CHAPTER 15 & 16



I got into Mastodon in 2004 when they released their monstorpiece Leviathan. The album received critical acclaim with magazines like Kerrang and Metal Hammer punting it like cray. I was very impressed and it took a good number of listens to get it all in. A bit like Rush, Mastodon are the type of band that after the 100th listen you still find something new that you hadn’t noticed before. The arrangements are massively complex and you have a situation where the drummer, lead guitarist and bassist all do lead vocals at various points, a bit like Queen in that respect, but it gives a massive diversity to the songs. They also write in different combinations like Iron Maiden do so that also prevents anything sounding too derivative. I was fortunate enough to see them live in 2011 at Rock Im Park and they were easily one of the best 5 bands at that festival. I class Mastodon as a ‘special band’ which as defined in The Story Of Rock and Roll is one of those bands that have a unique chemistry and synergy and just don’t sound like anyone else. I can’t praise them highly enough, give them a listen you won’t be disappointed.

I think that Mastodon are crazy, just watch the video’s and you will see what I mean. This one for The Mother Lode is nuts, I mean what the fuck is going on here ? But who cares? it’s fully entertaining. Up until I put this site together I hadn’t seen any of their videos, once I started I couldn’t stop, there is a whole wealth of wacko here. they are almost impossible to categorise so I won’t even bother, it’s all just rock and roll to me.


At the end of the 20th century there was a bit of a good time party rock is dead feel. The Nu Metal thing was starting to happen and all that shit was great but some of it was really depressing and miserable, like it had a grunge hangover. Out of seemingly nowhere I got to hear Buckcherry and all was right in the world again. These guys were back onto the banging chicks snorting crack style of party music which seemed to have died with Van Halen, Guns ‘n’Roses and Motley Crue.

The thing I loved about Buckcherry was that time seemed to have stood still for them, they were ploughing the G ‘n’ R, L.A. Guns, Motley Crue furrow and it just sounded awesome. Every song was a blitz of guitars and that swaggering macho vocal that we came to love through the 70’s and 80’s. And it sounded so fresh. Josh Todd had all the old Jagger, Steve Tyler moves and that whole sinewy snake god thing down perfectly. The songs are great and the whole album was perfect for what they were doing. It was released at exactly the time when the world really needed it and it gave us hope.


Coming out in 1997 Creed got extremely popular very quickly.  They were clearly a cut above everyone else and it was really down to song writing.  When they broke up and turned into Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy in the place of Scott Stapp they were still great but for my money Scott Stapp had something to add to the mix that Myles didn’t when it came to song writing.  I reckon that mark Tremonti wrote his best riffs in Creed and they were a really good band if you can get past the overly Christian themed lyrics.  Scott is a brilliant example of singing about one thing and then living completely contrary to what he was promoting.  Not the first time that staunch Christians have done this.

There is no weak Creed album, they were really very good. Watching this it seems to me that Scott Stapp was heavily under the influence of Eddie Vedder. That’s OK everyone is influenced by someone, so even if it a moody sulky reluctant rock star, do what works for you 🙂 Like a lot of good songs this one just becomes spectacular at the bridge at [2:05] and Tremonti hits that big G chord. If like me you find it hard to deal with the Christian stuff then it’s easy just substitute in your own god; Satan or Thor or Eric Clapton or whoever you worship, that way you can just enjoy an extremely good band.

The Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters have become one of the greatest rock acts in the world.  They have a load of haters for some reason but to they have just improved with every album.  It is safe to say that when Nirvana died with Kurt no-one really gave the Foo’s any chance at all.  Dave was the drummer for the Foo’s and he was highly rated for that, now he was going to start his own band and instead of drumming he became guitarist and front man.  It is a testament to the sheer talent of the man that he could be in two of the most successful bands in the world in two completely different roles.

There are so many Foo Fighters video’s to choose from you can just stay on the site and just keep going but I put this up because I really dig the rant that Dave has in the bridge at [3:10] it is the a perfect bit of rock and roll it came about as a result of the a failed relationship that ended in a divorce. Everyone should know these words off by heart, they make breaking up easy, OnelastthingbeforeIquitIneverwantedmorethanIcouldfit……. try do it without breathing 🙂

System of a Down

System of a Down are a very special band. Sometimes there is a chemistry between band members that makes them unique, bands like Queen, Rammstein and Van Halen have their own sound and its these bands that really drive the music forward, they spawn imitators but they are totally original. System are one of these bands. When their eponymous debut was released it was a real ”what the fuck is this type album”, it was amazing, For my money it will always be their finest album, it is so raw and politically charged. These okes put Armenia on the rock and roll map

It’s a great pity that we are not getting any new music from SOAD. There have been a number of false alarms but apparently the guys are so far apart musically that they just can’t get it together with anything new. It’s a real pity because the world needs this brand of politically charged high velocity weirdness. The first album is off the charts excellent, start there if you don’t know them.


