This kind of got me thinking of exactly how much I love rock’n’roll.
Was talking to a guy the other day and he said he was into “all kinds of music“, and was trying to convince me that Ultravox (new wave band from the 80’s, playing electronic music) were far better than any metal band – and he was going to make it his mission to make me realize that.
I thought he was kidding, but the dude was dead serious. :) Oh boy. Talk about wasting time and breath for nothing. :)
I can see and appreciate the qualities in other kinds of music, for whatever it may be. It could be good musicianship or a taste for well produced albums or just memorable sing-along songs or whatever. But my HEART is wherever rock’n’roll is. That’s something that people who aren’t IN it, will never understand. Especially not those who say that they listen to “all kinds of music”. I think most of us do, but rockers will always state rock as their favorite music when asked, as opposed to people who don’t passionately love anything, they just listen to “everything”….
Rock’n’roll touches my heart simply because it’s genuine. And I’m not just talking about heavy metal, I’m going back to the 60’s in my trail of thoughts right now. There was all that rebellion going on back then, that paved the way for pretty much all artists today. You had John Lennon – the rebel, you had Stones, Hendrix, Janis, Morrison, The Who… You name it. Mentioning Ultravox in the same breath as those people is just ridiculous. :)
When I listen to Janis Joplin for instance, it’s almost as if she’s transferring her thoughts and emotions directly to the listener, it’s that intense. She was just so amazing and definitely a rebel and a pioneer as no women were doing what she was doing back then. It’s impossible to listen to her sing and feel indifferent.
As far as metal…. It’s got everything that I love about music. It represents strength, power, truth, sex, love, passion, freedom, living life to its fullest (yes I know there are bands in the genre that represent the exact opposite, but generally speaking).
When I first heard Judas Priest, it just knocked me off my feet. There were loud, screaming guitars, loud screaming vocals, pounding bass and drums that just punched you in the face in the most amazing sort of way, the whole combo grabbed my heart and it’s kept that firm grip of it ever since.
The reason why people love bands like Motley Crue for instance, is because they didn’t care about anything, they just did whatever they felt like doing, regardless what was considered tasteful or acceptable.
I’m not saying I agree with all their choices in life but a part of me admires their absolute disregard of what an “acceptable lifestyle” is. Most people are stuck in their everyday lives, being told what to do by their boss, their spouse, their government…whatever other authority you can think of.
Everybody dreams of being able to tell all those authorities to piss off, but most people are not in the position to do that. So, Motley Crue were kind of doing it FOR them.
Societies all over the world also usually tell you to surpress your sexuality, Motley Crue (and most hard rock/metal bands I can think of) are telling you the exact opposite. Embrace it, live it, love it.
It’s YOUR life, nobody else’s. Do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. That’s why they’re still around. The bad boys dared to just not give a rats ass.
Having said that, I still don’t agree with a lot of shit that they’ve done, but that’s a different story.
The feeling I get from a really great live-show or a crazy good song/album, is almost indescribable. I can’t think of ANY chemical drug that could do a better job. Not in a million years. It’s the same type of euphoria that you experience when you have a crush on someone. That short period of time when you’re up in the pink clouds, can’t eat, can’t sleep and you just walk around with a silly smile on your face. THAT’s what good music does to you.
I’ll never forget that Whitesnake-show at Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago when David surprised everybody by bringing out Bernie Marsden on stage – and then also Adrian Vandenberg…! THAT, combined with the music, oh my god, I was crying like a baby! It was just so incredibly powerful, so touching, I couldn’t stop the tears for HOURS after that…!
One of my colleagues from Sweden Rock still remembers that, he met me right after the show and I looked like Alice Cooper cause my makeup was smeared all over my face from the tears.
I had the same reaction when Rob Halford was playing in Malmo many years ago, at the local rock club KB with his band HALFORD. When he sang “Victim of Changes” something just burst inside and I was just bawling my eyes out. I could not believe that my hero was that close, on a club stage, singing THAT song!
