Archive for KISS

Bloodstock 2016: Friday- Twisted Sister

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

Photo0097[1]

Having stood in virtually the same spot for nearly five hours and having to endure things like crowd surfers and mosh pits opening nearby, I was ready for the main event. It wasn’t all bad. I did get to rock out to Behemoth, Venom and Corrosion of Conformity and Venom did give me a present before they left the stage. Now, as I was waiting for the band I would have moved mountains to see, especially since it was the farewell to the UK gig, I couldn’t wait for Twisted Sister to get on that stage!

A nice gift from Venom, I managed to pick one up off the ground.

A nice gift from Venom, I managed to pick one up off the ground.

Let me cut straight to the chase, Twisted Sister were full of surprises this night. The last two times I saw them, they opened the show with “Come Out and Play” and the two other times before, it was “Stay Hungry.” I’m not sure which song it was the first time I saw them in 1983 but it might have been this one. They opened with the first track from their “Under the Blade” album, “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can’t Hurt You”) and both the crowd and I went nuts. Afterwards, they kept the momentum going with “The Kids are Back” rapidly followed by “Burn in Hell.” It was a great way to start the show.

Any speculation that Twisted Sister’s set was going to be dominated by their most successful album, “Stay Hungry,” evaporated very quickly. They played a good mix from their first four albums and I thought they sounded better than ever. If this was their farewell performance, they were certainly going out on a high, an astronomical high! A few songs in, Dee Snider, probably one of music’s best when talking to the audience, explained about this being Twisted Sister’s farewell show. He did point out the likes of The Scorpions, KISS and Ozzy, all of whom said they were retiring only to return two years later. Dee promised that this was definitely the band’s last tour, the skeptic in me says time will tell. Anyway, they followed his words up with my all time favourite TS song, “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll.”

Continuing on with their domination of Bloodstock with that great mix of songs, (I’ll provide the full playlist further on down the post,) Dee again addressed the crowd in his usual manner. This time he was more serious as he highlighted all the great losses heavy metal has had in the recent years. Starting with the legend, Ronnie James Dio, he then went to point out the band’s on personal loss with AJ Pero, who passed away last year. Here Dee introduced Mike Portnoy and thanked him for stepping into AJ’s place. After which, he told about the two most recent losses, Jimmy Bain and of course Lemmy, thanking Lemmy for his role in getting Twisted Sister noticed. Tributes were payed to all four with the most appropriate Twisted Sister song to do it with, “The Price.”

Metal Twisted Sister style rocked the arena for several more minutes with Eddie Ojeda and Jay Jay French hammering out solos, Mark Mendoza beating another bass to death, Mike Portnoy’s drumming and Dee Snider’s vocals and crowd chat. It all seemed to end too soon and Twisted Sister appeared to close out by playing a great Rolling Stones classic, “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and I loved it.

Of course, they came back for an encore, starting with the song I thought they might have opened with and then went into a great song from the first album, have a guess, the answer’s further down. It was after the second song that all four of the original members each spoke to the crowd thanking them for all their dedication over the years. Starting with Mark and then Eddie, but as usual, I thought it strange he hadn’t said much before, Jay Jay brought up a very good point. Using the example of X-Factor, he says how the winners thank everyone for their support for fifteen weeks. He was totally right when he said that fifteen weeks was nothing when compared to bands like Judas Priest and KISS as well as Twisted Sister who have been going strong for forty years or more! Stick that one Simon Cowell. Always to have the last word, Dee thanked everyone, especially Mike Portnoy and explained that Mike had been personally chosen by AJ to replace him if the need should ever arise. No one would have thought it would have been under the most tragic of circumstances. With that, Twisted Sister brought an end to a great night with the best song possible, “SMF.” When they left, I’m sure the 15,000 or so who saw them felt they got their money’s worth.

