Archive for Van Halen

Your Opinion: Would It Have Been Cool if HSAS Continued After One Album?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

HSAS

Thinking more about my previous post on the only album from HSAS, I continue to speculate what would it have been like if they didn’t stop at one album. In the last post, I put forward the historical evidence that Journey went completely downhill and that Sammy went onto join Van Halen and received a lot of unfair criticism for it. My feelings are that they would have gone on to make at least two more killer albums before any super group egos began to get in the way. Hopefully, I might be wrong there. So, what I’m doing is putting the question out there to the cosmos. Would any of you liked to have heard more albums from HSAS and gone to see them live? Let me know your opinions and don’t be shy! I will look at both sides of the argument with equal eyes.

Now, in two days I’ll be off to Download and have come to an interesting situation. It was my intention that on the Sunday, I was going to see the top four bands on the main stage so I can get a good position for Aerosmith. Having not seen them since 1990, I was prepared to give Slayer who are headlining on the second stage a miss. Particularly because I have seen them at Bloodstock twice in the past three years. However, Slayer will be on before Aerosmith so I do have the chance to see them. To throw a further spanner in the works, I really want to see Airbourne and Steel Panther who are on the main stage before Slayer but had not heard of the band between Steel Panther and Aerosmith, Alter Bridge, who are on when Slayer goes on. I know that I can easily move stages but I fear I won’t get a good place for Aerosmith if I do. Furthermore, I have familiarized myself with Alter Bridge and am very impressed with what I heard. So, I’m tempted to stay and see them. What would you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Van Halen- 1984

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by 80smetalman

History is the reason why I am beginning the journey through 1984 with Van Halen’s sixth album, which is also named after this same year. Going back to in time, minutes after the bells rang in 1984 as the new year, MTV started the year by playing the first single from the album, “Jump.” Like many a metalhead at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the large amount of keyboards used in the song. However, I didn’t think the song was bad and Eddie proved he knew his way around a keyboards almost as well as he does his guitar. That’s how the year started for me. I then proceeded to get rather sloppy drunk as you do on the new year.

After “Jump,” things go back to more traditional Van Halen territory, with one exception, which I’ll get to. “Panama” was also released as a single and I definitely like it more than “Jump.” Eddie works his magic with the guitar and David Lee Roth uses his mouth in the only way he knows. I’m not just talking about his singing either. I’ve always liked his talking bit in the middle of “Panama.” “I reached down and put the seat back.” It doesn’t translate well here in print but if you listen to the song, you’ll see what I mean.

“Top Jimmy” and “Drop Dead Legs” are both good songs and I like the little guitar bits done on both songs. However, whenever I hear “Drop Dead Legs,” my mind immediately goes to when I heard the song used in an episode of “Family Guy.” For those who don’t know, it’s the episode where Brian and Stewie travel to a parallel universe and find a world where Meg is hot.

Drop Dead Legs played to this scene

Another good thing about both of those songs is that they lead beautifully to my favourite song on the album, “Hot for Teacher.” Every thing you loved about Van Halen is found on this song. Roth’s little quips between the verses and don’t forget, he can sing some too. Eddie plays the longest solo of all the songs on the album and very well too and of course we can never forget the rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen. While these two remain tight on the whole album, they seem especially so on “Hot forTeacher.”

After my favourite song comes the other exception. “I’ll Wait” is another keyboard dominated song but I never disliked it. If Van Halen had been making albums in the 1970s, many people would have used this song to label them a progressive rock band. Still, Eddie plays a decent solo on it. “I’ll Wait” leads the way for the album to go out on the good foot. I do like the intro on “Girl Gone Bad” and “House of Pain” is a suitable closer. For me, though I hadn’t listened to “Diver Down” at the time, I still drew the conclusion that “1984” was three steps up from it. Now that I have listened to that album, I will stay say that this one is the better album.

