Category Archives: The Twilight Zone

No-Shave November and Movember

I was contacted by a very nice chap by the name of Zack over at Beardoholic.com.  He reminded me about a cause that’s very relevant to me and many of the people reading this: men’s health and Movember (which isn’t just about cancer anymore, by the way).  It’s approaching it’s fourteenth year with it’s sights firmly focused on decreasing the number of men dying early by 25% by 2030.

For anyone who’s out of the loop, the word Movember is a combination of the Australian diminutive for moustache, “Mo”, and the month we focus on cancer awareness in men – November.

During the month of November, men around the world are asked to participate by growing a moustache and not shaving for the entire month to help bring awareness to the cause.

The idea here is that if a man shows up to work with some stubble and then a full moustache, others will inquire if he has lost his home or his ability to shave.

Which means he can open the door to the conversation by bringing in, even more, people to the fold who are not yet aware of the dangers these cancers are having on men around the world.

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What Exactly is Movember?

Thirteen years after Movember was first launched to raise money as well as awareness of men’s health issues.

You can see signs up and down the streets, in offices, schools, and bars that this month is poised to reach an even bigger audience.

In an alarming statistic that speaks to the importance of this cause, in 2015 alone, a man died every minute due to preventable types of cancers.

The Movember cause is more than just a month of no shaving, celebrations in Germany, UK, Hong Kong, and the United States are held this month to bring together Mo Bros and Mo Sistas that support the cause and want to bring global recognition to the dangers of prostate cancer.

$710 by Carl Pickles

The aim of Movember is for ordinary men to grow a moustache to help raise money for charities that are currently fighting prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues like depression.

The History of Movember

Back in 2003, a group of friends decided they wanted to bring back an old trend of growing a mustache to help raise awareness of different men’s health issues.

What started with a small group of guys in Melbourne in Australia has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon with over 5 million people expected to attend various events around the world this year.

During that first year, these friends decided that by growing out their facial hair this month, they would get cross-eyed glances and inquires as to why they stopped shaving their faces.

As each friend would tell one person, that person would participate and tell another, and the challenge was on.

Each guy dared the next to put down their razors, and enjoy the way a man’s face is supposed to feel for 30 days.

The idea spread like wildfire, and guys everywhere look forward to explaining to friends and coworkers why they are allowing their facial hair to grow.

What Are the Rules to Movember?

The Movember movement has come a long way since its inception in Australia in 2003, and today you can join the millions who are putting down their razors and bringing awareness to this men’s health issues.

To get started, head over to uk.movember.com and register, this way everyone can be counted and the word can spread even further.

Start this month with a clean-shaven face, and promise to not touch your razor again until the last day of November.

This means you can not groom your facial hair for 30 straight days. When you groom that mustache, you tend to blend in with the pack and no one is going to think otherwise.

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When you head to work in a nice suit and your moustache is a mess and is all over the place, people are going to look and wonder.

This is the perfect opportunity to spark up a conversation, like “In case you were wondering why I look like a mess”, the reason is, and go into detail about Movember.

This is how more awareness and lives are eventually saved.

Benefits of Growing Your Moustache

The biggest benefit to November is, of course, more men are being exposed to the information they need to get themselves checked out early enough, so these guys stop dying too young.

When it comes to fighting cancer, early detection is everything, but sadly many men simply will not see a doctor and cancer spreads too quickly to be treated by the time they finally realize there is an issue.

As men age, they simply attribute the need to frequently urinate each night to old age, when in fact, it could be an early warning sign of prostate cancer being ignored.

Awareness of men’s health issue can cut the loss of life by 25% in the next decade.

If you need more down to home benefits, imagine not having to shave for 30 days. Less time in the bathroom, more time gaming, more time indulging your passion for Metal, and more time talking to the ladies.

Even shy guys will have zero issues sparking up that conversation with a hot babe when he has all that facial hair calling her wild side.

What is the Difference between Movember and No Shave November?

While both Movember and No Shave November are geared to bringing awareness to men’s health issues, they both have their set of unique rules.

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While you can not shave at all during November for one, the mustache is the focal point for the other.

So you have a better understanding as to which rules apply to which cause, the following lists will clearly explain what are the rules when it pertains to Movember and No Shave November.

If you are interested in participating in Movember, here are the rules:

1. Head over to uk.movember.com (or whatever your local variant is) and register that you are going to participate in the cause. There is a ton of useful information on the website you can use to spark up the conversation.

