Archive for London

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Bonfire- Fireworks

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Illness, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2022 by 80smetalman

I nearly forgot, blame old age, that I begin any given year with albums which came out the previous year but didn’t come to my attention until the year I’m posting on. One of these was the second album by German metal band, Bonfire and my discovery of them came in a rather amusing way. My friends’ band, Torque Show was playing their first gig at London’s famous club, The Marquee. They were the opening band for, you’ve already guessed it, Bonfire.

Torque Show

The photo above is misleading, only two members of the band were left by the time Torque Show played the Marquee and they were on their second drummer. Anyway, they played well as an opening band and paved the way for Bonfire who impressed me as well. At least to the point that I gave their second album “Fireworks,” a go. It was a good night.

The best way to describe “Fireworks” is a straight forward glam metal album. The album does nothing I would call groundbreaking but it is consistent all the way through. For me, it doesn’t really fully kick into gear until the third track, “Sleeping All Alone.” There’s nothing wrong with the first two tracks, they both provide a good listen but it’s this particular track that turned my head. It could be the cool guitar solos from Hans Ziller which do it. That level is maintained with the following track, “Champion.” It’s a good straight ahead metal tune, one which would be radio friendly and the rhythm section, including the rhythm guitar, lay down a good foundation for the song.

Bonfire gets down and dirty with “Don’t Get Me Wrong” as this is a sleazy sounding, guitar crunching number. This is one to pump your fist in the air and flash the horns to. I can’t remember which songs they played that night so I can say if I did or not. I know I did stage dive. However, things dip a little after as “Sweet Obsession” doesn’t quite measure up to the previous three tracks. It has a good bassline though. The same can be said for “Rock Me Now.” Its intro sounds similar to the Great White classic, “Rock Me,” but then picks up speed but in spite of the increased speed, it lacks a little punch.

Fortunately, my pick for track of the album comes in and the last two tracks become distant memories. “American Nights” comes in with some cool drumming and definitely has some swagger. Lead singer, Claus Lessman, who sings well on all tracks, gives it a bit more oomph with the vocals and the rest of the band respond accordingly. Cool guitar riffs and lead guitar hooks bring in “Fantasy.” The changes in tempo keep it interesting, One minute it sounds like a ballad but then goes total metal the next with some great guitar work.

Penultimate track, “Give It a Try,” is a decent power ballad and you can feel the passion in Claus’s vocals and some good power ballad soloing from Hans. Listening to it and then to the actual closer, “Cold Days,” I think that these two songs should have been switched around. “Cold Days” would have been a better penultimate track and the passion behind “Give It a Try” would be better for a closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Ready 4 Action
  2. Never Mind
  3. Sleeping Alone
  4. Champion
  5. Don’t Get Me Wrong
  6. Sweet Obsession
  7. Rock Me Now
  8. American Nights
  9. Fantasy
  10. Give It a Try
  11. Cold Days
Alternative Cover

Claus Lessman- lead and backing vocals

Hans Ziller- lead and acoustic guitars, backing vocals

Horst Maier- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jorg Deisinger- bass, backing vocals

Additional Musicians

Ken Mary- drums

Martin Ernst- keyboards

Maybe I should thank Torque Show, for opening for a great band. Torque Show broke up a couple of years later but Bonfire still burns on. With albums like “Fireworks,” it’s plain to see why.

Next post: Cheap Trick- Lap of Luxury

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

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

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Tigertailz- Young and Crazy

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2022 by 80smetalman

Making their way around the British metal scene in 1987 was Welsh glam metal band Tigertailz. While I never got the chance to see them live, I do know they played great London rock clubs such as The Marquee and the Royal Standard. Looking at this album cover, your initial reaction is probably similar to mine back then, they could rival Poison in the ‘rock dudes who look like chicks’ sweepstakes.

The funny thing is that their debut album, “Young and Crazy,” is similar to the Poison sound. I do hear the similarities between the two bands. However, I also note a KISS influence in some of their songs, the opener, “Star Crazy” and “Shameless.” Paul or Gene would both be comfortable singing either of those songs.

There is no doubt in my mind that Tigertailz were a competent band and there are some really good songs on it. The standout song for me is definitely “Livin’ Without You.” Crunching guitars and a pumping bass dominate the song but without losing any of the catchy melody. It is probably Steevi Jaimz best vocal effort and the crunching rhythm in the middle stamps its authority. Additional, there is a great drumroll from Ace Finchum and Jay Pepper lays down his best guitar solo. Definitely, my choice for best song.