Track Listing:

  1. 1984
  2. Jump
  3. Panama
  4. Top Jimmy
  5. Drop Dead Legs
  6. Hot for Teacher
  7. I’ll Wait
  8. Girl Gone Bad
  9. House of Pain

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- lead vocals

Eddie Van Halen- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums, backing vocals

This was how my 1984 began. There aren’t too many better ways to ring in a new year but what I do know now is that Van Halen’s “1984” opened the port hole to all the great music that would come our way in this year.

Next post: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

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 Albums That Were Lost in the Cassette Player

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

For those who have been following me for awhile, you will know that back in the early 198os, I owned a lot of cassettes due to my very limited living space when I was in the marines. Even after I got out, while I began buying vinyl again, I still bought a good amount of cassettes. My logic at the time was you couldn’t play records in the car and I need my travelling music. While cassettes had the advantage of being very compact, you could fit one in your shirt pocket, they had the disadvantage of being susceptible of destructing. They could easily get mangled in the player and often times brake. I found this extremely frustrating. While the percentage of cassettes lost was small compared to the number I owned, it still upset me when I lost one to the machine. So, as an in between the years post, I will play homage to all the great albums that were mangled by a tape player.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

Others that succumbed but I don’t have pictures for

Slayer- South of Heaven

The Dreggs- Unsung Heroes

The Who- recorded from the radio

Copperhead

There could be more but these are the ones I definitely remember. However, other cassettes weren’t mangled in the machine but wore out another way. When played they began to have a hiss sound on them. Eventually, this hiss got louder and present on more of the tape until it was unplayable. There was the odd tape where that started but it stopped and played normal again. Unfortunately, others didn’t so here is a tribute to those cassettes that were lost in this manner.

As you can see, many a great album fell victim to the dreaded tape player one way or the other. Thank God for CDs and more modern means of listening to music as I don’t have that problem anymore.

Next post: 1984

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

1983- Triumphs and Tragedies

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by 80smetalman
The Alamo

The Alamo

The only tragedy I remember from 1983 actually happened the year before. Due to my military service, I didn’t find out about it until 83 when I read about all the fallout from it. I’m talking about when Ozzy Osbourne pissed on the Alamo. He claims he was drunk as a skunk, (I’ve never seen a drunk skunk so I have nothing to compare it to.) Ozzy also said he didn’t know it was such a national shrine, well it is in Texas. The result of his action got him banned from the city of San Antonio for ten years, although that was lifted a few years later when he made a large donation to the Alamo charity.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy was already getting himself a reputation outside the heavy metal world for the wrong reasons. His infamous biting the head off a bat was making its rounds. Of course, the religious element in America embellished things further. There were rumours he blew up goats on stage and at one show, he supposedly threw a puppy into the crowd and said he wouldn’t sing anymore until the audience killed the puppy. While this was all untrue hype, it didn’t help Ozzy when he actually did something for real. So for Ozzy and somewhat in the metal world, this was a bit of a tragedy because it overshadowed the two albums he released in the year. I’ll be covering those soon enough.

Now for the triumphs. It seems that 1983 was a cool year for festivals. I got to go to two of them. The first one, I mentioned when I posted about the Nantucket and Doc Holliday albums a few months ago. Those two bands topped the bill at the Mayfair Festival at Jacksonville, North Carolina. The other five bands remain pretty much unheard of with the bottom three being cover bands. So, I thought I’d include them in this little piece of history. They were Skeet Kelly, Roxy, Avalanche- who did a great cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal,” Peer Pressure- who did a reasonably decent cover of John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” and Eraxle- who closed their set with a fantastic cover of Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man.” I consumed loads of alcohol and there were some interesting events between the bands like a wet t-shirt and a men’s ugly legs competition. A fine day from what I remember.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Military commitments kept me from attending this festival but my sister went. I tried to pick her brains but she didn’t remember much. In the June, Journey headlined in Philadelphia and with them were John Cougar, Sammy Hagar, The Tubes and Bryan Adams. From what she can remember, my sister says that Journey sounded great and had a fantastic light show. John Cougar and Bryan Adams were both very good as was Sammy Hagar despite his red spandex. Unfortunately, The Tubes weren’t up to the rest of those who played that day. If this line up played in more cities than Philly, I would love to hear your account of the day.

