. Also my prediction that they would play many of the songs from their latest album proved to be wrong. They only played two, one was “Daggers and Rum,” a ditty about pirates and I can’t remember the other one but Robb Reiner played a really cool drum solo on it. “Winged Assassin” from the last album I posted about did get played and right after another song from the same album, “Free As the Wind” which Lips dedicated to Lemmy. He also mentioned that Lemmy once invited him to join Motorhead but Lips declined because he was in Anvil.

From the outset, Anvil were out to have a good time during the 90 minutes they were on stage. They didn’t care about the small venue because everyone inside was cheering them on. Lips especially was enjoying things and yes, he pulled out the sex toy and used it to play guitar to “Mothra.” Unlike the documentary however, this one was battery operated and that also produced some cool sounds from Lips’ guitar. Even without the toy, Lips surprised me by his ability to play. I knew he was good but I didn’t realize he was that good. He really jammed away. Plus, I got to mention new bassist Chris Robertson. When introduced, Lips stated that it was great to have finally found the right bass player after going through so many. I have to say, Robertson is the real deal.

We were treated to a good cross section of Anvil material. The title track from “This is Thirteen plus a couple of songs from “Juggernaut of Justice,” one of them being “On Fire.” While he didn’t open with “Metal on Metal,” it was the last song they did before leaving the stage. The audience wouldn’t have let them leave without playing that one. Then when they returned, a dude behind me and I both started yelling for “Forged in Fire.” Lips looked in our direction and said, “This guy wants us to play “Forged in Fire” so we will play “Forged in Fire.” That made my night totally complete. After that, they played one more song, a cover of the famous Steppenwolf song, “Born to be Wild.” I thought it was a great way to end the night.

Lips in the crowd

Lips in the crowd

Meanwhile Chris Robertson moves across the stage

Meanwhile Chris Robertson moves across the stage

Lips jamming on the guitar

Lips jamming on the guitar

Lips and Roberson going for it

Lips and Roberson going for it

Chris's bass solo

Chris’s bass solo

Singing to the crowd

Singing to the crowd

Out came the toy

Out came the toy

Here's a better picture of it

Here’s a better picture of it

Robb's drum solo

Robb’s drum solo

The End

The End

In their 39 year history, this was the first time Anvil toured the UK as a headliner. Hopefully after this night, they will be back again to tour even bigger venues because they were brilliant. When coming home from the gig, my step son couldn’t fathom why Anvil weren’t bigger. That is what’s strange.

Next post: A Non Musical Tragedy

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