When it comes to cool no-one can touch Jimmy page. He sets the standard by which all guitarists will forever be measured. If you are going to play an electric guitar this is how you should look. If a photo was shot of Jimmy playing a guitar it almost automatically became an iconic image. If we are going to meet aliens one day or if aliens come to us and sift through the rubble that was our ‘civilisation’ we need to ensure that any pictures they find of guitarists have Jimmy Page at the top of the pile and not someone holding it up by his tits. Consider this a public service announcement to all guitarists 🙂
I don’t give Bon Jovi more than a passing mention in The Story of Rock and Roll and it’s not because I didn’t like them, it’s really because they just got so fucking huge that they lost relevance to me. Once you have dewy eyed twenty year old chicks getting excited about ‘Heavy Metal’ because of Bon Jovi it was time to build a big fucking moat between me and Slippery When Wet. First time I heard Bon Jovi was when they did ‘Runaway’ and then I got big into their 2nd album 7800 deg Fahrenheit, the track Tokyo Road was proper rock ‘n’roll in 1985.
Dokken were a completely dysfunctional band, they could not get on at all. They made some great music but I could always feel that lack of cohesion and the fact that they hated each other just held them back. For me there was only really one reason to like Dokken and that was George Lynch’s guitaring. I always wish George had been in another band but who knows maybe George is actually the problem.
Guns ‘n’ Roses are well covered in The Story of Rock and Roll. They were a phenomenon at a time when the word needed some heroes. While grunge slayed hair metal it was Guns ‘n’ Roses and Pantera who kept the metal alive. Appetite was a force of nature that couldn’t be contained, the planets aligned and that perfect chemistry between the classic line up could not be prevented from recording one of the probably 10 best albums of all time. Despite themselves and their own efforts to sabotage their career with booze and drugs they were just too good and they burnt like a fucking supernova for 5 incredible years.
Cinderella were great at the time, they had some cool stuff but they didn’t really have the charisma of some of the other bands. The one thing Cinderella did have was the voice of Tom Keifer. He just has a certain tone when he starts to belt it out that gives me goose bumps. He put out a great solo album The way Life Goes in 2013, check it out it is pretty good.
Tesla were part of the hair metal scene just by virtue of being around at the time. The Stranglers had the same problem with being considered punk and getting lumped in with the negative side of the movement. To me Tesla were far better than most of the other bands around in the 80’s. I have no doubt that if they had formed in 1970 they would have been as great and as successful as they were in the 80’s. They were top class musicians and they wrote fantastic songs. Their album Five Man Acoustic Jam predated the whole MTV Unplugged format and is one of the finest acoustic albums ever made.
Skid Row were probably my favourite hair metal band. They were a lot heavier than the other guys and the combination of the twin guitars of Scotty Moore and Dave ‘the Snake’ Sabo gave us some of the coolest, most emotional guitar solo’s ever. And then there was Sebastian Bach, what can I say, a bit like Axl when it came to the spoilt petulant primadonna stakes but what a fucking voice. He is without a doubt one of the best post Halford, Dio, Dickinson vocalists of all time.
Warrant were the prototypical 80’s hair metal band. They had it all – the look, all bright colours and make-up, the big hair and pretty faces and they certainly had the songs. Through a combination of relentless touring and MTV saturation bombing they rose to great heights in the late 80’s and this culminated in the release of their wonderful second album Cherry Pie. Unfortunately it was pretty much all downhill from there. With the advent of grunge all the hair metal bands were dead in the water within 12 months and then tragically lead singer Jani Lane died of acute alcohol poisoning in 2011.
The Rolling Stones
I got into The Stones a bit late because obviously when they first started making waves I was about 2 years old. The Stones struck a chord with me because they were so much more, for want of a better word, dangerous than the Beatles. They were rebels, antiheroes, bad guys and they appealed to me in a way that The Beatles didn’t. Like Fender vs. Gibson, Martin vs. Taylor, BMW vs. Mercedes you pick sides in life and when it came to The Beatles vs. The Stones there was no contest in my mind, Stones for life.
Dave Cooke (RIP) who was in Standard 8 when I was a newboy at Potch gave me an album by The Who. I am not sure why he gave it to me but I am forever grateful to him for the magnanimous gesture. I think he realised that I would take hold of the flame and write a book and build a website sometime in the future and that the best way to ensure that The Who were adequately represented would be to give me the album.
The book details the importance of Kiss in my life. They were the first band to turn my world upside down. The importance of Kiss in TSORR is immeasurable, without Kiss maybe none of this would have happened. Detroit Rock City was the first song I ever heard by Kiss and nothing would ever be the same.
‘Working for the People’ was on the end of the Kiss Destroyer tape a friend gave me. Like a doos I thought it was Kiss, the detail of that event is explained in The Story of Rock and Roll. It is a fantastic song and gave me a great love for those single note driving bass lines.
Van Halen! Where showmanship meets talent in one giant supernova of brilliance. For me Van Halen took everything to a new level. They had the flash of Zeppelin without all the self indulgence. You cannot listen to Van Halen and be in a shit mood.
Judas Priest will always be the band that I credit with being the fathers of Heavy Metal. I love Sabbath and Zeppelin but to me no-one epitomised Metal like Priest.
I was listening to Queen II from around 1976 and it was just the most perfect album ever. Freddie and Brian in particular were just so good on that album. A Night at the Opera was released in 1975 but I took it to boarding school with me in 1979. ‘Death on Two Legs’ was Freddie in a rare venomous mood and probably the reason why Queen were lumped in as a heavy metal band.
The Asylum Kids
Along with Wild Youth and Dog Detachment the Asylum Kids were the SA punk bands that were just kicking it up at the time. You could catch them at the various Varsity Rag days but I never had the pleasure of seeing them. Once Robbie Robb left to form Tribe After Tribe I saw him a lot.
”I started the album, volume up full and the opening chord to ‘Anarchy in The UK’ nearly made the welding crack on the burglar bars. The Pistols were just brilliant, mainly only three chords but each chord was thick, crunchy and necessarily over-overdriven. I was in heaven: ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘No Fun’, ‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘Silly Thing’. I was just through the second listening of ‘God Save the Queen’ when in walked the Fascist Regime. The Sex Pistols saved me I reckon because Dad was expecting a contrite teenage son who would be amenable to becoming a functioning member of society, but what he was faced with was a wall of blistering guitars at the kind of volume that Satan himself would probably appreciate.” – The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney
I put this song up and it all just came crashing back the way I remembered it. It’s amazing how 35 years later I can still feel exactly the same way I did the first time I ever heard Bruce sing Atlantic City. What makes him so special is that anyone can play this song 3 chord song but no-one can play it like this.
I got hold of Quiet Riot in early 1983 and it was the start of some golden years of metal. Their cover of ‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ went straight to the top of the charts and the anthemic album opener ‘Metal Health’ with it’s cry of ”Bang Your Head” must have been played out of the windows of a couple of million cars in 1983. It was a party band of note.
I was very late into the Ramones and the details of how I got into them are covered in The Story of Rock and Roll. There was just something about them that was amazing. It wasn’t the musicianship, it wasn’t the lyrics, they just had a way of writing these buzz saw tunes that were irresistible. Bands like the Pistols and the Clash may never have got the confidence to play if they hadn’t seen the Ramones just show everyone that you don’t have to be Richie Blackmore to be in a band, you can just rip it out without solo’s in under 2 minutes and people will love it.