Journey Live

Journey Live

It didn’t matter that I was in the military for this one, I couldn’t have gone to the US Festival because it was 3000 miles away in California. The US Festival was a three day festival where the first day consisted of new wave bands, the second day’s line up was heavy metal and the third day’s was a rock line up. From what I heard, all three days were fantastic although I do recall an interview with a local sheriff saying that he was going to try to ban such events following the festival. I didn’t think about it then, but that was the first salvo fired at music in the 1980s. I think the best thing to do is just to let you look at the line up for the three days and I’m sure you will be just as awestruck as I was.

Us Festival Showbill

Us Festival Showbill

I did get to the final festival in 1983. This was my first Donington Festival as I happened to be in England at the time. From my memory, I can recall that Diamond Head were all right and Dio were very good. I didn’t twig on who the lead singer was until they played “Heaven and Hell” but that was okay. They were brilliant. Then came Twisted Sister. I can still remember Dee Snider’s quip: “We’re not Culture Club or any of those gay boys or Duran Duran nor any of those other wimps. We’re Twisted Sister and we play heavy metal rock and roll!” Of course I knew there must of been something about them when they were introduced as Twisted Fuckin’ Sister. Their music was great too.

For me, ZZ Top took the concert. They played a magnificent combination of old and new material during their time on stage. Of course it helped that they played my two favourite ZZ Top tunes, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and “La Grange.” They also played quite a few songs off their new “Eliminator” album so they basically rocked. The big let down after ZZ Top was Meatloaf. I was not impressed, he just sounded terrible that day. Worse, my friend’s English girlfriend didn’t realize that they ran a special train after the concert so out of fear of getting stuck, we left early and missed headliners, Whitesnake. I remain gutted but overall, Donington 1983 was a kick ass day and proved that Great Britain could rock.

donfest83

 

That was 1983 in a nutshell. The only real tragedy was Ozzy pissing on a national shrine but all the great concert festivals more than compensated for it. Just posting about it has me psyched for Bloodstock in two weeks. It was no wonder I was super excited when I got out of the marines that year.

Next post: Great Soundtracks

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 1983: Blackfoot- Siogo

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Blackfoot_siogo

Further evidence to support the fact that Southern Rock was becoming a non entity north of the Mason-Dixon Line is to be found with Blackfoot’s 1983 album, “Siogo.” It’s also yet another reason why I was glad I got to spend three months in the South. In the years running up to 83, Blackfoot had been slowly but surely gaining attention in the North thanks to their three best known albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.” However, when I did return North in the middle of the year, it seemed that no one had known they put out a new album and it was fortunate I had bought it in North Carolina because it would have been tougher to find it in New Jersey.

“Siogo” marked a slight change of direction for Blackfoot in the sense that they acquired keyboards player Ken Hensley. Many metalheads and hard rockers normally panic when a band known for hard power chords from the guitar adds keyboards. There is the belief that said band is selling out, going commercial or whatever and Van Halen in 1986 proves that point but that story is for another time. Well, you can all rest easy because when I first heard the single from the album, “Send Me and Angel,” I thought the keyboards went well with the hard crunching guitar that Blackfoot was known for. Everything else associated with Blackfoot was in place, the great guitar solos, Rick Medlocke’s unmistakable vocals and the rhythm section provided by Walker and Spires.

