Sunday, April 30, 2006

Iron Maiden favorites

To kick off Iron Maiden week here are two simple questions.

What is your favorite Iron Maiden album?

What is your favorite Iron Maiden album cover or covers? (This includes covers of singles as well as lp covers)

My favorite album is the Number of the beast.

My favorite album covers are Powerslave, the Trooper, Live after death and Aces High.

Coming up Monday will be my review of Maiden's Killers.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

What's coming up?

It has been a while since I have done a theme week here at my blog, but next week it will be Iron Maiden week. I have never done a theme week dedicated to a single band before, but I will give it a go and see what happens. I do have topics picked out and have started a few of them, but I am not sure of the order. So here are the topics that I hope to write about during the upcoming week.

*My 20 year album review for May will be Iron Maiden's Somewhere in time. I will be writing this one like all of the other 20 year old album reviews that I do once a month. This means I break it down by each song and see if the album still holds up.

*Album reviews for Iron Maiden's Killers and Brave new world.

*My top twenty favorite Maiden songs.

*Something about Iron Maiden's role and importance in the heavy metal scene.

*Plus one other topic that I have yet to determine. This one will likely be brief as several of the others will be longer posts.

In case you were counting that makes six topics which means I will be taking a day off one day during the week. I think I will have to do this to assure that I get all of these written this week.

If you like Maiden then stick around if not then stick around anyhow or come back the next week. I am sure that I will be right back to my normal nonsense in no time at all.

Friday, April 28, 2006


No, I am not referring to that skit from the movie Airplane, but rather something about music. I have asked about bands that you think are overrated or underrated before. However this is something slightly different.

Are there any bands that you liked years ago and now you listen to them and think they are not as good as you once thought they were?

The opposite would be to think of any bands that you didn't think were that good years ago and now you listen to them and think they really are better than you gave them credit for?

I can think of two for each category.

Two bands that I overrated are Exciter and Grim Reaper. Exciter are a Canadian speed metal band that I loved from say 85-88. I listened to them recently and realized they had some good songs, but a lot of average ones as well. I used to love Grim Reaper back in the mid-80's as well. Now I listen to them and although the guitarist was good, the singer was annoying and their writing was poor at times.

Two bands I underrated were Trouble and Cinderella. I never got into Trouble in the 80's because I was into a lot of speed metal and I thought they were dull. Now I listen to them and I like their Sabbath inspired music and they got better with each album. I can't wait for their reunion album to come out this summer. I thought Cinderella were weak glam metal in the 80's. While I don't think Night Songs is anything great, I do feel that Long, cold winter and Heartbreak station are fantastic albums. Tom Keifer has a great rock voice and they are strong song writers. Although they have as much to do with a classic rock sound as they do with hard rock.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hawk-s/t, 1986

As I wrote in yesterday's Hit Parader topic, this was the band featuring Doug Marks of the Metal Method instructional videos fame. Doug Mark's had a band called Hawk from 82-85 and it also featured drummer Scott Travis (Judas Priest, Fight and Racer X) and bass player Lonnie Vincent (Bulletboys, King Kobra). However this version of the band never got signed and they broke up. About a year later it was suggested to Doug that he record an album to show his ability and sell it on the same ads he used to sell his videos. He hired vocalist David Fefolt (who later worked with Alex Masi) and drummer Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver, G-n-R, the Cult) to play with him. Doug handeled both guitar and bass duties. This used to be sold on cassette and album only from the Metal Method ads. I believe it went out of print and just a few years ago Metal Mayhem records picked up the rights to release it on cd and that is the version that I own. Metal Mayhem always descriptions on their ebay write-ups where they name bands that their artists sound like. Their description of this album listed it as being like Dio and Dokken. David Fefolt sounds a little like Ronnie James Dio and the music is a little like Dokken at times, but it's still overall different. The music is competent, but a bit too safe and really lacks emotion and spirit for the most part. It has it's moments for sure, but ultimately it's really just a novelty because of the fact that Doug Marks appeared in ads in Hit Parader for years. If you pick it up cheap then it may be worth it, but otherwise it's just a semi-interesting story and an okay album. I have to wonder what the original Hawk sounded like because I believe these songs were written just for this album and were never performed by the first version of Hawk.

The last of the favorite albums

This will be the last of the favorite albums, I really promise this time. I am running out of band's that most people will like. So there are six this time, just pick your favorite by each band.

Led Zeppelin
Guns and Roses

Dio-Holy Diver is maybe a hair better than the Last in line
Queensryche-Operation Mindcrime
Led Zeppelin-Houses of the Holy
Slayer-Reign in blood
Guns and Roses-Appetite for destruction

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Still more favorite albums

Here is the last round of favorite albums. Just list your favorite album by the following bands.


Ozzy-Diary of a madman
Rush-Permanent Waves
Megadeth-Rust in peace

It came from the pages of Hit Parader

This month I decided to write about an ad that appeared in Hit Parader all the time in the mid to late 80's. I am actually looking at a copy of the December, 1986 issue and towards the back is in an ad for the Metal Method Guitar tapes with Doug Marks. At the top is a picture of Doug Marks himself complete with big poofy bleached blond hair that looks a lot like cotton candy. As a teen I always wondered who is Doug Marks? If he is so good that he can teach guitar and slap his lessons on piles of videotapes then why isn't he in a band? Well, about two years ago I read an interview with Mr. Marks and he answered these questions and more. Doug Marks was a guitar teacher living in Colorado in the early 80's and some of his students asked him why he didn't move to LA and try to get into the surging hard rock scene. So he picked up his belongings and went to LA. Once there he started a band called Hawk. The band was around from 82-85 before breaking up due to frustration over not getting signed. Doug Marks decided he would go back to teaching rather than keep trying to make it with a band. He came up with the bright idea to stick his guitar lessons on vhs tapes and teach heavy metal guitar. So Metal Method was born and soon Doug Marks was teaching a lot of aspiring young metal fans how to play guitar. In 1986 it was suggested that Doug record an album so people hear his playing ability. Even though his band had broke up months earlier, he hired some musicians and recorded the album under the name Hawk. I have this recording on CD and will review it here some time over the next weeks. Anyway Doug Marks still sells these things and he says he has made a lot of money from them. So now you probably know way more than you ever wanted to know about Doug Marks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More favorite albums

What is your favorite album by the following bands?

