Piet Botha on Harmonica
Piet Botha on stage playing his guitar and harmonica
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Piet Botha rocking away on stage

Piet Botha: Our Very Own Lemmy

Piet Botha was very special to rock fans all around the country.  Anyone who ever saw him live or spoke to him will attest to his charisma.  He was a rock & roll lifer, a bit like Motorhead’s Lemmy. Piet played his music and that is what he wanted to do.  He played it right up to the point where he couldn’t play it anymore and then he passed away.  He never tried to be anything other than what he was, the music was everything to him.  Both Piet and Lemmy were larger than life to their fans, they were instantly recognisable and both associated with a passion and integrity about their music that cannot be faked.

The albums Piet made with Jack Hammer rank right at the top of my favourite South African albums ever.  His solo albums were so incredibly deep, they brought a whole beautiful lyrical aspect that I had missed on ‘English’ albums.  I had so many good times thanks to Piet’s music.  The festivals and concerts, the smoky pub’s, the times we spent car spotting &  finding out who Die Gemmerbrood Man really was.  There were many weekend braais and Piet and Jack Hammer were always part of the soundtrack at some stage of the afternoon, night or more likely, early morning.

Piet’s lyrics became special to me and my friends, those who know will know.  We often spoke about Piet’s characters; die Engelse Lieutenant, Jacob Klipkop, or Die Mamba.  We would see these characters everywhere and it was part of our way of speaking.  Very seldom did a weekend go by where one of us wouldn’t mention a line out of one of Piet’s songs.

To me that is one of the marks of true musical greatness, the power to move people and change their lives with your music and words.  Piet had this great gift which he loved to share with everyone who would listen.  When I moved back to JHB in 2009 I was seriously starved for music, Cape Town had music venues all over the place but in JHB it was a problem.  I heard that Piet was playing in Boksburg one night at a place called The Knight & Dragon.  Boksburg is home territory for me, right on the border of Benoni, my hometown.  I immediately made a plan to go and watch him again.  This story is documented in The Story of Rock and Roll Chapter 19: Master of Reality.  I won’t go into it here, suffice to say it didn’t matter if Piet was playing a solo on his Strat, playing piano or raising goose bumps with his hauntingly beautiful  harmonica, it always connected emotionally.  He just had so much soul.  Listening to him playing Ghost Riders and then Rider on the Storm at about 02h30 in the morning at Knight & Dragon is still to this day one of my favourite memories.

I’ll let the music do the talking, there isn’t a massive amount of good Piet Botha video footage around so it was great to find this.  Once ‘The Road’, the film about Piet, is released I think we will see something really fantastic, until then I’ll keep posting whatever I find.  RIP Piet, you were a legend and an inspiration to all of us who ever picked up a guitar or wrote songs.  We’ll catch up with you on the Highway to the Sun.

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The Story of Rock and Roll Podcast Episode 20 went live from the Mix 93.8 FM studios at 00h00 on 24 May 2019.  The show starts with the last chords of Mike Tymvios’ amazing Rock Roadhouse and then segues into the TSORR opening Dr Who theme and we don’t quit the rock and roll for the next two hours.  As usual I ran out of time and had to cut a lot of good stuff however I did manage to play you a full dose of the best rock, metal, ballads and blues the planet has to offer.

You’ll get to hear among others Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, Ramones, Deep Purple, Metallica, Dave Lee Roth, Black Cat Bones, Falling Mirror, Machine Head, Jimmy Barnes, Zakk Wylde, Ace Frehley, Joe Bonamassa, Led Zeppelin, Devil’s Train, Judas Priest, Pearl Jam, Boston, Accept, The Cruel Sea, Rammstein and The Clash.
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Episode 19 of TSORR went live at midnight on 10 May 2019.  It’s probably the first show that had a mellow start in the form of ACDC’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise pollution. The audience reaction to this episode was excellent on the Whatsapp line.  That was good to know as it was probably the most diverse show I have done so far.  It ranged from Joe Jackson to Metallica, Alice In Chains to Sheryl Crow.  Beware that Joe Jackson will get stuck in your head 🙂

I played a lot of lesser known stuff, bands like Wilson, Kris Barras Band,  Bullet Boys, Los Labios & Black Spiders along with the usual heavy weights Dio, Van Halen, Metallica, Black Sabbath & ACDC.  SA music was represented by Aking and it was great to hear Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie, the Koos Kombuis classic, if you have ever been at a festival where he has played that you will know how wonderful it is, goosebumps.