2. Begin November with a clean-shaved face or a blank pallet so to speak.

3. During the entire month of November, your only job is to try and grow and maintain an awesome looking moustache.

4. The moustache needs to be clearly defined; it can not connect with sideburns or any other areas.

5. No exceptions to the rules, beard are not allowed for Movember! That is a completely different cause.

6. No joining of the moustache under the chin like long handlebar mustaches, the lines must be clearly defined.

7. Most important: Remain a complete gentleman all 30 days of Movember. Hairy guys are not to be confused with animals.

If you are interested in participating in No Shave November, here are the rules:

1. Let all your facial hair grow, that means no shaving, trimming, grooming the mustache or beard for 30 days.

2. The idea here is cancer patients lose their hair during treatment, so growing hair wild brings attention to their challenges.

3. If you get people wanting to help the cause, direct them to the No Shave November website.

4. The amount of money donated should be equal to or more that the cost of shaving products that were not needed to shave this month.

5. Money saved that was usually spent on shaving supplies to be donated to Cancer Research.

6. Make an effort to speak to anyone about your facial hair to raise even more awareness.

7. Try to convince another male to take part in the challenge to get more eyes on these issues.

While the rules for both are not strictly enforced, this is more of a fun way to get guys to realize they can live longer and healthier lives by addressing issues that are killing people each day around the world.

Each time another guy is introduced to the cause, more money can be raised that will help with cancer research, and another life can be spared.

Bringing awareness to cancer-related issues by growing out the hair is symbolic is something the cancer patient loses while undergoing treatment.

This growing long and wild mentality is not meant in any way to take away from the strict dress codes that might be in place in many work environments.

According to information on both Movember and No Shave November websites, rules are not imposed to disrupt the work environment.

The Movember Foundation has been in existence thirteen years and is exposed to a bigger audience year after year due in part to the successes at the Movember events around the world.

The bottom line is the organization raises awareness to cancer issues in men and then donates any of the contributions made during these events to programs and projects related to testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and men’s mental health issues.

As the conversation begins to grow, members for these great causes hope they can utilize the power of the moustache to spark up conversations and support those groups dedicated to finding an ultimate cure for these diseases.

Primordial Radio: Put your money where your mouth is

As some of you will know, when Team Rock Radio collapsed under it’s management’s own ineptitude, Moose, Dewsbury, JRock, Miss Rach, DigiTom and many others such as Pete Bailey, Sophie K and Big Boy Bloater lost their jobs.  We, the audience, also lost the only radio station that paid us any real attention.

Not content to let this stand, Moose, Dewsbury and Pete Bailey set to work on their long-held dream: a radio station by Rock and Metal fans FOR Rock and Metal fans.  They saw it was possible to set up a station using only technology currently available and resources and talents from people already in the Rock and Metal community.

This is where Primordial Radio began it’s evolution.

Primordial Radio serves the UK Rock and Metal community, combining the intimacy and personality of radio with the freedom, control, and choice of digital streaming. Users will control the music surrounding the emotion, opinion, and personality of the station, giving a simultaneous unique and shared experience. Our community is fiercely independent but don’t want to be alone.

It started after years of fruitless effort, at the likes of Manchester-based Rock Radio, RealXS and Team Rock, trying to fit the square peg of Rock and Metal into the round hole of the traditional radio model.  A model where broadcasting infrastructure and centralised advertising agencies presented challenges to costs and revenues, and regulatory bodies restricted the ability to represent the true tone of a Rock and Metal atmosphere.  Aligned with these challenges is the difficulty finding agreement within the Rock and Metal community itself on what ‘rock’ is as everyone’s interpretation is entirely unique.

The core team is built of members of the target audience who have faced the challenges of sustaining a Rock and Metal radio service within the traditional media model and recognise the digital opportunity to unite an under-served audience with the music, personalities, content, and freedom they crave.

Primordial Radio is owned and built by its target audience and community with a clear and experienced executive creating the output reflective of a democratised process.

The premise is to unite this scattered, disenfranchised, and fragmented audience by providing a service for which we have asked for years.

Primordial Radio’s model instantly renders moot these challenges by almost entirely eliminating infrastructure costs with a studio-less environment, delivered via the web, free from regulatory bodies, resulting in a service truly reflective of the Rock and Metal environment to which our community responds. Plus, the audience chooses our own ‘Rock’ so can only argue with ourselves.

To our knowledge, no such service presently exists.

The question is, is this the kind of thing you want?  Or do you want to be fed the same old “classic” focus-group-lead drivel by the likes of Planet Rock and Absolute Radio?  Do you want to be told what to like by faceless, gutless corporate suits who have no understanding or regard for what you want to hear?

No?

