Alligator Jackson celebrates the great music of the past. He is also trying to keep it alive and share the great music with fans who were too young when it came around the first time. These are blogs by Alligator Jackson.
We all know Gene Simmons is a master of marketing but some of these items are plain outrageous.
5. Kiss Underwear
4. Kiss Toilet Paper
3. Kiss toilet paper holder
2. Kiss Kasket
1. KISS' KONDOMS
Jeff Westlake grew up in the late 70's jamming in his bedroom on guitar to albums of his rock heros Kiss, Black Sabbath, AC/DC.
Now decades later after establishing himself as a world-wide known guitarist...he has paid homage to his influences. In some cases, he paid tribute to the bands he jammed to the usual way...cover songs. With his band Hydrogyn, he covered AC/DC with "Back in Black.". He also covered Michael Schenker's "Assault Attack" in Hydrogyn, both with a female singer. He covered Black Sabbath classics "Hot Line" and "Disturbing The Priest" while handling the vocals himself.
Westlake honored his idol Ronnie James Dio by having Dio's ex-guitarist Craig Goldy join Hydrogyn temporarily and he recorded with ex-Dio guitarist Tracy G. He even wrote a biography on Tracy G called "The Dio Years and Beyond The Skull." Megadeath ex-guitarist Jeff Young also recorded briefly with Hydrogyn.
Westlake did not just cover a Kiss song...he covered a whole album. He entered the studios with some fellow musicians and recorded and released the entire "Hotter Than Hell" album achieving his goal of improving the recording quality of the album.
The Fairland High graduate then topped himself by joining another of his heros The Godz and recording and producing a CD and remastering some tracks. The Godz we're Kiss' label mates on Casablanca in the 70's. Jeff's sister met the band in Columbus when she attended Ohio State and gave Jeff an eight track tape of their debut album.
Now, Jeff is following up his debut solo album "Songs In The Key of Blue", a tribute of sorts to 70's style blues rock with a concept album.
Ahhhh...the concept album...the forgotten child of the 70's. Kiss had "The Elder.". Rush had "2112". The Who had "Tommy". Westlake will be releasing "Dead World."
"Dead World" being released on October 26, combined several eras of rock and uses ever rock instrument imaginable including organs and a saxaphone to create the perfect feel.
Jeff Westlake describes "Dead World", "It’s the world that exist on the other side of the veil of our reality. People who have not yet found a light there fighting moving onto the next phase."
The opus opens with the Alice Cooper- like "Devil's Juice." Westlake says,"Yeah, the Devil's juice is about everything that wants to take you down. The things that are addicting or something that just get you and you can’t let go of it to all these things are bad for you in the long run. Whether it be drugs, hookers, alcohol....you name it."
Westlake admits,"Not a typical album especially from me. We tried to tie all of the rock eras together."
With Dead World, Jeff Westlake has come full circle...paying tribute to his rock roots while still creating exciting and modern music. Jeff Westlake becomes alive in a Dead World.
Is the live album dead? Well, the format may not be a mummy yet but it is a srt of a dinosaur.
The live album had it's day. In it's prime, the live album was a monster that stomped through the record industry.
Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, and even Kiss hopped on the back of the format. and broke through to the top the charts. The bands had built a solid collection of songs but it was the magic, energy, and emotion of their live albums that escalated their careers to a whole different level.
In fact soon everyone had a live record. Gradually a live album became thought of as a quick cash-in. The live album became a way to make easy money without entering the studio.
The live album format spawned the popular unplugged or acoustic format. Fans enjoyed this because they were getting different versions of their favourite songs.
The success of the unplugged format inspired record industry insiders to think of more ways to milk easy money out of the format. Then, some idiot created the live album with a symphony concept that Metallicca, Kiss, and The Scorpions were duped into recording. I'm assuming that idiot has been banned from the recording industry.
Although not nearly a dominant force, the live concept lives on. Some bootlegs are legendary. Some bands offer or offered live shows for sale on their sites. Metallicca and Kiss did this. Some thought the next big thing would be to be able to buy a copy of the show soon after the concert ended. This idea hasn't caught on yet.
Alligator Jackson is listing what he thinks is the top 20 live albums of all-time. While this is a subjective list that will depend on the writer's favourite genres or bands, live albums that had an historical impact were included.
20. It's Alive- The Ramones
19. Unplugged In New York- Nirvana
18. The Allman Brothers Band Live At Fillmore East
17. Neil Young - Live Rust
16. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Live
15. The Song Remains The Same- Led Zeppelin
14- Tribute - Ozzy Osbourne
13. Live Evil- Black Sabbath
12. Live At Folsom Prison- Johnny Cash
11. live and Dangerous- Thin Lizzy
10. Strangers In The Night - UFO
9. All The World's A Stage - Rush
8. One For The Road - Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. Live After Death - Iron Maiden
6. If You Want Blood You Got It- AC/DC
5. Maiden Japan - Deep Purple
4. Frampton Comes Alive - Peter Frampton
3. Live At Budokan- Cheap Trick
2. Live Bullet- Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
1 - Kiss Alive - Kiss
New Wave Music was the name given to a creative tide of music that rose out of the late 70's. It was deeply inspired by the punk movement and was really given to anything that was new and out of the box. Some of new wave music had reggae influences as well. It started out being the cutting edge of alternative rock and quickly became pop music. “One of the first misconceptions to fall by the wayside will be the notion that new wave/punk rock is raw, offensive, noncommercial music,” wrote Greg Shaw in a 1978 issue of Billboard. “In fact, it’s now widely recognized that the new wave represents a full spectrum of musical styles with the common factor being a fresh, honest approach and a sense of cultural involvement between artists and audience.”
Although early new wave owed a lot to punk, New Wave became the realm of synth-driven pop. New wave music helped developed indie rock and was the roots of college radio. New wave bands had the reputation of being creative and ahead of their time. They were perceived to giving rock and blues based rock music a breath of fresh air. Several bands that surfed in on the new wave tide became established music powerhouses like The Police, Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, The Talking Heads, and The Cars. Even early Tom Petty was considered new wave.
