Archive for The Ramones

An Evening of Ska-Punk in Newcastle

Posted in Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Well, I’m back from my three days in Newcastle Upon Tyne and before I left, I did promise that if I saw any great bands at Newcastle’s premier rock club, Trillian’s, I would share the experience here. However, the American tourist in me has briefly taken over so before you get to read what great bands Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea were, you’re going to have to view my holiday snaps. Don’t worry, there aren’t many.

The view from my hotel room, It rained a lot on the first day

Great weather on Thursday. Here’s a view from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The bridge opens to let a boat go through

At first, it seemed the rain on the first night was too heavy and I wouldn’t make it past the pub across the road from my hotel room. The Blonde Barrel does do great food though. Thankfully, the Gods of Rock smiled on me and the rain slowed do to a fine spray so I was able to go into the city centre and get to Trillians. I discovered that the two named bands would be playing on the Thursday evening so I went down to the bar where I made another amazing discovery. Motorhead has a beer called Road Crew. Naturally, I had to try some and I can say that it’s very nice.

The next day, I made inquiries about Road Crew being available in shops. I was directed to one place that sold eccentric beers but the owner told me that the beer was massed produced and available in major supermarkets, not where I live. I made a further inquiry at the small supermarket but they didn’t sell it. However, one of the staff advised me to try a small shop in the train station grounds. So I went to a place called CentrAle and yes they did sell Road Crew. Then another surprise, right next to it was another beer called Anthrax War Vance and yes, it’s endorsed by Anthrax. Apparently some cases were left behind after their last UK tour and Bruce, the manager of CentrAle, got them. CentrAle is the only place in the UK where you can get Anthrax War Vance. So, I got lucky there.

Bruce with a can of Anthrax

Eventually, the big night came and I went off to Trillians to see Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea, two bands I knew absolutely nothing about. With nothing to expect, I had a very open mind to them when they came on stage. Faintest Idea took the stage first and that would begin my education. Before this particular evening, I had practically zero experience with ska. I offer no reason for this except it was something I never explored. That will change for sure. Getting back to Faintest Idea, listening to them, I have concluded that the Ramones will never have to go in the ska direction because that’s what this band sounded like. The Ramones playing ska. Every song was done in the ‘one, two, three go’ style that the Ramones made so famous during their career. However, Faintest Idea did it with horns. To that point, I’ve never heard such a tight brass section, fair dues to them. Of course, I can’t take anything away from the guitar, bass (also lead singer) and drums either and together they fused ska and punk very well. Songs I remember the most were “Bull in a China Shop” and “Youth” but all of the songs were played well and I was very much impressed.

Faintest Idea on stage

After a brief intermission where the keg of Road Crew ran dry, headliners Planet Smashers from Quebec, Canada took the stage. My first impression was that there was a Madness influence here. Not a surprise because many put forward the argument that Madness were one of the originators of ska. Madness or not, Planet Smashers stood well enough on their own. Plus, this band has a great sense of humour while on stage. Guitarist/lead singer Matt Collyer knew how to engage the crowd with his banter. However, it was definitely the music that was the main attraction. Not often does one get to see bands with two very tight brass sections on the same night but that’s what I saw. Songs that I remember most were “Life of the Party” and my personal favourite, “Super Orgy Porno Party.” You got to believe that anyone who comes out with a song with a title like that has to be very good and they were.

Planet Smashers

And from the other side

I left Trillians with a much better knowledge of ska music then I had two and a half hours earlier and I’m a much better person for it. But the night didn’t end there. Not feeling tired and knowing the Mrs 80sMetalman and our two granddaughters were asleep, I decided to hit another pub I knew was open later. I can’t remember the exact name, I had too many pints by then. While I was inside, both bands turned up and so I ended up drinking with them. That’s something that doesn’t happen to me every day. The members of both bands were great people and that rounded off a fantastic night.

