Archive for Red Octopus

Great???? Rock Albums of 1985: Starship- Knee Deep in the Hoopla

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

Originally, I wasn’t going to post about this album. When I first heard tracks from the newly named Starship, (formerly Jefferson Starship) I thought, “OMG, how the mighty have fallen.” You see, from 1976-84, Jefferson Starship was my favourite band. Their albums during those years charted my own personal musical journey. The early albums from the mid to late 1970s, “Red Octopus,” “Spitfire” and “Earth” were much more progressive and considered by many to be mellow out rock. I never disagreed with this. However, there were even occasions on those albums, especially “Spitfire,” where they demonstrated they could rock out. That thought followed me into 1979 and then the early 80s where their albums, “Freedom At Point Zero,” “Modern Times” and “Winds of Change” were much more hard rock and I fully embraced the new sound as my own musical tastes were going harder.

Looking back to the past, some might argue that the 1984 “Nuclear Furniture” album was a sign of things to come with the Starship. It went back away from the total hard rock sound of the previous three albums but not as progressive as their 1970s ones. It had a more emerging 80s synth pop sound on some of the songs but not enough for me not to like it. Besides, the lyrics of many of the songs were more politically aware, something else I was getting into, so that album was okay. However, it was at this time rhythm guitarist and founding member Paul Kantner left the band and that would change the total dynamics of the band, starting with a law suit over the Jefferson moniker. If you remember when I posted about Paul’s passing, I stated that it was usually the songs he penned I liked the most on the albums.

In 1985, Starship appeared with the “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” album. I was curious and then I heard the first single, “We Built This City” on the radio and that was it. The lyrics might sing, “We built this city on rock and roll” but to me, a more accurate line would have been, “We built this city on top 40.” That song, established Starship as a top forty band with that song soaring in the charts. The second single, “Sarah,” was little better. The only thing that redeems it is Craig Chaquico hammers out a tidy guitar solo on it. But for the most part, I came to the conclusion in 1985 that Starship had sold out! Now, that label got banded about quite a lot back then and we can debate the semantics of it forever but what I did know was that I did not like their new sound.

Examining “Knee Deep in the Hoopla” further, it continues to be a top forty oriented synth pop album. Definitely not for me in 1985 and though I might have mellowed with age, it still doesn’t do it for me. The only songs which capture any interest for me are three of the middle ones, “Rock Myself to Sleep,” “Desperate Hearts” and “Private Room.” Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot fame sings backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep” and that is the best song on the album for me. “Private Room isn’t too far behind but the rest of the album, with the possible exception of “Hearts of the World (Will Understand), doesn’t do it for me, even with Craig’s guitar solos.

What really angered me at the time and still does now is the reduction of Pete Sears to bass only. On those three early progressive albums, Pete shows his wizardry with the keyboards. I even equated him to the likes of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman back in the late 1970s. For further clarification, listen to the tracks, “Love Too Good” off the “Earth” album and “Sandalphon” from “Red Octopus” and I think you’ll be convinced. So, why in the hell did they relegate him to bass. Peter Wolf who plays keys on the album doesn’t hold a candle to Pete.

Track Listing:

  1. We Built This City
  2. Sarah
  3. Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight
  4. Rock Myself to Sleep
  5. Desperate Heart
  6. Private Room
  7. Before I Go
  8. Hearts of the World (Will Understand)
  9. Love Rusts

Starship

Mickey Thomas- lead vocals

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Craig Chaquico- guitar

Pete Sears- bass

Donny Baldwin- drums

Additional Musicians

Peter Wolf- keyboards

Les Garland- DJ voice on “We Built This City”

Kevin Dubrow- backing vocals on “Rock Myself to Sleep”

Another occurrence which annoyed the shit out of me back then was when I heard a Starship concert broadcast on the radio. During the concert, they played their classic hit “Find Your Way Back” from the “Modern Times” album. That song possesses the band’s greatest guitar intro of all times. However, when they played it at this concert, that great intro was all synthed out. For me, that was the final nail in the coffin and while I will always have great memories of Jefferson Starship, Starship can be left on the shelf.

