Archive for Grace Slick

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Jefferson Starship- Nuclear Furniture

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2017 by 80smetalman

For me in 1984, Jefferson Starship, being my favourite band in the world since 1977, would come to a cross roads with me in the form of the album “Nuclear Furniture.” As previously stated enough times that you’re all sick of reading it, my musical tastes were getting much heavier. With “Nuclear Furniture,” the band began to shy away from the hard rock of their previous three albums. However, I wasn’t going to demote them straight away and there was enough good material on the album to keep them at my number one.

First let us start out with the weak. The first single from the album, “No Way Out” while miles better than the vast majority of synth pop coming out at the time, it lacked the power chords I was now craving. Craig Chaquico does save the song with one of his decent guitar solos. Then again, he does it with many of the songs, even the ones where it’s not essential. The other songs that might fall into the same category as “No Way Out” have something else that makes them great, with the possible exception of  “Magician.” I was getting more and more politically aware in 1984 and seeking out music that reflected my beliefs. There are some great songs that do this. Two of them are about nuclear destruction, “Champion,” one of my favourites and “Showdown.” Grace Slick’s vocals make the latter song sound that much better. Again, lyrically, “Assassin” is a great song. It might have been better placed in the late 90s as it could be applied to school shootings. The song is about a stranger in the neighbourhood who turns out to be a killer. “Live and Let Live” speaks to me personally, not politically and without going into great personal detail, took a load of withheld anger from me. With the track, “Connection,” the song clearly trumpets my theory of what would happen if Jesus and Mohammed had actually met each other. While these songs might not be hard rockers, the lyrics really make you think.

Now for the rockers, “Shining in the Moonlight” is a straight ahead one of those bringing back memories of those previous three albums, “Freedom at Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change.” The other two are not only cool rockers in my book but also have political lyrics I like. “Rose Goes to Yale” is a short but powerful rocker that makes a great point while rocking out to it. However, my favourite track on the album has to be “Laying It on the Line.” A great intro and even though it is a little synthed in places, I don’t mind. A cool guitar solo and to my knowledge, it is the only song anywhere to mention what had happened to my marine buddies in Lebanon some seven months earlier.

“Got US boys on foreign soil,

“Spillin’ their blood to keep the peace.” 

Track Listing:

  1. Laying It On the Line
  2. No Way Out
  3. Sorry Me, Sorry You
  4. Live and Let Live
  5. Connection
  6. Rose Goes to Yale
  7. Magician
  8. Assassin
  9. Shining in the Moonlight
  10. Showdown
  11. Champion

Jefferson Starship

Mickey Thomas- vocals

Grace Slick- vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals, banjo

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

David Freiberg- keyboards, vocals

Donny Baldwin- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

In spite of “Nuclear Furniture” being a decent album, Jefferson Starship would cease to be my favourite band in 1984. This was because that Paul Kantner would leave the band shortly after the album’s release. Not only that, he would take the Jefferson moniker with him after a lawsuit. Like I said when I posted about Kantner’s death last year, it was always his songs on the albums I preferred the most. After he left, the band would morph into Starship and I definitely didn’t like what I heard on their next album. I want to like Jefferson Starship as I always have remembered them.

Next post: Greg Kihn Band- Khintagious

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 1983: Paul Kantner- Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra

Posted in 1980s, Books, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2016 by 80smetalman

PERRO_Paul_Kantner_album

It figures that my weird mind would notice that Paul Kantner’s very recent passing would occur right when I was going through the music history of 1983, the year his solo album was released. I was going to visit his album “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” further along down the road as it didn’t come to light until near the end of said year. Actually, I remember the opening title cut getting some airplay on radio back then. Mind you commercial radio didn’t completely suck in 1983. Like I said last post, I always preferred the songs Kantner penned on Jefferson Starship albums, so it was a no brainer that I would get this one.

What I never knew was that this album was written to be a soundtrack for Paul’s second novel “The Empire Blows Back,” which was a sequel to his first “Blows Against the Empire.” Listening to the album again, I can see how it fits. “Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra” or PERRO for short is a mixture of hard, progressive and space rock and it’s nicely done. Many of the musicians who appear on the album were current or former members of Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick does lead vocals on two songs and backing on many of the others. Furthermore, Craig Chaquico works his guitar magic as does Pete Sears with the keyboards, just like all three of them do on Jefferson Starship albums.

