Archive for Ronald Reagan

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Steve Earle- Copperhead Road

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2022 by 80smetalman

Originally, I was going to post “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle as a rock/metal album. The title cut of the album was my reason for it. I loved Steve’s image when I saw the video on television and the song proved that other instruments can be effectively included in hard rock and even metal. In this case, it was a mandolin. The song starts out with the mandolin and steel guitar and pedals giving it a country feel but then the guitar kicks in and takes it to a whole different level. The song itself is about a family of generations of moonshine makers and runners but the subject of the song, after he returns from Vietnam, decided to go into the weed farming business. It’s an excellent song.

Of course there are other great tracks on the album, although I have to agree with those who say that the first side of the album is better than the second. “Snake Oil” has a honky tonk piano combined with more great guitar riffs at the same time and talks about sitting president Ronald Reagan as a snake oil salesman. I agree with that sentiment. But Steve goes totally hard rock with the hidden gem on the album, “Back to the Wall.” It has a Tom Petty feel reminiscent of the “Damn the Torpedoes” album. There are some great guitar hooks on it and the best guitar solo on the album.

“The Devil’s Right Hand” is ahead of it’s time in the political music sense. The devil in the right hand Steve sings about is a pistol and this could be the first anti-gun song ever! Steve goes back to the returning veterans theme on “Johnny Come Lately.” In the song he contrasts how Americans treated servicemen returning home from World War II as opposed to Vietnam. It’s done to some great rockabilly music. My question is: Did Steve’s grandfather actually marry an English woman and bring her back home? Irish Celtic rock band The Pogues accompany him on this song.

As I said earlier, the second half of “Copperhead Road” isn’t as strong as the first half, although it’s by no means weak. The songs are less political and more love songs. I have no problem with that as they are done right. “Even When I’m Blue” sounds more like later Tom Petty and is some more good rockabilly. “You Belong to Me” sounds familiar but I can’t quite pick out the influence here. It’s a steady rocker with some good acoustic guitar as are the next two tracks. Things end with the rather tender ballad, “Nothing But a Child.”

Track Listing:

  1. Copperhead Road
  2. Snake Oil
  3. Back to the Wall
  4. The Devil’s Right Hand
  5. Johnny Come Lately
  6. Even When I’m Blue
  7. You Belong to Me
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Once You Love
  10. Nothing But a Child
Steve Earle

Steve Earle- lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, 6 string bass

Danny Roberts- guitar, 6 string bass

Bill Lloyd- acoustic guitar, 12 string electric guitar

Bucky Baxter- pedal steel, lap steel, Dobro

Ken Moore- synthesizer, organ

John Barlow Jarvis- piano

Kelly Looney- bass

Kurt Custer- drums

Neil MacColl- mandolin on “Johnny Come Lately”

John Cowan, Maria MaKee, Radney Foster- backing vocals

Shane MacGowan- banjo, bodran

Daryl Hunt- bass

Andrew Ranken- drums

The Pogues on “Johnny Come Lately”

Telluride on “Nothing But a Child”

Here’s an amusing anecdote, I named a character in my second book, “He Was Weird,” after one from the title track. There is a John Peddlemore in the story. “Copperhead Road” further proved that there was lots of great alternative music out there and this was one American act I was glad came to Britain.

Next post: A Joint Effort

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

To give Bruce Dickinson his much deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson?redirect=false

Will Trump’s Presidency Usher in a New Wave of Heavy Metal?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by 80smetalman

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

I read a post on a blog, which my buddy 1537 reminded me of in his post last night, that the Presidency of the newly elected Donald Trump may usher in a new wave of heavy metal. With his ultra conservative politics, there will be a lot of angry musicians out there who will be inspired to write a lot of songs about Trump and the political/social climate that might generate from it. From that, a resurgence in heavy metal might just come about. Plus history can back it up.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Let’s begin by going back to the 198os when the US President was another ultra conservative, Ronald Reagan. During the decade, for which he was in office for most of, there was a heavy metal explosion. First there was the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), which filled the early part of that decade. Inspired by that, many American metal bands emerged, I don’t feel I have to name them all. Towards the end of Ronnie’s presidency, we had the onslaught of thrash, a custom blend of punk and heavy metal. Even the PMRC, who operated with Reagan’s behind the scenes positive nod, failed to stop the heavy metal onslaught. It could also be why the 80s was the golden age of heavy metal. It also gave me good amount of inspiration when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush was a liberal Republican and that coincided with a downward trend in heavy metal. That continued well into the presidency of the more liberal Bill Clinton. We had the grunge period and a lot of great 80s metal acts kind of drifted into near obscurity during the 1990s. I say near but not total, I do remember some great metal from old and new acts but metal was definitely stuck in a rut during this decade. In fact, I heard former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra once say that many members of hardcore punk bands in the 80s, in the 90s, went back to California, got computer jobs and started driving BMW’s. Maybe, there wasn’t anything to be angry about during Clinton’s presidency.

George W Bush

George W Bush

That all changed with the election of George W Bush in 2000. A new wave of ultra conservative politics brought on a new wave of heavy metal. The fragmented factions of metal, whether it by nu metal, Viking metal, black metal etc, established themselves back on the world music stage. They seemed to put aside their differences and come together for the common metal good. Furthermore, gaining inspiration from their 1980s elders, many of the bands from the golden decade also made a comeback. Again, we see right wing politics ushering in a new surge in heavy metal.

Barrack Obama

Barrack Obama

Obama’s presidency did bring the heavy metal surge to a more calming trickle. Fortunately, the lessons of the 1990s were learned and heavy metal didn’t go underground. While no new ground has been gained during the more liberal years of Obama, none has been lost either. What may have happened is that metal had become insular with metalheads finding sanctuary with each other. Metal now rests upon a springboard, ready to jump into any direction. If the person, I voted for, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, had been elected, metal would have gone in a more artsy direction. Not much chance of that happening.

Now we have Trump, who many believe to be extremely right wing, racist, sexist and a few other ists as well. So the question to be asked is “Will Trump’s presidency lead to a new resurgence in heavy metal? The answer will soon be made known to us. Things are promising to heat up in the heavy metal world and I am very excited to see what will become of it.

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