Next post: Pat Benatar- Tropico

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

 

 

 

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R.I.P. Paul Kantner

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Now I am convinced the apocalypse is upon us. Not even a week since the death of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, another rock legend departs our world. Yesterday, it was rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, who passed away from a heart attack, aged 74. Paul Kantner was one of the major reasons I was such a big Jefferson Starship fan throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It was only after he departed the band in 1984, they ceased to be my favourite band.

Paul was not only one of the best rhythm guitarists in rock, (he was nominated for the Hugo Science Fiction Award for his efforts on Blows Against the Empire), he was also a damn good song writer. Whenever I got a new Jefferson Starship album, it was his songs that I usually liked the most on that album. His songs always tended to be more hard rock, especially during their days of mellow out rock in the late 70s. Unfortunately, many of the songs he wrote weren’t the ‘big’ singles so I doubt if they will release an album with just his songs. So what I am going to do in tribute to this great musician is to listen to all the songs he wrote or had a major hand in writing for the band and list them here if you should want to do the same.

Dragon_Fly_(Jefferson_Starship_album_-_cover_art)

From Dragonfly

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Caroline

redoc

From Red Octopus

  1. I Want to See Another World
  2. There Will Be Love

is

From Spitfire

  1. Dance With the Dragon
  2. St Charles
  3. Song to the Sun: Part I- Ozymandias, Part II- Don’t Let it Rain

jsearth

From Earth

  1. All Night Long

FreedomAtPointZero

From Freedom at Point Zero

  1. Lightning Rose
  2. Things to Come
  3. Girl With the Hungry Eyes
  4. Freedom at Point Zero

untitled (4)

From Modern Times

  1. Wild Eyes
  2. Modern Times
  3. Stairway to Cleveland

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

From Winds of Change

  1. Out of Control
  2. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

Nuclear_Furniture

From Nuclear Furniture

  1. Connection
  2. Rose Goes to Yale
  3. Champion

Jefferson Starship did not release an album in 1983 but Paul Kantner did put out a solo album that year, which I liked. That will be the next post.

R.I.P. Paul

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Grace Slick- Welcome To The Wrecking Ball

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by 80smetalman

WelcometotheWreckingBall

In 1981, even after her contribution on the “Modern Times” album by Jefferson Starship, Grace Slick was reported to have said that she was going to blow herself up if she got kept on being asked if she was going back to the Starship. I don’t blame her, there was still quite a bit of discord between her and the band at this time. Additionally, it was a month after the release of “Modern Times” that I saw her album “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball” for sale in the shops. This was one of those albums I wanted to listen to but never got around to it. I really liked her more progressive sounding “Dreams” which she put out the previous year so the precedent for buying was certainly there. But I didn’t, and now thanks to You Tube, I was able to finally listen to the album and now I’m really kicking myself.

Maybe it was because “Dreams” was more progressive and my musical tastes were becoming harder is why I didn’t buy it. Lousy excuse, because “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball” is nothing like “Dreams.” This entire album is (and I can’t put it any other way) is one hell of a rocking album. It starts with the title track and then avalanches into a thrilling pool of bang your head style rock that some people could mistake for heavy metal. The only reason why I won’t call it that is the track “Shooting Star.” This song could have been written by Paul Kantner and used on either of Jefferson Starship’s albums “Red Octopus” or “Spitfire” from the mid 70s. The song is more of a trippy way out there kind of song but it does fit in well with the album. It’s the only song, save for “Lines” that doesn’t begin by a pounding guitar riff. “Lines” starts with a reggae sound before exploding into your face in likewise hard manner. One thing for sure is that given Grace’s powerful vocals on these songs, it is clear that she definitely can sing hard rock. Just listen to “Round and Round” and you’ll see what I mean. Maybe a metal band should give her a guest vocal spot on a song, I know it would sound superb.