Playlist:

My memory sucks so the order may be slightly out

  1. What You Don’t Know (Sure Can’t Hurt You)
  2. The Kids are Back
  3. Burn In Hell
  4. Destroyer
  5. Knife in the Back
  6. You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll
  7. The Fire Still Burns
  8. I Wanna Rock
  9. Under the Blade
  10. The Price
  11. I Believe in Rock and Roll
  12. I Am I’m Me
  13. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  14. It’s Only Rock and Roll

Encore

  1. Come Out and Play
  2. Shoot’ em Down
  3. SMF

Photos from this historic night

Twisted Sister come out and play

Twisted Sister come out and play

Jay Jay and Mark in support while Eddie cranks out a solo

Jay Jay and Mark in support while Eddie cranks out a solo

Dee showing he still got the vocals while Mark beats his bass to death

Dee showing he still got the vocals while Mark beats his bass to death

Jay Jay's turn for a solo

Good lighting as well as music

Jay Jay's turn for a solo

Jay Jay’s turn for a solo

The fire still burns

The fire still burns

TS at the best ever

TS at the best ever

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And here

And here

The grand finale

The grand finale

I am making a promise here which all of you can hold me to. If Twisted Sister change their minds and do come back again, I will not go see them. Not because of any lies but because I believe they couldn’t do any better than what they did on this night. For me they went out on an ultimate high.

Note: My memory isn’t the greatest and though I took notes of the entire weekend, shit for brains here lost the notepad so my memories may be slightly off. If any of you reading this were there, I would love to read about your versions of this piece of history.

Next post: Saturday

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategcipublishingroup.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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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Bryan Adams- Cuts Like a Knife

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2016 by 80smetalman

Bryan_Adams_Cuts_la_Knife

For this one, anyone under the age of 30 has to forget anything they heard from or about Bryan Adams in the 1990s. Yes, I’m in the camp that believes the song “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” is an embarrassment to hard rock and metal, even if it did stay number one in the UK charts for sixteen weeks. Now my ex wife may point out that I liked the song at the time. Well that was because at the time, I thought it was a great poke in the eye at what was in the UK charts at the time. All that massed produced Stock, Aikman and Waterman crap and techno which always seemed to be around at the time. It was great that a rock song could take the number one slot and stay as long as it did. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Let’s forget about the 90s as it’s the 80s I’m here to talk about. Back in 1983, Bryan Adams was a fresh faced kid who put out a decent album with some good songs on it. I think the best way to describe the album “Cuts Like a Knife” is to use the term ‘innocent.’ There is no attempt to go in any commercial or non-commercial direction with it. I like the think that Bryan was just out to make a record here and what happens, well it happens.

There are several ballads/power ballads on “Cuts Like a Knife.” In fact, it was the title cut I first heard on radio from him. It’s not a bad song but it doesn’t quite measure up to the bar for power ballads set by Bryan’s countrymen two years earlier. However, I do like the guitar solo in it. “Straight From the Heart” is another one as is “I’m Ready” but he’s honest about them. Some rock/metal artists put out ballads but downplay them. There are some decent rockers on here too. “This Time” reeks of commercial, single material but it’s okay. “Take Me Back,” “What’s It Gonna Be” and “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” are better ones and my pick for favourite tracks. Well, Eric Carr from KISS fame did co write “Don’t Leave Me Lonely.”

Track Listing:

  1. The Only One
  2. Take Me Back
  3. This Time
  4. Straight From the Heart
  5. Cuts Like a Knife
  6. I’m Ready
  7. What’s It Gonna Be
  8. Don’t Leave Me Lonely
  9. Let Him Know
  10. The Best Was Yet To Come
Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams- lead vocals, guitar, piano on “Straight From the Heart”

Mickey Curry- drums

Tommy Mandel- organ, synthesizer, piano

Keith Scott- guitar, backing vocals

Dave Taylor- bass, backing vocals

In the South Park Movie, there is a line about the Canadian government apologising for Bryan Adams. Whoever came up with that must not have heard this album. There is nothing to apologise for with “Cuts Like a Knife.”

Next post: U2- War

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

 

 

 

 

R.IP. Justin Lowe and Other Ancedotes

Posted in 1980s, Death, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2015 by 80smetalman

Justin Lowe – a founding member of the Twin Cities heavy metal band After the Burial – has been found dead, weeks after his former bandmates expressed concern about his mental health.

The New Richmond News reports hikers discovered Lowe’s body Tuesday in Somerset, Wisconsin, beneath a bridge that spans the St. Croix River.