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Episode 18 of TSORR Radio Show went out live at midnight on 3 May 2019 from the Mix 93.8 FM studios in Midrand Johannesburg.  It was not a textbook start by any means.  I was in Studio B which I have never used before and consequently the usual hearty greeting over the Dr Who intro theme is not there and you only know you are listening to a Radio Show after the 3rd song.  There is also a quick splice between Volbeat and Airbourne because the podcast link shut down in the Middle of Rainbows Long Live Rock and Roll.  Those problems were resolved quickly and the rest of the show went smoothly.

The show as always provided an eclectic mix of Rock music including the biggest hard rock and metal bands in the world but spanning the last 53 years but also celebrating some of the unsung heroes who have written & performed some of the greatest songs you have never heard.

Bands featured this week include Volbeat, Airbourne, Jimi Hendrix, Montrose, Dan Patlansky, Audioslave, Arapaho, Quiet Riot, Therapy?, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Kreator, Rush, Tom Waits, Joe Satriani, Pearl Jam, Phil Rudd, Dave Hause, Fokofpolisiekar, Night Ranger, Motor Sister

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Still Crazy
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Strange Fruit: The Flames Still Burns

If you never saw the movie Still Crazy then this may not make a lot of sense, it’s the final scene if an extremely entertaining film starring among others Jimmy Nail, Billy Connelly, Bruce Robinson and Bill Nighy.  It tells the story of a band called Strange Fruit that nearly made it and then when they got their big break the weather conspired against them and ruined everything.  Twenty or so years later they get an opportunity to do it all again.  In today’s world every band is out touring their legacy music,  60 year old rock stars are the norm rather than  the exception but when the movie was released 20 years ago it was a bit of a novelty idea, a bit like the Story of Anvil but more entertaining because its fiction.

Check it out if you never saw it.  Billy Connelly steals the show, the movie is very much a cult classic and those who have seen it love this song.  The song was originally written by Mick Jones of Foreigner and performed by Jimmy Nail in the movie it is once again a reminder of the power of music in movies.  It is so popular that Foreigner have now recorded with new vocalist Kelly Hansen.   It’s a special bit of rock and roll and I love this little solo when lead guitarist Brian finally returns after saying he would never perform again.

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The Story of Rock and Roll Radio Show: Episode 17 was recorded at Midnight on 26 April 2019.  Technically it’s the best show so far and is pretty much glitch free.  As usual I covered a lot of ground, starting with ACDC and finishing with ZZ Top.  I played a track from Live at Leeds which was released in 1971 and went all the way through to Kreators’ 2017 release Gods Of Violence and Tom Petty’s 2018 posthumous release called An American Treasure.  The 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s all got a fair shake.  As usual we had a bit of Classic Punk, Local SA bands and all the Rock, Metal, Ballads and Blues you have come to expect on TSORR.

The show featured among others, ACDC, Chickenfoot, Dio, Iron Maiden, John Mellencamp, Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Jam, UFO, The Who, ZZ Top, Jack Hammer, Blue Scream, The Stranglers, Kreator, Neil Young, The Black Cat Bones, Left Lane Cruiser, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Blink 182, The New Black, Rory Gallagher, Poison, Oasis, Tom Petty.

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The Story of Rock and Roll Podcast – Episode 16 aired on Mix 93.8 FM at midnight on 19 April 2019.  As always it’s warts and all with TSORR Radio Show, no editing, it goes out as it happens.  Ep 16 featured an eclectic mix of Metal, Rock and some British New Wave.  As usual there are some great South African bands in the mix, we had heavy and light and all shades in between, its a great slice of Rock Music over the last 53 years. In The Flesh off Pink Floyd’s masterpiece The Wall certainly bought the WhatsApp line to life.

