Rock Chain #32: Sensational!

alex-harvey

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it here in the blog once a month.

Alex Harvey was the frontman of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band which featured Ted McKenna on drums.

Ted McKenna later on, went to play for a short period with Ian Gillan.

Ian Gillan rates his passage through Black Sabbath as disastrous, although many people (including yours truly) really like the Born Again album. The riff from “Zero the Hero” has an uncanny resemblance to the one on “Paradise City” from Guns and Roses.

Guns and Roses original guitarist was Tracii Guns, who left before the first album and formed L.A. Guns.

L.A. Guns original line-up had Phil Lewis as a vocalist, coming from British Glam Rockers, Girl.

Girl’s guitarist was Phil Collen, who later replaced Pete Willis in Def Leppard.

Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in automobile accident in the end of 1984 which lost the band the opportunity of playing Rock in Rio I in January 1985. They were replaced by Whitesnake.

Whitesnake sessions for their first LP had Jon Lord as keyboardist replacing Pete Solley from Procol Harum.

Procol Harum has a rather unique characteristic: their line-up has a member who doesn’t do anything except write lyrics, Keith Reid.

Keith Reid also wrote the lyrics for the hit-single “You’re The Voice” a moderate success in 1991, because of the first Gulf War, for American band, Heart.

Heart’s latest single has some cool backing vocals by James Hetfield from Metallica.

Metallica’s song “The Memory Remains” has a guest appearance by Marianne Faithful.

Marianne Faithful had a success with “As Tears Goes By” originally by the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones first record label was Decca, who almost went down in history as the label who rejected The Beatles.

The Beatles were once called The Silver Beetles with John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore and they played Allentown Hall in Scotland with Johnny Gentle as Johnny Gentle and His Group in 1960.

Do you know who supported them? Alex Harvey and his Big Beat Band.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Rock Chain #30: Almost Famous

savage

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll.

Savage is one of dozens of NWOBHM bands that could have been, but stumbled upon record label promises. In their case, the label unceremoniously dumped them to invest in Grim Reaper.

Grim Reaper is also a great band, despite the fact that was constantly mocked on MTV’s Beavis & Butt-Head, just like a lot of great bands like Styx and even King Diamond.

King Diamond, after his first album, Fatal Portrait, only released conceptual records based on his horror stories and recently performed one of them, Abigail, in its entirety for a future DVD release this year from Metal Blade Records.

Metal Blade Reacords was responsible for the now legendary Metal Massacre compilations which in the first edition had a track from a band that would be more connected to the Hard Rock/Glam scene, La Jolla’s most famous sons, Ratt.

Ratt was once the biggest of all Sunset Strip bands, even having its song “Body Talk” on the soundtrack of the movie The Golden Child, starring Eddie Murphy.

Eddie Murphy (okay, a bit of movie chain here) was obviously the star of Beverly Hills Cop, which theme song was written by no other than the late great, Glenn Frey.

Glenn Frey was a founding member of The Eagles with Don Henley.

Don Henley dated Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood Mac was formed after Peter Green had left John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He was replaced by Eric Clapton.

Eric Clapton was before that a member of The Yardbirds, with whom he toured America with bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson.

A Sonny Boy Wiliamson song called “Eyesight to the Blind” was recorded on Tommy by The Who (the only song not written by the band on that record).

The Who is still active today, although only with two remaining members, guitarist Pete Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey.

Roger Daltrey once recorded a failed album called Listzomania with former Yes keyboardist, Rick Wakeman.

Rick Wakeman played on Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the album with the track “Sabbra Cadabra” which was covered by Metallica on the album Garage Inc.

In the very beginning of their career, Metallica used to play the songs “Let It Loose” and “Dirty Money” on their sets. Do you know from who are those songs? NWOBHM band that could have been, Savage.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Black Crowes – By Your Side

 

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Rock Chain # 23: Amplifiers “huhnming”

Charlie-Huhn

Charlie Huhn has been the voice of Foghat for more than 15 years now. He has the rather tough job of substituting the charismatic and talented “Lonesome” Dave Peverett.

“Lonesome” Dave Peverett’s first band was The Nocturnes, with his brother John Peverett, who went on to become Rod Stewart’s road manager.