The other thing is that because they look and sound similar to Poison, I want to compare and contrast them with Poison. What would be cool if Brett Michaels came and sang for Tigertailz as he is better than Steevi Jaimz while Jay Pepper is a better guitarist than CC DeVille. Just my opinion and of course, you are all free to offer yours. The teacher in me always welcomes debate.

Oh, another thing about the track, “Shameless,” is that while KISS influenced, in the middle of the song, Steevi does a David Lee Roth style spoken part. Is it as good as Dave? Well, not many singers can talk their way through songs like DLR but I will give Steevi and ‘A’ for effort. Where Tigertailz go original is the track, “City Kidz.” There is a blues like swagger to this song and a real cool rhythm guitar riff before a cool guitar solo. Okay, it gets the number two spot in the best song on the album category.

“Shoot to Kill” isn’t a bad track but it’s more filler with all the cliche heavy metal elements to it. On the other hand, “Turn Me On” is definitely the song for the rhythm section. It begins with Jaimz saying, “Come on Ace” and Ace responds with a cool drum fill. His drums take command but there is a good bass solo from Pepsi Tate in the middle. Less fortunately, it’s sandwiched between the two filler tracks. The former already mentioned track and “She’z Too Hot” has the same heavy metal cliches. Still, it’s not that bad. The title track is a more lively penultimate track where Jay is once again let off the leash on the six string. However, the album ends with a decent power ballad in the form of “Fall in Love Again.” At first it seems out of place but that thought is quickly erased and guitar and bass make it okay.

Track Listing:

  1. Star Attraction
  2. Hollywood Killer
  3. Ballerina (Instrumental)
  4. Livin’ Without You
  5. Shameless
  6. City Kidz
  7. Shoot to Kill
  8. Turn Me On
  9. She’z Too Hot
  10. Young and Crazy
  11. Fall in Love Again
Tigertailz

Steevi Jaimz- vocals

Jay Pepper- guitar

Pepsi Tate- bass

Ace Finchum- drums

In respect to what I said about the Brett vs Steevi aspect. Steevi isn’t a bad singer but he wasn’t that good. It’s probably why Tigertailz got a new singer after this album. There is even a re-recorded version of my favourite track sung by the new singer. Anyway, this is a good effort from a band looking to make it. If the production had been better, then I think it would have been phenomenal.

Next post: Anvil- Strength of Steel

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

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

London’s Aladdin’s Cave of Heavy Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2021 by 80smetalman

Now that I am back from my weekend of playing Santa Clause to my step-grandchildren in Cleethorpes, I can return to posting about the golden age of heavy metal. However, this post isn’t for an album or event which happened in 1987. Instead it’s about a record store in London called Shade’s. A few years back, fellow blogger Every Record Tells a Story wrote a post about the store and now that it has been several years, I thought I’d put my own spin on it.

The best way I can describe Shade’s is using the words I used in “Rock and Roll Children,” an Aladdin’s cave of heavy metal. Although in the book, I changed the name to “Snakes” so I wouldn’t infringe any laws. It was down an narrow lane, so you had to actually be looking for it in order to find it and once inside the door, the staircase leading down to the main room added to the cave effect. Actually, I think I described it better here than I did when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Inside Shade’s

Shade’s had everything a metalhead could possibly hope for. Records, tapes, t-shirts and all other types of metal paraphernalia was on sale. I thought it particularly cool when I say a t-shirt of Kreator’s “Pleasure to Kill” album cover. However, I procrastinated and when I tried to buy it a few months later, it was no longer available. The attitude of the sales attendant when I inquired confirmed the belief that Londoners didn’t do customer service very well. They also sold concert tickets as it was there that I bought my ticket to see Possessed, Voi Vod and the English Dogs. Furthermore, while they had the classics, they also seemed to get the albums from the US when they first came out. That’s how I learned of new releases from the likes of KISS, Whitesnake, Billy Squier and the Killer Dwarfs. My one regret is that I wasn’t able to attend when Poison showed up for an autograph signing.

Unfortunately, Shade’s is no more. I heard it had become an internet cafe but I can’t be sure. I also wonder if they had been around in 2010, if they would have sold copies of “Rock And Roll Children.” I hope they would have. Still, I have fond memories of this great store.