Black Sabbath
Motley Crue
Def Leppard
Deep Purple

Black Sabbath-Sabbath, bloody sabbath. Although sometimes it changes and I may say Volume four or the debut.

Motley Crue-Too fast for love. Love that raw sound and the cowbell.

Anthrax-It's a tough choice, but Spreading the disease.

Def Leppard-Pyromania, but High and dry is close.

Deep Purple-In rock. The cover is great as well.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Kidd Blue- Big Trouble, 2006

These recordings were actually done in the late 80's and were never released. Kidd Blue signed a two album deal with Metal Mayhem records late last year. Both albums are to be comprised of material recorded by the band in the late 80's. These guys were from San Francisco, but never got signed. I bought this one on eBay from Metal Mayhem just the other week. I was overall pleased with it as the band rocked more than I figured they would. It's commerical hard rock and the closest comparisons might be Hurricane, Keel and Firehouse. There are ten songs total and my favorite are the title track, "Crystal Tears" and "Rocket Roulette". At their best the band is very tight with strong song structures, smooth vocals and some interesting guitar solos. There are only two songs that aren't that great. "Hold me" is just very average and "Fatal Attraction" contains keyboards that make it sound like the band really didn't know how to fit them in to the song. The sound quality varies a little from song to song, but is overall very good. Kidd Blue might not be completely different from everything you have heard. Yet they are good solid hard rock and I know that I will be listening to this one several times over the next few weeks.

The worst concert experience: A memory

This is actually a reprint of a post I did back in the fall when no one was reading my blog. It's one of my favorite posts because it's something that happened to me. I apologize for how wordy it is, hope you can make it through.
It was August of 1992 and I was going to start college in a few weeks. I was 22 and I had bounced around trying to figure out what to do before deciding to go to college. The four years of full time work had allowed me to save enough money to pay for college on my own. I had gone to zero concerts in 1991, but I had managed to go to several shows all in the summer of 1992. One of the best shows I saw was Wrathchild America at Hammerjacks in maybe June or July. They were really tight and just tore through songs from their two albums plus some new material. Well, in August I heard that Wrathchild was going to be playing at a speedway in south central Pennsylvania about half an hour from where I live. Along with Wrathchild were Harpo who were a veteran hard rock band from central Pa. and Cry were a young band from York, Pa. whose demo had gotten a positive write-up in Rip magazine earlier that Summer. Also on the bill were Trouble Walkin, Spellbound and some other local band I had never heard of. A friend of mine lived about ten minutes from the speedway and asked if I wanted to go so I was certainly up for seeing Wrathchild again.The day came and it was cloudy, but I was hopeful the sun would come out. I went with my friend, his wife, his younger brother and two of his friends. Now I have to tell you that I live kind of out in nowhere and this speedway was further out in nowhere. As soon as we pull up there are two security guards who have us get out of the car while they search it to make sure we aren't trying to smuggle in beer. Why is it that the least important events tend to have the most serious security people? Anyway that was overwith and we went in. The stage was actually a fair size and there was an open area in front of it for people to be and metal stands behind that. We sat on the stands and waited as the temperature was dropping and the skies were getting dark. Soon enough the rain started and people tried to find shelter. It rained for most of an hour and then stopped. During the rain, I had overheard someone say that Harpo and Cry weren't going to be playing yet no formal announcement of this had been made. Once the rain cleared, equipment was set up and a band called Spellbound came on. I think they were from Lancaster, but I am not sure. Now this was a small nothing place in south central Pa. in 1992, but Spellbound looked like they thought it was 1985 and they were an LA band. They had big hair, lots of scarves and several of them were wearing make-up. Unfortunately they didn't sound like Ratt or Motley Crue, they just sounded like a poor cover band with even worse originals. Actually the music was okay, but the singer was bad and I mean sounding like a cat being strangled kind of bad. I think their rock star posing is what got to me and there were plenty of teenage girls who thought they were good. They did a cover of Def Leppard's Let it go which I had to admire them for picking a more obscure song, but they butchered it. They even thought enough of themselves to toss out guitar picks and t-shirts. Once they finished, I truly hoped the next band would be better. After more rain and an even longer wait, guys came out and set up different equipment. During this time, I overheard someone point to an RV nearby and say they thought Wrathchild were in there. The next band came on and it was a three piece cover band called Trouble Walkin'. They were local and unlike Spellbound, there were no costumes, posing or make-up. Just a decent band who did some cool covers of Metallica's Seek and destroy and Van Halen's Ice Cream Man plus some other covers and a few originals. They were nothing spectacular, but they were solid. After their set, I couldn't help notice that the RV that was nearby was now gone. I also wondered why the t-shirt stand had shirts for Spellbound and shirts for the event, but no Wrathchild shirts. I had just seen Wrathchild weeks earlier and they had lots of merchandise for sale. The rain really set in at this time and the area in front of the stage became a big mud pit. At this time the murmuring began that Wrathchild had pulled out because the promoter didn't have their money. However some more equipment was being set up, but there was no Wrathchild banner and there was some weird pillar being put up to the side of the stage. Finally a guy came on the stage and he was obviously straining to try and smile. He went up to the microphone and said he had good news and bad news. He started with the bad news which I was afraid of and that was "Wratchchild America will not be performing tonight". The name of the promoter was Charlie Starr (I think) and as soon as this announcement was made, one guy near me shouted at the top of his lungs "Well, Charlie Starr can kiss my ass". Even though he was drunk, I agreed with the sentiments and almost everyone else did to and they let a loud round of boos. Once it quieted down, the guy said and the good news is "Scary Mary from Littlestown will be playing instead". This lead to another round of boos even though I doubt anyone knew who this band was. Littlestown lives up to about half of it's name as it is little, but I am not sure it qualifies as a town. Anyway after the boos died down, the guy said Wrathchild America would be playing there in two weeks with four other bands and anyone who had paid for this event would receive a pass to go to that event for free. Only problem was I was leaving for college two days before that event so I would be rooked. About twenty people left after these announcements. We decided to stick it out and see Scary Mary. They came on and the singer was shirtless and well, if you are chubby and white as paste then you should put your shirt back on, but he was good. They came on and played Wrathchild by Iron Maiden in honor of Wratchchild America and it was tight. They played covers by Judas Preist, Accept, Metallica plus Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains. They were solid and their originals sounded a lot like early Metal Church. We watched about an hour and then left because it was getting late and the rain was getting worse.I went home and took a hot bath because I was cold after sitting in the rain all day. It wasn't a good concert experience and it just made me feel that I lived in a small area where I shouldn't have expected a real concert to take place. At the end of the day I was left knowing music as I knew it had changed and it was a bit sad to me as a big metal fan. The metal I knew had been getting pushed out for almost year by this time even though I didn't want to admit it. Seeing the spectacle of Spellbound trying to pretend it was still the mid-80's sunk in as did the fact that Scary Mary were obviously a metal band who now felt the need to play grunge covers in order to stay current. Another sign was that most of the people at the concert were over 20 and most of the over 20's were wearing metal shirts like Ozzy, Maiden and Priest while the under 20's were wearing shirts of Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It was a bit of a last hurrah for me, I just wish Wrathchild had played so it would have been a good memorable experience. Still, I am glad for my memories both good and bad.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Battle of the bands