Rod Stewart, of course, is extremely successful solo artist but he also found fame previously with The Faces and even before with The Jeff Beck Group.

The Jeff Beck Group toured the United States even when they had released only singles, but when they toured in the back of their groundbreaking record “Truth”, something that would repeat itself over all the other tours happened for the first time: at Café Wha in Greenwich Village, New York, they jammed with Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi Hendrix played in the Imperial College in West London in May 1967. The Entertainment Committee of the College was presided by one Brian May.

Brian May as many people know – but Eddie Trunk from That Metal Show didn’t in one of his “Stump the Trunk” segments – is the guy who plays the final solo on “When Death Calls”, track in the Headless Cross album from Black Sabbath.

Black Sabbath who according to Ozzy’s own words had their asses kicked every night by a young American band in a tour together in 1978. The young band was called Van Halen.

Van Halen who recorded two covers from the same British band that did rather fair for them. “You Really Got Me” and “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” were both original songs from The Kinks.

The Kinks, by the way, had many of their songs covered by other bands. “David Watts” appeared in the All Mod Cons album by The Jam.

The Jam’s Paul Weller discovered the Mod culture in the mid-seventies and according to his own statement, tried to make his hair looked like the 1966 version of the one from Steve Marriott.

Steve Marriott was the lead singer in Humble Pie who died in tragic circumstances in the early nineties. In the aftermath, drummer Jerry Shirley reunited Humble Pie to tour America. Do you know who substituted Steve Marriott? Charlie Huhn.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Hall Of Idols #33: Chuck Klosterman

chuck-klosterman

Thirty-third installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

Everyone who deals with any kind of art is subjected to some kind of influence of those who came before them. I’m not a specialist in painting so I can’t pinpoint exactly influences among great painters. But I’m a Rock journalist so I can safely tell you that Judas Priest is hugely influenced by Black Sabbath, Aerosmith is hugely influenced by the Stones and so on. And I know by reading in interviews that Woody Allen has influences of Fellini and H.P. Lovecraft of Edgar Allan Poe.

Those influences are not only influences they are also idols of the people they influenced. If you check my hall of idols list you’ll see that until now Anne Rice, Conan Doyle, James Thurber and Mark Twain as some of my literary idols. However, their writings never influenced me. What I write have nothing to do with what they write (or wrote).

This is not the case with Chuck Klosterman, whose writings had a huge impact on me and somehow permeated my stories, especially on Straight and Lethal, my first book.

Charles John Klosterman was born in Breckenridge (MN) June 5, 1972. He is the youngest of seven children and graduated in Journalism from the University of North Dakota in 1994.

He is the author of eight books and I’m gonna be honest and say that I only read two of those (shame on me!). But boy, what an impact they had on me.

The first one I read was Fargo Rock City. I’m pretty sure it was one of the very first editions because it didn’t have that brilliant cover with the cow painted as a Kiss member they added later. I remember being in a bookstore in New Orleans (that nowadays is closed by the way) and picking up the book because the title was interesting. First, it reminded me of a Kiss classic and then those two words didn’t seem to go well together: Fargo and Rock. Anyway, I picked up the book, started reading and just couldn’t put down anymore. I bought it and finish reading it in two days. It was cool, it was fun and resonated deeply with me as I’m sure it will with anyone who knows what is like to fall in love with Rock and Metal, especially 80’s Metal.

It took some years to buy another one, Killing Yourself to Live. And this time it was because not only was a Chuck Klosterman book, it had the title of an underrated Sabbath classic. And this time the impact was even greater. The way he intertwines his music and sports references with episodes of his personal life and relationships was instrumental in influencing how I built the stories on my book, Straight and Lethal.

Actually, I can safely say that Chuck Klosterman is my greatest influence, at least on this first book. If you ever read him and then me, you’ll notice.

As a final note, I must say that I should wake up and smell the coffee and read all other Chuck books I haven’t yet.

Thus, Mr. Klosterman, as you can see, you didn’t need to kill yourself to live in the Hall of Idols.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

NewPinnacleAward3D2 (1)

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Hall of Idols #31: Ozzy Osbourne

ozzy-osbourne

Thirty-first installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

It is said inside Rock and Roll circles that to be a lead singer in a band you need more balls than talent. Maybe that’s not entirely true, but if you add a good amount of charisma, then you’re in for a winner.

