Archive for Okinawa

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Ozzy Osbourne- Speak of the Devil

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2016 by 80smetalman

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Welcome to another 1982 album that came to my attention while I was still serving with the marines on Okinawa. Even when I first heard then, I, like many others, speculated on why Ozzy would put out an album featuring live performances of his Black Sabbath material. Further investigation turned up that the reason was that this album was a contractual obligation album with Jet Records. That could explain many things like why Ozzy has publicly renounced the album.

Another thing it explains is the shockingly bad production of the album. Yes, this is a live album but it sounds like it was recorded live at a local pub. I can hear why many people found this album off putting. A further reason was that Ozzy’s drinking problem was getting to him big time. The vinyl version has pictures of a road crew member who suffered from dwarfism, bringing Ozzy drinks in between songs. It also explains why his voice wasn’t tip top on “Speak of the Devil.”

In spite of all my negativity here, if you really want all the Black Sabbath classics and are too cheap to go out and buy all their albums, then this is a decent substitute. Yep, all the great songs are there. “Iron Man,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Snowblind,” my all time favourite Sabbath song, “War Pigs” and as always, the live show is ended with “Paranoid.” They’re all there although some songs sound better than others and none of them come up to the standard of when they were first recorded. Personally, I think “The Wizard” sounds the best on it.

One more positive I can add is that Ozzy always gets a good crew of musicians behind him and this is the case on “Speak of the Devil.” Here, we have Brad Gillis, before he joined Night Ranger on guitar, Rudy Sarzo, who would go to Quiet Riot on bass and Tommy Aldridge on drums. When the production allows, the talents of these three men show through and make the album listenable.

Track Listing:

  1. Symptom of the Universe
  2. Snowblind
  3. Black Sabbath
  4. Fairies Wear Boot
  5. War Pigs
  6. The Wizard
  7. N.I.B.
  8. Sweet Leaf
  9. Never Say Die
  10. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
  11. Iron Man/Children of the Grave
  12. Paranoid
Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne- vocals

Brad Gillis- guitar

Rudy Sarzo- bass

Tommy Aldridge- drums

“Speak of the Devil” isn’t one that is mentioned along with the other great Ozzy Osbourne albums. In fact, it has been universally agreed that a better live album would come out four years later. Don’t worry, I’ll post about that one in due time. Still, if you fancy a trip down memory lane and want to hear Ozzy sing some Black Sabbath classics, then this album is okay to do that.

Next post: Iron Maiden- Piece of Mind

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

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: The Plasmatics- Coup d’Etat

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Here is the last of the great metal albums which came out in 1982 but it didn’t come to my attention until the early months of 1983 due to my being posted in Japan at the time. Like Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion” album, “Coup d’Etat” by the Plasmatics was an album that I have neglected for quite a long time. Saying that, I still have fond memories of seeing the video for the single, “The Damned” from this album on the video screens of Sgt Peppers on Okinawa. At this time, music video was still something I was only becoming familiar with, so seeing Wendy O Williams in that outfit while singing away while standing on the school bus as it crashed through walls of television sets was something else. Probably why “The Damned” is my favourite Plasmatics song of all time. It also helps that it’s a great song to begin with.

Wendy driving the school bus in "The Damned."

Wendy driving the school bus in “The Damned.”

For years, I have regarded this band as punk but as I listen to “Coup d’Etat” again after so many years, I firmly believe that the album holds all the classic trademarks of heavy metal. Track after track has some heavy metal hook that grasps my attention and leaves me wondering why I didn’t take notice of it more. First, the album has both a grabbing opener that makes you want to stick around for the rest of it and a closer that seals the belief that this is a great album once it’s over. Of course all the tracks in between keep things running along very nicely. Standout tracks, apart from “The Damned” of course are “No Class,” “Stop” and “Mistress of Taboo.”

Another thing which not only I but probably many others had is the lack of appreciation for the talents of the rest of the band. Yes, Wendy was the main feature of the Plasmatics, both for her looks and her very unique vocals and I have already sung the praises of lead guitarist Ritchie Stotts when I reviewed the “Metal Priestess” album. He’s even better on this album by the way. I submit “Paths of Glory” into evidence. However, nothing should be taken away from the rhythm section of Beech, Romanelli and Tolliver. These guys are definitely tighter on this album and the results prove itself in the music. What this album has done is to look at the entire band in a whole new way and give them the respect they are long overdue.

Track Listing

  1. Put Your Love Into Me
  2. Stop
  3. Rock’ N Roll
  4. Lightning Breaks
  5. No Class
  6. Mistress of Taboo
  7. Country Fairs
  8. Paths of Glory
  9. Just Like on TV
  10. The Damned
  11. Uniformed Guards
The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O Williams- lead vocals

Ritchie Stotts- lead guitar

Wes Beech- rhythm guitar, lead guitar on tracks 2, 9, 5

Junior Romanelli- bass, keyboards

T. C. Tolliver-drums, percussion

I’ve just had a thought, I wonder if the opening track on this album was a response to a song on AC/DC’s “Back in Black” album. Interesting thought, though. What I do know is that this album helped start my 1983 in style and while I may have neglected it for a long time, (fool, me), it gave me a video that has stuck well in my mind for over thirty years.