Here is another battle of the bands. It is very simple, you just say which band you like more and it would be great if you could give a reason why you picked the band you did. This time it's two bands who had their prime in the mid 80's, but are still around in some sort of form today. So this time it is:

Ratt vs. Twisted Sister

I pick Twisted Sister. It's actually kind of close, but not as close as it would have been for me 20 years ago. Both were two of the bands I first got into. Twisted Sister's first three albums are really good and still hold up well today. The other two from their original run are just okay. However,I think Twisted Sister have far more spirit and grit to them than Ratt. I have to be in a mood to listen to Ratt, but I could probably listen to Twisted Sister at almost any time. The best thing about Ratt during their first run (81-91) was that they were very consistent. Very few clunkers during that run. Yet I think that the worst thing about Ratt was that they may have played it a bit too safe. When their album sales dropped off, they still kept at the same formula and never took any chances. I think that 20 years later several of Twisted Sister's albums stick out far more than anything Ratt did.

Who do you pick?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Favorite albums

What is your favorite album by each of the following bands?

Van Halen
Judas Priest

AC/DC-Powerage, a very underrated album.
KISS-Dressed to kill, but Lovegun is very close.
Metallica-Ride the lightning
Van Halen-Fair Warning, I may be the only person that loves this album.
Judas Priest-Screaming for vengeance

What's coming up?

This coming week I hope to do the following.

Battle of the bands:This match-up will pit an East coast band vs. a West coast band

It came from the pages of Hit Parader-I will open up an old issue of this magazine and write about something contained in those pages.

Whitesnake-Slide it in review

Kidd Blue-Big trouble review: I just got this in the mail and have only listened to a few tracks so far, but I think it's worth reviewing.

Then the following week will be:
Iron Maiden Week
**More details on this next weekend.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Buying new albums

I remember buying cassettes and a few albums of new releases back in the 80's. Sometimes it was a really big deal especially if you knew what you wanted before hand. I can remember buying Iron Maiden's Live after death back in 1985 and really looking forward to it and being excited about it. Back in the fall of 2003 I bought Iron Maiden's Dance of death the day it came out. It was a good album, but going to the record store on the first day wasn't as exciting for me in 2003 as it was in 1985.

My question for you is do you look forward to buying new albums as much as you did years ago? Or has the fact that you have bought so many albums made it less of a big deal? Or is it just an age thing?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Heavy Metal TV shows

With all of the metal personalities that have done reality shows over recent years, I was inspired to come up with some ideas. I know Ozzy had a show and Gene is doing some shows, but I came up with these ideas.

Exercise done dirt cheap
Early morning exercise show hosted by Angus Young. Involves a lot of running back and a forth with your guitar and mooning the audience halfway through the show.

Grilling with Gene
In time for Summer this would be a cooking show where Gene Simmons teaches grilling techniques where he cooks a variety of meats by breathing fire on them. Gene will have teenage assistants called "the Flaming Youth".

Hair today, gone tomorrow
Show where the hosts try to help find wigs for aging metalheads who are losing their hair. Hosted by Don Dokken and Kevin Dubrow.

What's he saying?
Gameshow where contestants try to guess what Ozzy Osbourne is trying to say.

Keep Away
Sports show where elementary school kids play keep away with a ball and Ronnie James Dio and Udo Dirkschneider try to jump up and get the ball.