The theory generating new wave music was that anyone can start a band. New wave artists were influenced by the lighter side of 1960s pop music and 1950s fashion and were able to reach mainstream more than the harder punk rockers. Bands, like the Knack, were heavily influenced by The Beatles. The Knack's debut album and single were monster successes. They called their debut Get The Knack and tries to duplicate the hype of the early Beatles except they infused their music with sexually inspired lyrics to get a modern, alternative edge.
"Get The Knack" was obviously patterned after "Meet The Beatles."
New wave was catchy and fun and the artists bizarre appearances helped jump start MTV. Their zany appeal created interesting videos.
In fact, it was new wave band The Buggles that were features in MTV's first video.
I was drawn to the quirkiness and novelty appeal of Devo. I started noticing in the early 80s that synth driven new wave like Human League's "Don't You Want Me" was replacing disco as the music girls wanted to dance to in clubs.
A website created a list of 100 songs, that while is not official, does show some of the new wave classics.
1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurythmics (1983)
2. Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds (1985)
3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears For Fears (1985)
4. Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)
5. One Way Or Another - Blondie (1978)
6. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads (1983)
7. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981)
8. Down Under - Men At Work (1982)
9. I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)
10. Don't You Want Me - Human League (1981)
11. You Might Think - The Cars (1984)
12. I Melt With You - Modern English (1983)
13. Take On Me - a-ha (1985)
14. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran (1982)
15. Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads (1980)
16. Whip It! - Devo (1980)
17. Blue Monday - New Order (1983)
18. Peace, Love And Understanding?, (What's So Funny 'Bout) - Elvis Costello (1979)
19. Don't Stand So Close To Me - The Police (1980)
20. Shout - Tears For Fears (1985)
21. People Are People - Depeche Mode (1981)
22. True - Spandau Ballet (1983)
23. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders (1980)
24. Something About You - Level 42 (1986)
25. Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins (1984)
26. Turning Japanese - The Vapors (1981)
27. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby (1984)
28. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads (1977)
29. Is She Really Going Out with Him? - Joe Jackson (1979)
30. Poison Arrow - ABC (1982)
31. Rock Lobster - B-52s (1979)
32. Need You Tonight - INXS (1987)
33. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners (1982)
34. Heart Of Glass - Blondie (1978)
35. Everyday I Write The Book - Elvis Costello (1983)
36. Cars - Gary Numan (1980)
37. Tempted - Squeeze (1981)
38. Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work (1982)
39. It's My Life - Talk Talk (1982)
40. West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys (1985)
41. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club (1982)
42. Pump It Up - Elvis Costello (1978)
43. Doctor! Doctor! - Thompson Twins (1984)
44. Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes (1983)
45. Spirits In The Material World - The Police (1981)
46. Goody Two Shoes - Adam Ant (1982)
47. More Than This - Roxy Music (1982)
48. Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) - Squeeze (1980)
49. Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs (1982)
50. Wouldn't It Be Good - Nik Kershaw (1984)
51. Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984)
52. Senses Working Overtime - XTC (1982)
53. Obsession - Animotion (1984)
54. Save It for Later - The English Beat (1982)
55. Alive and Kicking - Simple Minds (1985)
56. Saved By Zero - The Fixx (1983)
57. Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics (1984)
58. Tenderness - General Public (1984)
59. Voices Carry - Til Tuesday (1985)
60. Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo (1982)
61. Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil (1988)
62. Send Me An Angel - Real Life (1983)
63. Always Something There to Remind Me - Naked Eyes (1982)
64. Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson (1982)
65. Why Me? - Planet P Project (1983)
66. No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones (1986)
67. Shake It Up - The Cars (1982)
68. The Metro - Berlin (1982)
69. You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record) - Dead Or Alive (1985)
70. The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats (1983)
71. One Thing Leads to Another - The Fixx (1983)
72. She's a Beauty - The Tubes (1983)
73. Rock Me Amadeus - Falco (1986)
74. In a Big Country - Big Country (1983)
75. Life In a Northern Town - The Dream Academy (1985)
76. Major Tom (Coming Home) - Peter Schilling (1983)
77. Just What I Needed - The Cars (1978)
78. Time (Clock of the Heart) - Culture Club (1983)
79. The Sun Always Shines On TV - A-Ha (1985)
80. Come Back and Stay - Paul Young (1983)
81. Der Kommissar - Falco (1986)
82. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles (1979)
83. Girls on Film - Duran Duran (1981)
84. Only the Lonely - The Motels (1982)
85. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)
86. Avalon - Roxy Music (1982)
87. I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow (1982)
88. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo (1983)
89. Fade to Grey - Visage
90. Dance Hall Days - Wang Chung (1984)
91. A Little Respect - Erasure (1988)
92. Our House - Madness (1983)
93. Reap the Wild Wind - Ultravox (1982)
94. Destination Unknown - Missing Persons (1982)
95. I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats (1979)
96. Messages - OMD (1980)
97. Love Plus One - Haircut 100 (1982)
98. I Got You - Split Enz (1980)
99. So In Love - OMD (1985)
100. Lawnchairs - Our Daughters Wedding (1980)
It was 1979. Chevy Chevettes were still cruising our streets blasting music from 8 track players. Cassettes and record albums dominated record store shelves with 45 rpm records still selling millions. There weren’t any VCR’s or DVDs to watch music videos on and MTV wasn’t even around quite yet. The United States was still reeling from the disco effects of Saturday Night Fever. But, out of England came a roar. From British pubs came the hard heavy sounds that eventually invaded United States record stores. This sound was/ is commonly referred to as The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM.