The St. Croix County sheriff’s department’s chief deputy, Scott Knudson, told the newspaper Lowe’s cause of death was consistent with a fall and no foul play is suspected. Knudson says Lowe had been reported missing on Saturday.

Justin Lowe

Justin Lowe

Lowe, 32, announced in a Facebook post last month that he was leaving After the Burial. The metal site Loudwire published Lowe’s lengthy announcement, in which the guitarist asserted there were various conspiracies against him.

The other members of After the Burial responded with a Facebook post of their own, in which they wrote: “Our dear friend, our brother onstage and off, has fallen into a very broken state of mind …. Justin is ill, and right now he needs more than ever to be shown that the world is not against him.”

Condolences and tributes from other metal bands quickly appeared on social media after Lowe’s death was announced Wednesday.

 

On the much more positive side, my last post brought back a few other memories. My old company gunnery sergeant, the one who told us not to make ourselves up to look like KISS, had a brief appearance in the 1982 film “Officer and a Gentleman.” Although google images wasn’t able to give me a picture of him from the film, his fifteen second slot was near the beginning of the film when the new recruits see a more advanced platoon run by and Lou Gossett Jr tells the recruits that they aren’t worthy to look at them. The sergeant was the one singing cadence to that platoon. He was also a technical adviser, teaching Gossett Jr how to call cadence.

On a further positive note, my Bloodstock tickets arrive yesterday and I’m getting pumped. Oh, the above wasn’t the tragedy I was going to post about, that will come next.

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: KISS- Creatures of the Night

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-COTN_album_cover

KISS, in 1982, were very much in danger of slipping into musical obscurity in the same way Aerosmith were at the time. Unlike, Aerosmith, it wasn’t drugs that were causing the slide, it was KISS  themselves. When I visited their album “Unmasked,” I pointed out that they seemed to be abandoning the hard rock sound that made them a household name, for good or ill, back in the 1970s. “Unmasked” was a deliberate lurch to more commercial sounds that was feared to have started when they released a disco tune on the “Dynasty” album and continued onto the 1981 “Music From the Elder” album, although the latter was an improvement on the predecessor. By 1982, people like me were starting to forget them. My biggest memory of them that year was the night before my battalion was starting its combat readiness evaluation. My company gunnery sergeant told us that when we applied the camouflage make up the next day, that we were not to make ourselves up to look like KISS.

Definitely not like KISS

Definitely not like KISS

What KISS needed was to go back to their heavy roots. One night, at my favourite rock bar on Okinawa, a video came on that made personal history. It was for the song “I Love it Loud” and from first strike of the guitar string, it was clear that KISS had gone back to what made them great. “I Love it Loud” is a complete rock out and since that fateful evening, it has been my all time favourite KISS song. I think the band knew that too because it would be another three years before I would finally get to see them live and they played that song for me. Even to this day, hearing that song makes me want to jump out of my seat.

Insert tired cliche here but one song does not make a good album and there are plenty of other great rockers on “Creatures of the Night.” In fact, there it is extremely difficult to pick one that isn’t. Even the power ballad “I Still Love You” rocks and rocks hard. Maybe back then, I should have played that one as opposed to “Beth” in my attempts to woo the ladies. While I can’t fault any track on the album, the ones that really do it most for me, apart from my all time fave, are “Rock and Roll Hell,” the title track,” “Killer,” “Saints and Sinners” and “War Machine” is the perfect closer to this album. It’s also the track for me where Vinnie Vincent comes into his own as a lead guitarist. What I said back then I reiterate now. When I heard “Creatures of the Night,” I concluded that KISS were truly back.

Track Listing:

1. Creatures of the Night

2. Saints and Sinners

3. Keep Me Coming

4. Rock and Roll Hell

5. Danger

6. I Love it Loud

7. I Still Love You

8. Killer

9. War Machine

KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar, vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, vocals

Eric Carr- drums, backing vocals

Ace Frehley- lead guitar

Vinnie Vincent- lead guitar on tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9

Sometime during the recording of “Creatures of the Night,” lead guitarist Ace Frehley would be out and new guitarist Vinnie Vincent would be in. Thus the course of metal history would be changed in the KISS camp. Notice, I said metal here. That is because I believe that this album would be the first KISS album that I would truly call heavy metal.