Metal had hit a bit of a low patch at the turn of the century, grunge killed off hair metal but then when grunge kind of ate itself there wasn’t really anything else to fill the gap.  The old guard classic bands would always be putting out great albums but there wasn’t anything new.  Then we got what was termed Nu Metal and it came from all directions and as with punk everyone got lumped in whether they fitted in the box or not, that is why bands as diverse as Korn, Limp Bizkit, P.O.D and Disturbed all got the tag.  Disturbed were really good, it was fucking heavy and obviously driven by Dave Draiman’s voice.  The Sickness is a land mark album and it has aged brilliantly.

‘Down With the Sickness’ was my introduction to Disturbed and it corresponds with the MP3 and Napster period when music sort of became ‘free’ for a short period. As a prolific buyer of music my whole life I always felt bad about downloading from Napster, it felt like stealing from the artist. lars would say it IS stealing from the artist. I approached it the same way as I did taping albums when I was in high school, if you really like it you will go out and buy it. Better to tape / download it so you can decide what to spend your cash on that just buy a whole lot of shit you don’t like.’ Needless to say Disturbed were worthy of my cash and I now have pretty much everything they ever released. The highlight is when that vocal / scream kicks in at [0:19] \m/

Drowning Pool

You could make a case for one hit wonder here.  Drowning Pool were good but they weren’t ever going to reach the heights that the ‘A’ level classic metal bands were at.  It was pretty clear to me that they were never going to be headlining or getting on the main stage too often at festivals like Download and Rock Im ring.  Put it this way if they were going to get on those stages then it was purely going to be as a result of this one, pile driving, poes heavy slice of perfect rock and roll.  Vocalist Dave Williams died of a heart disease about a year after the multi platinum album Sinner, which kicked off with this track, was released.  Although they made some good albums  I don’t think they were ever the same again.

In The Story of Rock and Roll there is a bit about a party that I had with my good friend Marq Vas and some other good friends. The sound track to that particular bit of mayhem was this song. It is perfect for drunken mayhem. I don’t know how many times it has been used on soundtracks for movies and TV series but it should really be used a lot.


Suddenly the 21st century seemed to come alive and there was nothing like Slipknot to announce this metal renaissance.  I’ll be honest here and say that I didn’t get it initially, it didn’t have the melody and the whole horror mask thing just seemed a bit gimmicky to me.  In The Story of Rock and Roll I explain that the first time I heard Slayer I wasn’t a fan and it took the release of their South of Heaven album to make me realise I was missing something.  The same thing happened with Slipknot I only got it when I heard Vol 3 : (The Subliminal Verses).  After that I went back to Iowa and recognised them for the unstoppable force of nature that they were.  Who knew back in 2001 that this would be probably the biggest metal band in the world within 15 years.

This video is something special, you just have to look at the madness in the eyes of this mob as they tear this house to pieces. It just goes to show how scary a mob can be. I had the Disasterpieces video in about 2004 and some long lost friends came to visit. their kids were very young, like 8 or 10 and we watched the intro to the video where you can see inside Clown’s brain. It became clear pretty fucking quick that this was not a band considered suitable for kids.
Rammstein Feuer Frei


Rammstein will always be a big favourite of mine, they are just so different to everyone else.  Somehow they manage to make it really heavy but still have all these weedy keyboard fills in there.  Obviously it helps that you have a baritone Till Lindemann growling through everything in German but somehow it just seems extraordinarily heavy.  They are also very, very strange and the subject matter covers everything from all types of sex to cannibalism.  It is quite easy to get a bit uncomfortable when you are watching Rammstein video’s, a feeling of ”what the fuck is all this about”.   Add all the flamethrowers and pyrotechnics into the mix and you have a fantastic band that are amazing to watch and to listen to.

There are so many good Rammstein video’s to choose from and the video collection Videos 1995 – 2012 is a stunning piece of work. It has a lot of the making of the video scenes and that on it’s own is really interesting. We’ll go with Feuer Frei just because its got a lot of energy and gives a bit of live footage but honestly you can watch any Rammstein video and be entertained. I had the pleasure of seeing tem live in about 2010 at the Coca-Cola dome and it was phenomenal. They don’t have any video screens and unless you know German you don’t know what they are singing about so in theory you can’t see them properly and you can’t understand them properly but they are still one of the best live shows I have ever been to because hearing them and feeling the heat from all the pyro more than makes up for the seeing / understanding bit.
Stone Sour

Stone Sour

Slipknot burst onto the scene in the early 2000’s and were widely considered a gimmick band by many.  They managed to dispel this perception through hard work and endless live shows where their presence and showmanship moved them to another level.   In early 2001 the name Corey taylor was pretty much unknown.  Nowadays you can’t read a copy of Metal hammer without either and article about him or at least a few quotes.  He is probably the biggest rock star in metal today.  Having read a few of his books one can see that this is one energetic driven guy.  Too much is never enough, one would think that with Slipknot he’d have his hands full.  Obviously a workaholic Corey put his old pre-Slipknot band Stone Sour back togetrher again with his Slipknot pal James Root.  This debut album was hard hitting and really aggressive but without alll the masks and make-up and additional ‘showmanshit’ that went with being in Slipknot.  I have to say that in many ways I prefered Stone Sour t Slipknot and the second album Come What May is still to this day one of the best albums I have ever heard.