The album starts out in a fine hard rock form with the first three songs. The title cut opens things very well and I’m very impressed with track 2, “(She is a) Telepath.” “Circle of Fire” was originally meant for the “Winds of Change” but it fits very well here. The next few tracks go very spacey and I think that possibly when these tracks are listened to, maybe one should partake of the same substances they would if listening to a Pink Floyd album. “The Mountain Song” combines both hard and space rock and to me has the typical trademark of a Kantner song. I have since learned that Paul co wrote it with Jerry Garcia so that may explain a lot. Then , out of the blue comes the very amusing track, “Declaration of Independence.” Sung by Paul and Grace’s daughter China Wing Kantner, the song is almost country with Paul playing along on the banjo, a very amusing song to say the least. China, who was only 12 at the time, provides the perfect vocals for it sounding like a little girl. The last two songs end things very well, especially the closer, “Let’s Go.” I remember once when listening to the track “I Came Back from the Jaws of the Dragon” off Starship’s “Winds of Change” album, my ex wife commented that it sounded like Godspell. Yes, Paul had a thing for harmonies in that style on many of the songs but on “Let’s Go,” it concludes the album in masterful form.

Track Listing:

  1. Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra
  2. (She Is a) Telepath
  3. Circle of Fire
  4. Mount Shasta
  5. Lilith’s Song
  6. Transubstantiation
  7. The Mountain Song
  8. Declaration of Independence
  9. Underground (The Laboratories)
  10. The Sky’s No Limit
  11. Let’s Go
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica, synthesizers, lead guitar on “Underground”

Grace Slick- vocals, piano on “The Mountain Song” and “The Sky is No Limit”

Jack Casady- bass

Chiam Wing Kantner- vocals on “Declaration of Independence” and “The Sky Is No Limit”

Alexander Kantner- vocals on “Underground”

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar

Pete Sears- piano

Aynsley Dunbar- drums

Scott Matthews- guitar, harmonica, synthesizers, pedal steel guitar and Linn drums

Ron Nagle- piano and vocals on Transubstantiation

Ronnie Montrose- lead guitar on (She is a) Telepath

Flo & Eddie- vocals

Mickey Thomas- vocals on Circle of Fire

David Freiberg- synthesizers and vocals on Circle of Fire

The problem with “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” was that it wasn’t mainstream enough. That’s why it go only limited airplay on radio. Even if it didn’t I believe that I would have eventually discovered it and bought it anyway. This is a cool album and I think it would be only fitting to honour Paul Kantner by listening to it.

Next post: (Hopefully) Billy Idol

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go t 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 Metal Albums of 1983: The Scorpions- Blackout

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

 220px-Scorpions_Backout

First of all, let me say a well done to Deke for picking out all four albums on display in the last post. He gets 50 80smetalman points for that, not that they’re worth anything in the real world. For those who didn’t get all four and many got some, the albums were Van Halen I, Twisted Sister- “Stay Hungry,” Led Zeppelin- “Remastered” and Grace Slick- “Dreams.” Thank you all who participated and I hope everyone is happy that they finally got to see those famous ammo cans. It is really a cool way to store cassettes.

Now onto the album. “Blackout” by the Scorpions might have been released in 1982 but it brought my 1983 in rocking style. I spent the first seven weeks of the year at a small camp near Mt Fuji, Japan so music news was something scarce. It was when I returned to Okinawa that I heard this album though I can’t remember if I first heard it at Sgt Pepper’s or Kin Loo. It’s not important, what was important was the fact that when I heard “Blackout,” I was totally blown away.

It just happens that the album starts out with my favourite Scorpions song of all time. The title track is such an energy producing song that it’s only right that it should open the album. I mean talk about power chords. What is really cool is that after your ears are pummeled by “Blackout,” the album doesn’t stop to catch a breath but immediately goes into another great song, “Can’t Live Without You.” This song praises the fans who buy Scorpions records and see them live. And as the song goes, I do play an imaginary guitar when I hear these songs.

Things continue nicely over the next four songs. The single, “No One Like You,” follows on perfectly from its predecessors and goes very well into the next few after. After those three harder songs, things go slightly melodic with my second favourite Scorpions of all time, “Arizona.” The power chords are very melodically done in such away that I just say ‘wow’ each time I hear the song. Maybe they should have released that one as a single. After “Arizona,” there is what seems to be a concept song in “China White” before closing with the eerie sounding ballad, “When the Smoke is Going Down,” which is the best song to end things with on this great album.

