Archive for Neil Schon

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Sammy Hagar- VOA

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by 80smetalman

Sammy Hagar was most definitely a busy boy in 1984. In the early part of the year, he made the one album with HSAS along with Neil Schon from Journey. When I reviewed that album, I wrote a follow up post of what music life would have been like if HSAS had stayed together and released more albums. On the plus side, there would have been a couple more great albums from that quartet and we would have have been spared from Van Hagar, whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to the individual conscience to determine. Furthermore, Neil Schon’s career would have been still going strong because Journey was fading from view by then. On the minus side, had that band remained in tact, we might have not been able to feast upon Sammy’s solo album from later on in 1984, “VOA.”

As a result of the big single from the album, Sammy would be described as the “red haired rocker who couldn’t drive fifty-five.” “I Can’t Drive 55” received constant airplay on radio and MTV, not that I ever complained about that. It is my favourite Sammy song of all time, a great tune about driving really fast. Funny thing was that I have no recollection of anyone calling for the song to be banned because it encouraged people to break speed limits. All I know is that I love that song.

Seven other songs also adorn the “VOA” album and all of them are really good. “Rock is In My Blood” is a good power song where Sammy declares that rock is in his blood and his soul. It also demonstrates that Sammy can play a guitar a little bit as well. Two songs come closest to being a power ballad here. One of them is “Two Sides of Love.” It’s not slow enough in my opinion to be a ballad but it is a song about a failing relationship. The guitars are good and the keyboards punctuate the song very effectively. Sammy’s solo is pretty good too.

Now let’s talk about the hidden gem on the album and man, do I love this song. I’m talking about “Dick in the Dirt.” The song is about a man named Richard to is a bit of a ladies’ man. The innuendo behind the lyrics is comical and remains so throughout the song. I always laugh my ass off whenever I listen to the song, even after more than thirty years! Apart from that, it is a good power song and comes with another cool guitar solo. So, I guess you could say that the song hits you from both sides.

For me, the least strongest song, (I call it such as none of the songs are weak), is the title track. Maybe it because it was used so much for patriotic purposes in the days of 80s Reagan America. Actually, it’s because the keyboards take over too much of the song. It’s good but not as much as the other seven songs. Fortunately, the last two songs are much stronger and end the album on a high. “Don’t Make Me Wait” is another song that comes near to being a power ballad but not near enough. It starts as if it’s going to be one but it just rocks. There is some great  guitar work from Sammy and the closer, “Burning Down the City,” all I can say is “Wow! What a great song to end the album with.”

Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Drive 55
  2. Swept Away
  3. Rock is in My Blood
  4. Two Sides of Love
  5. Dick in the Dirt
  6. VOA
  7. Don’t Make Me Wait
  8. Burning Down the City

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar- lead vocals, lead guitar

Gary Pihl- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jesse Harms- keyboards, backing vocals

Bill Church- bass, backing vocals

David Lauser- drums, backing vocals

Whatever your thoughts might be on the path Sammy Hagar took in 1984 and after, you can’t fault that “VOA” is a great solo album. Things have moved on in the past three decades and in most American states, the speed limit is above 55. Maybe the big single influenced government to raise the speed limits.

Next post: Waysted

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth- Warrior

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

Honeymoon Suite’s “New Girl Now” wasn’t the only rock song that got my attention during the summer of 1984. The other was a song called “The Warrior” by Patty Smyth and Scandal. For me personally, there wasn’t much in it between the two songs, I really liked both of them. However, the single buying public didn’t agree with me at the time. “New Girl Now” only made to around #53 in the Billboard charts while “The Warrior” got all the way to number seven. But what do the public know?

If it wasn’t for the fact that I luckily caught a concert by Patty Smyth and Scandal on the radio one night in early 1985, I would have had them down as two hit wonders. It was that radio broadcast that convinced me to explore what would be the band’s only full length album, “Warrior.” I thank the fact that I was in the right place at the right time because I would have otherwise missed out on a good album.

The weird thing about “Warrior” is then, like now, each time I listen to it, my enjoyment of the album alternates. One listen has me thinking, “What a great album!” while the next time, I might think, “Eh, it’s okay.” However, I never thought lower than the eh, it’s okay.

“Warrior” stacks its three singles on the first three tracks, leading off with the best known one. Then comes “Beat of a Heart” which got a good bit of airplay and I do like it. As for the next track, “Hands Tied,” I don’t ever remember hearing it outside of the album. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song but I do think it’s not quite as good as the first two. The rest of the album is still good. One song that really sticks out is “Only the Young” but that song was written by Steve Perry, Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain of Journey who sold the song to Scandal, who do a good job in their recording of the song.