A friend of mine met me outside after the show and I was still crying. She thought I was sad, I had to explain that I was just so goddamn happy that crying was the only way to get it all out of my system.
[Not Victim of Changes, but another one of my fav Priest-covers, Diamonds and Rust!]
I’ve been walking around with Tony Martin’s various recordings in my Motörheadphönes for days now. After all these years….I could listen to that voice over and over again, every day, for 30 years, and I would STILL not get sick of it. In my book. Martin is the embodiment of vocal perfection!
I just feel that “high” every time I hear him. Jesus, he was unreal. He’s always been compared to Dio, but as much as I love and respect Ronnie, and think that he was outstanding, he just didn’t have the same range as Tony. If he did, he wasn’t using it the same way. Tony Martin has this HUGE masculine voice that suddenly just takes detours out into the stratosphere. That voice had a spell on me since 1989 when I first heard him with Black Sabbath.
[Tony belting it out with Mischa Calvin, fantastic album!!]
And lately I’ve been picking up Apollo Papathanasio’s extensive back catalog as well. Vocally, he’s like a Swedish/Greek equivalent to Tony Martin, he’s got the same kind of wide-range voice, deep and sensual, while also being able to hit you with those powerful, strong vocal lines that so few singers have the ability to do. When this song comes on, with one of his many projects, Sandalinas, I just want to kick back, close my eyes, listen and let that voice take me to foreign lands..! :)
Metal is of course also about aggression, which I guess is the one part of it that most non-metalheads have picked up on (and focused on).
But it’s the best way to get all those aggressions OUT. You don’t need expensive therapy or Prozac when you’ve got MEGADETH for example. This is what I wrote right after their show in Aarhus, Denmark back in 2011:
“It feels so frikkin’ great when that heavy, aggressive music, the pumping bass and angry, distorted guitars hits your eardrums – it’s like a spring-cleaning for the soul. Whatever might be stored in there, whether you’re aware of it or not, it just goes away. Amazing.”
Dave Mustaine is an angry man and I love him for it. I love his sarcasm and his grumpy face, I love his fuck you-songs, especially when he has a very intelligent way of approaching whatever issues he’s got with politicians or society. He’s got something to say and he’s certainly not afraid of voicing his opinion, loud and clear.
Megadeth calls to the absolutely most primal sides of us all and hearing those pissed off, aggressive songs is like fucking ANGEL CHOIRS in MY ears! There’s another “high” that metal brings, no doubt.
Rock’n’roll is the love of my life. I’ve pretty much dedicated my whole life to it. I’ll let Lita Ford express it with this song – Rock’n’Roll Made Me What I Am Today.
To have some random dude thinking that he will get me to think that ULTRAVOX is better than rock… lol!
I wouldn’t count on it. ;)
Came to think of some of the weirdest or funniest interview-occasions I’ve been involved in through the years. Generates a big smile every time. :)
One of the craziest ones was with Pretty Maids when they were playing at the KB-hall in Copenhagen. I was doing the interview for radio, so it had to be somewhere quiet.
But they were doing sound check out there in the big concert arena (those were the days of arena-rock…) so you kept hearing that annoying “ONE….TWO…!” everywhere you went.
After having walked through the entire KB Hall, trying to open various doors without luck, one door suddenly opened. It was the broom-cupboard! Perfect!
With all those brooms and buckets in there, it was definitely sound proof!
Let me tell you, five people in a small broom-cupboard was not easy to organize, and it must have looked absolutely ridiculous if anyone had walked in on us. But they were good sports, took it with a grain of salt and just laughed about it. When asking for a radio ID, this is what I got:
So, you just make the best of the situation. :) It was fun though, having one foot in an empty bucket and the other one on a vacuum-cleaner while trying to be a serious reporter…! The good part? There were NO sound check noises on the tape! ;P
Another strange interview was with the ladies of Vixen when they were on tour with Deep Purple in the early 90’s. Their hotel suite didn’t have CHAIRS. But… it DID have a king-size HUGE bed in the room, so, we all just crawled onto the bed and did the interview there. :) Talk about RELAXED, huh? ;) Here’s Roxy and Share from that “bed interview”….