By clicking on this link, you’ll be making the first step.  For about £16 per share (which is less than the price of a single night at the pub with a takeaway afterwards), you can help fund OUR radio station by buying a piece of it.  You will, legitimately, be able to tell Dewsbury to stop dicking about on Facebook and get some work done because you WILL be paying his wages!

Remember: for less than £16, you can have a piece of this.  It’s up to you.  Some of us are already involved.  Will you join up?  Click here.

HELL BENT FOR LEATHER: AN ART EXHIBITION

Legendary Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford will attend the private view on Thursday, 27th April at Parliament Tattoo in London.

PARLIAMENT TATTOO STUDIO have joined forces with the iconic metal band JUDAS PRIEST to bring you HELL BENT FOR LEATHER: an exhibition of hand painted leather biker jackets inspired by the band’s albums and song titles by some of the worlds greatest tattoo artists.

The first exhibition of its kind featuring tattooing nobility such as Grime, Jondix, Scott Move, Gregory Whitehead, Xam, and more, the landmark exhibition is set to make waves in both the music and tattoo art communities. Each artist taking part in the exhibition has selected their favourite Judas Priest song or album title from which to create their artwork – painting directly onto the back of biker jackets using specially designed acrylic leather paint – each piece represents hours of meticulous work resulting in some of the most exciting heavy metal artwork ever produced.

Rob Halford

Kicking off with a bang, Metal God Rob Halford will take time out of the studio where he is working with Judas Priest on their new album, to open an exclusive showcase exhibiting the leather jackets to press, influencers and celebrities.

Hosted at Parliament Tattoo in London, guests of the private view will also have the opportunity to take home a piece of artwork of their own that will last a lifetime – a tattoo by one of Parliament’s resident artists. The studio will release Judas Priest themed tattoo flash, which guests can select from should they wish to make the ultimate homage to the legendary band.

Following the private view, the one off pieces will be displayed publicly in London this May, at a free exhibition in the heart of Camden. A drinks reception will launch the week long event on Friday 5th May at the Provender Building, right in the subculture epicenter that is the Stables Market.

Moving on from its stint in London, the jackets will head south to the prestigious Brighton Tattoo Convention on 13th & 14th May where they will exhibit alongside more than 300 world class tattooists, including several of the artists participating in the Hell Bent for Leather exhibition.

Charity Auction

Following the events, the jackets will be auctioned off online to benefit both The Teenage Cancer Trust and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund; both extremely worthy causes close to the hearts of Judas Priest. The exhibition hopes to raise as much money as possible for the two charities.

FULL LIST OF PARTICIPATING ARTISTS


Abby Drielsma (AUS), Elliot Wells (UK), Gregory Whitehead (USA), Grime (USA), Joao Bosco (BR), Jondix (UK). Kelly Violet (UK), Liam Sparkes (UK), Rafel Delalande (FR), Robert Borbas (HU), Scott Move (UK), Tamara Santibanez (USA), Tas Danazoglou (CY), Tony Hundahl (USA), Uncle Allan (DE), Wendy Pham (DE), Xam (UK). 

DATES FOR THE DIARY 

PRIVATE VIEW (Invitation Only) 27th April 2017 Times: 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Location: Parliament Tattoo

Unit D Leeds Place London
N4 3RF

PUBLIC EXHIBITION

5th – 10th May 2017 

Opening Party: 5th May, Times TBC
Location: Provender Building

The Brighton Tattoo Convention
13th & 14th May 2017 Location: The Brighton Centre

Kings Road
Brighton, BN1 2GR
For more Information visit www.brightontattoo.com

The Stables Market

Chalk Farm Road

London

NW1 8AH

 

About Parliament Tattoo: 

Parliament Tattoo is a private, appointment only tattoo studio with an impressive line up of internationally acclaimed artists. Having opened up shop in an old dress making factory just 2 years ago, the unique tattoo studio has quickly established itself as one the most distinguished tattoo shops in Europe. With a combined social following pushing into the millions, Parliament Tattoo is at the forefront of modern tattooing with premier artwork being produced daily by artists such as Scott Move, Kelly Violet, Rebecca Vincent, Emily Alice Johnston, Adam Ruff, Andrew John Smith, Duncan X, and more. Enquiries to info@nullparliamenttattoo.com .

I’m Gonna Make Ya an Offer…

OK then, ladies and gents, I need to have a bit of a word with you.

No, it’s fine, you’re not in trouble.  No, I’m not going to be quitting and I’m also not directly after any of your money (although it would be nice – webhosting isn’t free!).  What I am after is your skills and aptitudes and a little bit of your time.