Let me get right to the point, “Siogo” is a great album and it’s unfortunate it has been overlooked so long. It also proves that the addition of a keyboard does not destroy the sound of a hard and heavy band if employed properly. Dio is the ultimate example but again, that’s for another time. Proof of this with this album lies in the track “Goin’ in Circles.” You can hear the keyboards in support at the beginning when the guitars pound in on the intro to the song. They add flavour to it and then go on a support role as the song gets into full gear and there’s a killer guitar solo on it. If you want to hear Hensley at his keyboard best, then the track “We’re Going Down” is the one. His keyboard solo is the highlight of a song that is no less rocky. The rest of the album is more old school Blackfoot if there is such a thing. Full of trademark intros, see “Teenage Idol” and “Crossfire” here and straight forward, blow your eardrums hard rock music. I said it before but it still applies with “Siogo,” Blackfoot could be called “Southern Metal.”

When I first looked at the track listing and saw a track called “Sail Away,” I thought that this was going to be some sort of ballad. After all, there are plenty of songs with similar titles that are. However, the song that bears the title on this album is nothing of the sort. Okay, maybe the first two notes of the intro may give that impression but the rest of the song just rocks! And don’t be fooled by the lyrics of “White Man’s Land.” It’s nothing racist, the song, at least to me, is a dig at the rat race and I can definitely see where they’re coming from here. Besides, the song reminds me a little of the classic “Train, Train.”

Track Listing:

  1. Send Me an Angel
  2. Crossfire
  3. Heart’s Grown Cold
  4. We’re Goin’ Down
  5. Teenage Idol
  6. Goin’ in Circles
  7. Run For Cover
  8. White Man’s Land
  9. Sail Away
  10. Drivin’ Fool
Blackfoot

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- lead vocals, guitar

Charlie Hargrett- guitar

Ken Hensley- keyboards, backing vocals

Greg T. Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, backing vocals

I’m afraid that I’m going to have to say, “Damn Yankees” for the fact that this album has been overlooked up North. Fortunately, I was in the South so I didn’t miss out on it, to which I’m glad. “Siogo” is definitely a Blackfoot album that deserves a mention when you say the band’s name.

Next post: Molly Hatchet- No Guts, No Glory

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 1983: The Scorpions- Blackout

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

 220px-Scorpions_Backout

First of all, let me say a well done to Deke for picking out all four albums on display in the last post. He gets 50 80smetalman points for that, not that they’re worth anything in the real world. For those who didn’t get all four and many got some, the albums were Van Halen I, Twisted Sister- “Stay Hungry,” Led Zeppelin- “Remastered” and Grace Slick- “Dreams.” Thank you all who participated and I hope everyone is happy that they finally got to see those famous ammo cans. It is really a cool way to store cassettes.

Now onto the album. “Blackout” by the Scorpions might have been released in 1982 but it brought my 1983 in rocking style. I spent the first seven weeks of the year at a small camp near Mt Fuji, Japan so music news was something scarce. It was when I returned to Okinawa that I heard this album though I can’t remember if I first heard it at Sgt Pepper’s or Kin Loo. It’s not important, what was important was the fact that when I heard “Blackout,” I was totally blown away.

It just happens that the album starts out with my favourite Scorpions song of all time. The title track is such an energy producing song that it’s only right that it should open the album. I mean talk about power chords. What is really cool is that after your ears are pummeled by “Blackout,” the album doesn’t stop to catch a breath but immediately goes into another great song, “Can’t Live Without You.” This song praises the fans who buy Scorpions records and see them live. And as the song goes, I do play an imaginary guitar when I hear these songs.

Things continue nicely over the next four songs. The single, “No One Like You,” follows on perfectly from its predecessors and goes very well into the next few after. After those three harder songs, things go slightly melodic with my second favourite Scorpions of all time, “Arizona.” The power chords are very melodically done in such away that I just say ‘wow’ each time I hear the song. Maybe they should have released that one as a single. After “Arizona,” there is what seems to be a concept song in “China White” before closing with the eerie sounding ballad, “When the Smoke is Going Down,” which is the best song to end things with on this great album.