“All I Want” is probably the heaviest song on the album. There are some crunching guitars on it and it does host what I consider to be the best guitar solo on the album. Unfortunately, the credits don’t reveal which guitarist plays the solo so I guess we’ll never know. “Talk to Me” is almost as hard and the guitar solo matches the previous track but it takes a second or two before the song gets into full swing. The rest of the album goes out on a less harder tone beginning with the ballad, “Say What You Will.” Not bad as far as rock ballads go but it doesn’t chart in my personal list of great ballads. “Tonight” does take things back to pre ballad feelings and though the guitar solo is pretty cool, it’s not quite as rocky as tracks six or seven. As for the closer, it follows on from its predecessor fine and is the best track to close the album with.

Patty Smyth proves on “Warrior” that she can deliver the goods vocally. I never understood why she didn’t go farther in the music world. I’d take her over Madonna any day! Then again, I would take any female rock or metal singer over Madonna. As for the rest of the band, I will say that they are competent. Except for the guitar solos, I won’t say they’re spectacular but they know how to play and they get the job done.

Track Listing:

  1. The Warrior
  2. Beat of a Heart
  3. Hands Tied
  4. Less Than Half
  5. Only the Young
  6. All I Want
  7. Talk to Me
  8. Say What You Will
  9. Tonight
  10. Maybe We Went Too Far

Patty Smyth- lead vocals

Zack Smith- guitar, backing vocals

Ivan Elias- bass

Keith Mack- guitar, backing vocals

Thommy Price- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wood- synthesizer

Pat Mastelotto- drums on ‘Only the Young’

Andy Newmark- drums on “Hands Tied”

Frank Previte- backing vocals on “Hands Tied”

Norman Mershon- backing vocals on “Hands Tied”

“Warrior” was the only album released by Scandal. Patty Smyth would put out some solo albums a few years later but little, if anything, would be heard from Scandal. Is it a shame? I tend to think so because this is a good to okay album and who knows what they would have come up with if given another shot.

Next post: Marillion- Fugazi

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1498982167&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Opinion: Would It Have Been Cool if HSAS Continued After One Album?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

HSAS

Thinking more about my previous post on the only album from HSAS, I continue to speculate what would it have been like if they didn’t stop at one album. In the last post, I put forward the historical evidence that Journey went completely downhill and that Sammy went onto join Van Halen and received a lot of unfair criticism for it. My feelings are that they would have gone on to make at least two more killer albums before any super group egos began to get in the way. Hopefully, I might be wrong there. So, what I’m doing is putting the question out there to the cosmos. Would any of you liked to have heard more albums from HSAS and gone to see them live? Let me know your opinions and don’t be shy! I will look at both sides of the argument with equal eyes.

Now, in two days I’ll be off to Download and have come to an interesting situation. It was my intention that on the Sunday, I was going to see the top four bands on the main stage so I can get a good position for Aerosmith. Having not seen them since 1990, I was prepared to give Slayer who are headlining on the second stage a miss. Particularly because I have seen them at Bloodstock twice in the past three years. However, Slayer will be on before Aerosmith so I do have the chance to see them. To throw a further spanner in the works, I really want to see Airbourne and Steel Panther who are on the main stage before Slayer but had not heard of the band between Steel Panther and Aerosmith, Alter Bridge, who are on when Slayer goes on. I know that I can easily move stages but I fear I won’t get a good place for Aerosmith if I do. Furthermore, I have familiarized myself with Alter Bridge and am very impressed with what I heard. So, I’m tempted to stay and see them. What would you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: HSAS- Through the Fire

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by 80smetalman

Late in 1983, Sammy Hagar and Journey guitarist Neil Schon did a project together along with bassist Kenny Aaronson and drummer Michael Shrieve. Together, they formed a band called HSAS which was short for Hagar, Schon, Aaronson and Shrieve and the result was their one and only album, “Through the Fire.” Was it a success? Maybe not according to the charts but it made my spring in 1984 and continued to do so for years after.

Confession, I never bought the “Through the Fire” album, I cheated. Instead, I recorded their full performance from an MTV concert. Besides, they played every song on the album plus a few songs that didn’t get on it. Having finally listened to the album, I feel no shame as it simply brings back all the great memories of that taped concert.

While most trendy types might not remember HSAS, I’m sure that a lot of metalheads and a few non ones do. When Sammy Hagar toured solo at the end of the year and even during his first tour with Van Halen, there were signs around many a concert venue that read, “Sammy Hagar, Top of the rock.” That’s because it’s the best known song from the album. He played it that night I saw him and it is a brilliant song. However, it’s only my second favourite. The top slot goes to the very next track, “Missing You.” That song really cooks and Neil belts out great guitar solo on it.