I was in high school when I was first exposed to it. I remember being introduced to Eddie. I seen Eddie sitting on the shelves at Opus One in Ceredo Kenova, West Virginia. Eddie was unknown then but still very ominous looking. All metalheads know Eddie now. For now, Eddie graces a lot of bedroom walls and t-shirts. Then, he was making his first appearance on the debut self-entitled Iron Maiden album. Something inside of me told me I needed to buy this album. I didn’t have myspace or internet radio to go home and research them. The look in Eddie’s eyes told me this was special. Later, I used the same instinct to buy Saxon’s “Wheels of Steel” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”
In the late 70's, bands like Led Zepelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath that had dominated the metal scene were slightly declining in production and popularity. The new bands that were playing in British pubs were toning down the blues influence that those bands had and turned up the volume. They incorporated elements of punk and sped up the music. The lyrics often delt with mysticism and fanatsy.
The Soundhouse in Britain became the first heavy metal disco. DJ Neal Kay began playing songs by Thin Lizzy, Rush, AC/DC, and others. New bands began playing live at the Soundhouse. Iron Maiden was one of those bands. Their first British release was called The Soundhouse Tapes. A British music magazine called Sounds began charting Heavy Metal and the popularity of the music became widespread. The magazine Kerrang! was later formed and kept progress of the NWOBHM as well as other hard rock and metal.
Thirty years later, the New Wave of Heavy Metal is still flowing out of England. The same bands that led the charge in the late seventies are still alive and well now.
One of the bands that upped the irons and spread the metal around was Iron Maiden. The band and their mascot - Eddie - have become world-wide metal legends. On New Year's Eve in 1978, the band recorded a demo consisting of "Iron Maiden", "Prowler", "Strange World" and "Invasion". The demo was given to DJ Neal Kay who began to play it at Soundhouse. Five thousand copies were made and sold very quickly. The EP is a very rare collector's item these days.
The band signed a long term deal with EMI. They released two albums with original vocalist Paul Di'Anno. Di'Anno's hard drinking and excessive partying led to his departure. The band brought in Bruce Dickinson as the lead singer. Dickinson was known as Bruce Bruce in the NWOBHM band Samson. Samson had recorded a few albums and had success with the album "Shock Tactics" which featured the classic single "Riding With The Angels."
Iron Maiden recorded their classic release "The Number Of The Beast" and their popularity started to explode. They have sold around 75 million records. They are recognized as one of the top bands in the world. They play and sell out shows around the globe. Their artwork and merchandise has made them a reconizable icon.
In 2009, the band released "Iron Maiden: Flight 666 - The Movie" into theatres worldwide. The documentry explored The Maiden tour which was something that had never been attempted before. Traveling the globe on a plane flown by their lead singer, the band flew in a specially customised Boeing 757 airliner with their crew and 12 tons of music and stage equipment on board, playing 23 sold out stadium and arena shows in 13 countries in just 45 days, travelling 70,000km and performing to almost half a million fans. The band also released "Flight 666" as a 2 cd live audio release and as a 2 dvd set.
It is debateable if Judas Priest should be classified as a NWOBHM band. They had already been playing for years and released several albums by the time the wave struck. But, there isn't any doubt that their seixth release "British Steel" helped drive the success of NWOBHM. The album, released in 1980, contained the monster anthems "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking The Law." The record landed at number 4 in the UK and made it to number 34 in the United States.
Anthrax guitar player Scott Ian said in an interview in the documentary Heavy Metal: Louder than Life: that British Steel was probably the album that really defined heavy metal, because it, according to him, did away with the "last shards of blues" that had otherwise been characteristic of the genre. He said, "Even the title... how does it get more metal than that?"
Judas Priest released "Screaming For Vegeance" in 1982. This album made them world stars and elevated lead singer Rob Halford to Rock God status. It reached number 11 in the UK and 17 in the US. The album featured a more mainstream sound and the single "You've Got Another Thing Coming" helped fuel the pop metal craze of the eighties.
Judas Priest recorded several more albums with Rob Halford and a few without him. Tim "Ripper" Owens recorded with Judas Priest in Halford's absence. The story of Owens fronting Judas Priest inspired the 2001 movie "Rock Star" starring Mark Wahlberg in a role based on Owen's entrance into Priest.
Rob Halford has since returned to Judas Priest and released two critically acclaimed Judas Priest titles in the new millineum and a live cd "A Touch Of Evil Live" in 2009.
Def Leppard was mentioned in the same breath as Iron Maiden in the early days of NWOBHM. They toured with AC/DC, Judas Priest, and the Scorpions. The average age of the band in 1979 was 16. They released 2 albums claimed by NWOBHM (On Through The Night and High and Dry) but record companies were continously stearing them toward a more commercial sound. They found that pop metal sound which rose them to great heights. The albumsPyromania and Hysteria sold over 10 million copies a piece.
Def Leppard have become international superstars. The dramactic tale of their rise and several tragedies that have struck the band were detailed in a VH1 movie. They were not only part of the NWOBHM but also part of the hair metal pop/metal success of the 80's. They released the cd "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge" in 2008. The cd contained a duet with country superstar Tim McGraw. They performed on CMT's show "Crossroads" with new country sensation Taylor Swift and the dvd is an exclusive Wal-Mart release. In 2009, they conducted a summer tour with Poison and Cheap Trick. Def Leppard may have abandoned their NWOBHM roots but they played a vital role in the genre's success and have become international superstars in the process.
Motorhead came in on the punk side of the NWOBHM. Heavily inspired by the Damned, Motorhead played/ plays in your face rock at a frenetic punk pace and cranks it up to high volume. The band's no holds barred attitude has made it legends with anthems like "Ace Of Spades", "Overkill", and "Bomber." Lemmy Kilmster the bass player and vocalist has been the common thread in the band. The band started with Lemmy, Philthy Phil Taylor, and Fast Eddie Clarke. The music centered around Lemmy's whiskey soaked growl, a very identifiable voice. The music was/ is straight at you and over the top. The band quickly built a cult following and the consistency of the bands quality of album releases (no matter who came into the band to play with Lemmy) has been amazing for an over thirty year period. Once dubbed the loudest band in the world Motorhead inspired thrash rockers like Metallica. Motorhead's popularity is still increasing. Lemmy, himself, has reached legendery status. He released an autobiography entitled "White Line Fever". He has also claimed to have bedded over 2000 women. He has appeared on numerous tribute albums performing songs by Queen, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Metalicca, and others. The original members Lemmy, Philthy Phil, and Fast Eddie have passed but Motorhead lives on.