One constant which is heard on every song on “Blackout” is the great lead guitar work from Mathias Jabs and at times Rudy Schenker. Jabs has been called underrated by many metal fans and the way he smokes the finger board here supports that statement. As always, I won’t take anything away from the rest of the band, especially as I have always considered Klaus Meine to be one of the best in the business.

Track Listing:

  1. Blackout
  2. Can’t Live Without You
  3. No One Like You
  4. You Give Me All I Need
  5. Now
  6. Dynamite
  7. Arizona
  8. China White
  9. When the Smoke is Going Down
The Scorpions

The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm and lead guitar

Matthias Jabs- lead and rhythm guitar

Francis Buchholz- bass

Herman Rarebell- drums

I can’t think of any way better to start of a year than with “Blackout” by the Scorpions. It is such a great metal album and it brought my 1983 in just right. However, even after all these years, I still don’t grow tired of it.

Next post: Billy Squier- Emotions in Motion

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: Jefferson Starship- Winds of Change

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

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

No, I haven’t fallen down a hole nor was I kidnapped by a raging gang of Boy George fans on account of my April Fool’s joke. The reason why I haven’t been around for the past few weeks was down to technical difficulties. Having a computer under warranty has distinct advantages but one disadvantage is that I had to wait nearly two weeks to have my new keyboard delivered. My stepson was kind enough to lend me his laptop from time to time so I was able to follow many of you whose blogs I get directly through email but he wouldn’t let me download photos or give me enough time to write a post. But that’s all over and I’m back! What no fanfare?

One very annoying misconception about hard rock and heavy metal is that every album from such an artist sounds the same. Yes, I scream “Bullshit!” when I hear this and the same was said back in 1982 when Jefferson Starship released their album “Winds of Change.” To the uneducated, it sounded just like their previous albums “Freedom at Point Zero” and “Modern Times.” I bet if they actually listened to all three albums, they would realise that they couldn’t have been more wrong.

First of all, when I listen to this album, I am reminded why Jefferson Starship was my favourite band from 1977-84. “Winds of Change” contains everything I liked about the band back then and it adds a few surprises. What I like most about the album is that Craig Chaquico is given free reign on the guitar. Every song has a killer solo or guitar break and in many cases, both. If you ever wondered just how good a lead guitarist he is, then listen to “Winds of Change” because it shows him at his best.

Let’s not take anything away from the rest of the band. Pete Sears still lays down some of his keyboard magic in songs like “Be My Lady” and “Can’t Find Love” as well as working well with Paul Kantner and Aynsley Dunbar to provide a cool rhythm section. Mickey Thomas is at his vocal best and this was the album that marked Grace Slick’s complete return to the band. Her vocals make one believe that she never left the band in the first place. She also leads the band with a small departure from the norm with the punk like “Out of Control.” Every time I hear that song, I just want to start pogo dancing.

While there’s not a bad track to be found on the album, the ones that stick out for me are the title track, the previously mentioned one, “Black Widow” where Grace makes the mating ritual of the black widow spider sound almost erotic and Paul Kantner makes his usual fine contribution with “I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon.” The song starts out about Kantner’s brain hemorrhage that might have killed him and his near miraculous recovery but in the Kantner style, goes political on Central America and crime and punishment. For the Jefferson Starship fan, there is everything to like on this album.

Track Listing:

1. Winds of Change

2. Keep on Dreamin’

3. Be My Lady

4. I Will Stay

5. Out of Control

6. Can’t Find Love

7. Black Widow

8. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

9. Quit Wasting Time

Jefferson Starship

Jefferson Starship

Mickey Thomas- vocals

Grace Slick- vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

Pete Sears- keyboards, piano, synthesizer and bass on all tracks except “Be My Lady”

David Freiberg- vocals, keyboards, bass on “Be My Lady”

Aynsely Dunbar- drums, percussion

*Note: While Aynsely Dunbar played on the recording of the album, he would leave before the tour and was replaced by Donny Baldwin

A few years down the line, Mickey Thomas would use the observation I made earlier to justify the Starship’s later change in sound. But that story’s for another day. “Winds of Change” showed that Jefferson Starship could rock with the best of them.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1982