And it’s not like he is bereft of talent, it’s quite the opposite, but the amount of balls and charisma in this specific character is almost surreal. We’re talking about the Prince of Darkness, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne.

John Michael Osbourne was born December 3rd 1948, in Aston a suburb of Birmingham (ENG). He was the fourth of six children and both his parents were factory workers. Life conditions in the North of England post World War II were not ideal, as the Osbournes lived in a small two bedroom house without an inside bathroom or hot water.

He doesn’t remember how he got his nickname Ozzy, but he has it since primary school. Ozzy had to deal with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities, which made him a terrible student and an easy target for bullying at school.

He fell in love with music upon hearing “She Loves You” by The Beatles in 1963 and dropped out of school at 15. He worked as a construction worker, trainee plumber, horn-tuner and slaughterhouse worker. However, seeing how was the life of people who worked on those places for life, he was determined that he wouldn’t be one of those. He tried unsuccessfully to be a thief and got arrested. But because his father had bought him a PA system, he was called to be the lead singer of a band called Earth and the rest is history.

They renamed themselves Black Sabbath and went on to invent a musical style that became known as Heavy Metal. Of course, Tony Iommi riffs were central to the sound but Ozzy is blessed with a unique voice and an immeasurable charisma. Add to that his almost preternatural ability to create vocal lines that grabs you at first listen, and you have the birth of one of the greatest Rock Stars ever.

After leaving Sabbath he formed his own band with the magnificent Randy Rhoads and found more fame and fortune. That he was able to maintain his status and become way bigger than his legendary band through the 80’s and early 90’s is a testament to his talent. He grew so big that Black Sabbath reunited only because HE wanted them to reunite.

Ozzy tried to retire many times, but he just can’t do it. He loves his craft, his fans and the stage so much. My guess is that he will retire only when he is literally almost dead.

Robert Plant, Ian Gillan, Paul Rodgers, Roger Daltrey and Steve Marriott are all great late-sixties and early seventies singers. But Ozzy injected charisma into the role of lead singer like none of those did. His charisma was only matched when Freddie Mercury came along, but that’s another story.

I clearly remember how huge the impact was on me the first time I watched the Live & Loud video. Of course I knew Ozzy from music videos and “The Ultimate Ozzy” VHS, but this was different. He was on top form (overdubs notwithstanding), his band was firing on all cylinders and the set-list is just spot on. I watched that video over and over again and still do, actually. And there was a bonus: at the time I was watching it non-stop I had the opportunity to watch him live for the first time in 1995. It was like seeing a super-hero in the flesh.

It’s almost unbelievable that he still alive and performing, but we must thank God that he is and enjoy mostly while we can.

Therefore, Mr. Osbourne, let’s go fucking crazy and into the Hall of Idols.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

NewPinnacleAward3D2 (1)

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Hall Of Idols #25: Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio

Twenty-fifth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

It’s not often that someone is hailed as one of the best in the business and seen as also one of the nicest in it. Talent and sympathy are not always bedfellows. Unless if you are Ronnie James Dio.

Considered by many the greatest Heavy Metal singer that ever existed and one of the greatest guys you could ever meet, Ronnie James Dio was born Ronald James Padavona, on July 10, 1942 (some sources say 1940, but that’s not officially confirmed) in Portsmouth (NH).

Blessed with a privileged set of pipes that allowed him to have a powerful, melodic and unique voice, it took some good 18 years from the start of his career in 1957 with The Vegas Kings to start getting worldwide recognition with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in 1975.

He started using the nickname Dio around 1960, according to his explanation because his Italian grandmother said he had a gift from God, so he should use the name Dio. His grandmother is also responsible for one of the most important contributions of Dio to the Metal world: the Metal horns. Yes, Dio was the first to use the now universal Metal sign with the index and pinkie fingers. However, while most people think the horns symbolize the Devil, it’s quite the opposite. That was an ancient Italian sign that means protection from evil. His grandmother used to do that to him and he started using to his audience.

