Jimmy Page: What aliens need to see first

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 🙂

Wanted Dead or Alive

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Bon Jovi

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.

This was a classic Bon Jovi video, very much like the Journey video I included earlier it showed the other side of being on the road.  There are scenes in this video where you can see how, in unguarded moments, these guys are just burning out.  It also showcases my love affair with black and white, if they ran this video in colour it just wouldn’t have that same effect at all. 

James Daubeney

Dream Warriors

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Dokken

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.

Getting this song onto the soundtrack of Nightmare on Elm Street 3 gave Dokken a huge boost.  They really had a great opportunity to move up to the next level and they fucked it up so this a good example of how difficult it is to be successful if you don’t work with people you like or respect.  This is a fun clip, typical of MTV at the time but I just like watching George come through the wall with Mr Scary. 

James Daubeney

Sweet Child O’ Mine

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Guns n'Roses

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.

”Purely thanks to rock ‘n’ roll instinct I was walking past the lounge at the folks’ place and I heard this most astounding guitar riff.  A sort of arpeggiated D major chord thing.  I looked at the TV and saw a guitarist, all hair and top hat, in a leather jacket, Gibson Les Paul slung low playing this amazing riff.  The whole video was in black and white, and the other guitarist, jet black hair, smoke dangling, black mirror shades, looked like he was straight out of the Stones.  Next thing it’s Axl, bandana, sunglasses on top of his head, dancing like a girl, effeminate hand gestures, swaying like he is at the scout hall disco dancing to Hall and Oates.  Fuck!  Not this oke.  Then he starts singing.  I had my ‘Saul who became Paul getting blinded on the road to Damascus’ moment.  I saw the light.  I had not realised just how great this band actually were”.  The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney

James Daubeney

Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)

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Cinderella

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.

This is a typical power ballad that all these bands around at the time were so good at.  It is a big part of why the chicks went crazy.  Long Cold Winter was a very good album and got a lot of air time at my place.  This video is a bit drippy and it’s the kind of MTV fodder that made Aerosmith huge again.  If it wasn’t for this kind of stuff we would not have had Metallica smashing down the door to go in the opposite direction so let us be grateful. 

James Daubeney

Love Song

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Tesla

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.

What a great fucking video.  I never saw this at the time, I never watched much TV in fact I didn’t even own one.  I played The Great Radio Controversy so many times the CD player knew it off by heart.  I didn’t even have to put the disc in anymore, it was burnt into the circuits.  watching this reminds me of those golden years when Metal ruled the world.  I would urge anyone who doesn’t know Tesla to dig in, they were a cut above the other hair metal bands and that is one of the reasons why they are still around today.  Fucking LOVE Tesla. 

James Daubeney

I Remember You

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Skid Row

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.

I would play Skid Row to my mates whenever it got really late and a lot of beers had been consumed we always got stuck on this song because of the guitar solo’s that start at 02:40 on the clip, that and listening to Seb belt it out.  Skid Row, God Size, it doesn’t get much better than this \m/ 

James Daubeney

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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Warrant

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.

‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is a fantastic track, the intro swamp blues guitaring was played by Jani’s brother and it set the song up for a huge barrage of heavy guitaring when the song kicks in properly at 1:04 in the video.  This needs to be turned up loud. 

James Daubeney

Street Fighting Man

FILE - July 5, 2013:  The Rolling Stones return to play at Hyde Park in London this Saturday, their first time since headlining a concert in the park in 1969. 13th June 1969:  20-year-old Mick Taylor, former lead guitarist of the John Mayall rhythm and blues group replaces Brian Jones as the new member of the Rolling Stones. The group pose in Hyde Park, London - (from left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman.  (Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

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.

The Rolling Stones could probably be called the greatest band of all time, they are probably the oldest surviving band.  They have always been with us in some form or other, their album output is consistent and they have been touring the world breaking attendance and many would say ticket price records for over 50 years.  As old as they are and as painful as it is to watch your heroes age they are a Rock ‘n’ roll institution.  This is the band that you would show alien invaders if you wanted to show them the epitome of Rock and Roll. 

James Daubeney

My Generation

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Who

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.

Here is a classic video clip from Woodstock in 1969.  Pete Townsend looks high as a kite to me, check out those eyes when he introduces the song, classic rock star insanity.  One of my favourite stories is that when John Entwhistle died at the age of 58 in The Hard Rock Hotel after a cocaine binge with a stripper,  I can’t find the story now so I can’t prove it but I remember reading that The Who set up their gear in the room he passed away in and just played a gig in his honour.  Those that could squeeze in saw it and the rest just listened from the corridors through to the car park. 

James Daubeney

Detroit Rock City

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Kiss

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.

Destroyer was the 4th studio album from Kiss so I was behind on this one.  The Alive! Album had really put them on the map and for Destroyer they decided to use Bob Ezrin to produce.  The album was different to the older albums, the songs were better and it was more polished.  Destroyer set me up for Kiss Alive II which was just amazing.  By now the band were already having problems and had released solo albums, Dynasty and the Elder were still coming *shudder*.  Regardless of some of the misses the hits make Kiss one of the most important bands in my life.  With Kiss it wasn’t just the music it was the larger than life characters.  In the same way as the Beatles the 4 characters were instantly recognisable and everyone had a favourite.   

James Daubeney

Working for the people

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Rabbitt

‘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.