Janet Gardner walked in later towards the end of the interview, she wasn’t on this taped version.
Other strange things, not necessarily interview-related…. I was doing an exclusive interview with Alice Cooper at SAS Radisson in Malmoe ages ago (didn’t even know until the last minute if he would do it or not) and on my way out,
I met his band in the elevator on my way down. They were in a party mood and asked if I lived nearby. I said I lived almost just around the corner and they got all excited and wanted to come over to my place and party! They got so seriously into that idea that I didn’t know HOW to tell them that it wouldn’t happen.
I was still living with my parents, and just the thought of my mother walking around the house with curlers in her hair and dad being half asleep in front of the TV – and then me walking in with Alice Cooper’s band….just felt slightly bizarre. :)
I told my mom about what happened, and she was almost disappointed that I hadn’t invited them. Her comment? “I could have served them cookies and we had orange juice in the fridge…!”.
Oh. My. God. I’m SO glad that I DIDN’T say yes to THAT! Talk about total humiliation and embarrassment for a young rocker girl. Maybe I would have been more cool about it today but not back then.
Another slightly strange situation happened with Judas Priest. I had done an interview with them in the afternoon and they asked if me and the photographer wanted to come back after the show and hang out. I said I couldn’t cause it was Halloween and I was invited to a Halloween-party. Meaning – I was going to be dressed as some sort of ghost. Or something.
“Even better!” they laughed. Well…. Suit yourself, I thought, so we walked through security after the show that evening, wearing Morticia and ghost-makeup! If Priest even for a moment had thought that we were kidding they were now aware that we weren’t. ;)
It doesn’t happen often that the BAND starts digging for their cameras to take pictures of their GUESTS, but that’s what happened in this case. Either way, it was a fun evening!
[Me and K.K Downing after the show on Halloween!]
Then of course there was the interview that turned into a cookie-war that totally went out of hand. Electric Boys – crazy guys back in those days. Started with Niclas throwing a cookie at me for fun, I threw it back and before you knew it, cookies were flying across the room, people running around, pretty much stomping the chocolate cookie crumbles into the carpet and into the couch while screaming like three year olds.
The owner, Totte, opened the door in the middle of all this and saw me just as I was throwing a cookie. Oh great. The reporter from Kvällsposten acting like a total retard, caught in the act. Oops. The dressing room looked like World War 3, but at least we had fun! :)
Come to think of it – the past 25 years have been so much fun, I’ve loved every minute of it! And it ain’t over yet! :))
Been thinking about how the life and image of rockers – or at least my interpretation of it – has changed over the years.
There were so many expectations and unwritten rules when I first discovered metal. Granted, I was a teenager, I would have sniffed out the “proper” behavior in any type of community, because you were so eager to fit in. But there weren’t many female role-models, so you became one of the guys.
There were a few “rules” that I remember from back then.
1. Thou shalt not listen to any other type of music because that is extremely uncool (see list of approved bands below)
2. Thou shalt be dressed properly
A) Denim jacket or vest, alternatively leather jacket, decorated with badges, patches and large back-patch of your favorite band to gild your creation.
B) Jeans must be stone-washed, dirty and have holes at the knees. Should be as tight as possible.
C) T-shirt with any metal band, doesn’t have to be your favorite band, but no matter what you wear, you must show to the world that you are a true ROCKER (it was like a religion, metalheads were supposed to spread the gospel much like Jehova’s Witnesses…)
D) Footwear: sneakers or boots
E) Accessories: Anything with studs, any kind of studs but preferably these:
You could never ever compromise with the above if you wanted to be cool. I remember walking around in a leather jacket, covered by a denim jacket – OPEN all winter, freezing my ass off (I’m pretty sure my lips were blue and purple every winter) because it was extremely uncool to button your jacket. Probably because you couldn’t show your metal t-shirt properly if you did.
