Archive for go go bars

1983- When I Got Out of the Marines

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by 80smetalman

usmc

Throughout several posts, I have stated that my experiences while serving in the US Marines played a big part in shaping me into the metalhead I am today. My experiences, which included a radio station that played some really cool hard rock, WXQR in Jacksonville, North Carolina, opened my musical mind to a wide range of musical tastes and styles. Before the marines, I had to be content with an old AM radio and glean music other people were listening to. I knew I loved the really hard rock but never actually stepped boldly forward into that world. The marines gave the opportunity to do that and it is why I am putting my release from active duty in 1983 as a moment in music history. At least it was for me.

Let’s start with the final days leading up to the day I got out. D-Day minus five was the last time I got a military haircut. I remember that because I wouldn’t cut my hair again for 17 months! It’s also why I gave the barber a generous tip. Minus four was a bit of a drag as it was Sunday and they put me on duty as ‘Duty NCO.’ D-Day minus three was the first day I began checking out. All that means is that I had to go to various places around the base and sign out with them. I was able to break the back on that on the first day and got many of the more minor places like the Red Cross signed out as well as my field gear turned in. I was also able to close my bank account with the local bank on base. More of the same with minus two although I was able to get confirmation that I would have proof of my contributions to the Veteran’s Educational Assistance Program. That was important because I was set to go to college in September. I completely finished checking out on minus one, the big relief being I had the all clear from my physical. Okay, not a huge worry. I also confirmed my flight for the next day. However, a slight paranoia gripped me so out of fear of some higher rank coming into my room and doing an inspection, I completely cleaned it. Fortunately, my fears were for nil.

Now onto the night before I got out. My company was on primary air alert and therefore combined to base but because I was now considered ‘non-deployable,’ I was allowed out for one last night in town. After a good pig out at an all you can eat for $5 chicken restaurant, I went to my old stomping ground, the Driftwood for one last time.

The Driftwood- June 29, 1983 would be the last time I would see this place.

The Driftwood- June 29, 1983 would be the last time I would see this place.

My ego would like to think that they held this event just for me as it was my last night but in reality, I know it wasn’t. That night at the Driftwood, they were having a ladies’ pudding wrestling tournament. Needless to say, I made sure I had front seats for the event. There were only three matches, the last one was the male manager against two ladies and opening match ended with one lady getting pinned rather quickly. For me, the main event was the middle match. Angie, who I spoke about when I posted about Joan Jett, (she could really move to “I Love Rock and Roll.”) vs another equally attractive lady named Theresa. The match had no winner but I didn’t care, I just liked watching them roll around in the pudding for fifteen minutes. For me, there wasn’t a better way to celebrate my last night in the service.

Not actual action from that night.

Not actual action from that night.

On D-Day, I woke up very excited. I put on my dress uniform and completed the final formalities, including getting paid and having my lieutenant tell me what a patriotic young man I was and I said it was a pleasure to serve. After saying good-bye to many of my comrades, I caught the shuttle to the airport and caught the plane. I first had to fly to Charlotte and had an hour and a half layover. Thankfully, a guy from my company who had re-enlisted and was going to his new assignment and another from a different company in my battalion also caught that short flight. So while we were all awaiting our connecting flights, we had a few drinks at the airport bar.

The flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia didn’t seem as long as I had feared and once I picked up my baggage, my mother and brother were waiting for me. My mother immediately noticed my mistake to wear the shirt I had worn the night before as I had a chocolate pudding stain on it. She wasn’t too impressed when I told her how it got there. We drove home and the rest you could say was history. One of the first things I did was to unpack my cassettes. My sister was rather impressed with my ammo cans which held so many of them. She told me about a TV show called “Video Rock” and since we didn’t have MTV yet, that would become a regular viewing feature for me for the next few months.

The famous ammo cans

The famous ammo cans

When I got out, I thought I had the world at my feet. One thing I knew that I was a hell of a lot more knowledgeable in music than four years prior. Musically, I had found myself and knew that I was going to be a metalhead and I have the marines, though they wouldn’t be too impressed to hear it, to thank for that.

Next post: Chris DeBurgh- The Getaway

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Memories of Some Great Rock Clubs

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

From October 1982 to April 1983, I was stationed on Okinawa although I did spend some time in South Korea and seven weeks near Mt Fuji in Japan. For an emerging young metalhead such as myself, the challenge was to find a good place to unwind and totally rock out. The enlisted club provided very cheap beer and live bands brought over from the Philippines that usually consisted of four or five musicians with a pretty girl on lead vocals. Some of these bands were quite good, others, not so. However, it didn’t quench my desire to find some real hard rock so I had to look elsewhere. The town outside my base, Henoko, didn’t provide anything of the like but there was a town, just a twenty minute bus ride away that did.

