Tagged: Tony Martin

TONY MARTIN – kicked everybody’s ass

There is ONE singer, that has been on the absolute, untouchable number ONE position on my list of great singers for 26 years now, and that is TONY MARTIN. In my opinion the most underrated singer of all time. One day people will be asking themselves howcome his name wasn’t in neon lights just as much as his predecessors, such as Ronnie James Dio who people mostly compared him to.

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Dio is a legend. He was lucky enough to be at the right place, at the right time, as was Ozzy, obviously… But it seems that in the world of metal, your level of fame and pedigree is what puts you on the map, not necessarily talent.

As much as I love and respect Dio, I can easily say that Tony Martin’s voice has SO much more to offer.
I can listen to those Black Sabbath-albums that he sang on, over and over again, at repeat, year in, year out, and I never ever grow tired of it! On the contrary, I’m so amazed by his abilities, it’s like I’m almost looking for SOME kind of imperfection, but there simply are no imperfections.

That voice is as massive and powerful as an earthquake, it’s strong as a rock, it’s crystal clear, so full of colors and variations, little details that you keep discovering and rediscovering every time you listen to him sing. I just love that VOICE.
To me, THAT is the ULTIMATE heavy metal voice. Nobody comes even close, and that includes my teenage heroes Halford, Dio, Coverdale – all those guys. They all have their strengths, no doubt about it, but looking at the whole picture, I’d say that Tony Martin kicked everbody’s ass over and over again.

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I tried to get my hands on EVERYTHING he had sung on. I’m happy to own quite a lot of his work. To this day I think it’s nothing but scandalous that it’s difficult to get hold of the Black Sabbath-albums with Tony Martin on vocals. What a freaking WASTE!

I had to buy crappy Russian “bootleg”-versions on eBay a few months ago because my original CD’s and vinyls have been played so much that they are barely playable anymore. Cause you can’t find “Tyr” or “Headless Cross” in stores anymore. And those are without a DOUBT among the best albums Sabbath ever made. Every era has it’s own charm, but this is an era that I get the feeling is being swept under the carpet for whatever strange reason.

I remember that I wasn’t that interested in Black Sabbath when I first went to see them. I had heard the Ozzy stuff and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I liked Ozzy better as a solo artist. And the Dio era wasn’t my thing either. But the newspaper I was working for back in 1989 sent me to the KB Hall in Copenhagen to review the show – and that was almost a religious experience. That VOICE absolutely blew me away!

I travelled all over the place to see Sabbath after that. Well, as long as Tony was singing. They took Ronnie back there for an album, and then (thank god) brought Tony Martin back again.

Back in those days, Internet was brand new, and I was just learning how to create webpages in html and the simple html-editors that were available at the time. So, in 1997 I created Tony Martin’s first webpage. Not too many artists HAD an “official” page back then, it was a lot less organized than it is today.

Unfortunately, the contact and professional friendship with Tony went sour, to say the least. Looking back, I admit that a lot of it was my own fault. I can be a stubborn person and at the time, I was very much “my way or the highway”. Tony was the same way, but in this case he had every right to be cause it was supposed to be HIS page. So yeah – that was almost 20 years ago and people change. I learned a lot since then but it still bugs me that it had to go so wrong, because I’ve always admired his voice.

Listening to the way he would phrase something, how he would sing even on the consonants (usually singers sing with a vibrato mainly on vowels – it’s easy to sing an “aaaaaaa” or “eeeee” with a vibrato, but Tony would do that even on consonants.

If you listen to for instance the beginning of “Feels Good To Me” – the first sentence “The chapter is opened and the pages are turned / The writings say many things but who was concerned“. He actually has a vibrato on the “nnnddd” in “opened” and the same thing on all those words in that first line. That is pretty rare. And then he goes straight to a high note, only to take it right back down again, and it’s just so smooth and so pleasing for the ears. The man is a vocal genious and I’m glad that I was lucky enough to experience his time with Sabbath. I can only hope that more people get a chance to discover this “undercover gem”. He deserves SO much more credit than he got.

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Just take a listen and I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as I’ve done for the past 3 decades!

 

A project Tony did with guitarist Mischa Calvin. Another example of his amazing voice:

Headless Cross – great song and the best lineup ever..