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The Runaways- The First True All Female Metal Band

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

Janis Joplin and Grace Slick for the first queens of rock in the 60’s and in the 70’s came Ann and Nancy Wilson who were arguably the first modern rock chicks. In the later part of the 70’s and early 80’s we had such great ladies like Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry. All of these women were rock queens in the true sense and their contribution to music will always be remembered.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

 

Heart

Heart

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

In 1981, two all female bands made their way into the spotlight, The Go-Gos and Girlschool. While the former had a more commercial rock sound, the latter was straight forward heavy metal and stood alongside of many of the NWOBHM acts that were coming out that year. However, these two weren’t the all female bands who could blow speakers with great power chords. Before them came The Runaways.

The Go Go's

The Go Go’s

Girlschool

Girlschool

I had heard of The Runaways even before the film that came out a few years ago. Even at the tender (small chuckle here) age of sixteen, I was enamoured with these fine ladies who played such aggressive music. I did listen to their debut album and liked it. Likewise, I wanted to listen to their second one “Queens of Noise” but never got the chance. Must rectify that in the future. While, I never heard any of their songs on that cheap AM radio I had back then, they toured extensively and played many sell out concerts in the US and Japan. Furthermore, the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick and Van Halen supported them. Unfortunately, accusations of mismanagement, rows over money and direction plus several personnel changes lead to break up of the band.

Albums:

The Runaways- 1976

Queens of Noise- 1977

Waitin’ for the Night- 1977

Live in Japan- 1977

And Now, The Runaways- 1978

The Runaways

The Runaways

Cherrie Currie- vocals

Joan Jett- guitar, vocals

Lita Ford- guitar

Jackie Fox- bass

Sandy West- drums

*Vicki Blue and Laurie McAllister also played bass during The Runaways reign

While The Runaways may be no longer, the members are still around and making themselves known. One of them would dethrone Pat Benatar as the queen of rock in 1982 and possibly become the first metal queen. That one is up for debate. Another ex Runaway would also make a huge splash in heavy metal circles nor would some of the other former members remain completely silent. Almost silently, these ladies would go onto to be an influence on heavy metal and I think the all female metal bands that would spring up less than a decade later can look to them for inspiration. Don’t take my word for it, watch the film and listen to their music for yourself.

Next post: 1982- The Floodgates Are Open

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Great Metal Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Metal Priestess

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Metalpriestess

Before I launch into this great mini LP or EP or whatever you want to call it from The Plasmatics, I must give forewarning that I might not be posting very much over the next three or four weeks due to family problems. My father in law passed away last week and the funeral is on Wednesday which means we will make the 200 mile trip to Grimsby on the Tuesday. I know for Americans, that distance is just a Sunday drive. The following week, I’m off to the States to visit my mother who I haven’t seen in eight years and hasn’t been well since her accident Christmas time. I know, I’ll get plenty of time to hang with old friends and my brother and sister but I can’t be sure of how much computer time I will get. I have always endeavored to post twice a week here but please bear with me if I can’t post that many times over the next few weeks. Thank you.

The best way to bring us out of the melancholy feeling I’ve just produced is to look at an album that has been left out of the spotlight for so many years. “Metal Priestess” was made because of the success with The Plasmatics’ previous album “Beyond the Valley of the 1984.” The producer, Dan Hartman, (you may have heard of him) thought that the band should have something to build on that success and since a full length album wasn’t on the cards at the time, the six song “Metal Priestess” was made. There may have been only six songs on the album but wow! What great six songs they are proving that quality is sometimes better than quantity. Each song is an explosion of pure metal mania. Things begin with an impressive guitar opening in “Lunacy” and those guitars dominate but it’s the voice of Wendy O. Williams that gives it the extra edge. Her sinister sounding vocals give meaning to the title of the song. That combination works equally as well on the track “Black Leather Monster” and I love the beginning of “Twelve Noon” as well. It too is a brilliant song and the live recording of “Masterplan” as the closer was stroke of genius for this LP. If you want a pure metal album from 1981 and that’s exactly what this album is, pure metal, there are few which are better than “Metal Priestess.”