Kin

Kin

The town of Kin had several cool rock bars, the most notable of these was called Sgt Peppers. It had a great sound system with several really cool video screens. The best part was that they always played great rock and metal. It was here that I first learned about bands like Saxon, Whitesnake and the Plasmatics. However, they mixed it with some classic rock as well. I remember the live video of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath as well as live footage from Nazereth playing “Love Hurts” and “Hair of the Dog.” The great thing about Sgt Peppers is that whenever you went in, you were never disappointed by the music being played.

One disadvantage with Sgt Peppers was the fact that beer was so expensive, $2.25 for a bottle was rather dear in 1982-3. So, if the funds were running low, I would go one street over to another cool rock bar called Kin Loo. The Kin Loo wasn’t as sophisticated as Sgt Peppers but the beers were only $1.50. Yes, I too wish I could pay those prices for a beer these days. It might not have had the video screens like the other place but the music was still good. The best thing was that you could request what you wanted to hear and they would not just play one song but an entire side of an album. That gave me a chance to reminisce about old favourites and get an idea of anything new. This gave me the opportunity to listen to the album that started my 1983 in great style, The Scorpions, “Blackout.”

Both of these bars were great in helping me unwind from the stresses of military life. I did manage to get to the very south of Okinawa where there was an even larger Sgt Peppers and a club called Condition Green with an in house band with the same name. But that was only the one time so I had to rely on those bars in Kin. Fortunately, they were both able to provide me with what I needed. That’s why I still remember them so fondly after so many years. Unfortunately, unlike the Driftwood, the internet didn’t have any photos of them so I can’t say if they’re still there.

Next post: National Anthems

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: Steve Miller Band- Abracadabra

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-AbracadabraSM

Unfortunately for the Steve Miller Band, they were another artist, like Billy Joel, I had written off as selling out in the early 1980s. They were another band I was quite into in the late 1970s only to go off them in the early 80s. After some reflection, I have come to the conclusion as to why I accused both Billy Joel and the Steve Miller Band of selling out. By late 1982, mainstream popular music and I were heading into totally opposite directions. While music was going into more new wave synth pop, my musical tastes were growing more and more harder and while I didn’t realise it at the time, I was well on my way to becoming a metalhead.

Whatever the reason, however, the best known song and title cut from the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 album, “Abracadabra,” is not one of the songs that first come to mind when I think of this band. This is in spite of the fact that when I went to the Driftwood in 1982 and I went there a lot in the four months I was in the US, there was a dancer, (not Twinkles, she had stopped dancing there in Autumn of 81), who knew how to work the stage to that song. Fortunately, as I know all too well, one song does not an album make.

The Driftwood (I still can't believe I found a picture of it online)

The Driftwood (I still can’t believe I found a picture of it online)

The best sticker I can assign to “Abracadabra” is soft rock or mellow out rock or melodic rock, probably a combination of all the above. The album has its good moments. While it was softer than what my musical tastes would allow at the time, at least it’s done with guitars and no synthesizers. You  can hear this in each and every song. “Give It Up” gets my vote for number one song and I have to give an honourable mention to “Never Say No,” “Cool Magic” and the closer “While I’m Waiting.” When I listened to the album again after so many years, I realised that it still possessed the quality musicianship I had come to appreciate about the Steve Miller Band back in the late 70s. I just didn’t appreciate it back in 1982.

Track Listing:

1. Keeps Me Wondering Why

2. Abracadabra

3. Something Special

4. Give It Up

5. Never Say No

6. Things I Told You

7. Young Girl’s Heart

8. Goodbye Love

9. Cool Magic

10. While I’m Waiting

Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band

    The Steve Miller Band has always appealed to my more mellower side and I must give credit to where credit is due, the “Abracadabra” album is as good as some of their others although “Fly Like an Eagle” remains my favourite. I realise now that my mind was so focused on hard rock that the album didn’t tickle my fancy back in 1982. Times change and though I still focus on the hard stuff, I can take time and appreciate some of the more melodic offerings like this album.