**Feel free to add your own as I am sure they would be funnier than mine.

Judas Priest- Sin after sin, 1977

Judas Priest's third album is somewhat overlooked at times. When people think of 1970's Judas Priest they probably tend to think of "Sad wings of destiny" or "Hell bent for leather" instead of this album and "Stained class". I think that's largely due to the fact that songs from those albums received more radio airplay and they were played more in concert by the band. This was the band's third effort and it really contains a variety of styles. Some songs are similar in style to what they had already done while a few others actually break some new ground. The album kicks off with "Sinner" which really allows Halford's vocals to flow. This song would also become a staple at live shows for the next several tours. Tracks like "Starbreaker", "Let us prey" and the very heavy "Dissident Aggressor" show the band heading towards a heavier direction. Other songs like "Last rose of summer" and "Here come the tears" show the band's ability to really put emotion into their songs and they allow Halford to really show off his range and just make it sound effortless. Quite a good album and I think it was just as important for the hard rock scene as it was for Priest. By 1977 some once great bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper were losing their edge. Deep Purple had broken up the year before and other musical trends like disco and punk rock were taking away some of the attention that had been to given to hard rock just a few years earlier. At this point Priest may have been a long ways from the commercial success they would enjoy in the 80's, but along with Motorhead, Rainbow and a few others they were helping keep metal and hard rock alive and they were huge influences on the New Wave of British heavy metal which was soon going to erupt.

Some interesting notes about this release was that it was produced by Deep Purple bass player Roger Glover who was trying to make a go at just producing at the time. The band was still struggling to maintain a solid drummer so they actually had to bring in (now legendary) session drummer Simon Phillips just to play on this album. This explains why the band photo on the album sleeve only shows four members. It was also Priest's first album for CBS, a relationship they would have until the early 1990's. It was also the last studio lp with the old logo as the next release Stained Class would see the debut of the logo that most of us are used to.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blog plug

I actually wanted to plug two blogs if you have not visited them yet. I do have them under my links, but I don't know how much people look at those. One is a poster who just started posting here recently named vicious and delicious/. He writes about hard rock, metal and other topics. He really knows a lot about music and keeps up with current releases. The other blogger is T-bone/ who has just returned from a break. He writes about metal some as well and really knows his stuff. He was one of the first people I didn't know who started commenting on my blog. So what are you waiting for? Go pay them both a visit.

Top 15 hard rock/metal vocalists

Everyone has singers they like and people's criteria for what makes a good singer may vary. I think a good singer in metal should have some talent of course, but energy, style and originality play a part as well. So here are my top 15 as I countdown from 15 all the way down to my favorite vocalist.

15-Eric Adams(Manowar)-They may be silly, but I think he can really belt out those songs about metal warriors and such.

14-David Lee Roth(Van Halen, solo)-Spirit, energy and style played a large part in Diamond's Dave success.

13-Joey Belladonna(Anthrax, solo)-A singer in speed metal who could really sing instead of growl or grunt.

12-King Diamond(Mercyful Fate, solo)Not everyone's cup of tea, but I have always found his unique vocals hold my attention.

11-Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth(Overkill)- Kind of a screeching voice, but it works.

10-Lemmy(Motorhead) -Just a unique voice that fits with their music.

9-Geoff Tate(Queensryche)-Really good range and always seems to be on.

8-Ozzy(Black Sabbath, solo)-He can hardly talk now, but his nasal vocals really added to Sabbath's sound and worked great on his early solo albums.

7-John Bush(Armored Saint)-Perhaps the most underrated metal singer of all time. Great strength and energy with both of bands he has been with.

6-Ian Gillan(Deep Purple, solo)-Just a solid rock voice and he made all the difference when he came to Deep Purple.

5-Bon Scott(AC/DC) -Not the greatest range perhaps, but just very natural and one of a kind.

4-Robert Plant(Led Zeppelin, solo) -Hugely influential hard rock singer. Zeppelin did a lot of varying styles and he always sounded good.

3-Bruce Dickinson(Iron Maiden, Samson, solo) -Great range and all kinds of energy.

2-Ronnie James Dio(ELF, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, solo) -Guaranteed to always to be on and he has had a long career.

1-Rob Halford(Judas Priest, Fight, solo)-Incredible singer, just makes it look easy as well.

Reunion stuff

I just heard that Crimson Glory are reuniting with 4/5 of the original line-up. This line-up includes their original singer Midnight who was not part of the band's Astonomica reunion album in 1999. Good choice for Midnight because he released a solo album last year that was just bizarre and not in a good way. The band will be re-releasing their first two albums with new covers, bonus tracks and thick booklets. If you never heard these guys then I would describe them as being somewhat similar to early Queensryche crossed with a touch of early Kind Diamond. Their second album Transcendence (1988) is often considered their best effort. They did three albums between 86 and 91 then broke up and briefly did the one reunion album in 99. I have all but their third album and they are good. Most of the members have worked here and there in other projects, but none as popular as Crimson Glory.

I already knew that Armored Saint were scheduled for numerous festival dates in Europe this summer, but now they have a few dates in California as well. The one that sounds the most promising is on July 7th they are playing the House of blues in West Hollywood with Flotsam and Jetsam and Death Angel. A shame I don't live near there because it sounds like a good show and tickets are $20.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

200th post and a few questions

This is a special post as it is number 200. I don't mean to be tooting my own horn, but actually I am just glad that I have kept this blog going. It is time consuming, but it's fun and it helps me to think more about my opinions on the music I love. Here are some simple and hopefully not too painful questions for you. Some are about music and some about things that are sometimes associated with people that like hard rock and metal.

1)Are your ears pierced?
2)Do you have any other part of your body pierced?
3)Do you have any tattoos?
4)Have you ever had long hair? (use your own standard for what long hair is)
5)Have you ever had your head shaved?
6)Have you ever thrown up at a concert?
7)Have you ever caught a pick or a drumstick at a concert?
8)Do you own any Winger CD's?
9)Do you own any Stryper CD's?
10)Do you own any Warrant CD's?

Reunion Question: You get front row seats and the band of your choice will reunite for this one show only, who do you pick? (they have to be alive, no raising the dead for this one)

My answers
1)Yes, two in the left and one in right. I have not worn earrings in ten years.
2)No way
3)No, but I seriously considered getting one when I was 18.
4)Yes, until it started to fall out.
5)Yes, courtesy of the US Army.
6)Yes, but not for the reason you are probably thinking of.
7)No, but my friend next to me caught a Brad Whitford pick when we saw Aerosmith.