One constant which is heard on every song on “Blackout” is the great lead guitar work from Mathias Jabs and at times Rudy Schenker. Jabs has been called underrated by many metal fans and the way he smokes the finger board here supports that statement. As always, I won’t take anything away from the rest of the band, especially as I have always considered Klaus Meine to be one of the best in the business.

Track Listing:

  1. Blackout
  2. Can’t Live Without You
  3. No One Like You
  4. You Give Me All I Need
  5. Now
  6. Dynamite
  7. Arizona
  8. China White
  9. When the Smoke is Going Down
The Scorpions

The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm and lead guitar

Matthias Jabs- lead and rhythm guitar

Francis Buchholz- bass

Herman Rarebell- drums

I can’t think of any way better to start of a year than with “Blackout” by the Scorpions. It is such a great metal album and it brought my 1983 in just right. However, even after all these years, I still don’t grow tired of it.

Next post: Billy Squier- Emotions in Motion

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: Van Halen- Diver Down

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

Van_Halen_-_Diver_Down.svg

It was while on liberty in Toulon, France that I saw Van Halen’s fifth album in a record store there. I made a mental note about buying it then one of my marine buddies actually did. After giving “Diver Down” a listen, he proclaimed that the album sucked and had another person corroborate his feelings on it. That was enough to put me off buying it. Furthermore, when returning to the US two months later, hearing the first single, “Pretty Woman” didn’t inspire me with confidence and neither did the follow up single, “Dancing in the Street.” In fact, those songs gave me the impression that Van Halen had given up song writing and were simply getting by covering other’s songs. Then about a year later, I heard “Happy Trails” on a bar’s juke box and thought, “Now I’m definitely not going to buy this.” So, last Sunday night was the first time ever, that I listened to the full album.

Let me say that “Diver Down” doesn’t suck. However, it’s not as good as their previous four albums either. One thing I noticed and I wished I knew back then not to trust a song played on commercial radio, is that the radio version “Dancing in the Street” had much of Eddie’s guitar solo removed and that’s a shame. I think that song has his best solo on the album. While it may not be as good as it’s predecessor’s, there are some glimpses of what made Van Halen great in the early 80s. The first two tracks had me thinking that maybe this album wasn’t going to be as bad as I first imagined. There are three instrumentals on the album, nothing like “Eruption” but “Cathedral” is quite good. “The Full Bug” is a good one towards the end and it could have been the closer but now that I see that “Happy Trails” is at the end, I think that maybe they were trying to go out with a sense of humour so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

As for the band, David Lee Roth’s vocals are just as good and he stamps his personality on the album. Then again, his ego couldn’t be ignored and his limited vocal ability fits in well with the songs. As usual, Eddie has spots where his guitar work shines, it’s just unfortunate that there isn’t a cool solo with every song. Needless to say but the rhythm section of Alex and Michael is as solid as the other albums no faulting that. So, my verdict is that “Diver Down” is not bad. It would be even better if they had not included “Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now.)” A totally unnecessary song in my view.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Have all the Good Times Gone
  2. Hang’ em High
  3.  Cathedral
  4. Secrets
  5. Intruder
  6. Pretty Woman
  7. Dancing in the Street
  8. Little Guitars (instrumental)
  9. Little Guitars
  10. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
  11. The Full Bug
  12. Happy Trails
Van Halen

Van Halen

David Lee Roth- vocals, synthesizer, harmonica, acoustic guitar on The Full Bug

Eddie Van Halen- guitars, backing vocals

Michael Anthony- bass, backing vocals

Alex Van Halen- drums

If I had ignored my buddy thirty three years ago and had bought “Diver Down,” it would have gone into my rotation. I listen to albums in a strict order, don’t ask. I wouldn’t have listened to it once and then forgotten it. However, when I did listen to it, it wouldn’t have been with the same enthusiasm as the first four Van Halen albums.

Next post: Loudness- Devil Soldier

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