Saxon were the most underrated of the bands of the NWOBHM. They found success in England but never found chart success in the United States. Saxon has put out solid release after solid release since 1980, when they released their second effort "Wheels Of Steel". That album was recognized as an instant classic. The album was released in the United States and started a cult following over here but did not chart. In 1981, they released another classic album called "Strong Arm Of The Law." These two albums are regarded as two of the best NWOBHM albums that have been released. In 1982, they released "Denim and Leather", which may have been their most successful release in America. The single "Denim and Leather" received slight notice in the US and the video saw action on MTV. They released the followup "Power and The Glory" in 1983. These albums are regarded as the strongest and most well-known in the Saxon catalogue.
Saxon has never quit releasing albums. They have a strong fanbase that supports Saxon. The band has done despite not ever enjoying airplay in the US. Although they have had several lineup changes, Biff Byford has been the lead singer since the beginning. It has been his distinctive vocals that have kept the band relevant for around thirty years.
A movie called "Saxon: Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie" is being released November of 2009. It is a documentry celebrating the 30th anniversary of Saxon. The film will look at the ups and downs of one of the first NWOBHM bands. The band released "Into The Labyrinth" in 2009. It is their 18th studio release.
There were several other bands that helped NWOBHM make an impact on the music scene. The Tygers of Pan Tang were one of those bands and they are still releasing cds and playing shows in the UK. Diamond Head were cited as major influences of Metallicca. Girlschool toured heavily with Motorhead. There were many bands coming out of Britain in the eighties that held the heavy metal banner high.
The bands that were mentioned in the article are still going today. They are still playing loud and proud all over the world and recording studio cds. There have been may fads in music. The British Invasion of the 60's, disco, the punk movement of the 70's, and the New Wave Movement of the late 70's, but NWOBHM has proven the test of time and has proven that it was not a fad. NWOBHM bands have been recording influential albums and playing sellout shows for thirty years. The roar is still very evident. Crank it up!!!
Here are some buried treasures that rocked the eighties and ninities, they were overlooked at the time and are still buried.
WHEELS OF STEEL - SAXON
Wheels of Steel by Saxon was one of the albums that got the NWOBHM rolling. Saxon came charging out of England with a souped up, straight forward sound. Although it did not chart in the United States, it opened up a lot of American ears to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Lead singer Biff Byford had a distinct bark that turned on fans to a legion of music that has kept coming for thirty years. Although Saxon is not the best known of NWOBHM bands, they may just well be the most consistent, as they have regularly put out solid albums for the last three decades.
"Wheels of Steel" is an absolute masterpiece. They picked up immediate fans in bikers with outlaw biker classics "Motorcycle Man" and "Freeway Mad." These two songs are definite fist pumpers. Fast and reckless, they are mainstays of the Saxon catalogue after thirty years. "Motorcycle Man" stunned American metal fans and opened the door other NWOBHM bands.
"Wheels of Steel" and "747 (Strangers In The Night)" are fan favorites at Saxon shows and are Saxon classics. "Stand Up and Be Counted," although buried by all of Saxon's great tunes over the years. The opening riffs recall Ted Nugent's "Yank Me, Cranked Me," although really cranked up.
1. "Motorcycle Man" (4:00)
2. "Stand Up and Be Counted" (3:09)
3. "747 (Strangers in the Night)" (4:57)
4. "Wheels of Steel" (5:57)
5. "Freeway Mad" (2:40)
6. "See the Light Shining" (4:53)
7. "Street Fighting Gang" (3:10)
8. "Suzie Hold On" (4:32)
9. "Machine Gun" (5:21)
ROSE TATTOO - ST
Rose Tattoo came out of Austrailia in the late 1970’s. The AC/DC comparsions are inevitable and somewhat correct. They have the riffy Austrailan rowdy pub sound, definite party music. Angry Anderson’s growling vocals recall classic Bon Scott. Rose Tattoo does lean more to the blues side than AC/DC does, but they do it at a punk pace and metal volume.
The late Pete Wells gave Rose Tattoo their own distinctive sound, wailing on his slide guitar. The band never found success on American soil, though they did tour with Aerosmith in the early 80’s.
If you like fun, fast, and loud rock, this is a highly underrated jewel that is considered my many rock fans as a classic. The band is still around recording today, but the anthems on this CD are considered their best. Rose Tattoo heavily inspired Guns N Roses and was one of Axel Rose's favorite bands.
The album starts out with true party anthem “Rock N Roll Outlaw.” This song was later covered by Nashville Pussy, but they could not capture the blues rowdy spirit of the song like the Tattoo did. Bar band rock at it’s absolute best. Chuck Berry meets Bon Scott.
“Nice Boys Don’t Play Rock N Roll” is another bonafide classic. Later covered by Guns N Roses, this song is another whiskey soaked anthem. A fun boogie romp.
“The Butch and Fast Eddie” is a blues romp of another kind. It is a story of suburban gang warfare. A battle of two opposing gang leaders. A strong blues beat highlights this song considered by rock enthusiasts as a true underrated classic.
“Stuck On You” is a fun mellow ballad that shows the bands versatility. “Astra Wally” is a frenetic punkish tune. Many of the songs on here are considered absolute classics. If you are familiar with Rose Tattoo, you will enjoy hearing this album which held up surprisingly well over thirty years. If you haven’t heard it, you simply need too.
THE RODS - "Wild Dogs"
The Rods were a three man band from New York City that emerged in the early 1980’s with a sound that was similar to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM) that was invading the United States.
The band featured David “Rock” Feinstein. Feinstein is a cousin of Ronnie James Dio who played with Ronnie in Elf. Much later, Feinstein released the excellent “Third Wish” CD.