Before Rainbow, Dio had mild success with Elf, which was a rather interesting band. The Dio everybody knows and loves it’s not quite there yet, but you can already feel the potential. With Rainbow, Dio recorded three bonafide Heavy Rock classics: the self-titled debut, Rising and Long Live Rock And Roll. And that’s when Dio’s star started shinning brightest: how could someone stay immune to his lyrics and interpretation on tracks like “Temple Of The King”, “Stargazer” and “Gates of Babylon”? And he even showed he could write hits like “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Long Live Rock And Roll” itself.

When he was ousted from Rainbow, Dio went on to further fame and fortune with Black Sabbath, replacing Ozzy Osbourne. And he took the opportunity to record two more stone cold classics: Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules. Once again, you can’t argue with songs like “Heaven and Hell”, “Neon Knights”, “Die Young”, “Children of the Sea”, the criminally underrated “Lady Evil”, “The Mob Rules”, “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”, “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”, among others.

And when he ventured on a solo career he was also brilliant, especially when he had great guitar players like Vivian Campbell and Craig Goldy. And four more classics were recorded: Holy Diver, The Last in Line, Sacred Heart and Dream Evil. Once again you can’t argue with songs like “Stand Up and Shout”, “Holy Diver”, “Rainbow in the Dark”, “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, “Invisible”, “The Last In Line”, “Mystery”, “Sacred Heart”, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer”, “Rock And Roll Children”, “Hungry For Heaven”, etc.

I can clearly remember listening to Dio for the first time in K7 tape with a lot of Metal songs that my uncle recorded for me. There was “Stand Up and Shout” and Sabbath’s “Falling Off the Edge of The World”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had never heard a voice like that before.

Dio is sometimes put down due to his penchant for swords and sorcery lyrics. There are a lot of rainbows, dragons, kings and swords indeed. But if you bother to dig a little deeper, you’ll find some great metaphors. Dio was actually a great lyricist.

Sadly, he died on May 16, 2010, but his body of work will live on forever.

Therefore, Ronnie, don’t be on your own like a rainbow in the dark and come join the Hall Of Idols.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Hall Of Idols #15: Tony Iommi

 tony-iommi-99

Fifteenth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

How many people can claim that they invented something new out of the blue? Not many, I can assure you. And among those few lies Mr. Tony Iommi: quite simply, the inventor of Heavy Metal.

Anthony Frank Iommi was born in Birmingham (UK), 19 February 1948. And he went on from factory worker to inventor of the most enduring style of music ever.

Tony was hugely influenced by the blues, The Shadows and by Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and when he coupled those influences with his loosing of the tips of the middle and right finger of his right hand and a lot of volume, the first Heavy Metal guitar sound was created.  

Alongside his buddies Ozzy Osbourne, Gezzer Butler and Bill Ward he formed Black Sabbath and revolutionized what was known as Rock And Roll in the late sixties and early seventies.

Actually, today is impossible to measure the impact that first Sabbath album had in 1969. I often find myself trying to imagine how it was on those last days of the flower-power generation listening to a record that started with bells, rain sounds and THAT guitar chord. All of that, with probably what is even today the spookiest record cover of all time.

However, not only he invented a style, he created this style the greatest riffs EVER! I remember when I used to work for a Heavy Metal magazine and we were asked to choose our 20 favorite guitar riffs of all time. I e-mailed my editor and said: “Okay, I’ll choose from 20 different bands just to make it cooler, but the real list would have only Sabbath riffs!”

“Falling Off The Edge Of The World”, “Iron Man”, “Paranoid”, “Children Of The Grave”, “Fairies Wear Boots”, “Supernaut”, “Tomorrow’s Dream”, “Snowblind”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Symptom Of The Universe”, “Sweet Leaf”, “After Forever”, “Heaven & Hell”, “Neon Knights”, “Children Of The Sea”, “Die Young”, “Mob Rules”, “Thrashed”, “Disturbing The Priest” and “Zero The Hero”. Okay, here are twenty, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find at least some forty more.

I remember when some friends of mine who were guitar players tried to argue that Steve Vai had riffs much more complex than Tony Iommi. So fuckin’ what? A good riff is the one you can hum it and you can hum all Tony Iommi riffs. Besides, they may be simple to play, but they are the hardest to create.

As a final note, unfortunately I never met Tony, but by the information I gathered he is one of the most polite and pleasant people you’ll ever meet.

Your name is Tony Iommi, please take my hand and welcome to the Hall Of Idols.

 Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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