Bands that were considered cool had to be butt ugly and preferably British: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Ozzy, Sabbath or even Def Leppard (their pre-Hysteria era…) or some got dispensation because they looked and sounded like brits, such as Accept or Anvil or something like that.
It just had to be “manly”, as masculine as possible. Which is why I still don’t really get how the hell MANOWAR could ever be considered the “manliest” band in the world, when they are any gay dude’s wet dream? I mean, seriously – check this out and tell me if that’s not a poster that would look great on any YMCA wall:
[Why would a straight dude want to look at another dude wearing a thong?!]
You really had to be careful what you said and did, what you wore, how you acted – because the slightest thing would make the other “disciples” think you’re not cool enough and not “a TRUE headbanger”.
Actually, some of that still lingers now, at my age (I just don’t give a crap nowadays, I sure as hell don’t need to prove to anyone how “metal” I am anymore). Like the detail that I don’t like beer. Never have, never will. “What kind of rocker are you if you don’t like beer?” is a line I’ll hear in the company of rockers if I say no to a beer.
At some point I even pointed out that metal to me is about choosing your own path, making your own decisions. How cool is it to just follow everybody else’s footsteps? If I want wine instead of beer, and have the balls to say so, regardless the comments I KNOW I’m gonna get – then who’s more metal? Drink your beer and shut up, loser. ;)
The expectations on what was required to be a rocker changed a bit in the mid-/late 80’s, but then people were divided into two groups: “Real” rockers and posers.
The so called “real” rockers were the ones who still wore their denim jackets and sneakers – and then, there was the “posers” who got into the glam-side of the genre and started spraying their hair, wear colorful clothes with glitter (preferably a neon color, pink, yellow, purple…) bandanas and (god forbid) MAKE UP!
[Still “gay”, but in a different kind of way]
As I was on the Judas Priest-side, I remember quickly taking sides against the glam era. I thought they were so embarrassing and so….sissy. I could have puked on bands like Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd or Tygertailz.
But all of that somehow merged as the years went by, because even our own heroes started looking like girls. Even Judas Priest and Whitesnake joined the band-wagon and started to bleach their hair or got bad perms.
And with bands like Skid Row or Guns n’Roses who weren’t old-school metal OR glam/sleaze, the whole scene became accessible to old-school and newbie-rockers. It’s like they were the glue that was needed to unite rockers again.
You could be, or wear, a mix between the old denim-style and whatever glittery you wanted to spice it up with. And it was cool as fuck with guys who used eyeliner and got that “I haven’t slept for three days” kind of look. It wasn’t “gay” anymore.
And speaking of gay, you realized how latently gay the rocker world really was, when Rob Halford came out of the closet. Dudes dug his S&M style for years, and women were pretty much banned in the world of metal in the early days. So you had guys strutting for other guys – and somehow they managed to call it “manly”.
Motley Crue were considered wimps when they first started to appear in magazines with their glam style. But in fact I suppose they were more “manly” than the dudes who were afraid of women back in the day. All of course depending on how you choose to define the word “manly”.
The kiss of death came with the grunge era. Suddenly, all the leather and spandex was out. The sloppy “homeless”-look was in. Baggy, plaid flanel shirts, hair mugs, the roadie-style cargo pants – all of it looked like it was from a Salvation Army dumpster.
Over night, everybody else became uncool. Unless you looked like you belonged in the gutter and listened to Nirvana or Pearl Jam, you had no right to exist in the metal world. It was the dark ages of rock in a way. Many people I knew cut their hair and desperately started looking for something else to identify with. I remember people being very confused during thir period.