If you want to give me some money, I’m not going to stop you or turn you down.  You’ve got the option to subscribe, for which you get the podcast emailed straight to your Inbox (well, a link to it, anyway) at a much higher bitrate than anyone else.  You’ll also get it 24 hours before anyone else, at least.  You’ll also be able to directly influence the show and the website.  Just send me an email with your suggestions and I’ll seriously consider them.

Do any of you reading this own a business?  Do you want some advertising to a largely untapped audience of people you might not normally reach?  I’m talking to small businesses, really.  People like you who can’t normally afford an advertising budget.  I’m open to banner exchanges and I’ll also read out your advertising copy on the show.  We can hammer out the details if that interests you.  You could also sponsor a segment in the show or a page on the website.  Let’s help each other out.  We’re all members of the same community, right?

If you don’t own a business and can’t afford to become a sponsor, you can still get involved and help out.  At the very basic level, you can join The Wyrd Ways Rock Show marketing team.  No commitment is required, you don’t need to wear anything wanky or do anything morally questionable (but if you do, I’m not going to be judging you).  All you need to do is link to The Wyrd Ways Rock Show social media or website.  Preferably both.  I’d really, seriously appreciate it if you’d tell your friends about the show.  Get them to listen to it.  Retweet all the Wyrd Ways Rock Show tweets and share all the Faceache posts, or at the very least those that interest you.

If you’re interested in joining up as a member of the team, write a review of a show you’ve been to or an album you’ve bought recently.  Take a look at the stuff Rick writes to see the sort of standard I’m looking for.  If you think you can do that, email your audition piece to THIS ADDRESS.

Did you know there’s also Wyrd Ways Rock Show merch?  Head over to cafepress.co.uk and search for Wyrd Ways Rock Show, and there we are.  All designed by my good self (except the logo – the Mrs designed that!)

Communications channels and hailing frequencies are all open.  Talk to me.

Were Megadeth Trolled at the Grammys?

 

There was plenty of the weird and wonderful at the Grammys this year, but one of the oddest moments surely has to be this. Megadeth, on their twelfth visit to the Grammys, finally won the coveted Best Metal Performance award. As they made their way to the stage, they were accompanied by the riff from that most famous of Megadeth songs, Master of Puppets. Yep, no, that’s right, it’s a Metallica song.

Now for literally any other band in the universe, it might not have been so crazy, but of course, Dave Mustaine used to be in Metallica, doncha know. He was kicked out in 1983, causing some rather bad blood for many years. Do the organisers of the Grammys not know this? I just can’t get my head around the mindset of whoever chose that particular track, from that particular band. Were they trying to piss Mustaine off?

Megadave actually took the whole thing in very good humour, giving the camera a bit of air guitar as he marched towards the stage. In a follow up tweet (and man, this guy likes to tweet!), he said You can’t blame them for not being able to play Megadeth.‘ OK, but Metallica? I mean, if they needed a generic metal theme but the organisers weren’t comfortable playing the band they were awarding (which is madness, sheer madness) then for goodness’ sake, pick any other band than Metallica.

The good thing is, while fans are super pissed off, the band seem not to be, and Mustaine told Billboard …you’ve just won a Grammy and you’re going to worry about some house band doing a cover song in the background?‘ Good man.

What do you think? Deliberate troll or organisational cock up? Let us know in the comments. Watch the award being presented below.

Metallica gain new member after Grammy Awards?

Is it possible that, in the aftermath of their storming performance of Moth Into Flame at this year’s Grammys, that Lady Gaga will become the fifth member of Metallica?

According to several news sources, including Vulture and Rolling Stone, Lars Ulrich has been gushing about the collaboration between Metallica and pop singer (and dyed-in-the-wool Metalhead) Lady Gaga.  Although there were some technical problems, namely James Hetfield‘s mic apparently not being plugged in, that marred the performance.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a “fixed” version:

Pretty good, eh?  Seems like we weren’t the only ones to think so.  As they walked offstage, Gaga apparently suggested to the band that “this is just too good to leave“.  An assertion that Lars agreed with, but he says he knew it was going to work from the outset:

“It was totally in her wheelhouse… The only question was at what level it was going to work. We did one run-through. The way her and James’ voices worked, it gelled so well together we all kind of stood there like, “Huh?” It was really fucking next-level.”

That impression was confirmed during their rehearsal time.  Going by what Lars was saying during various interviews, Lady Gaga might well have been invited to join Metallica on a more permanent basis:

“As you spend 72 hours with somebody, and there’s this connection and this intimacy, part of it is that maybe you don’t want it to end.  When these moments work, you always leave them open to re-connection.  Obviously, we’re not sitting in a recording studio today writing songs for a record or anything. I think that our weekend together was so seamless and so authentic and such a natural fit that the idea of revisiting this at some point down the road (is a good one)”.