From his solo-alabum “Back Where I Belong” – another CD that I played over and over and over again! Brian May can be heard in the harmonies – it’s very “Queen-ish”. :D

Tony’s pre-Sabbath material, early 80’s – more melodic stuff:

My fondest moments in metal

I was inspired by a friend to remember some of my fondest metal moments. Those that truly put a smile on my face when I think back on them.
A lot of those memories have to do with mutual appreciation. No matter where we are in life and what our roles are in the music biz, we all started out as fans. You can play cool and pretend that you don’t care, but I’m not kidding myself. If it’s an artist that I’ve admired since I was a kid, he or she will still make me feel like a star struck teenager to some degree.
So…. These are some of those “smile”-moments. :D

1. DAVID COVERDALE
David always puts a smile on my face. I consider the interview I did with him on the “Farewell tour” the best interview I have ever done. The circumstances were perfect. When it comes to David Coverdale, I was a fan first and foremost, and I always will be.
I was the last person on his interview schedule that day, so there was no stress. He was in a great mood, very open and incredibly easy to talk to. We talked about everything: Serious things, funny things, deep things…
The interview took place in a luxurious suite at the Sheraton in Stockholm. It didn’t feel like an actual interview. It felt like a conversation with a friend. Looking back on that today makes me feel so privileged and it was a day I will never forget.

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But even apart from that interview (and a few other conversations with him), David always makes me smile. There has not been ONE single gig or press conference where he hasn’t spotted me within minutes, smiled up to his ears and adressed me by name. Or from the stage in front of thousands of people (several times through the years. Sometimes he’s had little dialogs with me from the stage, the last one being at the Graspop festival a few years ago, and of COURSE I had turned off my camera just minutes before…).


At press conferences he’s sometimes treated me like I was the only journalist present, or explained to the others, while pointing at me: “SHE will know, cause she’s followed my work for a long time…“.
I’m sure he does what with other, select people worldwide too, he’s just that type of person, but from my perspective it’s pretty darn fantastic because I’ve always looked up to David Coverdale.
So – he’s my #1 source for smiles in the metal world. :D

2. ROB HALFORD
A few years ago, I had been assigned to write the Judas Priest cover story for Sweden Rock Magazine. Since it was an in-depth piece, I ended up calling Rob several times that year (and also speaking with K.K and Glenn). In the end, he started joking and talking to me like we were the best of friends.
He’s always been one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, but particularly after those conversations things have been very relaxed and down-to-earth with Rob.

When I went to London earlier this year for an exclusive interview with Rob at Sony Music‘s offices, I was the only reporter who was privileged enough to get a one-to-one interview with The Metal God that day. And he was happy to see me. I’m no longer some anonymous nobody, he knows me by name.

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Yes I’m like a kid. Judas Priest is the reason I’m even here in this rock’n’roll circus, Rob has a huge part in who I am today and the kind of life I’ve had. I’ve got a million Priest-stories from hanging out with the band through the years, but it’s enough to just say that every single one of those occasions makes me smile and feel incredibly lucky!

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3. SEBASTIAN BACH
Baz is not an “idol” like that. It started out that way, when I was a big fan of the energetic, amazing Skid Row. But he and I are the same generation and had a lot in common (especially our love for Priest!) so we became friends. There are many “smile on my face” memories from the Skid Row-days but one of the more recent ones (even if it was a few years ago) was when Sebastian returned to Sweden to play at Sweden Rock Festival back in 2005. He hadn’t been in Sweden since the Subhuman Race Tour in 1995. I was really looking forward to seeing him again.

So, a few friends of mine and I were at the hotel Ronneby Brunn, hanging out, having a few drinks, when the band started coming in through the main entrance. I went over to Metal Mike, who I’d met with Halford, a really cool guy, and he said that Sebastian was outside collecting his bags, he’d be in soon.
I didn’t want to just stand there like an idiot so I went aside, figured that I’d let him check in in peace and quiet.
Well…
When Sebastian walked in – it was in the middle of the night, maybe 2 am, he looked tired and he was carrying a shitload of bags. One suitcase in each hand, bags on top of those and more bags hanging from each shoulder. At first he was just scanning the place with no particular goal or focus, but the minute his eyes landed on me, his reaction was so priceless that I’ll never forget it.

He screamed, in his typical Sebastian manner: “DANIELA!!!” and literally just dropped both those cabin bags so they just landed on the lobby floor, then dropped the bags hanging from his shoulders, so it was all in one big PILE right there on the floor, in the middle of the main hotel lobby – and with two steps he walked over to me, hugged me so hard that I thought he’d break my ribs.
“It’s been ten years!” he said and was sincerely happy to see a familiar face. I’ve honestly never felt more longed for or appreciated in my life. :) That was just such a sincere, happy reaction and I’m still smiling when I think about those bags just lying there in one huge pile on the marble floor.