Bands featured included Iron Maiden, Rush, Thunder, Pink Floyd, Pantera, Bruce Springsteen, Dio, Sammy Hagar, Megadeth, Hanoi Rocks, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Ryan Adams, The Police, In Flames, Joe Jackson, 12th Avenue & The Mayfield Four.

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The Story of Rock and Roll Radio Show – Episode 15 went live at 00h00 on 12 April 2019.  It starts with a unique new intro where the TSORR theme music is too loud and you can’t hear the greetings and salutations but hang in there because it comes right very quickly after that.  On TSORR it’s all about the music so we don’t edit out mistakes or technical glitches, we present the show as it happened.

This week the show featured a whole eclectic mix of rock, metal ballads and blues including ZZ Top, Metallica, Kiss, Van Halen, the Clash, Green Day, Loverboy, Buckcherry, Rose Tattoo, Badlands, The Answer, Cinderella, Dan Patlansky, Roan Ash, Dee Snider, Fozzy, The Uninvited, Guns ‘n’ Roses & Judas Priest.

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March 29, 2019

 

James Daubeney

 

This story of rock and roll radio show was recorded at 00h00 on 29 March 2019.  It featured among others  Rainbow, Cinderella, Dokken, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Metallica, Cold Chisel, Sepulture, Moorhead, Arapaho, Black label Society, Foo Fighters and many more.  Remember its the choice of songs that makes TSORR unique, you won’t hear the overdone top 40 greatest rock hits of all time on this show.  What you will here is some amazing music and some reasons why.

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All the Rock, Metal Ballads and Blues you need to start your day off right.  This episode covers among others Jack Hammer, Judas Priest, Clutch, Seether, Iron Maiden, Halestorm, The Jam, Myles Kennedy and a small tribute to Bernie Torme who sadly passed on 17 March 2019.

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Hailing from Las Vegas , Nevada Five Finger Death Punch formed in 2005.  Their rise to the upper echelons of Metal have been incredibly rapid.  I first heard them back in 2007 when they released  their debut album The Way of the Fist.  It was a seriously great album and  shifted 500 000 copies which, for an unheard of band, is pretty exceptional.  Album number two, War Is The Answer, went platinum and they were up and running.  By 2011 and the release of the third album American Capitalist they were well established and pretty much regulars near the top of the line-up for all the big US and European Festivals.

Of late Five Finger Death Punch have kind of let themselves down and lost a bit of momentum scoring a few own goals.  The erratic behaviour of vocalist Ivan Moody and his battles with substance abuse have led to a lot of uncertainty about the future of the band.  There were a number of on stage incidents and problems with getting Ivan on stage in time  which culminated famously in him announcing that this was his last gig in FFDP and that he was done.  The tour continued until Ivan checked into a rehab centre.  The release of And Justice For None in 2018 point to everything going well in the FFDP camp and in interviews I have read lately the band appear to be tight and together.  It would be remiss of me not to point out that Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook are two exceptionally fine guitarists.  Zoltan in particular is great in interviews and comes across as an incredibly driven, disciplined and level headed guy, so the polar opposite of his vocalist really 🙂

FFDP have gained a lot of popularity in the USA due to their support of US troops in Iraq.  In 2010 they played a number of gigs to US troops in Iraq and the video’s and song subject matter reflect these experiences.  The title of the fifth album Got Your Six is also a military reference.  A few of the clips here reflect those visits to Iraq and their support for US war vets.  Jeremy Spencer, a founding member and who had to quit the band in 2018 due to medical complications after back surgery and the amount of wear and tear he was taking described the band as  “kind of like stepping on a garden rake while looking at a supermodel” take a listen it is a good description \m/ .

