Archive for Guitarists

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To give Bruce Dickinson his well deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Original Vs. Cover- Ohio

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2022 by 80smetalman

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

As my normal break in the action between the years and influenced by 2Loud, I thought I would do another “Original Vs. Cover” post. Today, I picked the song “Ohio” originally written by the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The song was written in 1971 in protest to the shooting which took place at Kent State University in Ohio in 1970, which left four students dead.

When CSNY released the song, it was a clear reflection of the anger which was dividing America at the time. The Vietnam War was still going and Americans were dying in what is still considered a very questionable war. This anger is vehemently expressed through the lyrics and the passion of the vocals. The guitar licks augment this making the song’s message even more powerful. Even more than half a century later, those lyrics and the power behind the music give off strong emotions no matter how you feel politically. It’s one song which, for me, has definitely stood the test of time.

Hannah Wicklund in Bristol, England (October 2019)

The cover comes via Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin’ Stones, another 80smetalman discovery I have been plugging on here. Her version of “Ohio” didn’t appear on her album which I gushed over four years ago but when I saw her live in October, 2019, she played it and it was completely mind-blowing. I have always said that Hannah is a great guitarist and she shows it here. To steal a tired phrase from “X Factor,” she totally makes the song her own by simply totally rocking it out.

My Verdict: I’m going to take the easy way out and call it a tie. Which version of “Ohio” I like to listen to depends on my motivation for listening. If I want to chill and be absorbed in the lyrics or be politically motivated, then I will listen to the CSNY original. The lyrics are meant to be thought provoking and they do that to me. However, if I fancy a good rock out with some fantastic blues style guitar work, then I will pull out Hannah’s cover. Not a criticism but I don’t feel the message behind the lyrics in her version but that’s down to the great guitar work. Plus, if what I hear is true and history isn’t being properly taught in America, then she probably wouldn’t have appreciated the message CSNY were sending fifty years earlier.

Next post: TBA

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

To sign the petition for a knighthood for Bruce Dickinson, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die!

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2022 by 80smetalman

Could this be a case of looks being deceiving? When you look past the guitar, leather and spikes, you might be inclined to think that this innocent looking young lady sang Taylor Swift type songs. After all, it seems that these days, some female pop singers dress in a neo-metal fashion in an attempt to lure younger metal males into checking out their music. However, metalheads aren’t as stupid as they think. They listen to what’s inside the album and not judge by the cover. With The Great Kat, on the other hand, she is the real deal. What you get from her debut album, “Worship Me or Die!” is a half hour of great thrash metal.

After a great shredding introduction, Kat, (real name Katherine Thomas), declares that she is the “Metal Messiah.” Her declaration is short and to the point with some great power riffs to back her up. After, she lets you know that she is possessed by the devil and you are her little slaves. Her shredding backs up her claim. If that’s not enough to convince you, she power chords and shreds her point in declaring “Death to You.”

Once you are convinced she the possessed metal messiah, you get my favourite track of the album, “Satan Goes to Church.” My amusement for television evangelists is satisfied when the song is introduced by a television evangelist telling us to repent. That is quickly sidelined by a thrash frenzy telling us that Satan is coming into the church and writing his name in blood before burning it down. It’s all tongue and cheek but I bet the Jesus freaks back then got their knickers all in a twist over it.

Now that Satan has burned down the church, you have no other choice do what Kat says in the title track, “Worship Me or Die!” Kat declares her omnipotence by letting you know that Kat rules, once again backed up by serious thrash chords and more shredding. From there, she goes on a four song death to all march, first summoning demons, then a speed death, a song which seems to go at 900mph. It carries on with killing the Muthers, (I don’t think she’s talking about actual mothers here), before laying it all to rest with “Ashes to Dust,” complete with a funeral service at the beginning. It’s all one big thrash-fest and I must give full credit to the rhythm section for being able to keep up with her.

Kat gets the children involved by playing a sweet little game called, “Satan Says.” Backed by foreboding, slower riffs, she kindly warns the children what might happen if they don’t play. “Satan goes follow me, Satan says ‘Go to Hell!'” The album then closes out with a total metal massacre, with the great shredding in which the album was first brought in.