In The Story of Rock and Roll there is a bit about how my daughter who was 5 at the time found me listening to the first Stone Sour album with headphones on and her reaction to the band once she put the cans on her head.

Avenged Sevenfold

It’s weird how many haters this band have.  I keep thinking that the guys who hate them must just not understand guitar at all.  The twin leads of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance are as good as any of the celebrated world class guitar partnerships Tipton + Downing, Murray + Smith, Gorham + Robertson, they really work well together.  It’s even more eye catching because Zacky is a lefty so the visual impact of them standing back to back shredding it out is amazing.  To get a really good idea of how great AX7 are watch the Live in the LBC video it is amazing.  I remember starting to watch and after about 3 min calling up to Tiya to come and watch this shit.  The two of us were instantly hooked and life long AX7 fans from then on.  I have seen them live at Rock Im Park and they were the best band there.  They really have moved into the upper echelons of metal and now rank right up there with the mega bands that headline stadiums.  there are no weak links in the band, M. Shadows is a great front man he’s got the power, he’s got the range and he’s got the look.  The sad part was the loss of their drummer Jimmy ”The Rev” Sullivan in Dec 2009 and that knocked them hard because they were a band of brothers from High School days in Huntington Beach and he was obviously a big part of what they do.  There have been a number of more than sufficient replacements but in the interviews you can see they miss the chemistry.  Just ask Jason Newsted how hard it is to replace a guy who was part of a band from day 1.

I didn’t realise how many good AX7 video’s are out there. They are all extremely entertaining, this one is pretty typical and it’s great. The really great part is at [1:25] to [2:00] where Syn and Zacky cut loose. If you check the blog page and look at AX7: How to break your own ribs you will see one of their finest songs ever. If it wasn’t already on the blog it would be here. The good thing with AX7 is that they have kept evolving and every album has something new to offer. I can’t praise the mighty Avenged Sevenfold Highly enough, they are fantastic and the haters can get fucked. If you don’t get it then it’s not fucking for you, don’t listen to them then but I don’t want to hear about it 🙂
Green Day

Green Day

I got Dookie when it came out but it wasn’t really big with anyone else I was hanging with.  Green Day put out a couple of albums that were not as good and then they kinda disappeared.  In 2004 they released American Idiot and I bought it immediately without having even heard a track, some things you just know.  It was fucking phenomenal.  I went home and had a mini melt-up where I played it non-stop and almost got back to jumping on the bed with a tennis racquet days.  The family didn’t get it at all.  It’s always a damper when you think something is the best thing you have heard in years and everyone else doesn’t.  But a year later everybody was a Green Day befok.

In my view Green Day are always best live, the Bullet With a Bible DVD was one of the best live shows I have watched. Bands like Green Day and My Chemical Romance are able to get crowds so wound up that they would give Machine Head a run for their money. There is a bit near the end where they get the crowd to build a big clear mosh pit and then let them loose in it. It is a fantastic example of how bands can work an audience and how people can get caught up in it all. Green Day epitomise that power Trio where everyone is a superstar in their own right. There are no weak links in the band whatsoever.

Velvet Revolver

Out of the collapse of Guns ‘n’ Roses briefly came Velvet Revolver.  With both Slash, Duff and Matt in the band they put out a surpisingly good debut album.  Replacing Axl was always going to be an impossible task but with the inclusion of Stone Temple Pilot Scott Weiland they had a pretty good thing going.  The second album Libertab was in my opinion awful but Contraband has become a classic rock album and contained some very good songs.

Fall To Pieces is a first rate ballad and probably their best song. Watching the video and knowing of the demons that Scott Weiland was battling and which eventually got the better of him that it’s a bit autobiographical.

Arch Enemy

Arch Enemy are a really great band, the first thing that floored most people was the fact that the inhuman gutteral death vocal was actually being done by a female vocalist.  Angela Gossow reset the standard by which female metal vocalists would be measured in future.  I think that the guitarist is highly undrrated and if you listen to Arch Enemy you will hear some incredible melodic lead lines and riffs which set them apart from some of the other bands at the time where it really just all seemed to be growling in a monotonous dirge of downtuned guitars.  Michael Amott who had spent time in Carcass just seemed to find his feet in his new outfit.  The songs were defnitely a cut above your average death metal.

Angela Gossow steped down from vocal duties in Sept 2014 and was replaced by the more than able Alissa White-Gluz ex of The Agonist. In terms of my exposure to Arch Enemy it started with Angela so this clip still features her. I would seriously recommend that you check out War Eternal.