Reunion: I would say that I want a Rainbow reunion. I would like the Rising line-up, but Cozy Powell is no longer with us. So a line-up with Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Bain and I am guessing Tony Carey is still around and if not then Don Airey could be on keyboards and maybe Bobby Rondinelli on drums.

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope I can come with enough topics for another 100 posts and I will keep working on improving my writing.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Twisted Sister-You can't stop rock and roll, 1983

Like most people, I didn't get into this band until Stay Hungry came out in 1984. I did draw Twisted Sister logos on my books and I did wear a Twisted Sister pin on my uniform, er, my shirt actually. Anyway, Twisted Sister spent quite a number of years slugging away in clubs in New York before finally getting signed in 1982 by a British label called Secret records. The label released their debut lp "Under the blade" in 82. Unfortunately for the band, Secret records folded shortly thereafter. Somewhere around this point the band had an appearance on a UK show called the Tube and this performance led to them being signed by Atlantic records. So "You can't stop rock and roll" was their first album for Atlantic. They were known for their outrageous costumes and over the top stage performance, but would they be able to transfer that energy to their first major label recording? These guys were never great musicians, but at their best they charged straight ahead with a lot of attitude and enthusiasm. That's exactly what they brought to this record. They also sound like they had a bit of a chip on their shoulder as well with a few songs about betrayal and not putting up with crap from others. These songs were no doubt inspired by their struggles on the club scene and trying to get signed. I always felt Twisted Sister had far more spirit than some other bands of the day like Ratt and Quiet Riot and maybe even Motley Crue at times. Their spirit shines through on this release as it's not quite as good as Stay Hungry, but certainly solid. There are quite a few anthems here and probably some topics that most teenagers can relate to. Favorite songs include the title track, Like a knife in the back, We're gonna make it and Ride to live, live to ride.


It is was good Easter overall I would have to say. The weather was great as it may have been one of the warmest Easter Sundays that I remember. My daughter the Metalgirl just turned two last month so this was the first Easter where she was kind of understanding about the Easter bunny and that kind of stuff. My wife took her to an Easter egg hunt yesterday and it sounded like she enjoyed. We have been watching "It's the Easter beagle, Charlie Brown" on dvd a lot lately to get her ready for the holiday. Now she is saying more and more lately and really making good progress. She can say some of Peanuts characters names, but there are two that don't come out so well. She calls Woodstock "cock", now that's not completely way off for someone just learning to speak. The real strange one is that she calls Snoopy "Freaky" and we can't figure out why. She can make an S sound because she can say Sally. So poor Charles Schultz's creations have become Freaky and Cock according to my daughter. "Freaky and cock" sounds like the name of a porno movie, but hopefully Metalgirl will just keep progressing with her speaking and she will soon know them by their proper names. Hope everyone had a good holiday.

Friday, April 14, 2006

What's coming up and other

I am going to take a break from my blog over the weekend for the holiday. I will be back on Monday. So for next week I know that I will be writing the following.

Top 15 metal vocalists
Twisted Sister-You can't stop rock and roll review
Judas Priest-Sin after sin review

Here's a question for you. It seemed that in the 80's bands mainly toured to promote studio albums. Now a number of bands tour with no album out at all or they put out a greatest hits album and tour. For example, Cinderella have not done a studio album since 1994 yet they have toured
almost every year since the late 90's. Does this bother you at all that bands are doing this? Does it seem like a cheat or is just that the times have changed?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Black and Blue-Nasty, Nasty, 1986

Long before guitarist Tommy Thayer was in KISS painted up as Ace Frehley and long before singer Jaime St. James was singing in Warrant, they were both in this band. The band's self titled debut came out in 84 and got some notice and it was a good album. Their 1985 follow-up "Without Love" was more commercial sounding and it didn't really propel the band any higher. So for their third album they decided to bring in Gene Simmons to produce it. I bought this on cassette like the month it came out and I loved it. I actually wore the tape out by about 1991. I bought an import copy on CD a few years ago hoping it would be as good as I remembered it being all those years ago. Truth be told the good songs are just as good as they were 20 years ago. These include the title track, the awesome "Kiss of death", "Rules" and "Best in the west". Unfortunately there are a few songs that are just okay on the album as well. The bottom line is that it's overall a decent album, but far from great. It may not have been worth what I paid for it, but I listen to quite often. This re-release includes lyrics (which were not in the original lp) and notes about the album which explained something I had wondered about for years. The cassette listed keyboard credits for a song called "Promise the moon" yet the song is not on the album. The booklet explains that this song was recorded but that Geffen made them remove it in order to put "I'll be there for you" in it's place. Black and Blue don't exactly sound like anyone else. Although I would say that if you like Ratt and Kix that you would probably like this album. I also give credit to Gene Simmons because the album sounds sharp all the way around.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Guilty Pleasure Bands

I may very well find that this is an idea that only I have. Perhaps every one else has much better taste than I do, but I thought that I would throw this one out there. Are there any bands that you know they are not that good in some respect or they are just really cheesy, but you like them anyhow?

I will say these bands falls into that category for me and feel free to boo me for liking these bands if you must.

Twisted Sister-Not a lot of playing ability, but a lot of attitude. One of the first bands I really got into.

Ratt-Not a lot of talent and very tame overall. Yet there was always something catchy about their music and they were really consistent from 83-90.

White Lion-I know that I will get booed for this one. Yes they were prime cheese, but I think they had a lot of potential at times. This is a band that I didn't like much back in the day, but they began to grow on me over the last few years. I was just listening to Mane Attraction last night actually.

Gwar-Yes, they are stupid, but they are fun. Sometimes it's good to have a few bands like this to balance things out because some bands take themselves so seriously.