Track Listing:

  1. Metal Messiah
  2. Kat Possessed
  3. Death to You
  4. Satan Goes to Church
  5. Worship Me or Die
  6. Demons
  7. Speed Death
  8. Kill the Muthers
  9. Ashes to Dust
  10. Satan Says
  11. Metal Massacre
The Great Kat (she doesn’t look so innocent here)

The Great Kat- guitar, lead vocals, violin

Tom Von Doom- bass

Adam Killa- drums

“Worship Me or Die” proves a point I have been making recently here and on other blogs; Back in the 1980s, female shredders didn’t get the respect they so deserved. The Great Kat, I emphasize the great because she was just as good as many of her male counterparts at the time and she should have been taken more seriously.

Next post: Savatage- Hall of the Mountain King

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Whitesnake- 1987

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2022 by 80smetalman

Out of all the great metal albums which came out in 1987, the most noted of these had to be Whitesnake’s “1987” album. You don’t need me to tell you how this album tore up the charts in the year the album is named after and the following one. In fact, the album which kept it from attaining number one in the US was Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album. So it begs the question, why was this metal album so successful?

First, let’s go over some of the history in the making of this album. While recording it, David Coverdale was struck down with an illness which required hospitalization and later surgery. There was even doubts that he would ever be able to sing again. Thank the metal gods that this wasn’t the case. Now for the soap opera bit. Depending on who’s side you believe, David and guitarist John Sykes would part company while the album was recorded. From what I read on Wikipedia, (not the most reliable of sources), David accused John of trying to replace him and John was growing impatient at David’s seeming lack of motivation to get back in the studio. While this explains why the touring lineup is different from the recording one, it can be said that the album was born out of adversity.

Drawing my own conclusion as to why “1987” was so successful, I put it down that it was the combination of commercially viable songs and hard rockers, which ticked all the boxes. Most people know the hits from the album, “Still of the Night,” “Is This Love,” “Give Me All Your Love” and “Here I Go Again,” the latter re-recorded before released as a single. Note: after years of hearing the single version and then hearing the original version from the album again after many years, I prefer the original. These are good power ballads as was the rerecorded “Crying in the Rain,” which helped Whitesnake finally achieve commercial success in the US.

The other element behind the album’s success is that in spite of the top 40 singles, the other tracks proved that Whitesnake hadn’t forgotten how to rock out. First let me correct a misleading statement in the above paragraph. The first and last singles, “Still of the Night,” and “Give Me All Your Loving” were definitely not power ballads. Both are full steam ahead rockers with some great guitar riffs from Sykes. They lead the charge as the next track is also a serious rocker. In fact, the second track, “Bad Boys,” gets my vote for hidden gem. John shreds even better on “Straight for the Heart.”

John Sykes

What I sometimes find frustrating about albums which are reissued so many times is which version should I write about. In this case, since I had already established myself in the UK at the time, I will go with the European issue. The US issue omits two tracks, “Looking for Love” and “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again,” which is a shame because America missed out on two good songs. The former, another power ballad which works and the latter, a definite straight up rocker. The strategic placing of both ballads and rockers go along way to cement the reason why this album was such a success.

Track Listing (European Release):

  1. Still of the Night
  2. Bad Boys
  3. Give Me All Your Loving
  4. Looking for Love
  5. Crying in the Rain
  6. Is This Love
  7. Straight From the Heart
  8. Don’t Turn Away
  9. Children of the Night
  10. Here I Go Again
  11. You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again

Recording Line up:

David Coverdale- vocals

John Sykes- guitar

Neil Murray- bass

Aynsley Dunbar- drums

Don Airey- keyboards

Bill Cuomo- keyboards

Note: other musicians, including some from the touring lineup, were brought in on some of the re-recordings.

