Archive for The Spectrum

Tribute to Beru Revue- A Great Philadelphia Band

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

Beru Revue

Living in Southern New Jersey, I was very much influenced by what was happening in Philadelphia which was fifty miles away. I rooted for their sports teams, most of the time, except when the Phillies played the Dodgers, the Eagles played the Steelers or the 76ers played the Celtics. However, I have always been a die hard Flyers fan. Most importantly though, Philadelphia was where I went to see most of my concerts. Which is why most of the concerts in “Rock And Roll Children” take place at the Spectrum. Furthermore, Philadelphia radio stations were far superior to the one in Atlantic City, also I got treated to some of the bands coming out of there. One of these bands was Beru Revue.

The Philadelphia Spectrum, now sadly torn down.

Back in the mid 1980s, Beru Revue made several trips to South Jersey clubs and I was lucky enough to catch them three times. Their brand of rock, considered new wave by most was definitely unique. They combined great musicianship and if you listened to the lyrics, keen political awareness while maintaining a sense of humour. This gave them a pretty large cult following around the clubs of the Delaware Valley, (comprising Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.) One of their songs, “Hoods A Go Go For the 80s” got airplay on local radio, unfortunately, their fame never spread much beyond that. Although I did take two friends who were visiting from Rhode Island to see them and they were so impressed, they bought Beru’s EP.

Beru Revue:

Bob ‘Beru’ McCafferty- lead vocals

Greg ‘T-Bone’ Davis- guitar

Gerry Healy- guitar

Johnny Sacks- bass

Buzz Barkley- keyboards

Tommy ‘Sir Francis Drake’ Pinto- drums

This is my favourite Beru Revue song:

Hopefully, you’ve had a listen and agree with me that Beru Revue were far too good to be just a locally known band. Even to this day, I have cool memories of them. Maybe one reason they never made it nationally or internationally was the fact that Philadelphia has produced so many great musical acts over the years. One such band would get national attention in 1985, you’ll read about that in the near future and a year later, a Philly metal band would do the same. However, I lament as to what a great contribution to the music world Beru Revue would have been if they had been luckier.

Next post: 1985- The Backlash Begins

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: http://allkindlecloud.com/register/14510967-Rock_and_Roll_Children_pdf_premi.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1984: Deep Purple- Perfect Strangers

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2018 by 80smetalman

Destiny brought them back together again. At least that was the big advertising plug for the “Perfect Strangers” album from the newly reformed Deep Purple. Back in the day, this album split opinion among many metalheads. Older ones like me, (I was 23 then), embraced this album immediately. However, there was some dissent from many teen metalheads at the time. Some even said that Deep Purple never should have reformed. To them, “Perfect Strangers” was a disappointment.

Let me add my theory to why teen metalheads might have been disappointed with the album. See, all these youngsters ever heard about in regards to Deep Purple was the classic “Smoke on the Water.” For many, this was their only experience with the legends. Therefore, they expected the entire album to be like that classic and when Deep Purple showed their more progressive rock side, which they do on the album, these youngsters were put off.

My experience with Deep Purple, although late, was full on. Of course, I knew of “Smoke on the Water” but I also enjoyed their more progressive songs like, “Wring That Neck” and there’s my favourite, “Woman From Tokyo” which incorporates both the prog and hard rock they were famous for. While none of the songs on “Perfect Strangers” quite match up to my fave, they do a rather good job of fusing their progressive and hard rock sounds. I think what these young people didn’t understand was that the band couldn’t help but add a little prog rock into their music when they had one of the best keyboard players of all time.

Deep Purple try to explain to their listeners that they had progressed from the days of “Smoke on the Water.” The closing track and my pick for hidden gem, “Hungry Daze,” states this clearly with the lyrics:

“We all came out to Montreax, but that’s another song.” 

The opening track, “Knocking At Your Back Door” pretty much shapes the entire album. You have some killer guitar work from Blackmore, great keyboard wizardry from Lord, Ian Gillan’s vocals were as sharp as they had been ten years earlier and the bombarding rhythm section of Glover and Paice holding all together. It’ s a great song to begin the album with. Things just go on from there with the slightly harder “Under the Gun,” then the more progressive “Nobody’s Home”  which shows off Jon Lord’s best keyboard work and the more bluesy sounding “Mean Streak.