“Wild Dogs” is a showcase for Feinstein. He was the vocalist, but he really outdid himself shredding on guitar. This is one of the most underrated metal albums ever. The title track is a blistering rock anthem. “Too Hot Too Stop” visits the commercial rock sound of the 80’s. Even the cranking up of the 60’s pop tune “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is interesting.
The shows flashed and inspirations of Bon Scott era AC/DC, Ronnie James Dio era of Black Sabbath, and the commercial, but straight forward commercial, rock stylings of David Lee Roth era Van Halen. The band also had the intentisty of 80’s Motorhead.
Commercial success evaded The Rods, but “Wild Dogs” is a pure underrated gem that offers the best of the different styles that rocked the 80’s. The Rods have reformed and our currently recording new music, so stay tuned.
1."Too Hot to Stop" (4:03)
2."Waiting for Tomorrow" (3:53)
4."Burned by Love" (4:03)
5."Wild Dogs" (3:26)
6."You Keep Me Hangin' On" (3:45)
7."Rockin' 'N' Rollin' Again" (3:12)
8."End of the Line" (5:22)
9."No Sweet Talk, Honey" (3:29)
10."The Night Lives to Rock" (3:15
RIOT - "Fire Down Under"
Riot's "Fire Down Under" (1981) is considered by many to be one of the best hard rock albums ever made. It blew rock fans away as they progressed quickly from their two previous releases. It was an important album at the time because Riot was an American band and they released a thunderous album right in the middle of the NWOBHM. This album showed that the Americans could rock right with good ol' Brits.
A solid album with every tune being worthy of a greatest hits CD, the album opens with the smoldering "Swords and Tequilia." A rock anthem for the ages, "Swords and Tequilia" is a fast and driving rock anthem. The opener lets you know right off you are listening to something special.
"Fire Down Under" comes ripping right in at number two. The duo form a powerful one-two punch that immediately disables the listener. The album definitely opens fast and furious.
As good as those two are, "Outlaw" is just as good. Another fast paced song it belongs right beside the two openers. The late Guy Speranza was the lead vocalist on this cd and sounds like Geddy Lee on a dozen hits of speed. Commercial success never caught up with Riot but this album definitely found a cult following that salute this CD as one of the most underrated ever made.
MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - "Assault Attack"
The name Michael Schenker has always been associated with the guitar. He is recognized as one of the top guitar players in rock. His band The Michael Schenker Group has never achieved commercial chart success and none of his albums are considered ‘must-haves’ or any of his songs considered classics.
But, many underground rock enthusiasts consider his 1982 release “Assault Attack” as one of the best hard rock albums ever. The CD was not available in the US, until it was remastered and re-released in the Summer of 2009. It’s also now available on iTunes.
It was the first and only MSG album to have Graham Bonnet as the vocalists. With a very distinctive and melodic voice, Bonnet gave MSG a very different sound then previous vocalist Gary Barden.
Schenker himself delived some stunning solos, espically in the instrumental “Ulcer” and played superb guitar throughout the disc. The opening song, the title track “Assault Attack” truly lived up to it’s name and from the beginning. The listener knew that this new experiement with Bonnet as the vocalist would be a success.
The album literally burns with smoking riffs and guitar licks. The story is that Bonnet was not considered a great lyric writer, so Schenker gave him a magazine and it provided many aggressive inspirations. The lyrics are solid and aggressive, perfect for hard rock. “Rock You to The Ground” follows the opener and forms a 1-2 assault. The third track “Dancer” is a melodic song that was commercially targeted for that time period. Bonnet’s voice and style worked perfectly. Although, it did not garner radio airplay at the time, it was right in line with what FM radio was playing.
Lonesome Crow (1972) Fly to the Rainbow (1974) In Trance (1975) Virgin Killer (1976) Taken by Force (1977) Tokyo Tapes (1978).
The Scorpions established themselves as a top metal act when hard rock merged with pop music in the hair metal days of the 80s. The Scorpions turned the power ballad into gold and scored several top forty hits. Before they found commercial success on Mercury Records, they had recorded five stellar albums and a live CD on RCA Records which made them big stars in their native Germany.
Early Scorpions music is a lot of harder and more aggressive than their later music. The first album contained a then young guitarist named Michael Schenker. Psychedelic guitarist Uli Roth was in The Scorpions from 1973-1978. His guitar and the thrashing vocals of Klaus Meine were the key ingredients in The Scorpions' hard rock formula.
While Schenker was on Lonesome Crow, the bands first solid album was Fly To The Rainbow. The album opened with “Speedy’s Coming”, a blistering early Scorpions classic. It was The Scorpions first step in becoming a classic rock favorite.
“In Trance” came out the following year in 1975. The album is an absolute stunner. The tile track “In Trance” is a slow building scorcher that is somewhat reminiscent of the power ballad sound they would later perfect and use to climb the charts. “Life’s Like A River” is another bluesy slow grinder. “Dark Lady,”“Top Of the Bill,” and “Robot Man” are anthem rockers that are among the best of any Scorpions rockers of any era.
“Virgin Killer” featured the hot rocking Scorpions classics “Virgin Killer,” “Hellcat,” and “Pictured Life.” Their fifth release “Taken By Force” is a showcase for Uli Roth, who was making his last studio album for the band. “Sails Of Charon” and “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man” are mesmerizing. “Tokyo Tapes” was a two-record live collection of the best of the first era of The Scorpions.
The Scorpions would go onto have US chart success with the rock anthem “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and several power rock ballads, but the RCA years contained several underground classics.
Unfortunately, the early albums are hard to find on CD or even downloads. If you can find early greatest hits collections containing the RCA classics, I highly recommend them, they are worth stalking ebay for and haunting used CD stores.
VENOM - "Black Metal"
Ahhhhhh….everything starts somewhere. Everything has roots. Black metal’s roots are traced back to Venom. Crono’s band Venom? Yep, that’s the Venom. There’s all kinds of venom flowing from various creatures here in Da Swamp, but this Venom, while dark and sinister, is also kind of funny…well, in a way.