There have been many similar occasions though. In New York, when he was performing with Steve Stevens at the jazz club Iridium, he dedicated a song to me which I never even noticed, and asked me backstage afterwards if I had heard his dedication. Basically, he can be the most appreciative person on the planet, then again, sometimes he barely notices one’s existence, it all depends, but all in all, this guy knows how to make me smile for the most part! :)

4. LITA FORD
That was a meeting I never thought would even take place. Lita has been my #1 female rolemodel since I first got the Out for Blood-album. I missed her when she played in Sweden or Denmark a few times either because shows were cancelled (she was supposed to come here with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow but the show was cancelled because the venue was too small for Rainbow’s…uh, rainbow-prop. :)).
Second time she was here with Bon Jovi I couldn’t go cause I had a gig of my own with my band. Then she disappeared to a desert island, literally, with her family for years and I guess we all thought that was it. Lita Ford, as we knew her, was gone.

However, last year she got on a plane and toured Europe. When Sweden Rock asked if I wanted to do an interview with her, I danced around the apartment like an idiot. FINALLY!

When I got to KB in Malmo, my home town (yeah, even THAT!) she was sound checking and I waited for her to finish. She came over, said we could go upstairs to the backstage area and do the interview. It was a hot day in July and we were DYING up there, it was unbearably hot. But, it was the most relaxing, unpretentious meeting I’ve ever had with an artist. Lita was down to earth, open, funny and very easy to talk to.

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There were moments where I even forgot that I was sitting there with an artist that I’ve admired since I was a teenager. It was a great chemistry and she didn’t hesitate to speak about difficult or personal things. Much like with David Coverdale, it wasn’t one of those usual “come in, get out after 20 minutes“-type of interviews. We sat there for over an hour and she was in no hurry at all. On the contrary. Even after the cameras had been switched off (it was a video interview as well – still not fully edited…) she kept talking.
One thing you’re always worried about when you meet an artist you grew up with, is if they’re going to disappoint you IRL. She didn’t. Fantastic meeting, great person and a really good interview situation. And I got those old vinyls signed too  (better late than never!)

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5. TONY MARTIN (Black Sabbath)
I got to know Tony Martin when he was touring with Black Sabbath all over Europe. To this day I think he’s the best heavy metal vocalist ever, and the most underrated one for sure.
When Sabbath came to Copenhagen, I headed over to their hotel to get a chance to hang out a bit with Tony. I remember Tony Iommi and Geoff Nicholls (keyboards) coming out of the elevator with big smiles, letting me know that Tony was on his way (then we kept passing Tony and Geoff on the pedestrian street Stroget a few times, later on that day).

Tony came down and pretty much needed a guide to show him where he could buy a new leather jacket and he also needed to find an exchange office. So, off we went. It was a slightly chilly and cloudy day, so I remember telling him that if he wanted to walk into HMV to check if they had Sabbath’s latest album, he might want to take his sunglasses off if he just wanted to blend in. :) Luckily for HMV, they had all the Tony Martin-Sabbath albums. ;)
He visited a few leather-shops but couldn’t find what he was looking for. It was just nice walking through Copenhagen talking. I was a huge fan of his voice, and I thought he was a cool person to hang out with so that day is stuck in my mind to this day.

He was starving so we went to this Italian restaurant. I hadn’t counted on that, so my wallet was pretty much empty. Oh, well, I thought I could always find whatever was cheapest on the menu. Us Swedes aren’t used to the guy paying unless it’s a date, and this wasn’t a date. So I assumed that I would be paying for my own food and drinks.
I got a glass of cheap wine that tasted horrible. Tony immediately noticed my expression and asked if the wine was ok. I lied and said that it was fine, but he didn’t buy it. So he called the waitress and went “the lady doesn’t like her wine. Do you have anything else?” I was panicking because whatever else they had was out of my price range that particular day.

Anyway, as we were waiting for that wine, I said that one of my favorite songs, where I really loved his vocals, was a song from the album Eternal Idol, the title track. Next thing I know, he starts singing it, right there, a capella in the restaurant…

“No one said it had to be this way
Why are we the victims of their
Final word

Dying world is killing us so slowly
I believe no god may save us now

Can’t you see what I see
Sinners say your prayers tonite
Your judgement day is here”

I was in seventh heaven. Having your favorite singer in the world singing especially for you like that was beyond any expectation. Will never forget that. What an amazing moment that was.