Next post: A Tragic Loss for 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to Frank Formica- A True Metal Fan

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by 80smetalman

Hi everyone, it’s been awhile and let me just say that I am having a great time here in New Jersey. In the past ten days, I’ve eaten Cap’n Crunch for breakfast nearly every day and I think I’ve consumed enough Yuengling to make up for the eight years I’ve gone without it. Of course there’s the local cusine, I couldn’t go without at least eating one Philly cheese steak. When I return to the UK on Friday, I will be introducing the country, well Gloucestershire anyway, to the game of beer pong. But the best thing about my time in NJ is the chance to meet up with long time no see good friends.

Frank and Me

Frank and Me

The great thing about friends, as far as music goes, is that they are always introducing one another to new music and the latest offerings from artists they have in common. Back in the golden days of heavy metal, the 1980s, my metal friend Frank Formica was always discovering new metal and playing it for the rest of us. Frank  almost singlehandedly introduced me the thrash and enlightened me to the musical offerings of Metallica and Anthrax. On the flip side I introduced him to Kreator and The Killer Dwarfs and together we experienced the Stormtroopers of Death when we saw them live in New York. That concert will live in both our memories as the insaneist one we’ve ever been to and there were many others. Frank was clearly an inspriation behind my love for heavy metal back then.

Frank as Alice Cooper

Frank as Alice Cooper

Nowadays Frank runs a karaoke show called Veteran Cosmic Rocker named after a song from a Moody Blues album I visited earlier this year. In order to get gigs, it’s not total heavy metal although, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if it was. I went to his show last night at a bar called The Riverside, near Mays Landing, NJ. First, I never knew he could sing that well as he belted out a few classic Alice Cooper ditties in line with the Halloween theme. He also sang several Rolling Stones classics like “Sympathy for the Devil” and his girl friend helped get the party started by singing a few more mainstream tunes like the song by Pink which creates a pun here. The biggest surprise, however, was when Frank introduced his friend who had come all the way from England and that he was going to sing some heavy metal. He proceded to sing some Judas Priest, although I can’t for the life of me remember which one, “Detroit Rock City ” by KISS and to end the night on a good note, he sang “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica. I felt very honoured that he sang those songs for me.

Frank in action

Frank in action

After a slow start, the night took off and overall things went pretty well. Since half of the clientelle was made up with members of the Tough Guys MC, there wasn’t going to be a mad rush to the microphone but several ladies made more than one trip up and entertained the crowd. Did I go up to the mike? You must be kidding, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket which is why I have always been more of an appreciator of music rather than a purvyeor.

The Riverside or for non- Americans, a typical American bar

The Riverside or for non- Americans, a typical American bar

Many factors have contributed to making me the metalhead I am today. One of the more major ones was my friend Frank Formica who opened my eyes to all sorts of heavy metal. If it hadn’t been for Frank, I would not have been able to write “Rock and Roll Children” and I suspect those who have read it have already figured out that I based the Frankie character in the story on Frank. I’m sure we all have friends who influenced us musically and for me, there was no one better than Frank.

Next post: Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

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/Metal Albums of 1981: KISS- Music From The Elder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-The_elder_album_cover

Of the four albums I have visited in this rock/metal segment, this 1981 offering from the legendary KISS totally passed me by in the year. I can’t even blame it on being in the marines. The reason this album not only passed me by but many others as well was due to the fact it disappeared almost as soon as it was released. According to history, it was reviled by many fans and although it did receive some positive feedback from the critics, “Music From The Elder” was voted the 44th worst album of all time by Q Magazine and 6th in the category “When great rock bands lost the plot.” Nevertheless, being a fair minded bloke, I thought I would give the album a listen and decide for myself. Still, I would welcome any comments, especially from fellow metal blogger and self confessed KISS-a-holic, Stone from Metal Odyssey fame.