Meeting up after hours

Next post: Toto- Isolation

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1502488199&sr=8-7&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: Dave Edmunds- Information

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by 80smetalman

Dave_Edmunds_Information_album_cover

Radio can be very misleading. In the summer of 1983, the single “Slipping Away” from Dave Edmunds’ “Information” got a considerable amount of airplay on radio. Then in the November, when I started my job working the Saturday and Sunday midnight to eight shift at a parking lot in Atlantic City, the radio seemed to play his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)” at least once during my first few shifts. Naturally, I assumed both songs were from this album, which I never bought for some reason. It was only when I did my preliminary research for the post that I discovered that “From Small Things” was actually on the album prior to this one. Shame, because I really liked that song but listening to “Information,” I am not disappointed too much.

Another historical point, back in the early 1980s, there was a brief heyday for what some would call “Rockabilly” music. Rock music with a country music style vibe but unlike Southern Rock, this genre doesn’t have the ferocity of it relative. That’s the category this Dave Edmunds seems to fall in and I would site the track “The Shape I’m In” as evidence. Saying that, he is still much more rock than the artist most known for rockabilly in the very early 1980s. Here’s my weird mind at work again but the whole rockabilly thing has made me think of her again. Juice Newton, who had several hits between 1981 and 83. Hell, she even covered a Dave Edmunds single, “Queen of Hearts” and her version doesn’t stray far from Dave’s musically.  Confession time! In 1981 and 2, I had a serious crush on Juice Newton.

juice

Enough of Juice for now, let’s get on to “Information. The best way to describe this album is Dave Edmunds would be the result if The Ramones played country music. Each song starts out in the one, two, three go style that the Ramones were famous for throughout the 1970s. The best examples of this are “Don’t You Double” and “Don’t Call Me Tonight.” The latter song has a guitar solo in the style of Eddie Cochran, making it sound a quite fifties but it’s still well done. Dave Edmunds is very good at keeping the tempo going on every song. Another interesting track is “Feel So Right” which has that Ramones one, two, three start and goes into the rockabilly sound. However, as the song progresses, you are led to conclude that if you didn’t know that Jeff Lynne of ELO fame had produced the album, you would have discovered it for yourself with said song. Then again, the more I think about it, I can hear a little bit of Lynne influence on “Slipping Away.” These factors combined make “Information” another album I regret not buying back then.

The Ramones

The Ramones

Track Listing:

  1. Slipping Away
  2. Don’t You Double
  3. I Want You Bad
  4. Wait
  5. The Watch on My Wrist
  6. The Shape I’m In
  7. Information
  8. Feel So Right
  9. What Have I Got to Do to Win?
  10. Don’t Call Me Tonight
  11. Have a Heart
Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds- guitar, vocals

Geraint Watkins- accordion

Jeff Lynne- bass, synthesizer

John David- bass

Dave Charles- drums

Paul Jones- harmonica

Richard Tandy- synthesizer

I think this was another hidden gem from 1983 that didn’t get the respect it deserved at the time. Maybe because rockabilly was already in decline or because of its unique sound, it was too hard rock for trendies but not hard enough for metalheads. All I know is that I enjoy “Information” and I know I would have liked the album if I first listened to it back then.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1983

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Great Punk Albums of 1981: The Plasmatics- Beyond the Valley of 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by 80smetalman

Beyond-the-valley-of-1984

During the mid 1980s, I was asked by some non-officianados of metal what was the difference between punk and metal. My response at the time was that metal musicians could play their instruments better. Yes, I know that was a very ignorant statement and I would gladly travel back in time and slap myself across the fact for saying it. The Plasmatics were and still are considered a punk rock band but after listening to their 1981 “Beyond the Valley of  1984,” I concede that I was dead wrong about punk bands having limited playing talent. This band can definitely play.

First of all, I would never expect a band who couldn’t play to begin their album with a complex sounding instrumental but that is exactly what “Incarnation” is. However after that, they launch into a full scale attack with the anti-right wing song “Masterplan,” which definitely gets the heart pumping. You only get a quick breather afterwards, just long enough for lead singer Wendy O. Williams to say “Come on all you head bangers,” before you are once again assaulted by the song of similar name. “Headbanger” does exactly what it says on the tin, it gets your head banging. That song isn’t the only one where Wendy entices you with a cool spoken intro. She does the same with “Fast Food Service” where she says, “If going all the way ain’t right, honey let me out tonight” before the band launches into a Ramones style one, two, three go power surge and though it only lasts less than a minute and a half, you are fulfilled at the end. But Miss Williams is more than just a smooth talker of lines, this album demonstrates that she can sign too.

