Monthly newsletter 2023
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The highlight of the month was discovering an album by a band called Beautiful Creatures. Recently on Rebel Rock Radio I did an hour long Rock Review on the band Sixx A.M. Putting that together led me to guitarist DJ Ashba’s earlier band Beautiful Creatures. This eponymous album should have been huge, but it was just the wrong time in the music business for this type of metal. The band featured Joe LeSte of Bang Tango on vocals, DJ Ashba on lead guitar, and Glen Sobel on drums. DJ left soon after the release of the debut album in 2001. Joe LeSte does appear to have the band performing live currently with Rowan Robertson on guitar. Anyway, here is a taste of what they sounded like. Check out DJ’s cool solo in this video:
Other highlights were two great new releases from Alice Cooper and Corey Taylor with Road and CMF2 respectively. See the new releases section for more about that and check out the SA Artists section for info on an interview I did with Vaughan Prangley, a young South African writing and recording out of Dubai.
THE DIABOLICAL CHALLENGE
Each week we look at four albums from a particular year. The challenge is that you are only allowed to choose one. Note that this is not about finding a winner as tastes differ and all the albums are spectacular in their own way. Think of it as a chance to get a new appreciation for albums that you may have missed or not given enough attention to at the time. The purpose of TSORR is to celebrate the value of rock music in our lives. For those of us who loved the music the first time we heard it and know we will love it until we go to the grave, this music has been the soundtrack to our lives. We are the ones who want bands like ACDC, Led Zeppelin, or Motörhead played at our funerals.
S6E36 = 1988
S6E37 = 2012
S6E38 = 1993
S6E39 = 1972
The tracks played were:
‘Behind the Crooked Cross’ (Slayer), ‘Blackened’ (Metallica), ‘Infinite Dreams’ (Iron Maiden), and ‘Revolution Calling’ (Queensrÿche) provided us with food for thought. South of Heaven was the album that converted me to Slayer. I didn’t get Reign in Blood immediately, it was a bit fast for me at the time, but South of Heaven was my gateway to the world of Slayer. And Justice For All was the first album after the tragic death of Cliff Burton and I struggled to move on, consequently And Justice For All was not an immediate smash for me. With Seventh Son of a Seventh Son I was given an unmarked cassette when I was in basic training in the Army one side was Judas Priest Ram It Down and the other was Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of Seventh Son. Consequently, it was all I listened to for a while. Iron Maiden turned out to be the popular choice. My Pick was Queensrÿche – Operation Mindcrime which is imho a concept album up there with The Wall and The Black Parade.
‘Saving Grace’ (Tom Petty),‘These Colours Don’t Run’ (Iron Maiden) ‘Uncle Jonny’ (The Killers), and “Welcome To the Black Parade’ (My Chemical Romance). These were the tracks we used and for me, 2006 was a seriously crazy year where I came very close to wrecking my whole life and I had to dig myself out of it. Sam’s Town and The Black Parade in particular were very much the soundtrack of that year for me. For me this was the easiest Diabolical Challenge yet. There is a good chance that I would take The Black Parade even if compared with classics from other years. It will be interesting to see where it goes when we look at the Diabolical, Diabolical Challenge at the end of the year. That’s when we will run a series of playoffs with albums that were selected each week. A lot of listeners agreed with me and My Chemical Romance was the popular choice, with Tom Petty and Highway Companion as the next most popular choice.
‘Born to Raise Hell’ (Motörhead), ‘Get a Grip’ (Aerosmith), ‘Rearviewmirror’ (Pearl Jam), and ‘Territory’ (Sepultura). There was a tussle between Motörhead and Pearl Jam but in the end, the album that most people would choose if they could only have one was Pearl Jam Vs. I stuck resolutely with Sepultura. It wasn’t a great year, nothing stood out, we took a listen to ‘Sober’ a track off Tool’s 1993 release Undertow as that could have been in the mix. Scorpions Face the Heat was another good release from that year.
1972 was one of the best Diabolical Challenges yet. We started off with Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, and Blue Öyster Cult. Then someone pointed out on the Facebook Page Advert that Exile on Main Street was released in 1972. With an oversight this massive it was necessary to change the 4 albums and include Exile. The tracks played were:
‘Highway Star’ (Deep Purple), ‘Supernaut’ (Black Sabbath), ‘The Wizard’ (Uriah Heep) and ‘Shine a Light’ (The Rolling Stones). It was neck and neck between Sabbath and Deep Purple with Machine Head taking it by one vote. I needed to remind everyone that you should think about the whole album and not just the track if you are contemplating only having this one album for the rest of your life 😊
The Immortals, tracks over 7 min long that demonstrate what a band is capable of when not worrying about airplay on daytime radio continues to be very well supported on the show. We are looking at doing a special at the end of the year where we select the most popular Immortals track played in 2023. It will require a bit of listenership participation to make it work but let’s see how it goes.
