Archive for Moody Blues

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

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Great Rock Albums of 1981: Moody Blues- Long Distance Voyager

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by 80smetalman


First, I’d like to thank all of those who voted in my poll for helping choose the subject for my next book. All feedback was very much appreciated but the result wasn’t even close. Almost unanimously, idea 3, the vigilante network was chosen hands down by readers here, on my Peaceful Rampage blog and on Facebook. So, that’s what my next novel will be about.

Now onto the next album of 1981 and another story from my past. This won’t be a military story although I was serving then. This was a case of “It always happened when I was there” type of thing.” It’s like the case when I visited the Styx “Cornerstone” album where every time I went through the back gate of the base, the bar across the road always had “Babe” blasting out of its juke box. In this scenario, every time I was on leave or a weekend, 72 hour or 96 hour pass, I would meet my friends at a bar called Bob and Dan’s. It’s not there anymore but it did serve some really tasty fried mushrooms. It seems that for a good chunk of the year, every time I was in there, it would play “Gemini Dream” by the Moody Blues. It was one of those songs that rapidly grew on me and it provided a good back ground atmosphere inside the bar.

Saying that, the entire 1981 Moody Blues album “Long Distance Voyager” provides a good listening atmosphere whether you’re sitting in a bar, driving or just chilling at home. The album straddles the gap between 1970s concept progressive rock and the more sythnesiser sound more in line with the 80s. I hear both of these in the album. The two singles, “Talking Out of Turn” and the one from Bob and Dan’s deliver the more 80s sound while “In My World” is the more 70s. The combinations work throughout the album very well giving us an good solid progressive album and I do like the closer, “Veteran Cosmic Rocker.”

Track Listing:

1. The Voice

2. Talking Out of Turn

3.  Gemini Dream

4. In My World

5. Meanwhile

6. 22,000 Days

7. Nervous

8. Painted Smile

9. Reflective Smile

10. Veteran Cosmic Rocker

The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward- guitars, vocals

John Lodge- bass, vocals

Ray Thomas- vocals, flutes, harmonicas

Graeme Edge- drums

Patrick Moraz- keyboards

I have the CD to Justin Hayward’s “War of the Worlds” so it’s good to see that he is still on the go  and making enjoyable music. He has been doing so for many years now both with the Moody Blues and solo. “Long Distance Voyager” adds another note to his credit.

Next post: Greg Kihn Band- Rockhinroll

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London