Next post: Lee Aaron

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

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Blackfoot- Highway Song, Live in London

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2015 by 80smetalman

blackfootlive

What is the most logical thing to do after your band has put out three very good studio albums? Well, in the case of Blackfoot, the answer is to put out one hell of a live album. That is exactly what they did in 1982 with the album recorded live in London. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I happened to visit London in the summer of 1983, this album would have past me by because I never saw it on sale at any of the record shops in New Jersey and that, to me, would have been a damn shame.

220px-Blackfoot_-_Strikes

220px-Tomcattin'

220px-Blackfootmarauder

Why is this live album so good? The answer is pretty obvious to any Blackfoot fan. At this particular concert, they played some of their finest material off their previous three albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.” If I were to have produced the album, I would have done little different except ask the band to play “I Got a Line On You” from the “Strikes” album but that’s a personal thing. The album is fine as it stands. Things open with two songs from “Tomcattin,'” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,” which is definitely a great concert opener, especially at the beginning when Rick Medlocke announces “All right London, it’s boogie time!” You get little time to rest after the opener because Medlocke gets the crowd going by saying, “If someone messes with your queenie, you’re gonna mess up their god damn nose!” Then they launch into “Queenie, Every Man Should Know.” If the crowd isn’t fully up by now, then the almost thrash sounding, “Good Morning” definitely gets them there.

“Good Morning” is the first of three songs from the “Marauder” album. The other two songs that follow, “Dry County” and “Fly Away” sound much better live than the versions on the album and there was nothing wrong with those. It’s just the raw energy this concert gives that takes things up several levels. One note, in between “Dry County” and “Fly Away,” Blackfoot play their own version of John Lee Hooker’s “Rolling and Tumbling” and I will say that they put their own unique stamp on that song quite nicely.

The rest of the album/concert is dominated by songs from the “Strikes” album. “Road Fever” for all the Scotland rock and roll maniacs as how Medlocke introduces the song, rolls things along very well. After they play “Trouble in Mind,” Blackfoot take the show up on an enormous high with the two best songs from that album, “Train, Train” and of course “Highway Song” and both are cases of the live version being way above the studio version. This leads me to realise that if Blackfoot can improve on songs from great studio albums when played live, they are definitely a band to be reckoned with.

Track Listing:

1. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

2. Queenie, Every Man Should Know

3. Good Morning

4. Dry County

5. Rolling and Tumbling

6. Fly Away

7. Road Fever

8. Trouble in Mind

9. Train, Train

10. Highway Song

11. Howay the Lads

Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rickey Medlocke- guitar, lead vocals

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Greg T Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums

I think back to that time in 1983 and thank God that I was in London and saw this album in a record store. Otherwise, I would have missed it. Then again, each time I listen to the album, I become pig sick at not having ever seen them live. Trust me, “Highway Song” will make you feel that way.

Next post: Rossington/Collins- This is the Way

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

 

 

My Olympics Closing Ceremony Rant

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2012 by 80smetalman

As you can clearly see there are some photos of the Olympics Closing Ceremony which took place in London last Sunday. ┬áThere are pictures of some of the acts that played there like George Michael and The Spice Girls and here’s a shot of my favourite act on the evening, Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. I thought bringing him into to sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” was pure genius.

But from all of the act that played on the night, can anyone tell me what was desperately missing from the night? Yes, that’s right, the total absence of heavy metal bands. I won’t repeat all the things I wrote about the absence of metal at the Jubilee concert, but you can see a common thread here. In spite of the fact that Britain is the birthplace of heavy metal, it seems that the country as a whole is embarrassed to admit it. Would anyone have been offended if Iron Maiden had played on the night? Or do you agree with me in saying it would have improved things 300%?

I don’t know why the United Kingdom, which has given the world so much, is ashamed of the fact that it gave the world heavy metal. I can’t think that it’s because they were afraid of what the American religious right would have said. Most people in Britain think they’re a total joke. As I said in that last post, Iron Maiden are great ambassadors of heavy metal and Great Britain. Most of the world would have head banged away to them while they blasted one of their many great songs on stage. Maiden not being there only dampens what could have made a great ceremony and made Great Britain even greater.

So, I’ll include them here:

This is how they would have gone down at the Closing Ceremony.

See you all next time.

80smetalman