Circus of Power
Circus of power was a Vas discovery, Vas and I were good mates and the details can all be found in The Story of Rock and Roll. He played me a tape by this band and it immediately went into the tape deck in my car and stayed there for about 3 months. That is probably a record.
Aerosmith are one of the USA’s true great rock bands, they have seen it all and done it all. I always kind of had them down in my head as the poor man’s Rolling Stones but that’s just me. There is no denying the success that they have had. After a lengthy patch of pretty crap albums and then a long break they shot back to stardom with the release of Permanent Vacation in 1987 which they followed up with the massively successful Pump and Get a Grip.
Sepultura were awesome, like Machinehead they were building on that powerbase that had started with the success Pantera were having and they were one of a handful of really good bands that were also unsociably fucking heavy. Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains was a land mark release but it was clearly built around an international sound and the Cavellera brothers childhood influences of Motorhead, Priest, Sabbath, Zeppelin etc., basically the influences everyone had. It was only on the release of the absolutely brilliant Arise that they started to chart their own unique course. They followed Arise with Chaos A.D. and then Roots. Each album built on the one before and bought in new dimensions of sound and song writing. Being a Brazilian band they had a whole treasure trove of indigenous cultural music to draw from and it was showcased on Roots which was released in 1996. Unfortunately that was the same time Max left the band and I always felt they lost their way a bit after that.
Therapy? Released Troublegum in 1994 and it was a big album for them. It had a lot of hooks but it was seriously aggressive and had a guitar sound that was fantastic. I felt they lost their way after this and that really they were a one album wonder. Whatever your views about that the fact remains that Troublegum is a classic album.
Throwing Copper was a massive album. Live seemed to come out of nowhere and then there was this amazing album which started with an opening track where the band went on Tilt and then just became an absolute masterwork of well written songs
Trent razor and Nine Inch Nails almost signify the mid 90’s in my mind. It was a strange period and it almost felt like everyone had run out of ideas. It just seemed like the same shit being repeated but not as good. NIN hit the scene and brought in this really technically competent use of computers, drum loops and production effects and mixed it with a huge dose of sick fuck misery. For a while it just seemed that whatever Reznor touched would turn to gold and together with producer Flood it seemed like everyone wanted to work with them. They were hugely influential and a whole raft of Industrial Metal bands hit their stride riding on the back of the success NIN were having.
The Rolling Stones
The Stones were back in 1994 with a stunning new album Voodoo Lounge. This was a real return to form and resulted in a massive worldwide tour. I was fortunate enough to have tickets to see them at Ellis Park on 24 Feb 1995. It was one of the best shows I have ever seen and there is nothing to beat a malevolent looking Mick Jagger in his top hat and shades swaying and strutting to Sympathy For The Devil. When he sings ”Please allow me to introduce myself” the fucking place went nuts. Being part of a crowd of 85 000 fans and witnessing that was and still is one of my favourite Rock and Roll memories.
Machinehead were a serious kick up the arse for everyone. This band were really heavy and the debut album Burn My Eyes was a monster. I think Machinehead actually deserve a lot more success than they have had. Pound for pound they are one of the best Metal bands around in the last 20 years. It’s seriously heavy but still retains that riffing rock melody that stops it just becoming an atonal mess. The bottom line is that the songs are good, very fucking good.
I have nothing bad to say about Megadeth, they have consistently put out great music for the best part of 30 years. Youthanasia, which was released in 1994 carried on where Rust in peace and Symphony of Destruction had left off. These 3 are arguably Dave’s finest work and it is the second last album featuring what is widely regarded as their best line-up: Mustaine, Freidman, Ellefson, Menza.
Not my cup of tea but this song was a tour de force when it was released and was the catalyst for a whole lot of angry rocker type chicks. Alanis was clearly far too talented to be held back, once she got into the public eye she became a big star very quickly.
White Zombie Astrocreep 2000
White Zombie wasn’t the sort of band I would normally like because it was a bit, for want of a better word ”dance-y”. There was an undeniable power to it and once I got the album I really started to like it. Another big draw card was Rob Zombie himself who turns out to be a very smart dude. If you need proof watch the interviews with him on the brilliant DVD Metal: A Headbangers Journey.
Brit Rock became the new big hope for the UK in the mid 90’s. Oasis basically tapped into that vein of sulky short haired rebellious UK youth and went for it. Definitely Maybe was a great album but What’s the Story was massive and went on to sell over 22 million copies worldwide, it went Platinum all over the world and sold 4.8 million copies in the US alone.