Goin’ back to when I was just a teen gator back in ‘81, I remember being curious about an import single from a band known as Venom. I was just a reckless teen, and how could I pass up a single that contained songs called “In League With Satan” and “Live Like An Angel Die Like A Devil.”
I mean, consider the cultural climate back then. Poor ol’ Ozzy…you know the guy who has trouble staggering through house without tripping over dog dishes. Yeah, that’s him. He was branded a devil worshorper by TV preachers who were goin’ to keep all of us teens from goin’ to Hell. Rock music was just starting to move into mainstream and, of course, we who loved Maiden and Priest were soon goin’ to be doomed to hell.
So, when I seen this single from Venom, I just had to get it. It was like I suddenly went from teen virgin to major rebel, just by buying this single. For all I knew, I may be transported straight to hell, but I risked it. I loved it in a sneaky way. It was the dirtiest, filtiest thing I heard in that time. I felt like I was being bold just to risk playing it.
When the album, “Welcome To Hell” came out, I quickly snatched it up. Again, it was like a secret evil inside of me. I felt like I was risking my soul purchasing it. I played it and played it for my friends. My ‘guilty’ conscience led me to dispose of it rather quickly. But it was what I expected. It was cheesy and over the top, but it was daring for the time period. It was very untalented musicians, but they were just in the right place at the right time. It was an extremely low budget recording, but you have to call it a classic album.
“In League With Satan” is a grimy, but still unbelievably fun anthem. The vocals are borderline bizarre. Until then, Motörhead was the most exetreme music this young gator had ever experienced.
At times, the album seemed more of a satire against religion than a satanic ritual. Today, it still does. It’s evil, but it seems to be poking fun of itself instead of just spewing venom. It has it’s message, I guess, it’s not like Satan was using the album to recruit patrons. Venom still lives, fronted by Cronos, having released the cd “Hell” in 2008. Their second album “Black Metal” coined the term black metal, which describes that genre of music.
I haven’t listened to anymore Venom albums, that one was enough for ol’ AJ but the only thing I regret is that I destroyed it out of guilt. It’s a memorable album, what a waste to destroy it! But then again, it may have just kept this ol’ gator from becoming boots in Dante’s Inferno. It may not be for everyone, but ya have to check it out and hear it once. Espically for thrash, death, or black metal fans…it’s certainly a piece of history.
DEF LEPPARD - "On Through The Night" and "High and Dry"
Def Leppard became pop rock kings in the 80’s. They pounded the charts with a greatest hits album worth of top forty songs. Then, their greatest hits CD - "Vault," became a multi-platinum smash. They thrived in the hair metal days with danceable pop rock tunes.
But, in the late seventies and early eighties Def Leppard were a fierce part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They released two solid rock albums which still stand as underrated hard rock classics. Although they did not sell millions or produce songs that even made their greatest hits album, “On Through The Night” and “High and Dry” are true underrated rock gems.
Their debut full-length album, "On Through The Night," was released in 1980 when the band’s average age was sixteen. The album had a raw sound and it was easy to tell that the band was still trying to find their sound. It had a few weak moments, but still was a solid rocker. Borrowing influences from Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and AC/DC it was obvious from the beginning that this band was heading somewhere.
The album was very close to being a total classic. Some of the songs were too obvious and cliched, but just missed the mark. “Wasted,” “Rock Brigade” (which received moderate airplay on US AOR-oriented stations at the time), and “Rocks Off” were early fan favorites and showed glimpses of greatness. The album contained a cross of working class rock and glam rock’s glittering hooks.
“When The Walls Come Tumbling Down” and “Answer To The Master” were thrash rockers in the style of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. All in all, this was an album that showcases the potential of a young band ready to explode, but still searching for the right sound. Not a classic album per se, but a true overlooked classic.
“High And Dry” was released a year later in 1981 on Mercury Records, the same label that released the debut album. It was a major step beyond their first effort. Again, the album was stacked with several songs that loyal fans consider Leppard classics, but none of the songs were chart successes or even made their greatest hits collection.
“Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” received airplay on a young MTV and radio airplay. Years later it was rerecorded by Mariah Carey. The song had a definite commercial hook. The album thundered from the beginning with the heavy opener “Let It Go.” The title track was a rowdy party anthem that is one of the better overlooked gems from Def Leppard. “You Got Me Running” displayed the band’s penchent for catchy, hooky songs that would later make them superstars. “No No No” closed the album out in the thunderous style that it opened with…also containing a screaming session at the end of the song.
In fact, these two albums should be merged into one great CD that could rival the greatest hits CD “Vault” in the heart of true Def Leppard fans. The band aimed their sound at commercial goals and they become mega stars as they slammed both the album and single charts throughout the eighties. Nowadays many metalheads cringe at the mention of Def Leppard, BUT there was a time when they were at the forefront of the NWOBHM and ranked ahead of bands such as Iron Maiden
The Godz rode out of the heartlands of Columbus, Ohio, in the middle seventies and onto Casablanca Records and the opening spot on the Love Gun Tour for KISS with fellow opening act Cheap Trick.
The Godz were more like a motorcycle gang than rock band in looks, attitude, and hard party lifestyle. But, oh, could they rock!
Sounding like Chuck Berry on steriods at time, they took a simple pure rock and roll beat, cranked it up, and turn it into whiskey-soaked, pure rock and roll joy. A real rock and roll celebration.
As can be expected, critics hated them, radio wouldn't play them, but grassroots rock and roll America gave them a cult following. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide described them as a "Miserable hard-rock quartet from Columbus, Ohio, epitomiz[ing] the most wretched excesses of Seventies rock," and rated both of their first two CDs as "worthless." But fans loved them and followed them on the road.
The orginial lineup consisted of Eric Moore, Mark Chatfield, Glen Cataline, and Bob Hill. In addition to touring with Kiss, they embarked on a tour with glam rockers Angel, which was dubbed the Heaven and Hell tour.