Venom-They used to be a huge favorite of mine back around 86-88. They were a huge influence on speed and death metal. Yet they could hardly play their instruments during the first few albums and they were incredibly cheesy. They actually got less interesting once they started learning how to play their instruments.

Dio- Holy Diver, 1983

Ronnie James Dio did a few albums with the band ELF in the early 1970's. Then he spent four years with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow before taking the lead singer job in Black Sabbath. Dio did two studio albums and a double live album in Sabbath and the band was very much alive again. However in 1982 he decided to set out on his own. He took Sabbath drummer Vinnie Appice with him. He added bassist Jimmy Bain as the two had played together in Rainbow years before. Then he added a young guitarist named Vivian Campbell and the band was rounded out by keyboardist Claude Schnell. Warner Brothers obviously knew the impact he had made with Sabbath as they gave him a contract. Dio's debut Holy Diver was released in 1983 and I think is was very much a case of right time, right place for this band. The pace of the music isn't all that much different from the two albums he did with Sabbath. However both "Heaven and Hell" and "the Mob Rules" each had a weak song or two, but there are no clunkers on Holy Diver. The band sounds fresh and Ronnie sounds as sharp as ever on his solo debut.
The lyrics are about the same kinds of topics he had always been singing about, mainly fantasy type subject matter. There always seems to be some dragons, rainbows, wishing wells and an evil woman or two in Dio's songs. Rainbow in the dark and the title track both received some radio airplay and both were videos that got shown fairly often. Some of my other favorite tracks are Stand up and shout, Gypsy and Don't talk to strangers. I would say this is one of Dio's two best albums along with the follow-up "The last in line". This is very outstanding album and it has held up well over the years. By 1983, Ronnie James Dio had already done more than most people in the hard rock/metal field. Yet he was just getting started and now 23 years later he is still going strong and highly respected in his field.

This album is a Metal Mark must have.

I have been tagged

I was tagged by LINDA so here it goes.

Four Jobs I've had
1-Librarian (the job I have had for the last seven years)
2-Teacher's assistant
4-Forktruck driver

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and over
1-Wizard of Oz
2-Army of darkness
3-The good, the bad and the ugly
4-Planet of the apes (the original of course)

Four Places I Have lived
3-Maryville, Tn.
4-Anniston, Al.

Four TV Shows I Love (I watch very few current so these are old)
1-Star Trek
2-I love Lucy

Four Places I Have vacationed
I'll have to pass on this one because I have had very few vacations in my life.

Four of my Favorite foods
1-Chinese food
2- Meatloaf

Four Sites I Visit Daily
4-Metal Sludge

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
I am at home right so there is no other place I would rather be.

The last one was where I was supposed to tag four other people, but I think I will change the question and do this instead.....

Four albums I never get tired of
1-Iron Maiden-The number of the beast
2-Black Sabbath-Sabbath, bloody Sabbath
4-Rush-Permanent Waves

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Biggest surprises

The other day I asked what hard rock metal albums were the biggest disappointments to you. So now I am asking the opposite, what hard rock/metal album(s) was the biggest pleasant surprise to you?

These are ones that come to my mind:
Autograph-Loud and clear
AC/DC-Stiff upper lip
Ozzy-No more tears
Iron Maiden-Brave new world
Cinderella-Long cold winter
Sodom-Persecution Mania
Exodus-Fabulous Disaster
WASP-Unholy Terror

I think all of these were good surprises because they all came after weak or just okay albums.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Music dvd's

I have a pile of cd's, but very few music dvd's. Dvd's as in concert videos or collections of music videos. I have three AC/DC dvd's, Judas Priest's Electric Eye and a Testament dvd that a friend gave me and that's it other then dvd's that came with cd's and I only have a few of those. I am curious about the Judas Priest Live vengeance '82 that's coming out tomorrow, I may have to get that. Does anyone buy very many music dvd's and if so what do you have?

Queensryche-Rage for order,1986

This was Queensryche's third album, but second full length lp. They released an ep in 83 and it got a little notice, but it wasn't until the Warning in 1984 and that they really got some press. They also opened for Kiss some on that tour and that helped get them some exposure. For some reason there was a change in image for the Rage for order. If you look at the picture on the sleeve then you know what I mean. Everyone was wearing long leather jackets and extra poofy hair. Three of the band members had streaks in their hair for some reason. Fortunately that image only lasted for this album. I think Rage for order sold well, but not great. They did get to open for AC/DC that summer so I am sure that helped them as well.

First Impression
I first heard this album around the time it came out and remember it being just okay. I recall my biggest problem with it was that it just wasn't that memorable. The last time I heard the whole album was probably at least six years ago. I only have it on album so I had to wait until I had time to through it on the turntable before I could hear it. So here it goes, poof up your hair and get your leather raincoat on.