One of my biggest regrets after writing “Rock and Roll Children” comes with the title track. When I saw Deep Purple live in early 1985, there was a phenomenal light show accompanying the song. I loved how the lasers shot across the length of the Philadelphia Spectrum making different patters with the notes. I don’t think I did it justice in the story. It was the first single and an okay song. “A Gypsy’s Kiss” remind me of the old DP classic, “Burn” with Ritchie belting out a blinder of a solo as well as the trade-off with Jon Lord where guitar and keyboards go back and forth. Okay, there are two hidden gems on this album.

In regards to the other gem, I don’t think “Hungry Daze” should have been the closer on the album. It’s a good track but everything about the penultimate track, “Wasted Sunsets” screams closer! Just listen to the opening guitar solo and the way Gillan’s voice just takes over before relinquishing again to another blazing Blackmore solo. The slower blues beat with it bears even more witness that it should be a closer. Hell, even the title suggests it! Other than this track misappropriation, “Perfect Strangers” was a good album for them to come back on.

Track Listing:

  1. Knocking At Your Back Door
  2. Under the Gun
  3. Nobody’s Home
  4. Mean Streak
  5. Perfect Strangers
  6. A Gypsy’s Kiss
  7. Wasted Sunsets
  8. Hungry Daze

Deep Purple

Ian Gillan- lead vocals

Ritchie Blackmore- guitar

Roger Glover- bass

Jon Lord- keyboards

Ian Paice- drums

Was 1984 the right time for Deep Purple to return? I’ve always thought so. I admit, “Perfect Strangers” isn’t exactly “Machine Head” but it’s a good album. The musicianship of the five members is outstanding, proving that there’s more to them than “Smoke on the Water.”

Next post: Venom- At War With Satan

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Black Sabbath- Born Again

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-sabbathborn

The first concert I saw at the Philadelphia Spectrum after getting out of the marines was Black Sabbath. Having heard the album they were promoting on the tour, “Born Again,” I already knew that former Deep Purple lead singer, Ian Gillan, would be fronting them. However, I still thought it was a bit strange that when they came out for the second encore, they played “Smoke on the Water.” Actually, that strange feeling lasted only for a few seconds because the song worked as did Gillan singing some of the more classic Sabbath songs. I thought he did a particularly good job on “Heaven and Hell.”

This begs the question, if Ian Gillan sounded so good for Sabbath, then why did so many of the so-called rock critics slate it and why isn’t this album considered one of their best? Let me address the second point. When I hear “Born Again,” I don’t immediately start pining for the more classic Sabbath albums like “Paranoid” or “Heaven and Hell” but I won’t put it on the same level as those more memorable albums either. It’s a great album but not a classic. As for the critics, well, what do they know?

Ian Gillan’s Deep Purple influence comes out immediately on the album. “Trashed” could have been a Purple song. At least until Tony Iommi goes into one of his trademark guitar solos in the middle of the song. Plus, I can say the same thing for “Disturbing the Priest,” although the instrumental track in between those two, “Stonehenge” tries too hard to copy “E5150.” My hypothesis here is that Tony and Geezer let Ian sing according to his style and bent their guitar and bass playing styles around the vocals. Personally, I think they do a damned fine job of it as well. This really shows through on the track “Zero the Hero.” Unlike some critic, I don’t find the song embarrassing, I quite like it, especially how Tony Iommi nails the guitar solo on it.

My favourite track on the album has to be “Digital Bitch.” I love the way, they take Gillan’s shrieks and Tony’s guitar and fuse them together. The title track is a more slower bluesier number. Black Sabbath have been doing these for years except in the past, they did it with a much heavier guitar. They don’t do that so much with this one except for the chorus. At the time, it was believed that this would be the closest Black Sabbath would come to a power ballad. Ian Gillan’s voice suits the song well but then he is definitely if not the best, one of the best vocalists in rock or metal.

Now I haven’t forgotten to mention the interesting album cover. After all, I had it on a t-shirt. I always thought it very amusing even if the American religious community didn’t. Now, I wish I still had that shirt.

