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. ;)
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. :)
Then, of course, there are the BANDS that create live-magic on stage (not just individual musicians, but as a whole)……..
AC/DC – the ultimate live band! Wherever they go, there will be PHAR-TEY!
Skid Row (1989-1995) PURE energy, if you weren’t fortunate enough to experience it, words or videos can never do this band justice….!
Steel Panther . the best of all worlds! You’re having a good time from the word go, they sound good, they look good, they are funny and great musicians, what’s not to like?! I LOVE this band!
Iron Maiden – Oh, boy! If you ever wondered what a real LIVE experience IS, go see Iron Maiden!
Def Leppard (-2006) God knows how many gigs they’ve played in their lifetime, obviously they were the BEST at what they did for many, many years.
Quireboys (London Quireboys) – I still regard their show at Pumpehuset in Copenhagen, 1990 as one of the BEST live gigs I’ve seen in my life!
There was something magic about this band that is hard to describe, but it was as genuine as it gets, I remember us all leaving the club that night with sweat running down our smiling faces and sore muscles from all the jumping. Absolutely unbelievable.
Mötley Crüe – THE number one live act for two decades. They had all the props, the party songs, the cool glittery stage outfits, bombs, fireworks, glitter, strippers, Nikki Sixx…! The WORKS. Then something happened – I haven’t seen them do one decent gig after 1999. But when they were good – they were the BEST.
So – which ones would be on YOUR list?
Time for another look in The Rearview Mirror.
Back in 2003 I did a phone interview with Hanoi Rocks-frontman Mike Monroe. I wish every rock star was as honest, openhearted and totally in your face as Mike was. At least THAT evening, he was a journalist’s dream.
When my photographer friend and I met him (and Hanoi-guitarist Andy McCoy) in Malmo a few years later, he was everybody’s nightmare. But that story is too long to tell here, so I’ll save that for another day. Let’s just say that he owes us about 100 bucks for Indian food!
Anyhooo…. In this interview, he talked about everything and anything: Drugs, alcohol and groupies. Overcoming personal tragedies. Religion. Movies and actors. Computers and TV. Fear. Cooking. Biographies. Marilyn Manson…and a bunch of other things.
Still editing some of those clips, phone interviews tend to be a bit “scratchy” so, I’ll add them one by one. If you like Mike Monroe – keep checking back. Enjoy!
MIKE MONROE ON MÖTLEY CRÜE & “THE DIRT”:
“That’s a bunch of horseshit!”
MIKE MONROE ON THE ROCKSTAR-MYTH:
“They cheat on their wives and then they go onstage and sing about how their baby left them….
What the fuck do you expect when you’re screwing around like banshees!”
MIKE ON COPING WITH PERSONAL TRAGEDIES:
“If you can find one friend, one person who you can totally trust, who knows you as well as anybody can know you – then you’re really lucky.”
MIKE’S BEST BEAUTY-TIP! ;-)
…last but not least – Mike (and Axl) kicking some ass in Dead, Jail or Rock’n’roll!
Geez, yeah I guess it’s been a pretty busy year. So, here’s the last part of the 2011-blog – part 3. :-)
I left Split, Croatia very early in the morning on October 1, think I got up around 4 am that day. With a stopover in Zageb, I landed in Copenhagen, Denmark early afternoon, took the train to Malmö, Sweden, went home, threw my suitcase in the hall, picked up my recorder and practically ran out the door while calling a cab on the way out because I didn’t want to waste any time on finding a parking space….
SEBASTIAN BACH visited Malmö, Sweden
Rockmässan in Malmö had a special guest: Sebastian Bach. He is an old friend, and I was glad that he finally came to my home town. He was glad to see me too, Baz is one of those people who I’ll probably be running into when I’m 80 somewhere in the world, and everything will be as if it was still 1989 and we just met yesterday!
[Baz and I 20 years ago… anything but sober, but definitely having a great time!]
And Baz and I – 2011 :-)
I had about a week off after the Baz-interview, living my “normal” life (whatever that is in my case…) before I got on a plane once again, and landed on the other side of the Atlantic – New York City. I just spent the first night at Hilton, then got on the first domestic flight to Tampa, Florida – a place I know very well, as I’ve visited it at least once a year for the past five years. It’s the home base of Jon Oliva’s Pain and a place where I’ve got good friends. Felt nice to be “home”.
FIREWIND kicked off their US-tour – and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN just kicked ass!
This time I rented a car and drove to a nice little hotel close to State Theatre where Firewind was kicking off the US tour. Much to my surprise, I found the guys of Nightrage staying at the same hotel. They were one of the opening acts on the Frets of Fury-tour. Really cool guys, drummer Jo played double duty on that whole tour – with Nightrage and Firewind, pheew! The guy is amazing though, he’s now officially the drummer of Firewind.
Singer Apollo was back for the US tour. Things back to normal for the FW-fans, in other words.
It was a tough tour for me though, dealing with a bad jetlag and very little time to get any sleep whatsoever, as I was flying from city to city three days in a row. Tampa – Atlanta and NYC. Zzzzzzzz…………
But once again – totally worth it! Here’s from the last Firewind-show I saw this year, at Gramercy Theatre, NYC:
Two weeks now, until I see these guys again, in Bob Katsionis’ (mr keyboard player) home town Athens. :-)
Anyway, after the three Firewind-shows, I stayed in New York an extra day because another one of my favorites was playing – the one and only YNGWIE MALMSTEEN! I havent seen so many people show up for a club gig in ages! One of the guys in front of me in the long line just said: “There are a lot of guitarplayers in New York City”.… No shit. :-)
Fantastic evening, Yngwie was my big idol in the 80’s and he still kicks ass! I filmed pretty much the whole thing – here’s from that show:
A classic guitar hero, how can you not love this man?! :-))
WRAPPING UP 2012 WITH WHITESNAKE AND THREE GIANTS IN THE UK
That was mid-October…. jumping straight to November and the WHITESNAKE-gigs. That wasn’t too long ago, so if you’ve followed this blog you’ve already read all about it. Whitesnake is probably the ONLY band I haven’t grown tired of. I could see them over and over and over again – and I HAVE for years. If you want the best of the best, go see Whitesnake. I just love everything about that band, so sue me. :-)
Another great thing is meeting new, cool people – Whitesnake-fans are super-nice. Three ladies that I met up in Kristianstad also came to Vega in Copenhagen and we shared a cab home in the middle of the night. I’m sure I’ll see them around somewhere as soon as there’s an interesting concert around here again. :-)
Last but not least…. Went to London/Manchester with my friends to see Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and Steel Panther at MEN Arena. Steel Panther stole the show, no doubt about it. But Tommy Lee’s drum-solo and Nikki Sixx‘ Happy Birthday-singing crowd wasn’t half-assed either. :-)
That pretty much sums it up. It’s definitely been an interesting year and I’m convinced that 2012 won’t fall too far behind…! I’ve already planned a few things (check “My Concert Dates 2012” – maybe I’ll see you out there somewhere!).
Black Sabbath reunited, probably the first and the last time I’ll see THAT, and it’s going to be absolutely amazing. I know what they can do, separately (seen Sabbath a number of times when Tony Martin was fronting the band) and Ozzy solo, I have a pretty good hunch what they can do when they let the MAGIC begin!
Not to mention VAN HALEN hitting the road in 2012….! Holy shiiiit!
But first…. January with Firewind in Athens and Steve Stevens / Sebastian Bach in New York City. The rest will come as I go along… :-)
I hope you all had a wonderful 2011 too and I wish you all an even better 2012! :-))
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!!!