Rabbitt were SA’s first super group, in another country that wasn’t backwards Apartheid South Africa in the 70’s they would have been huge.  Trevor Rabin was one of my first guitar heroes.  You can hear the influence that Brian May had on him on the Croak and a Grunt in the Night album.  It fully stacks up to anything released on the international scene.  Everything from ‘TC Rabin in D-minor’ through to ‘Dingley’s Bookshop’ was brilliant.  There are no weak tracks.  Rabbitt were the SA Beatles and Trevor and Duncan were able to pull off the vocals between them in the same way as John and Paul did, equally good but subtly different.    

James Daubeney

Jamie’s Cryin

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Van Halen

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.

Coming out of Pasadena, California in the early 70’s Van Halen moved from being California’s biggest party band to one of the most successful bands in the world.  I discuss Van Halen a lot and the fall out with Dave and the Sammy Hagar years are all put in context.  As a high school kid I was Van Halen befok, we all were, they just had the whole good times rock ‘n’ roll thing down to perfection.  Eddie was a guitar god and I blame him entirely for helping me realise that when it came to playing guitar I didn’t have a fucking clue 🙂   If you want a brilliant book on Van Halen check  out http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24694185-van-halen-rising

James Daubeney

Beyond the Realms of Death

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Judas Priest

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.

‘Beyond the Realms of Death’ got a lot of publicity for all the wrong reasons when two drug addled fuckwits shot themselves in the face with a shotgun.  The families attorneys claimed that Priest had used backward masking and that there were subliminal messages on the track.  The case was rightfully thrown out but it shows just how greedy lawyers can twist things when they are looking for a buck.  The Stained Class album is a masterpiece and Priest are one of the few bands who have consistently written brilliant albums, they had a bit of a wobble with Turbo, Nostradamus and Jugulator but their average for albums released is probably as high as it can get.  When all is said and done Judas Priest are probably my favourite band ever. 

James Daubeney

Death on Two Legs

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Queen

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.

Queen, as the name suggests, are rightfully royalty when it comes to music in my life.  All the albums up until The Game were simply fantastic.  After Queen Live Killers they lost the plot I reckon and John Deacon started writing songs that took them in a direction that even Queen drummer Roger Taylor didn’t like.  As much as I love Queen my biggest disappointment was seeing them at Sun City when Freddie walked off the stage after the second song.  Being starved of international music we though it was a joke initially but once it became clear that the show was over that was pretty much it for me and Queen for a while.  It took me years to get over it and listen to them again after that.  If they were writing stuff as good as the first 8 albums I would have forgiven then immediately.

James Daubeney

Schoolboy

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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.

This song is a classic, the lyrics are just the best.  When Robb spits out ”It’s where I learnt birth control, staring at the principle” it cracks me up every time.  There isn’t a lot of material available on The Asylum Kids but this clip is pretty good as a reminder of how things were.  It’s clear from the photo’s alone that Robbie Robb was a permanently pissed off guy as I mention in my book.  Robbie moved to the US after Tribe After Tribe folded and seems to spend his time hanging out with guys from Pearl Jam and playing in with their bassist Jeff Ament in a band called Three Fish. 

James Daubeney

God Save the Queen

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Sex Pistols

”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

The Sex Pistols had a huge impact on the UK.  They were more than a band, they were a catalyst for a collision between existing society and disaffected teenagers.  Johnny Rotten swore on TV and the UK press went crazy.  Headlines screamed out about these ”foul mouthed yobs”.  Hundreds of bands were formed by teenagers who suddenly realised that you didn’t have to be as good as Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page, you could just belt out 3 chords and vent your anger.  The energy was incredible and it changed everything for a while.  Record companies scrambled to sign punk bands and suddenly everyone else was a boring old fart. 

James Daubeney

Atlantic City

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Bruce Springsteen

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 have so much to say about Springsteen and a lot of it gets covered in The Story of Rock and Roll.  In a nutshell I dig this guy more than almost anyone else.  In terms of individual artists I have more Springsteen albums in my collection than albums by anyone else.  I saw him at FNB stadium in 2015 and it was as good as I knew it would be, the dude will paly in the rain if he needs to.  Just watch the opening of his concert in Hyde Park where he starts with London calling, fuck man he is just the best.  Some guys just have it and if Earth needed an ambassador to alien nations I’d ask Bruce to go.  The dude should be President of the United States.    

James Daubeney

Cum On Feel the Noize

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Quiet Riot

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.

The influence of MTV in the 80’s cannot be over emphasised.  I doubt whether any of these 80’s hair metal bands would have sold as many albums as they did without it.  Suddenly rock music was in everyone’s living room.  This video is pretty typical of the times and although I wasn’t getting MTV in South Africa, it’s influence was felt by the way there seemed to be a new band every month. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the 80’s was a great time to be between 15 and 25.

James Daubeney

Teenage Lobotomy

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Ramones

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.

If any band personified dysfunction it was the Ramones.  This is a classic video clip, Joey Ramone is like a car accident where you don’t really want to see it but you can’t look away.  Joey started as the drummer but switched to lead vocals thereby becoming probably one of the most unlikely frontmen in rock.  There is magic here, god knows why but it works.  The Ramones influenced so many bands with their leather jacket and ripped jeans look, they are truly iconic.  It is a bit like Che Guevara where people wear the shirt because it looks cool but don’t know who the fuck he is.  Their influence on music is phenomenal given their lack of commercial success.  

James Daubeney