One of the reasons why I love music – apart from the purely emotional aspect (music is what feelings sound like) is that there’s ALWAYS something to EXPLORE!
I’m curious by nature, I absolutely LOVE digging for facts, information, gaining more knowledge about something that truly interests me. I can lose myself in books or webpages for hours, sometimes days cause I want more!
I used to go to the library several times a week when I was a teenager (the days before Google and internet…) and spend hours in their music department. It was heaven!
There were all these books about ALL types of music styles, artists… Biographies, encyclopedias… And you could listen to records. Back then, there was a couch in a corner of the music department, with 4 pairs of headphones. You would go there with your pile of LP’s and listen through each and every one, just to get an idea what it was.
Music wasn’t available (for free) any other way before the Internet, so it felt like such a privilege to be able to explore.
I borrowed TONS of LP’s and cassettes back in those days – all kinds of styles, just out of curiosity. It could be anything from the brothers Strauss and their Austrian waltzes and operettes to one-hit-pop-wonders to country, blues, heavy metal…
Discovering something new that I liked was a true kick. Especially when I didn’t expect it.
It’s not quite as fun nowadays, because it’s not so much a sport anymore. Pretty much ANYTHING is available – easily and quickly. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes and I kind of LIKED the challenge.
It’s also funny HOW you end up listening to some bands. The turns things can take and where it can lead you. That whole FIREWIND-thing for instance.
Went to see HALFORD when they were opening for OZZY at Madison Square Garden. I was jetlagged and tired and just wanted to get some sleep. The plan was to skip Ozzy after a few songs, had already seen him many times so I figured I wouldn’t be missing out on a whole lot.
UNTIL I noticed the “new kid on the block”, the new guitarist GUS G, who was absolutely fantastic! I forgot about being tired and stayed throughout the whole show.
Then I ended up checking for more info – who’s the dude? Firewind? What’s that? Gotta check it out. Found myself on the next flight to London and Relentless Garage to see that Firewind-band. Absolutely LOVED the energy they produced on stage – and yeah the rest is history.
I didn’t go digging as eagerly into FIrewind’s back catalog, as I did trying to find interesting stuff that Gus had played on in the past. So I got most of THAT, just for the sake of having it. The music was not quite my thing to be honest, but in order to appreciate an artist for who he is today, you need to know a bit about his past as well. It just gives you a different perspective of the journey that they’ve made.
When Firewind parted ways with former singer Apollo Papathanasio, I was bummed at first because I love Apollo’s voice. It’s the next best thing to Tony Martin who is my #1 all time favorite singer ever. Nobody comes close to Tony Martin in my book, but Apollo comes pretty darn close.
I was looking for video interviews of Apollo on YouTube before I did my own interview, just to have something to compare with, but instead I ended up seeing his name on what felt like a million different projects!
THAT got me curious! First I bought MAJESTIC, simply because I know a few other guys who played in that band.
Then I got FAITH TABOO – another band Apollo sang with in the 90’s and I loved the sound and the versatility of that album. His vocals were great even back then, but it also shows how much he’s prospered over the years.
Next thing I know, I’m typing “ebay.com” in my browser, searching for all those Apollo-fronted old bands and projects…. The CD’s were CHEAP for the most part, guess it’s cause it’s not as “cool” to buy CD’s, as it is to just DOWNLOAD shit. But I want the REAL DEAL. I want the booklet, the lyrics, the credits, the thank-you’s, the pix, just the whole thing!
And I had synchronized my eBay account with my PayPal, which means that it was easier and faster than EVER to buy shit on there! Dammit. Bad idea. ;)
I kept clicking away just for the fun of it – “oh look! There’s one! I’ll get THAT… Ah! Another one! I’ll get that as WELL…! Cool, check it out, don’t have THAT….”
An hour later…errrm… Well – take a wild guess. And now that I started, I have to finish it.
Always been collecting records – I love it, nothing like having an artist’s complete back catalog…!
When I started collecting TONY MARTIN stuff, I found his solo-album that HE didn’t even have HIMSELF (long story), and old demos, bootlegs and stuff… I couldn’t just quit half way through, either I had to have ALL his shit or NONE of it. And since he was – and still is – my favorite singer, of course I had to get ALL of it.
[When I started my Tony Martin-collection waaay back in ’95 or ’96]
Apollo has this amazing voice, I just love it. To me a good rock’n’roll voice is not about belting out high notes. I always hear people using M Matijevic of STEELHEART as an example of “good singers”. Sure, the guy can sound like his …uh… boomstick is stuck in his zipper or something, but I get pretty tired listening to that range after more than one song.
I do, however, love the deeper, masculine voices with an edge and a dramatic vibrato (NOT the “Dickinson wannabe”-vibrato or the German power-metal singer parody type of vibrato).
So I’m like a kid in a CANDY STORE right now! Here I’ve been following Firewind all over the globe the past few years just because I enjoyed their live shows – yet I never bothered to start digging deeper into the musical history of anyone except Gus G’s.
Getting all these old Apollo-projects on CD now is going to absolutely rock! I even found that very first vinyl single he recorded with CRAZE like a hundred years ago, yesterday!
In a way, it’s a good thing that the guys went separate ways, cause now they can try their wings doing different things. Gus G is working on his solo-project which I’m DYING to hear… And Apollo trying something different with stoner band Spiritual Beggars and the one-off Craze-reunion and whatever else he’s got up his sleeve.
Everything happens for a reason in life – as well as in the music business. Firewind will start a new exciting page in their history, there is a different dynamic in the band now with what Kelly is bringing to the table. I’m convinced that it’s for the better. :)
Well, regardless what band or artist rocks your boat – isn’t it just awesome to be able to lose yourself in MORE of whatever it is you like about what they do?! It’s what keeps the rock’n’roll spirit alive!