Whitesnake- 1987 tour lineup

David Coverdale- vocals

Vivian Campbell- guitar

Adrian Vandenberg- guitar

Rudy Sarzo- bass

Tommy Aldridge- drums

Shortly after the album soared up the charts, someone wrote to Kerrang stating that Whitesnake’s next album would be called “1991” as that was when it would come out, (history proved that person wrong), and the recording lineup would have Gene Simmons on bass and Lars Ulrich on drums. I can’t remember who the guitarists were going to be. However, the touring lineup would have Eddie Van Halen and Mick Mars on guitar, Jimmy Bain on bass and Charlie Benante on drums. That was the state of the band in 1987. While there might have been some truth to that, one can’t fault how super colossal of an album “1987” turned out to be.

Next post: Tigertailz- Young and Crazy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@80smetalman

To get Bruce Dickinson a knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Tony MacAlpine- Maximum Security

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

Back in 1987, it was very easy for people to accuse guitarists who made instrumental albums of trying to copy Yngwie Malmsteen. True, there are some similarities to Yngwie when I listen to Tony MacAlpine’s second album, “Maximum Security,” but I must severely stress, SOME. Track 2, “Hundreds of Thousands,” sounds like it came straight from Yngwie. And while there are more moments which may sound similar to the Swede, Tony is definitely not a Yngwie clone.

Starting with the obvious, there’s the fact that there are no vocals on the album, it’s pure instrumental. That’s the next point, Tony adds an extra dimension to his work by playing keyboards on it as well and it comes through straight away on the album’s opening track. Where his keyboard skills really shine is on the track, “Etude #4 Opus #10,” written by Chopin. You get two minutes of some fine keyboard work, thus showing Tony’s versatility.

Of course, Tony doesn’t have Yngwie’s ego, thank God. Tony has two guitarists come along and jam with him on three tracks. George Lynch of Dokken fame trades solos with him on two tracks, “Tears of Sahara” and “The Vision.” The other contributor is none other than Jeff Watson from some band called Night Ranger. You might have heard of them. Jeff plays on “”The King’s Cup” and does a super job too. This paring makes this track the best one on the album. Of course, what sticks in my weird mind the most on that particular track is that it opens with a drum roll similar to the Kreator classic, “Pleasure to Kill.” Both of these guitar wizards add an extra layer of guitar goodness for Tony.

The tracks where Mr. MacAlpine is at his fingerboard smoking best on his own, are “Key to the City” and “The Time and the Test.” It’s difficult for me to put it down in words but he just totally shreds those two tracks. Obviously, he shreds well on the others as well, “Sacred Wonder” especially. To sum it up, you get more than just an album with a guitarist playing all the way through it, you have some fine compositions here.

Track Listing:

  1. Autumn Lords
  2. Hundreds of Thousands
  3. Tears of Sahara
  4. Key to the City
  5. The Time and the Test
  6. The King’s Cup
  7. Sacred Wonder
  8. Etude #4 Opus #10
  9. The Vision
  10. Dreamstate
  11. Porcelain Doll
Tony MacAlpine

Tony MacAlpine- guitar, keyboards, bass

George Lynch- additional guitar solos (tracks 3 and 9)

Jeff Watson- additional guitar solos (track 6)

Deen Castronovo- drums (tracks 1-3, 5 and 6)

Atma Anur- drums (tracks 4, 7 and 9-11)

Not that I care about such things, “Maximum Security” was Tony’s only album to break into the charts. I am not surprised because he shows he is such a talented musician all around. It makes it more of a shame that he seemed to almost vanish after.

Next post: Motley Crue- Girls, Girls, Girls

About four years ago, I wrote a post calling for Bruce Dickinson to receive a knighthood. What I should have been doing is posting the link with every post since. I have seen the error of my ways so with every post from now until Bruce receives his gong, I will post the link to my petition here. I hope all of you, especially my British followers, will sign it.

https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

Another petition I have started and this is not metal related is that I am petitioning the NFL to have next year’s Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers game played in London. I hope you will sign that one too.

https://www.change.org/p/nfl-2022-steelers-eagles-game-to-be-played-in-london

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Envy- Ain’t It a Sin

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2022 by 80smetalman

Before I launch into the album, I thought I’d share another photo of my metalhead granddaughter Juliana.

Ain’t she cute?