Hearing the next three tracks, I am now convinced that when the band played live, they played all three together as one song. Each track quickly goes from one to the next so you don’t really get a break. Furthermore, all three are in the way out space rock mode and they fit very well together. In the MTV concert, only the title of the first song, “Animation” was introduced but it went on for far longer than the four minutes it says the song lasts on the label. Actually, I am pretty sure that the song lasted for the duration indicated by the three songs.

There is one blip in comparing the album with the concert and that comes in the form of the band’s cover of the classic, “Whiter Shade of Pale.” The song closes the concert and I think it was a great song to close the show with. However, it’s not the closer on the album and now I wonder if it should have. It’s still done very well and I think that Procol Harum would have been impressed. After that comes the hard rocker, “Hot and Dirty,” which Sammy stated in the concert that it was about Kenny the bass player’s girlfriend. Can’t fault the song, it’s really good and Neil Schon shows his talent up and down all of it. While not a ballad, “He’ll Understand” is, to quote Sammy, on the tender side. It starts out as a ballad but that changes not far into it and has a smoking guitar solo. The irony is the closer because I am fairly certain that it was the opener for the concert. However, it works both ways.

HSAS in concert

The reason why all nine songs are so good is down to the talents of the four men who comprised HSAS. Sammy’s vocals and Neil’s guitar work were always going to be a lethal cocktail, no doubt about that. But we should raise a glass to the rhythm section of Aaronson and Shrieve because together, they make a fine one.

Track Listing:

  1. Top of the Rock
  2. Missing You
  3. Animation
  4. Valley of the Kings
  5. Giza
  6. Whiter Shade of Pale
  7. Hot and Dirty
  8. He’ll Understand
  9. My Home Town

HSAS

Sammy Hagar- vocals

Neil Schon- guitars

Kenny Aaronson- bass

Michael Shrive- drums

For the last 33 years, I have been asking myself “What if?” What if HSAS went beyond this one project and put out more albums? I think that they would have made a huge impact on the music of metal’s golden decade. History does sort of support me. When Neil went back to Journey, they didn’t make any impact after, at least not on me. Then there’s the case of Van Hagar, although I’ve always said that Sammy can’t be blamed for that. What we are left with is one fantastic album and three decades of me wondering, what if.

Next post: There will be no post at the end of the week because I am off to the Download Festival this week. I’m going to rock to Aerosmith, Steel Panther, Rob Zombie, Suicidal Tendencies and many more. Of course I will give you a day by day report once I return.

Still no new link for buying Rock and Roll Children direct but it’s still available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Journey- Frontiers

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Jfrontiers

Many a person, myself included, after hearing the “Frontiers” album by Journey back in 1983, came to the conclusion that they had gone too commercial with the album. Some of those same people further argued that the descent down that slippery slope actually started with their previous album, “Escape” two years prior and that “Frontiers” was just a natural progression down that slope. While I won’t rack my brain nor strain my typing fingers worrying when Journey went too commercial, I do know that when I heard this album, it didn’t make me forget about all about their earlier harder albums.

With all of the above said, “Frontiers” doesn’t suck. Sure it’s a come down and I wouldn’t debate anyone who said it was a sell out (though I wouldn’t debate anyone who said it wasn’t either) but it’s not a bad album at all. I think what Journey tried to do was to be more modern but trying to keep their more hard rock following. Many of the songs on the album have the potential to be real rockers and Neil Schon hammers out some cool guitar solos on them but where there might be a hard guitar, it is masked by the keyboards. The opener and first single, “Separate Ways” bears testimony to that fact. I mean if they had just let the hard guitar alone and had the keyboards play a more supportive role, I would have head banged away to it big time instead of just shrugging my shoulders and saying, “it’s okay,” when I heard it. The next three tracks follow in this mode. The potential for a good hard rock song is there with them but the keyboards drown them out and while none of those songs are in any way bad, I just don’t feel they live up to their potential. Of those four, “Chain Reaction” is my favourite.

It wouldn’t be a Journey album if there wasn’t at least one power ballad on it and “Faithfully” fits the bill perfectly. As far as Journey material goes, that song is as good or better than any of their other power ballads, save “Open Arms” but that has sentimental meaning for me. It is post ballad that the album begins to get interesting. “Edge of the Blade” is the first true rocker on the album for me. With that song, I finally start head banging away and Schon’s solo is just killer. The next track, “Troubled Child” is more in line with the first four songs but the difference is I think that song was meant to be more of a progressive/hard rock song. It does sound good and it leads to the last three songs taking the album out on a more harder sounding note. In fact, “Back Talk” might sound good metalized and “Rubicon” is a hard enough closer to almost cancel out my feelings about the first four songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Separate Ways
  2. Send Her My Love
  3. Chain Reaction
  4. After the Fall
  5. Faithfully
  6. Edge of the Blade
  7. Troubled Child
  8. Back Talk
  9. Frontiers
  10. Rubicon
Journey

Journey

Steve Perry- vocals

Neil Schon- guitar, vocals

Jonathan Cain- keyboards, vocals

Ross Valory- bass, vocals

Steve Smith- drums, percussion, vocals

Now I sense that some of you are flexing your fingers ready to respond about how commercially successful the “Frontiers” album was. I grant that and I have to give Journey total credit. For all my bitching about them being too commercial, they can still pull off a decent album with it. Nevertheless, I still have this craving to pop on “Wheel in the Sky” and crank it.