The Godz website says the following about the band's leader Eric Moore: "Eric Moore was the real deal, the genuine article - the true embodiment of the sex, drugs and rock and roll credo. And, he's as American as apple pie and Chevrolet, with a slightly different viewer rating. His songs and his on-stage banter relating war stories of drugs, women, guns, and freedom have won him devoted fans everywhere he performs. Eric's notorious partying and rock and rolling exploits are legendary throughout Ohio and beyond."
There was a psychedelic band out of New York that had the same name, but after a cash payoff, the Columbus band was able to remain The Godz.
The Godz disbanded in the early eighties. Eric Moore was in and out of jail and spent some time in the Mansfield, Ohio Reformatory for allegedly shooting someone in a barfight. During this downtime for The Godz, Mark Chatfield joined Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band. The Godz reformed in 1987 and released “Mongolians.” The album was a rerecording of a indie release two years earlier and contained the hard charging rock classic “Criminal Mind (Rock and Roll Heart).”
The Godz are back around and playing regularly around the Columbus, Ohio, area. The lineup now consists of Eric Moore, Ronnie Hughes, Bub Adams, Nikki Storm, and Heidi Helser. They now go by the name Eric Moore and The Godz. In 2003, they released a retrospective called “Twenty Five Moore Years” by Eric Moore and The Godz. The 2 disc set included new cuts and live rarities.
Here’s a sample of Godz’s lyrics that pretty much some up the spirit of Godz rock and roll:
Gotta Keep A Runnin'
I can't see enough I can't feel enough
I can't do enough in one d**n day
I'm gonna lose you baby I'm gonna use you baby
I don't care what you say
I'm gonna burn right up like a two dollar pistol
I like a rocket shot to the sun
I'm alive and I'm a jiving I'm a passing you by
I can't stop for anyone
I gotta live my life I can't stop for you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
Gotta keep a runnin'
I've got to see the land in a traveling band
I've got rock and a roll with you
I'm gonna make alittle money make alittle honey
make my connections too
I'm gonna brun right up like a two dollar pistol
I like a rocket shot to the sun
I'm alive and I'm a jiving I'm a passing you by
I can't stop for anyone
I gotta live my life can't stop for you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
Godz rock and roll
THE ERIC MOORE RAP. . .
Now dig up ya'll
Now we're stoned to the bone, hot and sweaty
Look at us, we're everything your parents ever warned you about
They think we're all junkies, but everybody's some kind of junkie
There's money junkies, booze junkies, dope junkies, sex junkies,
And there's one thing they can't understand , all of us, you and I, we're Godz , and Godz are rock and roll junkies
Now every night we get into a different town
Every night we get high, every night we rock and roll
Every night we go crazy and we know we're killing ourselves, but it feels so... good
They try to tell us rock and roll is dead , but Godz rock and roll ain't dead
Rock and roll is why we're all here
Rock and roll is why we got long hair and get high
Rock and roll is why we dress the way we do
Rock and roll has turned us into something that they can't stand, but rock and roll has created us
Rock and roll has made us into machines
We can't see straight
We can't think straight
We can't hear straight
We can't feel nothing , got no heart and soul, but we're Godz
And someday there'll be thousands of us, thousands of Godz, thousands of machines
More of us than there is of them, they can't stop the Godz rock and roll machine, stop the machine......machine
The Godz are rock and roll machines
No hearts but at least we're machines
The Godz are rock and roll machines
The Godz are rock and roll machines (x8)
1.The Godz are rock and roll machine (same)
2.We're all rock and roll machines The Godz are ....
( both lines x 4)
note: last time in live setting, Eric will replace
We're all rock and roll machines with the city name
(ie Cleveland Ohio rock and roll machines)
Note: Eric sings 1 and 2 parts Mark/Glen/Bob sing
The Godz are rock and roll machines followed by Eric parts (hope this makes sense)
Repeat versus #1 from;
I can't see enough........thru.........I can't stop for you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' (x7)
The Godz were and are rock n roll! Say what ya want but you can’t stop The Rock and Roll Machine. A recent scan of the net found the original “Mongolians” CD going for $126.99. Hopefully, Eric Moore and The Godz will record more music. There are some nice import comps available on the internet. If you like simple rock and roll with attitude and an edge check out The Godz. I recommend the first two CDs (The Godz and “Nothing Is Sacred” or the Eric Moore retrospective. I’d steer away from The Godz live CD because the sound quality was poor.
Asphalt Ballet came out of Southern California after the hair-metal craze. Perhaps that is why this CD didn't get the justice it was due. Timing wasn't on its side, because soon after the release of their debut CD on Virgin Records, grunge swept down from Seattle and the tides of rock music changed.
This debut CD was tremendous and showed the potential of the band. Many people wanted to group them as hair-metalers, but they had a very strong blues edge and at times like on "Head Wind Blows," a touch of Southern rock.
Asphalt Ballet had the most wins on Headbanger’s Ball on MTV in the early ’90s. The band also appeared on “Star Search.” The debut album starts out with the classic "Hell's Kitchen" which sounds like Guns ‘N’ Roses or Motley Crue at their sharpest.
Lead singer Gary Jeffries showsgreat range as a vocalist. "Soul Survive" is another balls-out rockin' anthem. "Tuesday's Rain" had a touch of blues, and is another great singing job by Jeffries. The song also had a touch of commercial pop/metal to it.
"Blood On The Highway" finds the band rocking at high gear. The album may not be regarded as an absolute classic but it definitely is a very underrated album that has a variety of different rock on it.
Shortly after the release of the CD, Jeffries left the band due to personal reasons. The band picked up a new singer and recorded a grunge-based CD that largely went unnoticed.
In 2009, the band has begun recording new material — with Jeffries doing vocals from Dayton, Ohio, and the rest of the band in California. Definitely an overlooked CD worth picking up.
1. Hell’s Kitchen 2:55
2. Soul Survive 4:22
3. Tuesdays Rain 4:18
4. Unlucky Mr. Lucky 3:47
5. End of My Rope 4:03
6. Heaven Winds Blow 3:55
7. Blood on the Highway 4:00
8. Goodbye Yesterday 4:33
9. Wasted Time 3:40
10. Taking a Walk 4:03
11. Hangman Swing 3:42
12. Blue Movie 3:52
13. Do it All Over Again 2:19
Although originally named Yesterday & Today, Y&T was truly a band ahead of their time back in the late 70’s and 80’s. They released their first two albums in 1976 and 1978. In 1980, A&M signed the band and their name was shortened to Y&T.