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Every now and then you get a song that just lifts you up.  Beggars Guild by The Roadkill Ghost Choir is one such song.  I played it on TSORR Radio Show and it’s one of those that just leaps out at you.  I was introduced to this track by a good friend when I was on a guitar retreat in Clarens under the tutelage of guitarist extraordinaire Dan Patlansky.  This was one of the many tracks that myself and fellow members of The Bunk Girls Motor Cycle Club spent time listening to that weekend.  You may be someone who says ”I don’t dig banjo’s” well think again because after this you will dig banjo’s

Here are a couple of reasons to check this out: I love Andrew Shepard’s voice and that bit at [2:50] where he belts it is goose bump stuff.  It’s also in the lyric as it is with all good songs, the bit where he sings “with the bottle in my hand I take the devils side” is excellent.  I mean ain’t that the truth, how many times has that happened, a bit too much to drink and you take the Devil’s side.  Awareness of that line alone can stop a lot of stupid arguments and fights.  Roadkill Ghost Choir is an excellent name for a band, they deserve a listen for the name alone.   Finally watching the live video you may think that it would only appeal to ‘nerds, misfits and mutants’ (thanks Nerd Fitness for creating that cohort) but I get the feeling that Lemmy would love this.

Anyway check it out, it’s a lot of fun.

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Kid Rock: So much more than rapping

Here’s a bit of an inside view of the life of Kid Rock.  If you don’t dig it then that’s cool, just move on.  I know the guy probably has more haters than almost anyone but I dig him and he has put out some really great rock and roll.  It’s easy to slate him and hate on the whole rap thing but there is so much more to him than that.  Other than the music he’s a really great guy who does a lot of good.  The US soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan love him because he takes the trouble to go there and plays to them.  He writes stuff they can identify with like Let’s Ride ( elsewhere on this site, check it out).  He stands up for freedom of speech, he calls it the way he sees it and he doesn’t do politically correct bullshit, there are a lot of reasons to like this guy.    In case you need convincing I have included the video clip of him spending Christmas in Iraq and one of this special needs dude  having his 30th at a diner and someone has arranged for KR to arrive and surprise him.  The guy is Kid Rock’s No 1 fan and you gotta see the look on his face, it’s priceless.  It’s things like this that really make a difference in people’s lives.

Back in the Cape Town days we had a lot of fun with Kid Rock’s music, it was always the sound track to good times and many laughs.  That is what Rock ‘n’ Roll is about, it’s fun, it makes life great.  Apart from having a great voice Kid Rock is also a multi-instrumentalist and produced most of his own albums.  The interesting thing is that although he is slated for the earlier rap albums it’s only his very early stuff that was rappy and then he moved on and his last 6 albums have all been rock moving towards country.  I have put in a clip of him doing the Country & Western Thing with Sheryl Crow, The rock thing in front of a huge crowd as well as  him joining Aerosmith at a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame dinner.

Here is what Kid Rock had to say about rap in a fairly recent interview in The Guardian, “Rap-rock was what people wanted at the time, and they still love those songs at shows. But it turned into a lot of bullshit and it turned out to be pretty gay… If someone says you can’t say “gay” like that you tell them to go fuck themselves. You’re not going to get anything politically correct out of me.”  How can you not love Kid Rock J

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Rush have to be one of the best loved bands ever, Rush fans are obsessed with the band and typically they are fans for life. Rush are totally unique, there appears to be an amazing chemistry between Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. To get that level of friendship with that level of musicianship is a truly wonderful thing. Geddy and Alex met in high school and they have been friends ever since. Early Rush albums were amazing and absolutely set them apart from other rock and metal bands. 2112 particularly was a masterpiece. They went through an interesting phase in the 80’s where they seemed to be losing their rocker edge and moving deeper into the keyboard type sound that was prevalent in the new wave bands of the time. Personally it wasn’t a great time for Rush fans like myself but many great bands lost their way at that particular time, Rush were not alone.

As a three piece they had an incredible power which has seldom been heard anywhere else, its almost like Rush can get the level of musicianship prevalent in Iron Maiden with the same number of people in Motorhead. As a guitarist Alex Lifeson has the most amazing style, very different, its like constant lead guitar throughout without ever seeming like it is. Geddy’s vocals are another thing that set them apart, how he sings and plays those complex bass runs at the same time is a mystery. You won’t find many a drummer who doesn’t cite Neil Peart as a huge influence. If you are new to Rush you best place to start is the Rush Chronicles double album. It pretty much takes you through their whole early to mid career. Live in Rio, the triple disc, and their final album Clockwork Angels really just put the cherry on the top of a wonderful career.

It will be really interesting to see what happens now that they will no longer tour as Rush due to drummer Neil parts health issues. I suspect that Geddy and Alex will still give us something in the future, fuck I hope so. Rush is one of those bands where the music does the talking.

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Here’s a bit of fun because at the end of it all it seems to me that that is mostly what Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are about. I get the feeling that Dave just loves life and is absolutely passionate about making & playing music for as many people as possible.

I don’t really understand why there are as many haters as there are when it comes to the Foo Fighters. The music is great, some of these songs have become rock classics, Monkey Wrench, The Pretender, Learning To Fly, Everlong, the Best Of You, that’s just the tip of the ice berg. How many people can be the drummer in one of the most influential bands ever and then when that band folds instead of disappearing into obsurity they go on and become the vocalist and guitarist for a band that can go on to sell out Wembley, Hyde Park and Headline Glastonbury? How many people can get Jimmy Page, Lemmy, Brian May and Roger Taylor to join them on stage? Lets face it The Foo Fighters are big league players, one of the most popular bands right now and their work ethic is second to none. They are averaging a new album every 2.55 years which is prolific by modern day standards. They also never just dial an album in and they never stand still. Their shows are, on average, 3 to 4 hours long and everything is about the fans.  If you want to understand the success of the Foo Fighters and sustained effort then consider that Dave’s net worth is currently 5.6 x that of Kris Novaselic.

In celebration of Dave and his band here are a few things to sink your teeth into. The video for ‘These Days’ is just great, it shows a normal guy and his family who also just happens to be one of the biggest rock stars on the planet. I added the interview with Lars Ulrich because it gives such a great insight into how much energy and charisma Dave Grohl has and in that interview there is a very funny bit where he talks about Taylor Hawkins’s EP that Taylor released in 2016 and the song ‘Range Rover Bitch’. Its a great story, especially the bit when Liam Gallagher comes back stage to visit and knows all the words to ‘Range Rover Bitch’. Taylor set out to make the most retro, 80’s kitschy video ever and I thought I’d dump it here for you to see. The EP is titled Kota and apparently according to Taylor it’s all about ”being a rock star trapped in the suburbs”. Check it out, its a lot of fun. So in summary the Foo Fighters are a lot of fun and we should be very happy they are around to brighten up our lives. In the end isn’t that what Rock ‘n’ Roll is for?

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The band that probably had more influence on Rock bands than any other in the world barring maybe Led Zep, take a look at the amazing Rolling Stones. This was recorded back in 2006 when they were in their mid 60’s but they are still on tour 12 years later.  Check the trailer and a fan clip of the 2018 Tour attached and you’ll see the energy is all there. Many people just don’t seem to be able to get past how old they look. They make jokes about their age and can’t see the Stones for what they really are: the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band the world has ever known. Remember there are politicians in their 70 running countries and making decisions that affect the livelihoods of millions of people but when it comes to The Stones still touring and playing music people freak out because they are getting on a bit. Looking at this video they look healthier than half the people I work with.

Rejoice in the fact that the world still has the Rolling Stones, they are pretty much the last band standing. Why are The Stones so important? Because they are everything that’s wonderful about rock and roll, they have done it all, they don’t give a fuck what you think. They have never pandered, they just do what they want and everyone loves them for it. There may be bands better at certain things than the Stones but none of them are as consistently good at everything in the way that the Stones are. Lets raise a glass to a band that changed the world, to the greatest rock and roll band the world has ever seen.

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Gary Moore is without doubt one of the truly great guitarists. He was a huge influence on many players, including Joe Bonamassa, who cites Gary Moore as one of the reasons he started playing. Gary Moore died in a hotel room in Feb 2011, according to reports he died in his sleep and the official cause of death was a heart attack. Gary was a heavy drinker and the verdict was pretty much that the booze had killed him, the coroner reported that his blood alcohol level was 5 times the legal limit. Despite this, his death was unexpected, and it came as a shock to music lovers world-over who mourned the loss of this Guitar Titan.

I recently listened to his comeback album, Still Got The Blues, having not listened to it for many years. I was inspired to do so after reading an article in Classic Rock which explained how that album came about. A bit like Jeff Beck, Gary was largely seen as the guitarists guitarist. He was well known for his brief time in Thin Lizzy and then for the commercial solo albums such Wild Frontier and After The War. In Colosseum II he played progressive rock, in G-Force it was straight up metal, he was in and out of Thin Lizzy and his solo career tapped the Celtic Rock vein, what he hadn’t tackled was his first love, the blues. Without a guitar Gary could be moody and difficult.  Classic Rock pointed out that he was ‘not exactly the life and soul of anybody’s party. Gary became disillusioned with everything he had been playing. He told Classic Rock that he had been playing a few tracks off various of his old albums and that it was ”utter shite”. He said that he felt he had to do something, he didn’t know what but it soon became clear after picking up an acoustic guitar and just letting the music flow that the ‘something’ was to go back to the blues. Brian Downey, a founder member of Thin Lizzy and the drummer on the Still Got The Blues album said Gary could pay anything but that when they first met when Gary was 15 it was the blues that drove him. He loved Peter Green and even owned his ’59 Les Paul. That wasn’t something he bought later as a successful rock star but something that he had been given by Green when Moore was just starting out as a guitar journeyman. It wasn’t technically a ‘give’ though, Green needed money and Gary didn’t have any but they agreed that Gary would sell his Gibson SG which was his workhorse guitar and give the money to Green who would then give him the Les Paul. That guitar today belongs to Kirk Hammett. After deciding that all his old stuff was shite and realising that it was time to go back to the blues Gary called up Eric Bell the original Thin Lizzy guitarist. He asked him if could remember the names of any of the old blues standards they used to do when they played the Belfast pub circuit around 1970. Bell told him the names of a few Albert King, Freddie King and Albert Collins tracks and the next time he saw Gary it was on a huge poster dressed in a smart blue suit promoting his new album Still Got The Blues. Bell remembered thinking ” Fuck me he’s gone and done it”. The album went on to sell way more than his other albums and had luminaries such as Don Airy, Bob Daisley, Brian Downey, Albert Collins, Albert King and George Harrison playing on it. Its a fantastically fiery blues album and you’ll get the idea listening to Gary doing the title track live in this clip. Just for good measure I’ve added Gary tackling the old Thin Lizzy classic The Cowboy Song. What an amazing guitarist, what a loss, RIP Gary you are still missed 7 years later.

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There is no doubt that Led Zeppelin are one of the greatest rock bands the world has ever seen. By any measure, record sales, concert takings, billboard charts, fan adulation they are up there with only Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones with maybe a few others being in the same category. The thing that Zeppelin had that many others didn’t was sheer charisma. They really were like Golden Gods.

If you watch The Song Remains The Same it almost feels otherworldly, Plant and Page especially are incredible. Zeppelin were heavy, they were loud, they were bluesy, they could be folky and they were top class musicians. They became the standard by which all who followed would be measured. They had the look that everyone copied. In the 70’s there were posters of Zeppelin on millions of bedroom walls. Led Zep were dark and light and everything in between. They were white hot & uber cool, they were special and they strode the world like giants. Its hard to imagine it in todays world of sanitised pop. Today in Rock and Roll there only danger at the fringes but Led Zeppelin bought it to the masses. They were special and always will be.

Sadly the centre couldn’t hold and the death of John Bonham, probably the greatest and most influential drummer ever, signalled the end of the band. The Beatles did about 12 albums in 9 years and Zeppelin did 9 albums in 12 years and in both cases suddenly one day it was done, it was over, it was the end. It’s not all bad though, sometimes its better that there is an end, less is more. Zeppelin could be very bombastic and the 12 min extended solos could become tiring. Near the end there was a danger of them becoming the cliché. Having said that it is easy to forget what the fuss was about and that is why video’s like this are so important. Take a look and be transported back to a time when Led Zeppelin strode the earth like gods. They were magnificent and they were very, very special. Never forget.

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I am reading Jimmy Barnes’s book Working Class Man which has driven me to a massive Cold Chisel resurgence, the book reminds you how good they were. This post is for those of you who are fans so you can get a fresh dose of Cold Chisel or for those of you who don’t know them so you can check it out. The thing that really stands out in Jimmy’s story is that if you haven’t heard Cold Chisel live then you haven’t really heard them. Jimmy released a book called Working Class Boy about two years ago, I was over the moon with excitement until I read that it was his childhood years living in Scotland, parents fighting, step-fathers, siblings, Scottish weather, emigrating to Aussie, school & dysfunction, dysfunction, dysfuncion. It stops before he gets into a band. No disrespect to Jim but I didn’t need that background and was happy to give it a skip. He has now released the second part and this is exactly what I wanted, the whole warts and all story of Jimmy Barnes during the years when he made a difference in my life.

As I mentioned Jimmy hits the nail on the head very early in the book, i.e. the records did not do the band justice at all. Chisel were a live band, they were forged in the fire of relentless gigging. When they started they were doing two to three and sometimes even five shows in a day, all over Australia in the mid to late 70’s. This was the time that ACDC, Rose Tattoo, The Angels and a few other hard charging Aussie bands were doing the same. The parallels between this and what was happening in SA at the same time are obvious; isolated, suburban and / or city kids are heavily influenced by what is happening in the USA and the UK. Because they are so far removed from it they have to form their own bands and create their own scene. Sydney and all the other Aussie towns and cities seem to be just like Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and all the rough and tough places like Brakpan, Benoni, Springs where many a decent band started in the local hotel. Record contracts were hard to come by, exploitation was rife and there was a lot of fighting & drinking.

What I also discovered was that there is another Cold Chisel album released in 2015 which I wasn’t aware of and most incredibly there are 3 albums called The Live Tapes Vol 1,2, & 3. If you own these 3 discs you will pretty much have everything Cold Chisel ever did, you will know just how good they were musically, especially Ian Moss and Don Walker.  You will experience exactly what Jimmy talks about, i.e his relentless drive to make the band harder, louder and heavier and you will understand what all the fuss was about. Cold Chisel are without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest Aussie bands ever. These video’s are OK but to really get it you need those Live Tapes Volumes, trust me. They are available on iTunes.

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I figured it was time to have a bit of a reminisce over some of the guitarists we sort of forget every now and again. A prime candidate is Steve Stevens, mostly famous for being Billy Idols wing man. Steve Stevens absolutely had a massive part to play in the success of Billy Idol. The two of them together just had that perfect front man, guitar hero thing going that you see with Jagger and Richards, Tyler and Perry, Eddie & Dave, Slash & Axl, Page & Plant. The first video comes from a series I highly recommend called VH1 Storytellers series where they feature Billy Idol. You get a really good idea of just how great Steve Stevens is when you watch that DVD, the guy plays an acoustic guitar at the kind of speeds you expect out of his electric stuff. I have included a clip from that series, check out the solo. Steve and Billy have such good energy together, it shines through and he has a co-write on all Billy’s greatest hits.

This second video is from a bit of his solo career, when he put together his outfit called the Atomic Playboys. The Atomic Playboys album was released back in 1989, it had the great album cover done by the legendary H.R. Giger cover of Alien fame. Steve did some of the vocals and a guy called Perry McCarty was also credited with vocals. He also has South African Anton Fig on drums. Born in Cape Town in 1952 the list of top guys Anton Fig has played for is a long as your arm. Check out these video’s and enjoy the talent that is Steve Stevens. Love the hair, that was how things used to roll in the 80’s.

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