Next post: Joan Armatrading- The Key

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 1981: Journey- Escape

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2014 by 80smetalman

journeyescape

“Escape” by Journey is probably one of the best known albums of 1981. I remember in the final months of that year, there always seemed to be a song from the album playing on the radio, whether it was “Who’s Crying Now,” “Open Arms” or the now very popular thanks to the TV show “Glee,” “Don’t Stop Believing.” It is also the reason that many people site this album as the turning point in Journey’s sound from their more traditional progressive hard rock sound towards the more commercial sound of their next album “Frontiers.” Either way, it was a very important album in 1981 in many ways for a lot of people, including me.

Looking beyond “Don’t Stop Believing” which is still a good song in spite of how it has been used recently. The piano intro by Jonathan Cain is still very unique and even though it is a top forty tune, Neil Schon still hammers out a decent guitar solo. Similar things can be said about the second single on the album, “Who’s Crying Now,” which comes right after track number two “Stone In Love.” I wonder if that song was written for one my fellow metal bloggers here, tee hee. Anyway, back to “Who’s Crying Now.” There is a mysterious vibe to the song and it ends with some more fantastic guitar work from Schon. That leads perfectly to the harder sounding “Keep On Running” and hearing that, the listener can be assured that Journey have not departed from their hard rock roots. The title track bears some great progressive sounds and the next few songs feed well off it. Then another rocker, “Mother, Father” and more impressive Schon guitar licks before the closer, “Open Arms.” I liked that song back then but it holds a more special meaning for me these days. It was mine and Mrs 80smetalman’s first dance song at our wedding.

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Stop Believing

2. Stone In Love

3. Who’s Crying Now

4. Keep on Running

5. Still They Ride

6. Escape

7. Lay It Down

8. Dead or Alive

9. Mother, Father

10. Open Arms

Journey

Journey

Steve Perry- vocals

Neil Schon- guitars

Ross Valory- bass

Steve Smith- drums

Jonathan Cain- keyboards

I must make a confession here. The first dance song wasn’t taken from the “Escape” album but from a soundtrack to a 1981 film, which I will be visiting down the line. Still, it goes to show just how big this album was in the year.

Next post: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

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 Metal Albums of 1980: Sammy Hagar- Danger Zone

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-SammyHagarDangerZone

At first, I wasn’t sure if I should put this album into the metal category as many out there don’t classify Sammy Hagar has heavy metal. Then again, I never gave two stuffs about silly arguments over what should be categorised where. Besides, the first song I ever heard from the “Red Rocker” had the same title as the genre of music I love so much. It was on a soundtrack from a film of the very same name which I will be visiting when I get to 1981.

So onto this album “Danger Zone.” Listening to it only confirms to me that it should be called a metal album as there are some serious rocking tunes on it. “Mommy Says, Daddy Says,” “20th Century Man,” “Love or Money” and “Bad Reputation” are all great melodic metal tunes that stand the test of time. Even the bluesy “The Ice Man” where Journey singer Steve Perry provides the backing vocals is a cooker. There is some great crunching guitar sounds on this album and another Journey member in the form of Neil Schon lays down some killer solos on “Love or Money.” I get the impression that Hagar is still hungry on this album and it definitely shows in the music.

Track Listing:

1. Love or Money

2. 20th Century Man

3. Miles For Boredom

4. Mommy Says, Daddy Says

5. In The Night, (Entering the Danger Zone)

6. The Iceman

7. Bad Reputation

8. Heartbeat

9. Run For Your Life

10. Danger Zone

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar

 

Sammy Hagar- vocals, guitar

Bill Church- bass

Gary Pihl- guitar, keyboards

Chuck Ruff- drums

Geoff Workman- keyboards

Guest Musicians

Steve Perry- backing vocals

Neil Schon- guitar solos on “Love or Money”

In 1980, Sammy Hagar was still making his way in the rock world. Kick ass albums like “Danger Zone” paved the way to the greatness he would eventually achieve.

Next post: Motorhead- Ace of Spades

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

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle