Monthly newsletter 2023
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Welcome to The Story of Rock and Roll 2023 newsletter No 11. This one covers shows from S6E40 through to S6E43. S6 means Season 6 which relates to the year 2023 and E40 means the fortieth show of the year. The shows were live on Rebel Rock Radio and are now available on podcast on most of the main platforms. Quick links to all things TSORR are at the end of the newsletter.
In this newsletter, we look at the announcement of a new Judas Priest album scheduled for early 2024 release. The first single ‘Panic Attack’ was released on Friday 13 October, and it is of course magnificent and everything you would expect from the greatest band in the world.
Then we got a new album from Marvelous 3 called IV, and it’s pretty good.
Sadly, this month we lost Kobus De Kok Jr, vocalist and frontman for The Black Cat Bones. Kobus was one of the most dynamic performers I have ever met. He was able to captivate his audience with a stage presence second to none and a voice like rolling thunder.
We also lost Athol Curtis who was very near and dear to me personally. Athol was considered my ‘Musical Director’, our taste in rock and metal was nearly identical and he was a driving force behind TSORR Central. He is missed as a friend and as a tireless supporter of all things TSORR.
THE DIABOLICAL CHALLENGE
Each week we look at four albums selected from a specific year and try to figure out which of these four you would take if you could only take one and it was all you were going to hear for a very long time. It isn’t about the ‘best’ album, it is about the album that means the most to you personally for whatever reason. For many of us, these albums formed a soundtrack to our lives a certain stages like high school, early relationships, good times bad times, and all that.
Due to the passing of Athol Curtis S6E42 was dedicated entirely to his memory and we rolled the challenge to the next week. That left us with these three years:
S6E40 = 2002
S6E41 = 1989
S6E43 = 2016
The tracks that represented the albums were: ‘Show Me How To Live’ (Audioslave), ‘Fine Again’ (Seether), ‘Fuck the System’ (System of a Down), and ‘The Rising’ (Bruce Springsteen). This was a really good example of sticking with an album that means a lot to you. For me, Jackie and Doug that meant The Rising for everyone else that meant Audioslave. Well not quite everyone but the Audioslave album was by far the most popular.
The tracks we listened to were ‘Kickstart My Heart’ (Mötley Crüe), ‘Fire Woman’ (The Cult), ‘Hang Tough’ (Tesla), and ‘I Remember You’ (Skid Row). 1989 was really interesting, it was a melting pot of creative convergence, I see it as a watershed year. These four albums were pretty much as good as you can get in any year. Sonic Temple was a high point for The Cult and Skid Row was a massive debut album driven by a couple of huge hits. At the same time, we had the dying gasps of some of the weaker hair metal offerings with Danger Danger, Wrathchild USA, White Lion and Blue Murder all putting out albums. There were decent albums, and in some cases major returns to form, from Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, and Kiss. Grunge appeared on the scene with Nirvana and Soundgarden releasing debut albums Bleach and Louder Than Love respectively. At the same time, things got a lot darker and heavier with the albums from Morbid Angel, Carcass, And Sepultura. 1989 was also the year that CDs went mainstream. The days of collecting vinyl pretty much ended as the ‘90s loomed. The Cult with Sonic Temple proved to be the most popular, with Dr Feelgood also getting votes. The choice from the TSORR Central group was Skid Row. The guitar work and Sebastian Bach’s vocals stand out. Just for the record (excuse the pun) both Dr Feelgood and Sonic Temple were produced by Bob Rock, he had a really great year. As a side note, I would give Sonic Temple the choice for iconic artwork.
‘It’s Never Too Loud For Me’ (Airbourne), ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’ (Volbeat), ‘We Will No Go Quietly’ (Sixx A.M.), and ‘The Threat is Real’ (Megadeth). It ended up as a tussle between Megadeth and Volbeat, with Dystopia clinching it. It was one of those challenges where people changed their minds a couple of times. Dystopia is just too good.
The Immortals i.e., 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. I am 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 Jethro Tull and a live version of arguably their finest track ever, ‘Aqualung’ off the Bursting Out a Live album which I rate as one of the greatest Live albums ever released. The album was released in 1978 when the band were absolutely at the top of their game. The musicianship of Anderson, Barre, Evan, Palmer, Barlow, and Glasscock is seldom bettered. Many of them were classically trained and able to play many different instruments, as they demonstrate on the album. They are simply superb on this track.
S6E41’s Immortal slot was given to The Doors and the title track off the L.A. Woman album. There is not a lot to say about it, it speaks for itself magnificently. L.A. Woman always feels like a band that has found it’s groove and is ready to really reach new heights. Sadly, the death of Jim Morrison 3 months after its release put an end to what could have been some amazing work. If you gotta go, then going out with L.A. Woman is pretty much the proverbial top. For my money, L.A. Woman is the best album the Doors released, and the title track is truly Immortal
S6E42 was dedicated to Athol Curtis, Athol passed away a few nights before this show and everyone connected to Mix FM and Rebel Rock was shocked at this terrible news. Athol did all the merchandise for both stations and was loved by many, many people. He was a massive part of TSORR, and I had spent the first two hours playing music that was synonymous with this awesome, big-hearted music maniac. I’d kept it together but when we got to the Immortals section it made sense to play ‘Free Bird’ and it was an incredibly difficult part of the show. Listening back to the podcast it is clear just how tough this was. ‘Free Bird’ said it all. An Immortal track for the deeply loved Athol Curtis
S6E43 was the turn of Iron Maiden who are no stranger to this slot of the show. We took a listen to ‘Blood Brothers’ and it took me back to the last time I saw them live in Brakpan. I kid you not, Iron Maiden played at Carnival City and that is in Brakpan. If you had told me in 1985 when I was practicing with my band Hornet in Len Craythorne’s house in Brakpan that Iron Maiden would be playing up the road 30 years into the future I would never have believed it.
NEW RELEASES & NEW DISCOVERIES & SAD LOSSES
The big news on the new releases front was that the mighty Judas Priest are going to release album No. 19 titled Invincible Shield in March 2024. The lead single, ‘Panic Attack’ dropped on Friday the 13th and I played it same day on TSORR Turbo on Bulldogs Radio. It went out on Rebel Rock on the S6E43 show and is on the podcast. Here’s the release clip that made my day.
The biggest and best news was the release of Hackney Diamonds, the brand-new album from The Rolling Stones. The album is produced by Andrew Watt and it sounds excellent. It is sure to be up in my Top 5 releases for 2023. The Stones sound fresh and energetic and exactly like they should. In my view this album is amongst their best releases and that is saying something given the back catalogue. I urge you to read this interview with Andew Watt in Rolling Stone magazine to get a lot of behind-the-scenes detail.
We also got a total surprise new album from a reformed Marvelous 3. The original line-up of Butch, Jayce, and Slug is back, and the album is suitably titled IV. As expected, it’s lyrically great and offers a bit of nostalgia for the 80s hair metal bands that they tried and failed with before becoming Marvelous 3. If want a good rock and roll book to read, check out Butch Walker’s biography Drinking With Strangers. Highly recommended.
On the New Discoveries front on S6E43, I got to interview Cindy-Louise. It was such a great interview and I loved talking to her and hearing all about her latest tracks and collaborations with Eric Gerber of Red Helen and Jessie Clegg fame. We took a listen to her brand-new track ‘Innocence’ after the interview, and I am really looking forward to the release of her new EP in 2024.
Finally, Sad Losses, we had to deal with the tragic death of Kobus De Kok Jr, front man and vocalist for the Black Cat Bones. The last part of S6E41 was dedicated to Kobus and to his friend and fellow bandmate Andre Kriel. The Bones live at the Radium was to this day one of the greatest gigs I have ever had the privilege to attend. The Bones will continue, and I am deeply grateful for that as it would be tragic to lose everything that they have worked so hard for. Check out the Facebook page for some amazing photos and an outpouring of love for Kobus.
The shows discussed in this month’s newsletter can be heard as podcasts S6E40 – S6E43. Feel free to drop me a message on The Story of Rock and Roll Facebook page or via email at email@example.com. 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.
TSORR PLAYLIST: For Spotify junkies, you can get TSORR Best of the Month playlists at
BOOK ON AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KECQBOW or contact me for a paperback copy.
Take care and keep rocking.