Next post: Utopia

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Memories of Some Great Rock Clubs

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

From October 1982 to April 1983, I was stationed on Okinawa although I did spend some time in South Korea and seven weeks near Mt Fuji in Japan. For an emerging young metalhead such as myself, the challenge was to find a good place to unwind and totally rock out. The enlisted club provided very cheap beer and live bands brought over from the Philippines that usually consisted of four or five musicians with a pretty girl on lead vocals. Some of these bands were quite good, others, not so. However, it didn’t quench my desire to find some real hard rock so I had to look elsewhere. The town outside my base, Henoko, didn’t provide anything of the like but there was a town, just a twenty minute bus ride away that did.

Kin

Kin

The town of Kin had several cool rock bars, the most notable of these was called Sgt Peppers. It had a great sound system with several really cool video screens. The best part was that they always played great rock and metal. It was here that I first learned about bands like Saxon, Whitesnake and the Plasmatics. However, they mixed it with some classic rock as well. I remember the live video of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath as well as live footage from Nazereth playing “Love Hurts” and “Hair of the Dog.” The great thing about Sgt Peppers is that whenever you went in, you were never disappointed by the music being played.

One disadvantage with Sgt Peppers was the fact that beer was so expensive, $2.25 for a bottle was rather dear in 1982-3. So, if the funds were running low, I would go one street over to another cool rock bar called Kin Loo. The Kin Loo wasn’t as sophisticated as Sgt Peppers but the beers were only $1.50. Yes, I too wish I could pay those prices for a beer these days. It might not have had the video screens like the other place but the music was still good. The best thing was that you could request what you wanted to hear and they would not just play one song but an entire side of an album. That gave me a chance to reminisce about old favourites and get an idea of anything new. This gave me the opportunity to listen to the album that started my 1983 in great style, The Scorpions, “Blackout.”

Both of these bars were great in helping me unwind from the stresses of military life. I did manage to get to the very south of Okinawa where there was an even larger Sgt Peppers and a club called Condition Green with an in house band with the same name. But that was only the one time so I had to rely on those bars in Kin. Fortunately, they were both able to provide me with what I needed. That’s why I still remember them so fondly after so many years. Unfortunately, unlike the Driftwood, the internet didn’t have any photos of them so I can’t say if they’re still there.

Next post: National Anthems

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 1982: Rainbow- Straight Between the Eyes

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Here’s the paradox that is me. I have said many times that my favourite era of Rainbow was when Ronnie James Dio was at the mike and I will forever feel that way. However, my favourite Rainbow song of all times comes during the Joe Lynn Turner era and yep you guessed it, is from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes.” That song is “Death Alley Driver.” When I heard it on the video screen at a rock bar on Okinawa, Japan, I thought, “This song kicks ass, totally.” It’s just a pure rocker and Blackmore plays possibly his best guitar solo of all time on it, pure magic.

Recently, I have been debating to myself whether or not to call “Straight Between the Eyes” a metal album. There are some songs on the album that would certainly qualify it as such like “Rock Fever” and “Power,” besides the big song I’ve already mentioned. However, there are other songs that are more progressive like the ballad like “Tearin’ Out My Heart” and keyboard oriented songs like “Stone Cold,” “Miss Mistreated,” which has a really cool keyboard intro. To add further confusion into the mix, Ritchie goes to town on the guitar on the songs here. Then there’s “Bring on the Night” that is definitely hard rock and includes more cool soloing. So, what I should be asking myself here is why the f*ck I’m worrying about what category I should or shouldn’t put this fine album in and simply appreciate it for the great album that it is. So I will.

While Ritchie Blackmore shines on the album, the rest of the band steps up just as much. Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals make those more progressive songs sound that much better but he can also belt our a rocker like “Death Alley Driver.” David Rosenthal proves a more than capable replacement for Don Airey on the keys. The intro on “Miss Mistreated” alone is proof of that. Roger Glover is the brilliant bass player that he’s always been and provides a strong rhythm section with Bobby Rondinelli. All of these elements combine well to make the album all that much better.

Track Listing:

  1. Death Alley Driver
  2. Stone Cold
  3. Bring on the Night (Dream Catcher)
  4. Tite Squeeze
  5. Tearin’ Out My Heart
  6. Power
  7. Miss Mistreated
  8. Rock Fever
  9. Eyes of Fire
Rainbow

Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Joe Lynn Turner- vocals

David Rosenthal- keyboards

Bobby Rondinelli- drums

┬áHence lies the danger of putting music into categories. One worries too much if a band is metal, hard rock, prog rock etc and don’t enjoy the music. “Straight Between the Eyes” from Rainbow is just simply good music.

Next post: Hanoi Rocks- Oriental Beat

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

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