The unsung hero on this album is Scott Zito. He wrote all of the songs along with Slick and after hearing what he can do on the guitar on first, “Dreams” and now this album, I’m glad that she kept him on to play guitar because he can play.

Track Listing:

1. Welcome to the Wrecking Ball

2. Mistreater

3. Shot in the Dark

4. Round and Round

5. Shooting Star

6. Just a Little Love

7. Sea of Love

8. Lines

9. Right Kind

10. No More Heroes

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Scott Zito- lead guitar, harmonica, backing vocals

Danny Guilino- rhythm guitar

Phil Stone- bass

Bobby Torell0- drums

Paul Harris- keyboards

I’m not finished kicking myself for not buying this album but I will start searching Amazon and like places. The problem is that I don’t get paid till Friday. “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball” by Grace Slick is definitely the most underrated album that I have come across for 1981, if not for all time. I’m glad she just let herself go on this one for this is a fantastic album.

Next post: Joe Walsh- There Goes The Neighbourhood

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

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

Great Rock Albums of 1979: Jefferson Starship- Gold

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 15, 2012 by 80smetalman

As I said a few posts ago, 1979 was a big transitional year for me and I will probably say it a few more times as I continue to visit some of the great rock and metal albums from this year, so I ask your forgiveness in advance if I go on about it too much. It also turned out that 1979 was also a major transitional year for my favourite band from the 70s, Jefferson Starship. When I saw that the “Gold” album had been released in the February of that year, I just thought it was a typical greatest hits release from their albums from 1974-78 and didn’t realise what was going on behind the scenes. It would be a long time later before I learned that Grace Slick had said “I don’t want to play with you guys ever again,” after a bust up in Germany. She would also have to go to rehab for her problems with the bottle. Also, Marty Balin would also leave the band to persue a solo career. Therefore, “Gold” would mark a major change in the flight plan of the Starship.

First, let me be the first one to declare that I should be lined up against a wall and shot for not including the “Red Octopus” album in my “Great Rock Albums of the 70s” chapter in my tour. This was a great album that hit number one in the charts and unprecedented four times! And don’t be fooled by the three singles from the album that appear on here, althought I do really like “Fast Buck Freddie.” There are some other hidden rocking gems on this album so, it’s no wonder this album was so popular.

Anyway, back to “Gold.” Needless to say, it’s a greatest hits album so the songs that appear on here will have had some form of commercial success and be familiar to most people, that’s a given. However, this album had a little surprise for me the first time I listened to it. I had never heard the album “Dragon Fly” so when the song “Ride the Tiger” came blasting out of my speakers, I was totally amazed. This was a true hard rocking song that showcases the talents of Craig Chaquico with the ever competent Paul Kantner backing him up on rhythm guitar. As a result, “Ride the Tiger” went instantly to number one in my favourite Starship song list at that  time and continues to be up there in the top five of all time. In addition, the album featured a new single, “Light the Sky on Fire,” which also went of the grain of the more mellower songs from this time period and left me impressed by the musicianship.

Track Listing

1. Ride the Tiger

2. Caroline

3. Play on Love

4. Miracles

5. Fast Buck Freddie

6. With Your Love

7. St Charles

8. Count On Me

9. Love Too Good

10. Runaway

Bonus tracks

Light The Sky On Fire

Hyperdrive

Jefferson Starship

Grace Slick- vocals, piano

Marty Balin- vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Pete Sears- bass, keyboards

David Freiberg- bass, keyboards, backing vocals

John Barbata- drums, backing vocals

Papa John Creach- violin

“Gold” marked an end of an era for Jefferson Starship. It put the final nail in the coffin that laid to rest the band’s reputation for mellow out love songs. After “Gold,” their sound would change forever and be the source of much debate that carries on to this day. As for the new sound, well you will have to stick around as I’m not going to tell about that til much further down the line.

Next post: Frank Zappa- Sheik Yourb0uti

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

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