“Hit Man,” “Living Dead” and “Sex Junkie” are all great tunes and are followed by the piste de resistance. If there was any doubt about the playing ability of the Plasmatics, it is smashed to bits with “Plasma Jam.” This live recording is simply killer and has me asking why isn’t Richie Stotts mentioned along with other great lead guitarists. Fortunately “Plasma Jam” is simply the climax and not the conclusion. That comes with the closing song “Pig is a Pig” which starts out with another Wendy speech ripping on journalists. Fair dues I say.

Track Listing:

1. Incarnation

2. Masterplan

3. Headbanger

4. Summer Nite

5. Nothing

6. Fast Food Service

7. Hit Man

8. Living Dead

9. Sex Junkie

10. Plasma Jam

11. Pig is a Pig

The Plasmatics

The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams- lead vocals, chainsaw

Wes Beech- rhythm guitar

Richie Stotts- lead guitar

Jean Beauvoir- bass, piano, synthesizers

Neal Smith- drums, percussion

In the mid 80s, punk and metal would have a love child named thrash but more said on that at the appropriate time. However, The Plasmatics were definitely one of the donors to that union as can be heard from this album “Beyond the Valley of 1984”

Next post: The Dead Kennedys- In God We Trust Inc

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 Punk Albums of 1980: Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by 80smetalman

Dead_Kennedys_-_Fresh_Fruit_for_Rotting_Vegetables_cover

As I have stipulated in many posts thus far, back in 1980 and before, the term punk was brandished around fairly liberally in regards to bands who brought a unique sound to the music world. However, there are very few of theses acts which I would actually call punk, Talking Heads being one of the exceptions. My idea of punk was always in the form of the Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Ramones and the band whose album I’m visiting now, The Dead Kennedys. For me, Punk has always been the loud aggressive hardcore sound that the forementioned bands provided.

I have to confess, I didn’t listen to the Dead Kennedys much back in the day. I knew and loved their more notable songs, including two from this album “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables,” “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” (something I wanted to do to two of mine) and “Holiday in Cambodia” but I never listened to their albums in real earnest. My interest in listening to the Dead Kennedys again came about 8 years ago when I listened to some political speeches by former lead singer Jello Biafra. Side note: His speech on school shootings gave me lots of inspiration for my new book “He Was Weird.” And of course, when I get to 1986and 87, I will be writing posts on the criminal charges brought against him on the Dead Kennedys’ “Frankenchrist” album. Still, that’s down the line so let’s look more closely at their debut album.

Like I said, I already knew the songs “Holiday in Cambodia” and “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” and hearing them in recent times, I love them even more. However, two songs does not an album make. The rest of this album is just as hardcore and kickass. You can name any track on the album and I would give it my thumbs up but the standouts for me are: “Forward to Death,” “Kill The Poor,” “California Uber Allies” and “Chemical Warfare.” I also really love the cover of Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas.” For me, this is what punk should be; loud, powerful and to the point. The combined total of the fourteen songs is just over thirty-three minutes.

Track Listing:

1. Kill the Poor

2. Forward to Death

3. When Ya Get Drafted

4. Let’s Lynch the Landlord

5. Drug Me

6. Your Emotions

7. Chemical Warfare

8. California Uber Allies

9. I Kill Children

10. Stealing People’s Mail

11. Funland At the Beach

12. Ill in the Head

13. Holiday in Cambodia

14. Viva Las Vegas

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

Jello Biafra- lead vocals

East Bay Ray- lead guitar

Klaus Flouride- bass, backing vocals

Ted- drums

6025- rhythm guitar on Ill in the Head

I slam danced my way for the entire thirty three minutes of this album. Thank God there wasn’t a stage for me to dive off of. But this is the effect “Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables” has on me as is the case with most hardcore punk. By 1980, punk was moving away from the UK and re-establishing itself on the West Coast of the US. This album is prove that it had done so successfully.