Let me be totally frank, “Music From the Elder” is nowhere near a patch on great KISS albums like “Destroyer,” “Love Gun,” “Alive” or even some of the albums they made following this one like “Creatures of the Night.” However, the album isn’t as terrible as I feared it was going to be. The opener, “The Oath” was an attempt to create the earlier KISS sound at least as far back as “Dynasty” anyway and it is a notable effort on their part. Then came the instrumental “Fanfare” which had me thinking “WTF?” Fortunately, things return to normal, well sort of. I am sure that with “Just a Boy,” that KISS are trying to sound like The Who here and while not a bad song, it doesn’t leave me thinking, “Okay, cool.” Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons manage to rescue things a bit with the tracks “Dark Light,” “Only You” and “Under the Rose” but then comes the ballad “A World Without Heroes” and I am left saying to myself “No” and that if I was listening this back in 1981, I would say, “Leave the ballads to Peter Criss.” “Dr Blackwell” does go a good long way to redeem things and I do like the guitar solo on this song. Then after another instrumental which isn’t too bad, they try to be creative with “Odyssey.” Not sure if it works though. At the end, barring a very short instrumental which perhaps shouldn’t be on there was a pleasant surprise for me. I have heard the the track “I” before. It wasn’t recorded by KISS but covered in 2000 by the band Hair of the Dog on their album “Rise.” For them, “I” was a great closer for a great metal album and there is little comparison to it and the version done by KISS on this album. I think that the song was good enough for Hair of the Dog to record it just like the way it is done here. That song should have been the closer.

hotdrise

I guess I should mention that “Music From the Elder” was the first KISS album to fully feature new drummer Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss when he left the band a year earlier. Most of you probably already knew that.

Track Listing:

1. The Oath

2. Fanfare

3. Just a Boy

4. Dark Light

5. Only You

6. Under the Rose

7. A World Without Heroes

8. Dr Blackwell

9. Escape From the Island

10. Odyssey

11. I

12. Finale

KISS

KISS

Paul Stanley- rhythm guitar,vocals

Gene Simmons- bass, vocals

Ace Frehley- lead guitar, vocals

Eric Carr- drums, percussion, backing vocals

My final verdict here is that if KISS had remained more true to their hard rocking roots, I think “Music From the Elder” would have been a much better album. I have no problem with an album telling a story through its songs, King Diamond”s “Abigail” does that beautifully. It doesn’t mean a band has to go all progressive to do so and that’s where this album falls down. The other thing I can see with the album, with the aid of hindsight, that KISS were beginning to move away from Gene Simmons’ 1980 boast that KISS were four guys equally covering for each other towards simply becoming Paul and Gene’s band.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- The Blizzard of Oz

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proof That The Sun is Anti- Heavy Metal

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2014 by 80smetalman

thesun

This is a supplemental post. Way back in the very early days of 80smetalman’s Blog, I wrote an article asking if the Sun Newspaper, the best selling in the UK is anti- heavy metal. I put forward arguments both ways although most of the evidence pointed to “Anti.” The only response I had thought they were anti- heavy metal as well, thanks Stone. Last Thursday, the paper reported a member of One-Direction caught smoking a joint in the back of the car and the editorial page had this to say about it. I quote verbatim:

“One Direction aren’t KISS or Motley Crue.

They’re role models to a generation of very young, impressionable kids. Smoking a joint in the back of a car isn’t the world’s most serious crime. But if you think that it doesn’t matter at all, read what disillusioned fans and their parents say. Zayn and Louis have a responsibility to their following, it’s the price for immense wealth and fame in a squeaky clean pop group. 

If you want to behave like rock stars lad, then join a heavy metal band.”

True, many a good heavy metal band loves the sex, drugs and rock and roll life style. They’ve earned it. But heavy metal artists aren’t the only ones who engage in such play. George Michael has been caught smoking weed and fresh faced pop acts have done far worse. Still, The Sun chooses to ignore that and single out heavy metal bands. In my view, this paper has always been against heavy metal. I would have expected this if the newspaper was printed in a bible belt state in the US but I have always thought better of Great Britain where there is much more tolerance to the music by the non metal world.

Things like this get me mad but now I have put my feelings here, I am now more relaxed. Furthermore, I am confident that no matter what the metal hating Sun might say, heavy metal will not die. I think I’ll go listen to some Motorhead.