Next post: Uriah Heep- Abominog

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: Loverboy- Get Lucky

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-GetluckyLB

Sometime halfway through my second deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, while watching a backdated episode of America’s Top 40 with Casey Kasem, I was treated to the Loverboy hit “Working for the Weekend.” Admittedly, it didn’t quite have the knock out punch I liked about “Turn Me Loose” but it was good enough to have me make a mental note on buying it when I either got to the PX in Rota, Spain or back to the States. It also brought back memories of the previous summer and the Driftwood, even though Twinkles had left a few months before the end of 1981.

True to my word, “Get Lucky” was the first new album I listened to when I returned that summer and I wasn’t disappointed. It has just the right blend of progressive and hard rock to make it work. “When It’s Over” is more proggy but the hard rock of “Jump” takes over nicely. Other good hard rock tracks come and go after leaving their own stamp on the album. “Emotional” reminds me of classic REO Speedwagon back when they were good in the 70s. “Lucky Ones” brings back fond memories of the first album and there’s always has been something about “It’s Your Life” that I liked. The album goes out on more a progressive note with “Take Me to the Top” but it’s definitely the right closer for this album. Of all the songs on “Get Lucky,” the one that stands well above the rest for me is “Gangs in the Street.” I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of my all time favourite film, “The Warriors” or because the video tries to make Loverboy look bad ass in an unconvincing way or probably just because I like the guitar solo. Whatever it is, the song works and is why this album is so good.

Track Listing:

1. Working for the Weekend

2. When It’s Over

3. Jump

4. Gangs in the Street

5. Emotional

6. Lucky Ones

7. It’s Your Life

8. Better Watch Out

9. Take Me To the Top

Loverboy

Loverboy

Mike Reno- vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards

Scott Smith- bass

Mike Frenette- drums

Loverboy seem to have been forgotten by many people now, not me, but back in the very early 80s, they staked their claim on the rock world with two very good albums. They were another reason why Canadian artists have never gotten the respect they deserved.

Next post: Asia

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: Loverboy

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 19, 2014 by 80smetalman

LoverboyLB

Most likely, I am repeating myself again, I have a habit of doing that. But I, along with the rest of my battalion, spent the summer of 1981 on air alert. That meant we couldn’t go very far and for three of those nine weeks, when my company was the alpha increment, we couldn’t even leave base. Therefore, most of my free evenings that summer were spent at the Driftwood watching Twinkles and her co-workers strut their stuff to some great songs both from that year or before. There was one song that seemed to get played a lot, no matter which of those ladies was up on stage at the time. That song was “Turn Me Loose” by Canadian rockers Loverboy. This was one of those songs that rocked my summer and would have done so even if I didn’t have the Driftwood’s juke box reminding me how good it was.

“Turn Me Loose” is simply the song that spearheads a great rocker of an album. There are plenty of other cool songs on the album on it. The follow up single, “The Kid is Hot Tonite” testifies to this and the same can be said of “Teenage Overdose.” I am very sure that if I named any track on the album, at least one person would put it forth as a great track. The keyboard introduction on DOA might, at first, make you think that this is going to be a more progressive track, and maybe it is compared to the rest of the album but the hard rock vibe doesn’t disappear. It is little wonder why this  debut album from Loverboy was present in the tape collection of many people I knew back in 1981.

Track Listing:

1. The Kid Is Hot Tonite

2. Turn Me Loose

3. Always On My Mind

4. Lady of the 80s

5. Little Girl

6. Prissy Prissy

7. Teenage Overdose

8. DOA

9. It Don’t Matter

Loverboy

Loverboy

Mike Reno- lead vocals

Paul Dean- guitar, backing vocals

Doug Johnson- keyboards, backing vocals

Scott Smith- bass, backing vocals

Matt Franette- drums

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but for me, a marine in North Carolina at the time restricted to going no further than 15 miles from the base, the debut album from Loverboy brought a much needed way to let off steam to me and my comrades in arms. I was glad to have this rocking album then and those memories still resonate whenever I listen to any song from it.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Precious Time

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: J Geils Band- Freeze Frame

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2014 by 80smetalman

J._Geils_Band_-_Freeze_Frame

 

In the UK, The J. Geils Band are considered one hit wonders and “Freeze Frame” is the album which produced the one hit that they are known for. “Centerfold” was a humungous hit for them, not just in the US or UK, but throughout most of the world. I was in Israel in April of 1982 and it was in the top ten charts there. I think it was number five. The truth is that they are definitely not one hit wonders in the US. Not only was “Love Stinks” a big hit for them in 1980 but this very 1981 album produced some other hits as well.