Next post: Aerosmith- Greatest Hits

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 1980: Alice Cooper- Flush the Fashion

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Acflush

 

Back in 1980, this was the one album I was always intending to buy but never got around to actually doing so. It was there on the music counter of my PX for a number of months so I ask myself now, “Why did I never buy it?” The funny thing is that I have no answer to that question especially as “Flush the Fashion” was the follow up to my all time favourite Alice Cooper album “From the Inside.” Maybe the reason is that except for it being at the PX, I don’t remember anyone outside mentioning the album at all and therefore didn’t take the chance. Having now finally listened to it, I can say that I regret that decision somewhat.

The early 1980s were dark days for Alice. He was heavily into drink and drugs and this was one of the albums he doesn’t even remember recording. His career had been on the wane before that as many of his albums, except for “From the Inside,” lacked that punch that was so in your face with his earlier albums. Saying that, he did have some Top 40 success during the late 70s.

“Flush the Fashion” was Alice Cooper’s attempt to go more new wave. Like The Ramones, all of the songs, with exception of “Pain,” are all well under the four minute mark and quite a few of those are less than three. But I must say, when I listened to the album, I do say that I liked it. “Clones” is a fantastic song and some others like “Model Citizen,” “Talk Talk” and “Aspirin Damage” are all very good songs. Unlike the more progressive sound from his previous album, this one has a more straight forward hard rock feel to it and it works on many levels. Still it’s not quite as good as that previous album or any of his more classic material.

Track Listing:

1. Talk Talk

2. Clones

3. Pain

4. Leather Boots

5. Aspirin Damage

6. Nuclear Infected

7. Grim Facts

8. Model Citizen

9. Dance Yourself to Death

10. Headlines

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper- lead vocals

Davey Johnstone- guitar

Fred Mandel- keyboards, guitar

Dennis Conway- drums

John Cooker Lopresti- bass

Howard Kaylan- backing vocals

Mark Volman- backing vocals

Keith Allison- backing vocals

Joe Pizzulo- backing vocals

Ricky Tierney- backing vocals

For Alice, “Flush the Fashion” was the beginning of a steep descent into near oblivion, which would only end a few more years down the line. I agree that he wasn’t at the top of his game when he recorded it but when you listen to it, you can definitely imagine how good his albums were when he was at the top of his game.

Next post: Queen- The Game

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 1980: The Ramones- End of the Century

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2013 by 80smetalman

Ramones_-_End_of_the_Century_cover

Throughout the 70’s there were a number of “family groups” who made the airwaves. We had the likes of The Jackson Five, The Osmonds and the De Franco family all of whom graced the pop charts in that decade. However, none of those mentioned, in my humble opinion, ever came close to matching The Ramones. Except for the Sex Pistols, The Ramones were the first punk band (at least that’s what they were labelled as back then) that I listened to. I have always dug their one, two, three go playing style with songs that totally stomp you into the ground in less than three minutes and it was their 1980 album, “End of the Century” that did it.

When I listened to the album again, I had the same reaction that I had when I first listened to it thirty plus years ago. I thought the first three tracks were all right but nothing to get terribly excited over and then “Chinese Rock” just came out and totally kicked my ass. Just like old times, I found myself wanting to slam dance around the living room. The rest of the album just kind of followed suit after that. “Let’s Go” and “I Can’t Make It On Time” were also stand outs as well but this album just happens to feature my all time favourite Ramones tune, “Rock And Roll High School.” I still love how they add the 50’s style harmonizing with the hard fast sound they’re known for. A great song because for the past three decades I continue to sing those lyrics:

“I just want to get some kicks

 “I just want to get some chicks.”

Track Listing:

1. Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio

2. I’m Affected

3. Danny Says

4. Chinese Rock

5. The Return of Jack and Judy

6. Let’s Go

7. Baby, I Love You

8. I Can’t Make It On Time

9. This Ain’t Havana

10. Rock And Roll High School

11. All the Way

12. High Risk Insurance

The Ramones

The Ramones

Joey Ramone- lead vocals

Johnny Ramone- lead guitar

Dee Dee Ramone- bass, backing vocals

Marky Ramone- drums

It can be argued that The Ramones were the early pioneers of speed metal. After all, not many bands, then or now have albums that contain twelve tracks but have a total length of less than 35 minutes. These guys were ahead of their time and many bands easily cite them as an influence. With an album like “End of the Century,” it’s easy to see why.

Next post: Alice Cooper- Flush the Fashion

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