1. Walk In The Shadows-Opening track just kind comes on without any real build-up or anything. It's mid tempo all the way though. The vocals are strong, but the music is just kind of there.
2. I Dream In Infrared-This has a slow start with just a few notes before the vocals kick in. Again strong vocals, but the music has very few changes and lays back a bit. Just an alright song.
3. The Whisper-The next song begins slow and gradually picks up some. There is a slight haunting quality to the sound that I like. There is a good break about 2/3 of the way through. It's not fancy, but certainly interesting.
4. Gonna Get Close To You-We start off with drums and some dated sounding effects before the vocals come in low. This is an odd track that is almost bouncy at times and I mean bouncy like pop song bouncy. The guitars are way in the background. Even Geoff Tate's normally strong vocals aren't quite fleshed out in the mix here. Really a strange and weak song.
5. The Killing Words-Another slow start and it almost feels like we go straight to the chorus with no real solid guitar rhythm proceeding it. This isn't the first this has happened on the album, but it's seems more noticeable here. The music is almost completely unmemorable except for a good solo.
6. Surgical Strike-The last track on side one is fast, sharp and solid. This is the most excitement I have heard from the band so far. The whole mix is great and everything is on an even plain unlike half of the previous songs.
7. Neue Regel-Side two starts with a few slow notes and goes into a nice tight little riff. We have some muffled vocals at first and then they become clean. The chorus just kind of happens without much build up to the music still it's a fairly good song.
8. Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)-There are some nice solid drums at first, but they slow down as the vocals come on. Once again the guitars are way in the background and before I know it the song is over and I am left wondering what the point of this song was?
9. London-This track begins and it's all beginning to be a bit formula by this point. Just slow music, sharp vocals yet no real build-up and very little emotion and it certainly doesn't rock. This is a very dull song except for a fine solo.
10. Screaming In Digital-There are quite a bit of keyboards here as well as some oddly muted guitars and Tate trying to sound uh.. digital I think, It's a bit dated in some respects, but I admire the effort to change the pace and the attempt to pull off something different. They didn't quite pull it off, but a decent try that is at least interesting. Their effort does show on this song.
11. I Will Remember-Another really slow song, but not slow in a dull way like a few previous tracks. They really seem to have a grasp on the pace here and manage to control it rather than just riding it out. They play it for all it's worth and it's decent overall.

Final word
I have to admit that I had to listen to side one twice. Normally I never take notes for a review, but after listening to side one I found that I was getting songs confused with one another. This is due to the fact that most of the songs are the same pace and that I have not heard it in so long. Overall I would say it's just a little better than average. It's not a matter of being ubable to play but rather a matter of sketchy songwriting. The talent is there as The Warning was a good album and Operation Mindcrime is very good. Yet this album has a lot of wasted moments. There are just too many songs that feel very incomplete and almost 1/3 of the songs made me feel like they started in the middle because they race to the chorus with very little build up. Die-hard Queensryche fans might like it more, but I felt cheated overall by this release.

Coming soon:
Next month's twenty year old album will be Iron Maiden's Somewhere in time. Actually this review will be part of Iron Maiden week. I haven't quite worked out all the details, but right now I think Iron Maiden week will include this review plus reviews on Killers, Brave new world and my top twenty favorite Iron Maiden songs.

The twenty year album review for June will be Metal Church's the Dark via a 4-3 win over Megadeth in the vote for a review. I am thinking about making this review part of an "underrated band week" in June because a few people listed Metal Church as the most underrated metal band a few weeks ago.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

20 year old album review schedule

My review for Rage for order will be out later today, but I wanted to write something this morning so I decided to jot this down. Here is my tentative schedule for the 20 year old album reviews for the rest of the year.

May-Iron Maiden:Somewhere in time
June-Metal Church:The Dark
July-Cinderella:Night Songs
September-This will be the winner of a vote that will be held in July.
October-King Diamond:Fatal Portrait
November-Metallica:Master of puppets
December-WASP:Inside the electric circus

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What's coming up and other

I still owe a 20 year old album review which will be Queensryche's Rage for order. I just need to find time to sit down and listen to it so I should have it out by tonight or tomorrow. Also coming up this week will be:

Dio-Holy Diver review
Black and Blue- Nasty Nasty review
Top vocalists list

Here's a question for you:

What is the most disappointing hard rock or metal album you have ever bought or someone bought for you?

I will say Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls". Theater of pain was just okay to me, but they claimed this album was going to be more like the first two and they even changed their image, but that didn't matter. The album is ultra repetitive and dull. It also hasn't gotten better over the years either.

So what's your choice?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gimmicks aplenty

Here are a few bands and the gimmicks they used. At the end I either put a plus if I thought that the gimmick worked or a minus if I thought it didn't. Feel free to add any gimmicks of bands you liked or didn't like.

Manowar-This New York band dressed in fur loin cloths and pretended they were some Conan the barbarian type warriors. Lots of songs about ancient battles, dragons and such. They might only be able to play small clubs here, but they are absolutely huge in Europe and they have been around for 25 years. It's goofy, but it's worked for them. Other bands play, Manowar kills.Plus

Life, sex and death-Our singer is a homeless person, oh, how clever these guys were. This LA band did one album in 1992 with a singer they claimed was a homeless person they brought off the street. His name was Stanley, he was dirty, dressed in a shabby ill-fitting suit and sang completely out of tune. The music may have actually been worse.Minus

Crimson Glory- Long before Slipknot this Florida band wore masks from the mid 80's until the early 90's. Not horror masks, but metallic looking masks. The masks got smaller over time, but everyone I talked to about them invariably went "Oh, the band that wears masks". This is a shame because they were a decent progressive metal band, but I think the masks were ultimately a distraction. Minus

Tankard- German speed metal band proclaims themselves as the "Kings of beer". They have had such songs as "For a thousand beers", "Puke", "Beermuda" and "Space beer". Every album has a few or more songs about drinking. This band's debut came out in 1986 and album number fifteen is due out in May. They may be silly, but they stuck to what they wanted to do and I give them credit for that. Plus

Stryper-This LA band claimed to be a Christian band and to go with their name they wore yellow and black stripes for about six years. They were successful at this as they peaked around 1986. However in 1990 they released an album called "Against the law". They got rid of the stripes (which was good), and they started trying to look scruffy and tough. They also said in interviews that the Christian image was all a fake and that this was the real Stryper. The album did not sell well as the alienated their former fans, but the music was essentially the same so they didn't bring any new fans in either. Minus

Running Wild- Prior to their third album, this German metal band decided to take on a pirate theme and they did just that on 1987's Under Jolly Roger. They have kept the pirate theme around ever since and they are still around with a strong following in Europe. I like pirates and I think this gimmick only helped the band.Plus

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Gimmicks in music are commonplace, but they certainly vary on degrees and styles. Gimmicks in hard rock and metal have always seemed to go hand in hand to some extent. Kiss created a legacy by wearing make-up and having each member have an identity that went with the make-up. Although they were not equal as Gene was a demon (GROWWLLLL!) and Peter was a kitty cat (meow). Kiss were and always have a band who have prospered from the gimmick. When the gimmick and the band's success started to fade in the early 80's then they simply took off the make-up and had the gimmick of no gimmick. Sometimes a gimmick can become a double edged sword as it can help the band get noticed, but then it may become difficult for the band to leave the gimmick behind if the band wants to go in a different direction at a later date. I think WASP suffered from this some as they were a shock band for a few years and then by the late 80's they changed their image and their lyrics became more serious, but they had trouble shedding the image they had established a few years earlier. Tomorrow I give a few examples of gimmicks used by some lesser known bands and see if they worked or not.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How beastly

I will be writing as the beast over at Beauty and the beast on April 5th. You can check it out here/.