Track Listing:

  1. Trashed
  2. Stonehenge
  3. Disturbing the Priest
  4. The Dark
  5. Zero the Hero
  6. Digital Bitch
  7. Born Again
  8. Hot Line
  9. Keep it Warm
Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi- guitar

Ian Gillan- vocals

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Note: Bill Ward would not tour with the band for this album. Replacing him for the tour was former ELO drummer Bev Bevan

I wonder what would have happened if Ian Gillan had stuck around with Sabbath for a few more albums. Would musical history as we know it been changed? Hard to say. As we know, Ian would leave Sabbath after this and rejoin his mates Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover from Rainbow and reform that band they were in together during the early 1970s. Ian Gillan might have only recorded one album with Black Sabbath but it is definitely one to remember.

Next post: Because they supported Black Sabbath when I saw them, I thought it right that it be Quiet Riot- Mental Health

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

 

 

 

Other Great Metal Influences, Part 3 Aerosmith

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2011 by 80smetalman

Of all the rock bands that existed throughout the 70s and 80s, there has been no one to match the effect Aerosmtith have had. If you were to read their story without knowing them, you would be convinced that it was a totoal work of fiction. Aerosmith are the ultimate rock and roll story of fame to bust to fame again.

Aerosmith first appeared on the rock scene in 1973, with the hit “Dream On” which is still popular enough for them to play as an encore in their kick ass live shows. Throughout the mid to late 70s, they had a string of albums that established them as one of the top rock bands of the decade. For me, it was hearing the “Toys in the Attic” album which first turned me onto them and taught me that Aerosmith were for real.

Unfortuately, like a lot of great artists, Aerosmith fell into the trappings of stardom and slipped into the minefield of sex, drugs and rock and roll. By the band’s own admission, by the late 70s, they were making records to pay their drug dealers. This led to their rapid decline in the very late 70s and early 80s. Of course during that time, was the infamous bottle incident where Aeromith said they would never come back to Philadelphia again.

During the period in the early to mid 80s where Aerosmith were almost banished to the realms of obscurity, they had a couple of line up changes which didn’t help them either. However, in 1986, things got better for the band. First, the original line up reformed.

Steve Tyler- vocals

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitman- guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums

While the album “Done With Mirrors” did okay, it wasn’t a best seller. However, it did introduce a new generation of metal heads to this classic band. It was on this tour, where I had the pleasure of seeing them live. Even though they hadn’t quite forgiven Philadelphia for the bottle incident, they still played a killer show. However, their big break back to the big time came from a totally unexpected source, when they were asked by rap artists Run DMC to join them in recording a copy of the Aerosmith classic, “Walk This Way.” Since then, Aerosmith have been unstoppable in their quest for world domination and stand alone on the plateau of great artists.

Many heavy metal acts since the 80s have sited these guys as one of their influences and acts still do. Aerosmith’s contribution to rock and heavy metal has been beyond all comparison.

 Next post: Rush

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

Take a Trip Through Heavy Metal History

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2011 by 80smetalman

I have come to the conclusion that over the past few months I have been writing this blog, that I have been nothing more than a glorified newspaper columnist. While I will continue to comment on things relating to heavy metal,  I have nearly forgotten that the main point of the blog is to promote my book Rock And Roll Children and have finally figured out a way on how to do this properly.

There are many great heavy metal blogs on the net, including some right here on WordPress. They cover metal both old and new alerting readers to great heavy metal releases and news as well as the occasional trip back in history. My blog will now take you through the history of heavy metal in the 1980s, thus keeping in line with the name of the blog. I will mention great albums of the decade and the artists who made them. I will also revisit many of the events from the 80s which helped to shape the music and I will do all I can to post twice a week.

Let us start by paying tribute to a great concert venue from the era. The Spectrum in Philadelphia was the sight of many a great event from when it was built in 1967 to it’s demolition in 2009.  During its 42 years, it hosted many great happenings in sports and music. It was the place where the Philadelphia Flyers lifted their first Stanley Cup in 1974 and where the 76ers won at least one of teir NBA Crowns. However, for me, it was the scene of some fantasitc metal concerts from 1983 -86. I rocked and partied to great shows by Twisted Sister, Dio, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and many more to name a few. There were many other great shows both before and after as well.

I am sure many an old metalhead like myself shed a silent tear when this great monument to heavy metal was demolished. I look back in time and still immagine metalheads all partying under the Rocky statue swapping stories, having pre concert parties and even being accosted by Jesus freaks. So when you travel down metal memory lane with me, take a second to pay homage to the venue that gave thousands some great metal memories.