The whole religion as we knew it, had been shattered. There were barely any non-grunge bands touring, all the rock clubs that had blossomed in the 80’s closed down, Headbanger’s Ball on MTV didn’t show the kind of music we liked anymore. Everything was just so depressing. The rock scene had been taken over by bands who hated themselves and wanted to die (Nirvana quote).
Eventhough metal came back even after those “dark ages”, fashion or expectations weren’t as distinctive anymore. You could look any way you damned well pleased, pretty much.
But it’s like any other religion, you want to support your beliefs, show the world who you are. So, go to any metal festival in Europe during summer-time, and you’ll notice that people still look like time stood still.
I’m still wearing rock t-shirts, but maybe to a more limited extent. I’ve ditched the denim jackets, and leather is cool to look at but it doesn’t keep you warm when it’s cold out – and when it rains.. forget it. :) Sneakers are still a part of my “rocker identity” but not because I’m trying to prove anything, I just think they are great for everything and still look cool (nowadays you can even buy them in leather and studs).
Metalheads still have the need to show who they are. We still want to be a part of the underground movement it once was, kind of like the punk era. It separates us from “the common people”. Even if we just choose a simple rock t-shirt or our true rocker jeans.
What has changed though, is that after all these years, metal has now landed a different image.Iron Maiden is no longer a band for sweaty young guys – it’s a respected, well known band that even non-rockers know. Bruce Dickinson is invited to speak on BBC news and whatnot, it would never have happened in 1983.
Ozzy is no longer the crazy, dangerous bat-eating madman, he’s the guy on TV who yells:“Sharon!! The fucking TV is stuck on the fucking weather channel!” and is a guest on “Ellen”.
Alice Cooper is seen golfing and supporting the republican party. Quite ironic that the man who has been anything but conservative with his art and music, is now a part of the establishment that would have tried to ban him twenty-thirty years ago.
Things have changed radically. Metal isn’t so shocking anymore. After the shock-rock era ofMarilyn Manson, and after the kind of old and outdated attempts by extreme death-metal bands to create headlines, metal is now almost as accepted as Bruce Springsteen.
And people listening to it don’t have as many rules to follow anymore. Look anyway you want, listen to whatever you like (cause even Bon Jovi is considered hard rock – or you can choose the crossover-bands that mix death metal with techno/pop, such as Amaranthe).
The boundaries are not as tight anymore, there’s not as much to prove as there once was. Back in the day you were fighting for your music to get recognition – but in fact, you didn’t WANT it to be mainstream. You wanted to be a part of that “misunderstood” group of people who were into metal. Because it was like a family of outsiders, and there’s just something appealing about that.
Many rockers who didn’t fit anywhere else, found their home and their identity in metal. Gave them strength in numbers, for sure. That’s probably why it’s still such a rush to be in the crowd of 20 000 people, chanting to our heroes’ classic songs, going absolutely crazy. Metal survived, through everything.
Now, when metal is on national TV (at least here in Sweden it is) it’s as if it’s not “our” music anymore. It’s become mainstream, more or less.
We are rockers and we stuck through it all. I think we’ve finally got something to be proud of. :)
Rockers have often been brushed off as stupid airheads with nothing in their heads but chicks and parties. You know – bad vocabulary, bad choices, not much to contribute with. Kind of like these guys:
But after almost 25 years in the business, interviewing more bands and artists than I can even remember, it hit me that I’ve rarely thought of anyone as “stupid”. Some have formal educations, some are street smart, and some are just naturally intelligent. You don’t always have to be a rocket scientist to be smart. Very few have been total airheads actually.
Then I started digging into it. You’d be surprised how many rockers you’ll find that have fancy titles and impressive degrees to brag with.
Brian May (Queen) for instance… PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College in London. He began working on it 30 years prior to completing it in 2007, but got sidetracked when Queen hit the big-time. Apparently its never too late to finish what you started…!
Offspring’s Dexter Holland: He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, both from the University of Southern California.
You know how you sometimes find that special place on the beach, the perfect spot that you don’t want anyone else to find…? Or if you find a great place – anywhere, that makes you feel good, your own discovery that is yours, and yours only – that you will protect and keep a secret or maybe share with just your closest friends…?