We kicked off the month with Def Leppard’s ‘White Lightening’ off the Adrenalize album. This track was a dedication to guitarist Steve Clarke who passed away between the release of the multiplatinum Hysteria and the follow-up Adrenalize. It was a bittersweet album for Def Leppard. Vocalist Joe Elliot discussed the album in detail in Classic Rock a few years ago. He spoke of the pressure on Phil Colleen, Steve Clarke’s fellow lead guitarist, felt doing all the guitar work himself.
The S6E38 offering got no protest whatsoever, we checked out Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’, sadly a track still relevant today. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to consider the concept of wars between nations a thing of the distant past? ‘War Pigs’ was originally released on Sabbath’s 1970 release Paranoid.
The Immortals for the last show of this cycle went to Ted Nugent and his track ‘Stranglehold’. It comes from his debut album Ted Nugent released in 1975. It was the one I enjoyed the most this month. Listen to the bass line in this, it supports the track brilliantly. It seems like Rob Grange was the guy responsible, and I was gratified to see that Wikipedia specifically mention it so it’s not just me who was drawn to it. Here’s what Wiki said:
“Rob Grange (born 1950) is an American bassist, best known for his work with psychedelic rock band The Amboy Dukes and with Ted Nugent, as well as his unique phase bass lines in the song “Stranglehold”
NEW RELEASES & NEW DISCOVERIES & SAD LOSSES
The pick of the bunch was Vandenburg with Sin. This is a fantastic album, Adrian van den Berg on top form and with the addition of vocalist Mats Levén in the place of Metal veteran Ronnie Romero who was on the last album called 2020. I am a sucker for album covers in sets, i.e., when album covers have a theme they carry through. The best example would be Iron Maiden and Budgie but Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Motörhead do it as well. With the release of Sin, Vandenberg have gone back to theme of 1985’s Alibi album. This was before Adrian joined Whitesnake.
It was probably the worst month this year for new releases. There really wasn’t much at all. Orbit Culture released their latest album titled Descent and we took a listen to the track ‘Sorrower’ on S6E38, it is a fantastic slab of modern metal. If you want something really heavy this is a good album to check out.
Don’t forget to support TSORR by getting yourself a copy of the book on Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KECQBOW or contact me for a paperback copy.
IT’S WHAT YOU SAY THAT COUNTS
One of the greatest things about growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s was having the lyric sheets printed out on the inside album sleeve. Listening to the album while reading the lyrics was one of the most pleasurable activities I had growing up. I think it gave me a much greater appreciation of the music. Lyrics are such a wonderful part of Rock music, here’s one off Black Sabbath’s War Pigs.
Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerer of death’s construction
In the fields, the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord, yeah!
Black Sabbath – 1970 (S6E38)
SOUTH AFRICAN SCENE
The Burning released an awesome new single called ‘Charging to Conquer’. It is an innovative update of their sound by the East Rand metal stalwarts. The Burning are best known for classic biker rock which always gets live audiences rocking, check them out if you can. This track was recorded and mixed by Justin ‘Bon” Bernardo and moves the band into a more modern metal sound that has more in common with In Flames and Bullet For My Valentine than ACDC or Black Sabbath. It is not a change of direction, they did it before with heavy tracks like this, for example, ‘Blood For Freedom’ on 2019’s Headed For Hell but it certainly updates their sound and gives a more European feel to the material.
I also interviewed Vaughn Prangley, a 19-year-old South African living in Dubai. Vaughn has an album out called Destination Unknown. It was released in 2022 and there is an EP called Where It Begins released in 2021. The new track ‘Thick of It’ went down very well when I played it after the interview as evidenced by the comments in the TSORR Central WhatsApp group. If you want to be on the TSORR Central group send your mobile number via DM on the Facebook page or email to email@example.com and we’ll set you up. Well done Vaughn, we’ll chat again for the next release.
The July shows discussed in this month’s newsletter can be heard on S6E36 – S6E39. Feel free to drop me a message on The Story of Rock and Roll Facebook page or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to be added to TSORR Central WhatsApp Group send me your number on this email address and I will add you.
For those of you who are new to TSORR here are the quick references to find The Story of Rock and Roll Radio Show:
THURSDAY’s Live on Rebel Rock Radio from 19h00 – 22h00 South African time. www.rrr.cat
PODCAST: The three-hour show is available as a podcast on most popular podcast sites, including Apple, Overcast, Castbox, and Google, or get it here at the host site https://www.buzzsprout.com/273305.
Here’s the link to the Sixx A.M. Rock Review: https://www.buzzsprout.com/273305/episodes/13646852
TSORR PLAYLIST: For Spotify junkies, you can get TSORR Best of the Month playlists at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6dfJz2https://open.spotify.com/playlist/47lJvjMep7vepDOeq5Bzuw?si=03cfbaf283b7452cDNDh6z5UswxTpmSZ
Take care and keep rockin’.
Cheers for now