Once again, I have to thank my sister for sending me a track on a cassette from a band which would have totally passed me by in 1987. In fact, this post reminds me of two things which was wrong with music back in the 1980s and the first one is probably true today. My last post was about the phenomenal “Hysteria” album from Def Leppard, which received accolades worldwide. Like the album or not, it was a huge success. However, for every Def Leppard there must be at least 100 bands like Envy, who in 1987, had an album just as good but didn’t get the commercial break. This is why I feel it’s even more important to post about their only album, “Ain’t It a Sin.”

The only track from the album that made my sister’s tape was the opening title cut and it’s good. After all, it has stuck in my memory for more than thirty years. However and this is no criticism of my sister, there are better tracks on the album. If there was any track which screams, commercial single, it’s the second one, “I Believe in You.” It has that catchy melody after opening with a keyboard intro that lures you into thinking it’s going to be a ballad but the guitars kick in right after obliterating any such thoughts. If I had seen Envy live, I would have been at the front banging my head and flashing the horns along to it. Oops, it was the 80s, so at the song’s conclusion, I would have held my cigarette lighter aloft. This is the track of the album.

Right after, things get serious with the much harder song, “Heartache.” That sets the tone for practically the remainder of the album as the next few tracks really rock, which brings me to the other thing wrong with music and particularly metal back in the day. Envy is led by the sister combo of Rhonni and Gina Stile. Rhonni handles the vocal duties and does a brilliant job. However, it is Gina on guitar that really steals the show on the album and that was the black eye for heavy metal back then. With the exception of Lita Ford, female shredders were overlooked. Even Kelly Johnson of Girlschool fame didn’t get the recognition she deserved. This was a damn shame because Gina Stile can totally shred and does so on each and every song. Some of her best efforts are on “Lie Here Waiting.” Even her rhythm guitar riffs are exceptional as highlighted on the track, “Wait On You.” She shreds on that track as well.

Gina Stile

I keep asking myself, why didn’t “Ain’t It a Sin” make a bigger impact and Envy become a household name in the metal world? This is the big question, especially since the album was produced by none other than Dee Snider, yes, that Dee Snider. One clue could lie in the record label. The name ATCO rings a bell but I never heard of ATCO/Wounded Bird Records. So maybe the band wasn’t marketed properly or simply it could be down to the fact of an over saturated metal market. In either case, it’s a shame because this is one hell of a fine album.

Another great thing about this album is that it doesn’t tail off at the end. The finish is just as strong as the start. One track which could have been a second single is “I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll).” This has a catchy vibe that would have been good for commercial radio but not losing it’s hard rock edge. Once again, Gina shreds magnificently.

Yet another plus is that unlike on many albums, the penultimate track isn’t the least strongest track. In fact, it’s hard to discern which track should get that dishonour because the tracks are that good! “I’m Not Your Lover” is a brilliant track and though they shine on every track, the rhythm section is brilliant here. And the closer, “Hurt Me,” might start out like it’s going to be a ballad but it changes into a rocker, though I do like the acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Track Listing:

  1. Ain’t It a Sin
  2. I Believe in You
  3. Heartache
  4. Lie in Waiting
  5. Wait On You
  6. You’re So Hot
  7. All the Reasons
  8. I See the Light (Let Me Rock and Roll)
  9. I’m Not Your Lover
  10. Hurt Me
Envy

Rhonni Stile- lead vocals

Gina Stile- guitar, backing vocals

Bill Spencer- bass

Danny Kapps- drums

Additional Musicians

Alan St. John- keyboards

Arthur Stead- keyboards

Taylor Dane- backing vocals

I put the title track in for Dawn. May I ask a favour of all of you out there? Could you all go on Youtube and have a listen to the great, forgotten album which is “Ain’t It a Sin” by Envy? I am sure you’ll like it and even if you don’t feel free to comment either way. However, I am confident you will because the big sin is the fact that the album didn’t make the headway it should have.

Next post: Testament- The Legacy

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lee Aaron

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2021 by 80smetalman

When I learned that Lee Aaron had come out with a new album in 1987, I awaited it with full optimism. It was my sister who broke the news when she sent me a couple of tracks from her self-titled album. She lamented, “Lee, Lee, what are you dong?” She went onto say that Lee had ‘wimped out’ and added keyboards to her music. When I heard the two tracks on the tape, the first two, “Powerline” and “Hands Are Tied,” I had to agree with Dawn. The keyboards were a little too much for this metalhead back in 1987.