[There’s no actual video to that particular song – but listen to this, this is amazing!]

6. OZZY
This was pretty recent, but still one of those things I know I will look back on in a few years and think of with a big smile.
I was in Seoul, Korea for that one-off Ozzy show and had spent almost an hour trying to get my backstage pass that Gus G had asked the tour manager to leave for me in the VIP booth (apparently I was the only guest too. I’m guessing they didn’t know anyone in Korea. :) ).
That whole “going backstage“-thing seemed unthinkable to most of the security people I spoke to. Their attitude was “you can’t just go back there and meet the band?!?!“.
Yes I can, that’s what this pass is for – and if you show me where to go. :)

It took forever, involved a whole bunch of people and so finally I was escorted through a private steel elevator by two security guys on segways – one in front of me and one behind me (in case I would try to…run away??). Through doors and more security – I was finally let in to the backstage area and they went to go find Gus. I was so incredibly happy and relieved when I finally saw him – a familiar, friendly face in a far away land. :D

After watching the Korean superstar Psy, we went to the dressing room (Blasko, Tommy Clufetos, Billy Morrison, Adam Wakeman, Gus and me) and just sat there, talking while Gus was warming up. Ozzy was on his way and it was a little bit as if the president was coming, the crew very anxious to make sure he would be pleased with everything.
But Ozzy is a simple guy. :) Instead of sitting alone in his own dressing room, he suddenly showed up in the doorway of the band’s dressing room with this HUGE boyish smile that we all know and love, and immediately cracked a joke that had everybody laughing.

I was sitting on this 2-seat couch and he just crashed right beside me, going “You’re Gus’ manager, right?” I tried to explain that I was just a friend but he was already on the next subject (I’m smiling even as I’m writing this right now).

It was totally relaxed and simple. It didn’t really dawn on me until afterwards, that I was sitting backstage in Korea (of all places!) with Ozzy and his band, being the only guest there. I never expected that, cause I was there to see Gus.
People pay big bucks for those meet & greets with Ozzy, so I had ruled out the possibility of bumping into Ozzy at all.
The smile-factor was simply that it was so normal and so “every day-ish”. No big deal, no cameras, autographs, selfies, people running around adoring anyone. Just a bunch of people relaxing, cracking jokes. You can never plan that, when it happens it happens. And I cherish those moments more than anything.

The true love for rock’n’roll

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. ;)

A collector’s confession (oops, eBay is dangerous…!)

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!

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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!

craze2 craze3 craze

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!

Euro(ck)vision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 is being held in my home town Malmö, Sweden – and there’s no way you can miss it! There are giant mirror balls and purple spotlights at the train station, there are stages and official ESC-merch in the heart of Malmö, people walking around with t-shirts and bags with the slogan on them: “We are one”.

I used to watch this so called “music contest” when I was little, it was a family thing. But back then there were only 12 countries, maybe up to 20 tops, butnow it feels like every little godforsaken mini-country wants to be a part of it, and even countries that aren’t actually in Europe. It’s lost its appeal – it did years ago.

But this year, there’s a bit of rock’n’roll involved, which makes it slightly more interesting! :)

Two Black Sabbath-guys involved in one way or another.
Ex-Sabbath singer Tony Martin shared this pic earlier this morning:

Photo: I'm gonna be supporting my friend Bonnie Tyler In her Eurovision attempt this weekend. Wish ya the best of luck Bonnie ... Go get em!!!!! .. Love ya!!!

His caption: I’m gonna be supporting my friend Bonnie Tyler In her Eurovision attempt this weekend. Wish ya the best of luck Bonnie … Go get em!!!!! .. Love ya!!!

Bonnie Tyler’s song is written by no other than Desmond Child (does he even need an introduction???) and produced by David Huff – known from the 80’s hard rock band, Giant (I loved their “I’ll See You In My Dreams” and “Believer“).

Competing for Armenia is the band Dorians, with a song written by no other than the mighty Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath).

The Dutch rock-chick Anouk is competing for Netherlands of course, with her song “Birds“. We all remember her for THIS mega-hit:

And Iceland is sending Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson who’ll be singing “Ég á líf” (I am alive). He’s a singer in an Icelandic progressive rock supergroup called Todmobile.

So – on stage or behind the scenes, there are rockers everywhere, even in the seemingly dorky Eurovision Song Contest.

Maybe gives it at least a little bit of cred…! :)