Archive for the 'Classic Rock' Category

“The One Album” Metallica

Metallica 3 in 1

Ride The Master Justice

This is the 2nd in my Metallica trilogy. The first explored Garage Days, a 4 track recording of 4 guys playing Diamond Head songs. Not really a corporate juggernaut and a weird picture of what might have been. With this installment, I’m going to talk about the Metallica true metal trilogy – Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, And Justice for All, and essentially how they made the same album three times in a row.

In summer of 1984, Metallica released Ride the Lightning, an 8 track follow up to their mediocre debut album Kill Em All.  This album was to be the formula Metallica would use for their next 2 albums and what is today known as classic Metallica.  The formula is as follows: fast, yet short, album opener. The opener must have a faux calm before the storm, neo classic intro tacked on to give the opening more burst.  Second track is the title track, long, slow and tackles an issue.  Mid tempo rocker follows, usually their A-song but not always. To close off the side, the slow ballad. Often with a hint of Pink Floyd.

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posted by mark in Classic Rock,Thrash Metal and have Comments Off on “The One Album” Metallica

Firsts(es)

Beginnings, it is often held, are delicate times.  I don’t necessarily find this to be true in popular music. Unlike first novels and first movies,  first albums have a large tendency to be the best (or the only) thing said artist ever does.  Even when it’s not exactly their Best, it tends to be the moment of Young, Loud,  Snotty and generally Unfuckwithable. They haven’t learned to be afraid yet, maybe. In any case, it tends to be when they make their largest statements, since they all suspect somewhere in the back of their minds that they might not ever get this chance again.

Collect all four of the Soon-To-Disappoint-Ya’ action figures!

Consider Van Halen (1978) by Van Halen.

It’s about as Debut Album as a debut album’s gonna get. It does indeed feature what was probably the greatest rock guitarist at the time, and they made sure to just go right ahead and shovel that at you.  Indeed, right after the somewhat typical Opening Statement Song, it’s right to the Guitar Solo Song.

Y’know? The sheer cheek of it! Like he’s Jimi, or maybe just Jimmy Page!  A song that just has a preamble of drums,  and we’re off! Hammer-ons! Weird harmonics! A suggestion that the dude has actually studied classical guitar -and even more weirdly; non-rock n’ roll guitarists!  A Statement of  Purpose from the President of Rocking Your Ass at the time.

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Classic Rock,Lounge and have Comments Off on Firsts(es)

The Blouses of Men

Lawrence Welk, in introducing a song once, noted the sweeping cultural changes of the 1960’s. He very briefly noted it, in fact, by simply remarking on “…all th’ new clooothes…”

Just like that: you may sweep away the civil rights movement, forget the protests against the Vietnam War, ignore the emergence of identity politics, shrug at the manifold politically motivated murders and all this enormously important shit by briefly awakening from your slumber and noting that everybody seemed to go get a whole buncha weird lookin’ clothes in the last ten years…

“Vere gonna get der blackie out here to do th’ tappa-dance for you!”

This being Larry, of course the hip, up-to-date number this all reminded him of was “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” from 1964’s Hello Dolly! which  so gloriously misses the point.

But what if that is all that really changed? Sometimes I wonder. There were some political breakthroughs, but they were slow to trickle down to the populace at large. What yer average ‘Murkan seems to have come away with was that It’s Okay To Smoke Pot now, and It’s Okay To Wear Weird Clothes.

Well? You ever look at pictures of your grandparents from the early ’70’s? Gramma and Grampa look like Merry Pranksters: he’s got these giant lapels with huge white stitching on his mint-green sports jacket he’s wearing with checked pants, and she’s wearing a fucking go-go dress with some sort of op-art madness all over it.  They look like they’re jacked to the tits on something, but no: they’re on their way to a meeting of the Rotary Club.

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Classic Rock and have Comments Off on The Blouses of Men

“The Band” The Band

The Band

The Band by The Band

The Band by The Band, may very well be my favorite album. It could have very easily been titled Nothing Ever Goes Right For Me, but that would have been the title had this been released thirty years later, and The Band had called itself by one of the proposed names for this band: The Honkies.

It is, I think, the greatest American rock n’ roll album of all, despite the fact that all but their drummer were Canadian. It dares to deal with aging, of all things, as a theme, which is pretty much verboten in the retarded world of The Popular Music There. It might very well be the closest thing to a personal statement made by a bunch of dudes who truly were born to fail and/or die by their own hands.

Many rockers wish to make that sort of statement. It is entirely another to have that statement be entirely honest. It calls for a stunning amount of both innocence and cunning on the part of the artist.

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Classic Rock and have Comments Off on “The Band” The Band

“Garage Days” Metallica 1982

Metallica Garage Days

McGovney, Hetfield, Ulrich, Mustaine (L to R)

So before Metallica’s Garage Inc, there was Garage Days Re-revisited. The $5.95 EP, ca 1987. Notice it says Re-revisited. That’s because the band released a single for Creeping Death in 1984 and the b-side was called Garage Days Revisited by the band because it featured two covers Am I Evil and Blitzkreig. Readers will now point out the use of Revisited in that title and be asking, if there is so much revisiting, where is the original garage days? What readers may not know is Metallica made a very early demo recording called GARAGE DAYS, pre-San Francisco thrash days, pre Cliff Burton and even pre James Hetfield rhythm guitar. This is listed on some fan sites of unreleased demos as Ron McGovney’s Garage Demo. And rightfully so. This is not a major release. It sounds like it was recorded on someone’s boombox that had a built in mic. Although, a Ron McGovney interview reveals it to be Lars Ulrich’s Teac 4-track.

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posted by mark in Classic Rock,Thrash Metal and have Comments Off on “Garage Days” Metallica 1982

“Animals” Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd "Animals"

Pink Floyd "Animals"

The concept album. It unfortunately conjures up images of Yes, or Emerson, Lake and Palmer. But a lot of good bands did them (The Kinks, in particular). If you buy the story that the White Album by The Beatles is actually them merely making fun of everyone else currently active in music at the time, that also means that one of their best albums is a concept album, sort of. In any case, it’s an idea that could see some reviving, in competent hands.

Toward the end, Pink Floyd did almost nothing but concept albums. This one I’m reviewing in particular just happens to be the most dark, cynical pondering on the state of humanity that I’ve ever heard.

You know the concept, right? The human race is basically broken down into three subgroups; dogs, pigs and sheep. It begins with this little calm-before-the-storm number called Pigs on the Wing (part 1). Just acoustic guitar and Roger Waters‘ voice. It sort of sets you up with what this album might really be about: what if no one really gave a good grey shit about anyone else?

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Classic Rock and have Comments Off on “Animals” Pink Floyd

“Diver Down” – Van Halen (1982)

Van Halen Diver Down

Van Halen Diver Down

It’s pretty amazing when you run across an album that is almost a perfect failure. A document that fairly screams its flaws at you, and you can sit there and watch as it blows it, step by misstep.

So problem number one is also the first song. Van Halen -so recently having released ‘Fair Warning,’ an album most fans agree is one of their best- seems to have suddenly ran out of ideas, so it went back to one of the most successful ideas they ever had: cover a Kinks tune. I mean hell: The Byrds covered what, ten Dylan tunes in their time? Why couldn’t the Biggest Band In The World At The Time do just one more song by The Kinks?

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posted by Rich Bachelor in Classic Rock and have Comments Off on “Diver Down” – Van Halen (1982)