But what about now? And is the album that bad? The answer to the first question is the way the keys were used on the album makes it sound a bit dated. As to the second question, the album is not that bad. While there are keyboards all over the album, there are still rocking moments on it. In fact, what saves the album for me is the guitar work of the very underrated guitarist, John Albani. With his guitar hooks and cool solos, none of the songs suck.

Lee with John Albani

It is true with the opening track, I agreed with my sister but the second track sounded much better and gave me hope for the rest of the album. Coming after, “Only Human” has a strong bass line and a very interesting choir sounding chorus. Lee’s vocals are especially good on this track, not that I expected any less. She was a good a singer as anyone and even today, could sing Kylie Minogue under the table. The next few tracks remind me of her previous album, “Call of the Wild,” which is not a bad thing. You get Lee’s amazing voice leading the way backed up with more great guitar work from John. The keyboards are there but not dominating and because for some reason, I am now able to tune into the bass line more on albums and Chris Brockaway does a superb job on this one.

The track “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is a bit of a paradox for me. It sounds rather 80s synth pop but there is something about it that makes me like it. Then we come to one of the hardest rock songs on the album, “Goin’ Off the Deep End.” This is the track that has me headbanging away to it, even with the keyboard fills. John’s guitar hooks and subsequent solo make this song the rocker that it is. Continuing the one-two-three punch comes the power ballad, “If This is Love.” I never had any doubt that Lee couldn’t deliver a great ballad and this is one if I had had the fortune to have seen her live, the cigarette lighter would have be held high in the air. The final blow is struck with what I think is the hardest song on the album, “Eye for an Eye.” If it wasn’t for the keyboards on the chorus, it would have taken me back to the great album which is “Metal Queen.” Some good guitar riffs on this one as well as the harmony vocals on the choruses.

“Heartbeat of the World” is a great rocking song as well and John plays his best solos on this track, maybe I was a bit premature in picking my favourite track as this one is just as good as “Eye for an Eye.” On the other hand, “Dream With Me” could only be the closer and it’s an all right one. It would feel out of place anywhere else on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Powerline
  2. Hands Are Tied
  3. Only Human
  4. Empty Heart
  5. Number One
  6. Don’t Rain on My Parade
  7. Goin’ Off the Deep End
  8. If This is Love
  9. Eye for An Eye
  10. Heartbeat of the World
  11. Dream With Me
Lee Aaron

Lee Aaron- vocals

John Albani- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Geicer- keyboards, backing vocals

Chris Brockaway- bass, backing vocals

Randy Cooke- drums, percussion

David Roberts- backing vocals, (tracks 3 and 5)

I ask myself, have I been too hard on Lee for this album? After all, her vocals are as good as ever. My theory is that her record label was so focused on commercial success that they softened her sound a little too much. This album is pretty good but it didn’t make me want to stop listening to “Metal Queen” back then and it doesn’t now.

Next post: Merry Christmas

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Montrose- Mean

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2021 by 80smetalman

There is a problem when a band doesn’t put out an album for eleven years, people tend to forget about them. That seemed to be the case with Montrose. Back in the early 1970s, they had a few good albums but their last album before this 1987 album, “Mean,” was in 1976. As for me, I didn’t hear of Montrose until the early 1980s and only because a Marine buddy was into them. Later on, when Sammy Hagar achieved widespread acclaim in the rock world, I discovered that he was in the band in the early 1970s. However, with Sammy’s solo success and then joining Van Halen, I, like so many others, assumed that Montrose had become extinct. Therefore, the “Mean” album came as a pleasant surprise.

It has been said that “Mean” is more in the glam metal fashion and different from the Montrose of the early to mid 1970s. While that’s probably true, I’ll have to listen to a Montrose album or two for confirmation, all I know is that when listening to “Mean,” I very much like what I hear. One thing Ronnie Montrose hadn’t forgotten to do was wail on a guitar. He does it very well throughout the album. Furthermore, the rest of the band are able to keep up with him.