In the past and even more so in the future, I have paid and will pay tribute to rock goddesses and metal queens. I have already mentioned such important ladies as Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Grace Slick and even the first true queen of rock Janis Joplin. Future posts will include lovely ladies like Lee Aaron, Lita Ford and Doro Pesch. However, when any of these queens are mentioned, the name Wendy O. Williams seems to be missed out and to me that is a travesty. Speaking as red blooded male, Wendy is just as hot as any of the ladies I’ve just mentioned, hell, look at the album cover. And vocally she’s no less talented. So let’s give Wendy to adoration she so richly deserves when we talk about the great females who have contributed so greatly to our beloved genre of music.

Track Listing:

1. Lunacy

2. Doom Song

3. Sex Junkie

4. Black Leather Monster

5. Twelve Noon

6. Master Plan

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- vocals

Richie Stotts- lead guitars

Wes Beach- rhythm guitars

Jean Bouvoir- bass

Neal Smith- drums

Proof that sometimes less if more, the six songs on “Metal Priestess” can all be counted as great metal tunes. I rocked out to each one of them when I listened to it. Another album from a band that didn’t last longer into the 80s and this album as the previous has me asking why. Maybe I’ll get the answer further down the line.

Next post: TBA

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

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Great Soundtracks of 1981: American Pop

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-American_pop_soundtrack_album

Whilst I was on leave after my first deployment overseas, the animated film “American Pop” was at the cinemas. The fact that they used the spot where Jimi Hendrix plays “Purple Haze” was enough to make me want to go see it. The movie itself was all right but what was even better was the soundtrack. It had some of the great artists from the 60s and 70s on it and those songs together make this soundtrack very cool to listen to.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

It has been many years since I have seen this film or listened to the soundtrack but for those who may not be familiar with it, I’ll go through a very quick synopsis of the movie. “American Pop” is about 4 generations of musicians. It begins in the early 20th Century and focuses on the character Zamwe who is a child star. However, is throat is injured while singing for the troops on World War One so he never gets to be a star. He also falls foul of the mafia. The story then goes to his son Benny who is an accomplished pianist in a jazz band. He is on the road to fame when World War Two breaks out. Unfortunately, he is shot in the back while playing a piano in a bombed out bar in France. However, Benny’s seed is passed on through Tony. Now in the 60s, Tony’s mother has remarried and has more kids making him an outcast. He goes on the road taking odd jobs where he meets a rock band and becomes their song writer. However, he gets involved with the female lead singer and also gets hooked on drugs ending his brief brush with success. Several years later, Tony is a down and out and his companion is a young street kid named Pete. Tony disappears after giving Pete a load of drugs telling him not to sell it all in one place. Several years more and Pete is a big time drug dealer and is selling to rock stars. One day, he asks the band he is selling to to hear one of his songs. The band refuse at first but relent when Pete threatens to withdraw his business. Pete plays his song and the result is he becomes a big rock star, the end.

Tony and Pete

Tony and Pete

At the time, this film was slated by a lot of people. The problem was that some people tried to take the film too literally. For instance, the girl singer comes across like Grace Slick, (the rest of the band does resemble Jefferson Airplane a little) but turns into Janis Joplin. Okay, those two 60s rock queens may have been fused together to create the character but I say good on them. The other one was at the end. It turns out that Pete’s song is none other than “Night Moves” by and I know I’ve said it before, the unsung hero of 70s rock, Bob Seger. The Pete character was never meant to be Bob, they just use his song. Besides, I did a little research and didn’t find any evidence that Bob Seger was a drug dealer. If I were to go back to that time, I would tell those people to lighten up because if you don’t try to look at things that aren’t really there, the film is quite enjoyable. Of course it is the soundtrack that really makes this movie.

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Do they resemble Jefferson Airplane to you?

Official Track Listing:

1. Pat Benatar- Hell is for Children

2. Big Brother and the Holding Company- Summertime

3. The Mamas and the Papas- California Dreamin’

4. Peter, Paul and Mary- This Train

5. Jefferson Airplane- Somebody to Love

6. Jimi Hendrix- Purple Haze

7. The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Take Five

8. Sam Cooke- You Send Me

9. Fabian- Turn Me Loose

10. The Doors- People are Strange

Songs in the film not on the Soundtrack

Bob Seger- Night Moves

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Freebird

Bob Seger

Bob Seger

Just from looking at this list of songs, it is obvious that I do not need to go into more detail about them. A great array of songs from several decades brought together to make one hell of a soundtrack and you can’t debate that whatever you think of the film.

Next post: The Soundtrack to Heavy Metal

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