That’s what metal has been to me my whole life. I can’t say that I chose it – it chose me. It was like an epiphany, a religious experience – and because metal wasn’t widely accepted, I felt like I was a part of a small, secret club or something.
It wasn’t on the radio, it wasn’t in the papers, it was just this… underground, rebellious movement in the eyes of a teenager, especially a female teenager, as there were very few female role models in metal in the very early eighties.
Metal was anti-establishment. It was a big fuck-you middle finger in the face of everything that was “adult” or “responsible”…. Parents hated it, religious groups hated it, polititians hated it, media ignored it (except for when Ozzy bit the head of a bat or Alice Cooper decapitated himself onstage or W.A.S.P got banned by PMRC for their lovely song “I Fuck Like A Beast“).
THAT is what metal has been to me, always. A freedom and an escape from everything that you’re supposed to be.
In a way I guess I don’t want to grow up. Metal has been that escape from everything that had to do with normality. But now, I’m beginning to wonder what the hell is happening. Metal is dying.
Two days ago I stayed up all night, watching the streaming online version of ABC’s “Dancing with the stars”. Kiss and Steel Panther had been announced as guests. I had to see what the deal was. I would have been better off if I had never seen that.
My god, what a sad sight. Kiss has never really been “rock’n’roll” in the “rebellious”sense, they would sell their own mother if they could make a buck or two, and that’s nothing new. Still it was disturbing somehow to see them on this family show, this absolutely squeaky clean family entertainment.… It made me sick watching people dancing freaking BALLET to Twisted Sister…! Oh my god, it was so…gay! And I don’t mean that in a homophobic sort of way, but you know what I mean. It was just so fucking WRONG!
Not only that, but all those hard rock anthems had been “cleaned up” and were sung by some…session singers, people who are as far from metal as you can possibly get.
I guess it’s stupid, but it actually made me sad to witness it. To me, this is the armageddon of metal. I see it everywhere. Judas Priest on American Idol – the show that kills music. Call it whatever you want but it doesn’t produce any new music. You have people singing covers and trying to sound like the real deal, like their idols who got famous the old-fashioned way, by working their asses off.
It’s really just a money-making show that’s looking for a product to sell. That means the “product” must be G-rated. No damn TRUE rock’n’roll here! It’s family entertainment for gods sakes.
I’ve realized that by talking to the Croatian guy, the rocker dude who I first saw on “Idol”. His label still hasn’t released any of his music, because he’s a rocker – and rock doesn’t appeal to the little girlies who are the ones buying records. Maybe – if you make it TRENDY. Like if you give Bret Michaels a dating-show for instance…
So, Priest appeared on AI, sold their souls to the devil if you ask me, Kiss on Dancing with the stars, Alice Cooper won’t be performing at any REAL rock-festivals in Sweden this summer, but he WILL be playing at Liseberg…! Liseberg is a family amusement-park! The man who got himself banned everywhere he went back in the day, who was arrested and feared by your parents and your teacher – is now a family entertainer, like a rock-Liberace or something.
And AC/DC sold their music to WalMart, the very same retail corporation that wouldn’t sell albums that the PMRC had labelled with “Parental Advisory”-stickers!
Yeah, I’m an idealist, I think it’s sad to watch the death of metal as we know it. It’s not rebellious anymore, it’s not anti-establishment and it’s not my “private island” anymore – or anyone else’s.
Hard rock is business now. You will hear the dorks on Glee singing some washed-up version of an old Pat Benatar-song or something and you will find the kind of r’n’r outfits that you had to look everywhere to find (specialized stores) – at H & M or any other major store. It’s sellable now. Metal sells – and everybody’s buying.
No more underground movement, no more middle fingers… no more rebellion. Metal is now Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, family amusement parks and WalMart. Guess maybe it’s time for me to grow up too…