“Mean” starts off with the best track on the album, “Don’t Damage the Rock.” This is a high energy rocker and Ronnie dominates with his guitar. But Johnny Edwards turns in a great vocal performance as well. Fortunately, even though the opener is my favourite track, the rest of the album doesn’t deteriorate after it. Linking past with present, when I hear “Pass It On,” I can easily imagine Sammy singing on the tune as it fits his style. However, Edwards is his own singer so while the song reeks of Sammy, Johnny delivers a sound vocal performance and Ronnie’s guitar adds flavour to it as well.

While I wouldn’t call it a Ronnie solo album, he is the principal component to the album. His guitar stamps it’s authority with its acoustic intro on “Hard Headed Woman” and some great guitar work on “M for Machine” and “Ready, Willing and Able.” But what I found interesting about the album is that it comes out smoking on the first three songs, levels off a bit on the middle three songs and goes out on a big high on the final three songs. “Man of the Hour” is a great rocking song, which any 80s heavy metal band would have been proud to have recorded. A cool guitar riff heralds in “Flesh and Blood.” This song could out-Kiss KISS. It sounds exactly like what KISS would have done back in the 1970s, except Ronnie plays a blinder of a guitar solo. Maybe they should have taken note here instead of chasing trends. “Stand” is an excellent closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Damage the Rock
  2. Game of Love
  3. Pass It On
  4. Hard Headed Woman
  5. M is for Machine
  6. Ready, Willing and Able
  7. Man of the Hour
  8. Flesh and Blood
  9. Stand
Ronnie Montrose

Ronnie Montrose- guitars

Johnny Edwards- vocals

Glenn Letsch- bass

James Kottack- drums

Note: The only photos of Montrose I could find on the net are back when Sammy was in the band.

“Mean” would be the only album put out by this line up. The other members would go onto to other bands and create history there while Ronnie would attempt a solo career. This begs the question: If the band had stuck around, could they have gone onto the achieve greatness? This album suggested that they could have.

Next post: Frehley’s Comet

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Chastain- Ruler of the Wastelands

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2020 by 80smetalman

Here’s a perfect reason why I should have bought the album. My experience of Chastain, actually it was guitarist David Chastain, was through the two songs which appeared on the compilation tape the Metal Sisters sent me. Those songs were “No Man’s Land” and a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown.” Both songs were superbly played and for years I simply assumed they were on Chastain’s 1986 album, “Ruler Wasteland.” Unfortunately, they are not. I have tried to find the album these songs appear on but my search has been fruitless. Therefore, I thought the only thing left to do was to listen the album through Youtube and post about it. This turned out to be a wise decision.

In 1986, guitarists who wanted to emulate one Yngwie J. Malmesteen seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Reflecting back, I think Vinnie Vincent was trying to be such and so was David Chastain. While he is backed up by a very good band, especially lead singer, Leather Leone, “Ruler of the Wasteland” leaves no doubt that its objective was to showcase the guitar skills of David T. Chastain. Something the album does very well here from beginning to end as David solos his way through.

David T. Chastain

It’s not just David’s guitar skills that should be noted here as there are some very well crafted tracks on the album. “One Day to Live” has Leather’s best vocal performance, although she’s quite good on the other tracks. One song where it all comes together and highlights the album and shows the talents of the individual members is “Fighting to Stay Alive.” This song proves that David is a capable song writer as well as a great guitarist. Yes, he does hammer out a cool guitar solo on the track but the vocals are good as is the rhythm section. While all of those things are present on every track, it’s done the best on this one.

One very pleasant and eye opening surprise is “Angel of Mercy.” I have heard this song before, covered by Axel Rudi Pell, who does a great job on it. However, the original version here on the album is simply mind blowing and now I am in a quandary as to which song is better between “Angels of Mercy” and “Fighting to Stay Alive.” While the former is straight ahead full blown metal, Angels has a more blues feel to it and it too has all the band pulling together to make it great. I guess I’ll call it a tie.