Job opening

A lot of old hard rock and metal bands have been doing reunion tours and albums over the last say 6-7 years. However it's not just he bands who once headlined arenas like Ratt and Poison, but a lot of band's whose "prime" was playing small clubs are also trying comebacks of sorts. Lizzy Borden were actually a band I really like back around 85-86. They had a small following at the time, but kind of tanked it with the mediocre Visual Lies in 1987. Lizzy Borden (the singer) did a solo album of sorts called Master of disguise in 89 then he kind of disappeared. The band reappeared in 2000 and released a reunion of sorts called Deal with the devil which was actually decent. The band toured for it for like two years then something kind of strange happened. Their website disappeared and the band popped up calling themselves Starwood and they all dropped their last names and changed their image. They released one album as Starwood in 2004 and I like it, but it's nothing great. Lizzy Borden were definitely metal while Starwood was more like a hard rock project. Anyway now Starwood have gone and Lizzy Borden are supposed to be back, but they are looking for a guitarist. In fact they are advertising for a guitarist on their website here I guess that's kind of cool, but at the same time these guys are in LA and you'd think they could just hire somebody there fast and start recording rather than hoping to find some guitar god sitting in their basement in Iowa just waiting for Lizzy Borden to put out the call. No matter who they get, the sad truth is their prime was 20 years ago and it wasn't that big of a prime then. I will probably still buy the album if it comes out though. Also if you go the site check out the 'street team' section. They are asking volunteers to call radio stations and post fliers. I can't imagine radio stations and record stores being that hot on the idea of helping promote a metal band that very few people know of any more.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Aerosmith-Get your wings, 1974

Aerosmith's second album gets unfairly overlooked at times. Perhaps it's due to the lack of radio hits because the most known song on the album is a cover of "Train kept a rollin". Or perhaps it's because people are just more familiar with "Toys in the attic" and "Rocks" and this album tends to be in the shadows of those two later releases.. The truth is that "Get your wings" might be seen as a transition album, but a very important transition for the band. I think that the band's sophomore effort saw them gaining confidence and really beginning to feel comfortable with what they were doing. They also began to establish a real groove in their sound as well. The album kicks off with "Same old song and dance" and it's a good representation of this album. The tune is simple yet you feel a real confidence from the band that wasn't completely there on their self-titled debut. Tracks like Lord of the thighs and Spaced show a real command over the pace of the music and it reveals the bands musical growth as well. Aerosmith's cover of the Yardbirds "Train kept a rollin" is a very fun song and they actually manage to put their own sound into the song. My favorite song is probably "Seasons of wither" which is overall a slow song, but it really builds up to a peak and allows the band to demonstrate a more serious side. I saw Aerosmith twice in 1994 and the second time they pulled out some more obscure older songs including this one. It sounded fresh then and still sounds fresh now. Long before a different generation identified these guys with "Dude looks like a lady" and "Love in an elevator", this Boston band was one of the best hard rock bands of the 1970's.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Battle of the bands

Here is the April edition of the battle of the bands. It's very simple because I just name two bands and you say who you prefer and why. This month is a battle between two of the best real metal bands of all time. It is..........

Judas Priest vs. Motorhead

I have to go with Motorhead although it's a tough choice. Both have had fine careers, both hugely influential on the metal scene and both probably have about the same amount of great albums, but my choice boils down to two reasons.

1) Motorhead have had a more consistent career. "March of die" might be their weakest album and it's still decent while Priest have had a few clunkers including "Turbo", the two Ripper Owens albums and even "Rocka rolla" is mediocre at best. Motorhead not only survived the largely anti-metal 1990's, but they actually got more popular and finely got quite a bit of respect during that decade.

2)I respect Judas Priest, but there has always been a bit of a show involved with costumes and this metal warrior kind of hooey. Motorhead have always been the real deal. No put-on attitudes, no fancy costumes, not much of a stage set, just straight ahead no nonsense metal.

Oh, and don't forget Lemmy's wart, that's always been a big plus.

Who do you pick?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What's coming up?

I have a busy week ahead with my wife going back to work, but I hope to still get a few things out on my blog. First whole week of the month so I will have my 20 year old album review out this week. It will be Queensryche's "Rage for order". There will also be another battle of the bands between two big monsters of the metal scene. I hope to have a review out for Aerosmith's 1974 album"Get your wings". Other than that I am not sure what I will be writing about this week, but hopefully something else will spring to mind.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

80's metal videos

I didn't have Mtv in the 80's but I did get to go my friend's house and watch it from time to time. If you are of a certain age then there is a good chance that Twisted Sister's videos for I wanna rock and We're not gonna take it may have made an impression on you . Other 80's metal videos that made an impression on me were Van Halen's Hot for teacher, Ratt's Round and round, Dio's Last in line, Iron Maiden's Two minutes to midnight and Judas Priest's You got another thing comin'. I am not sure if these were some of the best videos, but they were some of the first metal videos that I saw and they stuck in my head. What are some metal or hard rock videos from the 1980's that made an impression on you or that you liked?