As all of us know by now, it doesn’t take a couple of top 40 hits to make a good album and “Freeze Frame” has plenty of good material on it. I love the organ intro in the title track, which is the very first song on the album and there is some catchy keyboard melodies with “Flamethrower.” Both are really good songs and I like the Devo like sound with “Rage in the Cage.” A similar new wave sound is heard quite pleasingly on “Insane, Insane Again.” However, they don’t totally abandon their blues rock sound from the 70s. “Angel in Blue” is very reminiscent of that sound and has another memory for me. It wasn’t Twinkles at the Driftwood but another dancer at another similar type go-go bar. My memory is foggy, I will blame it on too much beer that night, but I think it was a bar called The Other Place. The dancer, who was dressed in blue, moved along to this song in a very hypnotic way. Even though this was the first time I heard this song in many years, that memory of the dancer’s movements to this song is etched in my brain. Still, it’s a fantastic song and the album ends with the very cool and amusing “Piss On the Wall.”

Track Listing:

1. Freeze Frame

2. Rage in the Cage

3. Centerfold

4. Do You Remember When

5. Insane, Insane Again

6. Flamethrower

7. River Blindness

8. Angel in Blue

10. Piss On the Wall

The J Geils Band

The J Geils Band

Peter Wolf- vocals

J. Geils- guitar

Seth Justman- keyboards

Danny Klein- bass

Magic Dick- harmonica, trumpet, saxophone

Stephen Bladd- drums

It’s a shame that the J. Geils Band only had the one hit in the UK when they had so many great records in the US. “Freeze Frame” itself has so many great songs on it alone. So, I hope my British readers will take my word for it and check this album out for themselves. In spite of all that I have said here, The J. Geils band aren’t my choice for the best American act not to crack the UK. After all, they did have one hit. That one is still yet to come.

Next post: Foreigner 4

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: Rick Springfield- Working Class Dog

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Working_class_dog

In the mid 1980s, I thought that Rick Springfield was one of those commercially produced artists who’s sound was out to try to please everybody. I still think that. My motivation for visiting the “Working Class Dog” album comes from elsewhere. Back in the summer of 1981, my marine buddies and I used to frequent a go-go bar outside the base called The Driftwood. During that summer, Springfield’s biggest hit, “Jessie’s Girl,” received a lot of play on the juke box. There was this one dancer, I only knew her as Twinkles, seemed to be on stage a lot when it was played and believe me, she knew how to work the stage to the song. It was just how she used to use the poles to move along with it that was eye catching and that image comes to the forefront of my brain housing group whenever I hear “Jessie’s Girl.”

The Driftwood (I can't believe I found a picture of it online)

The Driftwood (I can’t believe I found a picture of it online)

Having listened to the album again after so many years, (that’s one major plus in writing this blog) I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t the commercial rock that I associate with Rick Springfield later on in the decade. “Working Class Dog” is far from a metal album but it is an enjoyable rock album. There are some decent rock tunes on it and I’m not just talking about the forementioned famous hit. There is the more minor hit “I’ve Done Everything For You,” which is a good song on it’s own right, except Twinkles never danced to it. I also thought the title track, “Hole in My Heart” and “The Light of Love” are all in the same light; good, listenable rock tunes. However, I found the big surprise to be the penultimate track, “Red Hot & Blue Love.” This song goes against the flow of the rest of the album with a more guitar blues sound. The guitar solo is ear catching showing why Neil Geraldo doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Once again, I find myself pleasantly surprised although my opinion of Rick Springfield’s later stuff hasn’t changed.

Track Listing:

1. Working Class Dog

2. Jessie’s Girl

3. Hole in My Heart

4. Carry Me Away

5. I’ve Done Everything For You

6. The Light of Love

7. Everybody’s Girl

8. Daddy’s Pearl

9. Red Hot & Blue Love

10. Inside Sylvia

 

rspring

Rick Springfield- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards

Robben Ford- guitar

Neil Geraldo- guitar, bass

Gabriel Katona- keyboards

Jeff Eyrich- bass

Mike Baird- drums

Jack White- drum

Jeremiah Cox- french horn, backing vocals

Tom Kelly- backing vocals

This post has given me further ideas, there were other songs that were made to come alive when danced to by some of the ladies at the Driftwood. My mind flashes back to one named Beverly who made me appreciate REO Speedwagon’s “Take It On the Run” in a different light and there were others. The other thing was that experience has burned unique memories of certain songs and like in the case of Twinkles with “Jessie’s Girl,” got me to listen to the album more. In the case of Rick Springfield and “Working Class Dog,” it was a nice surprise.

Next post: Dire Straits- Making Movies

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