The fastest song on the album is “There Will be Justice.” Imagine Yngwie playing a guitar solo on a speed metal song and you’ll get the picture of what I’m trying to say. Then right after, you get a progressive metal sounding fantasy track with “The Battle of Nevermore.” Every time I hear this track, I like it more. Therefore, maybe I should stop listening to it as I will have great difficulty in choosing which songs to feature. Then again, isn’t that a trait of a very good album?

Track Listing:

  1. Ruler of the Wasteland
  2. One Day to Live
  3. The King Has the Power
  4. Fighting to Stay Alive
  5. Angel of Mercy
  6. There Will be Justice
  7. The Battle of Nevermore
  8. Living in a Dreamworld
  9. Children of Eden
Chastain

David T. Chastain- guitar

Leather Leone- vocals

Mike Skimmerhorn- bass

Ken Mary- drums

Moral of the story: Get the album! I didn’t and for years I have missed out on the fine album which is “Ruler of the Wasteland.” As for the songs I have mentioned, I have plans for them in a future post.

Next post: Merry Christmas

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2020 by 80smetalman

Alice Cooper was making his big comeback with his “The Nightmare Returns” tour in 1986. Supporting him was a band whose guitarist had a stint with the legends, KISS. No prizes here, the man was Vinnie Vincent and his band was called Vinnie Vincent Invasion who were making their debut with this self titled album.

Vinnie Vincent

Here’s where some might question my sanity but I have always liked this album. I know of some who don’t. Admittedly, it’s not quite up there with some of the more classic album which came out in that year but it’s still a good album in its own right. My introduction to it came when I was in London where a local heavy metal club played the first two tracks quite a bit. The guitar riffs on “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” blew me away at the time, actually, they’re still quite good. Although now, with a more informed ear, I suspect that Vinnie was trying to copy some of the other guitar greats around at the time like Malmsteen.

It’s probably because the first two tracks introduced me to the album is why I consider them the two best tracks on it. “Shoot U Full of Love,” with the innuendo in the title is a straight up metal song and Vinnie does lay down a cool solo on that one. On the other hand, the attempt at a power ballad in “No Substitute” fails to connect with me but that shortfall is compensated by the next track, “Animal.” This is a good power rocker, though I think that Vinnie overdoes it a little with the Yngwie type shredding.

If they had cut out the silly harmonizing at the beginning of “Twisted,” the song would have stood on it’s own. The song drifts towards the territory of speed metal here and I’m impressed with the backing vocals here. Even Vinnie’s guitar solo sounds more like a speed metal solo. Then it’s on to “Do You Wanna Make Love,” which has a strong resemblance to a song from Vinnie’s former band. If you close your eyes and listen to the first few notes of this one, you might think it’s “Lick It Up.” I will go out on a limb and say that Vinnie’s guitar solo is better on this one.

“Invasion” takes an interesting turn on “Back on the Streets.” It goes for a more blues feel and credit where due, I think the band pulls it off. It was the second single from the album but since “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” is the best known track, “Back on the Streets” is my pick for hidden gem. Then, they go back to more traditional metal with “I Wanna Be Your Victim.”

Here’s where I go controversial. I think the album would have been great with nine tracks. Nothing wrong with “Baby-O” but it’s more filler than thriller. As for the closer, “Invasion,” it fulfills it’s role as closer very well as it would sound out of place anywhere else on the album. However, that annoying three minute loop at the end does my head in. I’m glad I heard this album on cassette as it doesn’t end on vinyl until you pick the needle up.

Track Listing:

  1. Boyz Are Gonna Rock
  2. Shoot U Full of Love
  3. No Substitute
  4. Animal
  5. Twisted
  6. Do You Wanna Make Love
  7. Back On the Streets
  8. I Wanna be Your Victim
  9. Baby- O
  10. Invasion
Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Vinnie Vincent- guitar, vocals

Robert Fleishman- vocals

Dana Strum- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Rock- drums

Note: Mark Slaughter appears as singer in the video for “Boyz Are Gonna Rock.”

Vinnie Vincent proved that he could survive without KISS, even if he did look more like a lady. There will be a future post on those lines. Anyway, I think this was a good album for 1986, although some might not agree. In any case, I’m sad that I missed Vinnie with Alice. That must have been a wild show.

Next post: Torme- Back to Babylon

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com