The San Francisco band was formed by and around Dave Meniketti (lead vocals and lead guitar). Joey Alves (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Phil Kennemore (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Leonard Haze (drums) rounded up the lineup that cranked out classic albums from 1980-86.
Unleashed in 1981, Earthshaker was a monster of an album that did not get the attention it deserved. If released later in the metal dominated decade of the 80’s, it would have been a chart sensation. At the time, this was the best and most powerful metal in the US. “Hungry For Rock”, “Shake It Loose”, “Squeeze”, “Hurricane” and “Knock You Out” were slices of metal stacked with brutal savage intensity. “Rescue Me” is a timeless classic that had the lyrics and emotions of a power ballad, but still built up to a knockout punch. It was a momentum gaining power rock tune similar to the formula which The Scorpions were able to use to became rock giants in the later 80’s. The album still sounds fresh over twenty-five years later and deserves recognition as a true underrated gem.
“Black Tiger” and “Mean Streak” came out in ‘82 and ‘83. The albums helped build the tide of rock that was rolling off the West Coast, but did not garner the band national recognition. Still the albums were the best United States rock available in that time period. Black Tiger opens up with a furious but brief guitar intro then explodes into “Open Fire”. “Open Fire” was like Van Halen on steroids. “Black Tiger”, “My Way Or The Highway”, “Forever”, and “Barroom Boogie” gave this black tiger a mean set of claws.
“Mean Streak” completed a tremendous trifecta that established Y&T as respected rockers. The album saw the band begin to focus on more commercial goals. Still, it was a hard rock explosion. “Down and Dirty” and “Hang ‘Em High” were two more Y&T classics.
The band reached number 46 on Billboard’s top 200 album chart in 1984 with “In Rock We Trust.” Although a solid album, you can detect that the band had more commercial aspirations in mind. In 1985, they released their seventh album “Down For the Count” which contained their biggest hit “Summertime Girls.” The song hit 55 on the top singles chart and 17 on mainstream rock.
Although “Summertime Girls” sounds kind of cheesy over twenty years later, it is regarded by many as their signature song.
All in all, Y&T has sold over four million records. Still, it is this mean trio of CDs from the early 80’s that stand as timeless masterpieces. While the charts remember them for “Summertime Girls,” it is “Earthshaker,” “Black Tiger,” and “Mean Streak” that represent the band’s best rock work.
They are still playing, but have had different lineups. Dave Meniketti is still the backbone of the band. If you want to check out great rock that preceded the US pop metal explosion, dig up the three masterpieces of early Y&T, which are available from the group's website.
Ol’ Alligator Jackson hates goin’ to the doctor. But thirty years ago, there was a doctor AJ couldn’t wait to see….heck…..this gator would go to his office every week. Well, the office was a radio and the appointment was 10-12 on a Sunday evening. The doctor was Dr Demento.
Ol’ Doctor D would give big ol’ shots of demented classics. His patients were referred to as “dementos” and “dementites.” His two hour broadcast would start out with “The Doctor Is In” and would wind up with the “Funny Five”, the most requested songs of the week.
The Dr. is still up to his old tricks. He can be found at
www.drdemento.com and is heard on a few stations around the country. But back in those days, we didn’t have The Comedy Network…hell….we didn’t even have The Cartoon Network. If we wanted a different kind of comedy it was either Dr Demento or Benny Hill. Ahhh…..Benny Hill….that’s another column…..
It didn’t matter what type of music you liked….whether it be country, metal, punk…..Everyone liked ol’ Dr D. A lil’ bit of silliness never hurt anyone. There were some classics…..”Pencil Neck Geek by Freddie Blassie. Heck….I still remember most of the words
When I was a kid/ life was goin’ swell
Something came along/ blew it all to hell
The day my daddy stumbled in all pale and weak
Said lady up the block just gave birth to a geek
Ma said sell it to the circus what the heck
Dad said no this one’s a pencil neck
Anything lower than a sideshow freak
Is a lowdown scum sucking pencil neck geek
Not sure if that was the exact lyrics the way ol’ Classie Freddie Blassie, the old wrestler and wrestling coach sang ‘em, but here’s the gist of the chorus:
Pencil neck geek/ grit eatin’ freak
Scum sucking peahead with a lousy physique
A one man no good losing streak
Nothing but a pencil neck geek
Well….you get the idea by now. Then you had Barnes and Barnes (one of the band was Billy mummy who played Will Robinson on the original Lost In Space tv show) with the demented classic “Fish Heads.” Dr Demento even gave a young whippersnapper a chance back in the late seventies - early eighties. He let some young guy name Weird al Yankeovic play his songs on their. “My Bologna” a parody of “My Sharona” by The Knack was one of the first.
Monty Python was a Demento favorite with tunes like “Spam” and “The Lumberjack Song”, Monty Python regularly hit the Funny Five.
“Dead Puppies” with the classic line “They don’t come when you call, they don’t chase sticks at all/ dead puppies aren’t much fun.” I guess in a way, Dr Demento helped influence a lot of the sick comedy we have now. His name doesn’t come up much anymore but every now and then I get into a good conversation about ol’ Dr D.
The novelty song in general is a dying art. It’s a shame. Rock music these days is often too angst ridden and angry. We need a few good ol’ fashioned novelty songs. Some good escapism. Nothing like “They’re Coming to Take Me away” to break some stress. “They’re coming to take me away HAHA”.
Well, ol’ Doc was recently elected into The National Radio Hall and Fame. And he should be…..he’s a true American original…….just like baseball, apple pie, hot dog, pencil neck geeks, and fish heads! And DON”T FORGET TO STAY DEMENTED! Hey, that was a good closing line by the Doctor, but of course, it’s no CHOMP ON!!!!!