Quoting from the interview with Rolling Stone:

“[She is the] quintessential perfect fifth member of this band.  Her voice, her attitude, her outlook on everything is so awesome.  [The performance] was so effortless and organic and she just has the spirit of hard rock and metal flowing through her veins.

It comes really easy for her. There’s nothing contrived; she just has this super warm, easy energy.  We already started fast-forwarding to the next chapter when we can do more of this. It’s not one of those “20 lawyers, strategists and managers trying to force two people from two different worlds to figure out how to spend four minutes together on a national telecast”.

Of any of these undertakings, this is about as organic and authentic as there’s ever been one. We’re just getting started.”

It’s certainly interesting.  Personally, I hope they end up in the studio together.  Any collaboration will be much more listenable than Lulu (which many of us have managed to block from our memories!), since Gaga writes decent pop songs and (as mentioned earlier) is a known Metalhead.  OK, the Metal Taliban will HATE even the IDEA that this may well happen.  Then again, they’ve hated Metallica since the early 90s, so neither myself nor the vast majority of the planet really don’t give a flying one about their opinions.

So… is it going to happen, or is the Danish stixman just winding everyone up?  Personally, I hope he isn’t.  She’s certainly got the pipes for it and the musical taste.  Fingers, as far as I’m concerned, are firmly crossed.

Who are The Next Generation Of Metal Festival Headliners?

The first generation have all-but retired. The second generation are taking their curtain calls. Some of the third generation are at least starting on the encores. So what (and more to the point, who) comes next?

Carl fondles his crystal ball…

Black Sabbath have retired from touring. So have Mötley Crüe. Iron Maiden are cutting back on the huge, globe-straddling jaunts. AC/DC are a shadow of their former selves and have almost become a tribute band, thanks to the treatment of Brian Johnson. Judas Priest must be starting to wind down now, as must Alice Cooper. Even Metallica, the newly re-united Guns N’ Roses, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson will be counting their remaining time on the road in years, rather than decades.

The same goes for Kiss, even though Gene Simmons will probably be working on a plan to sell even more of the legacy of “the hottest band in the world” before even he has to call it a day.

These are the things that, apparently, keep various media pundits, so called “fans” and mega-festival promoters awake at night.

Those of us who are keeping our eyes and ears open to those outside the stables of the likes of BMG, Universal, Sony and Geffen have seen the future, and it has a much rosier, healthier complexion than the doom-mongers would have us believe.

Allow me to guide you along an admittedly mostly subjective path, in no particular order other than the meanderings of my own mind:

Rammstein

The German technometal pioneers have got a massive, pyrotechnic-filled stage show, a charismatic frontman in Till Lindemann and they’ve certainly got the songs. Anyone who has been to any sort of Metal night in the past decade or so has heard the likes of Du Hast, Feuer Frei or Links 234 pounding out of the speakers and at the very least seen the mosh pit that forms as the dancefloor fills. The friction inside the band that almost broke them up a few years ago seems to have gone away.  Having seen them at Sonisphere in 2010, headlining the second stage, it wouldn’t be too much of an ask for them to take the logical next step and grab the glory of Main Stage Headliners.

Nightwish

To headline a festival, you need a band with a HUGE, bombastic sound and charisma to spare. The most important thing, though, is the songs. Tuomas Holopainen’s Symphonic Metal crew have all of those by the truckload. In Floor Jansen, they have someone who can literally sing anything from Death Metal to Opera, hitting all points in between and a truly commanding stage presence. As Gemma Lawler of British upstarts, Dakesis rightly said, “she’s a goddess”. The male side of the vocals being provided by Finnish Metal stalwart and Tarot founder, Marco Hietala certainly doesn’t hurt. Neither does the sheer quality and strength-in-depth of the band’s back catalogue and musicianship.

Avenged Sevenfold

Abandoning their Emo/-core roots and showing they can play and write songs that will burrow into your head and stay there (which, in this case isn’t a bad thing) has done A7x no end of favours. Their turning point was, most likely, the City Of Evil album. That’s the one where M Shadows actually start to sing, rather than scream. Guitar solos became more prevalent and the sheer melody was accentuated.

Like Metallica and even Def Leppard before them, disaster didn’t kill them. Even though Rick Allen “only” lost an arm and both Cliff and Rev lost their lives, all three bands were tempered by the fires, when lesser bands would have crumbled or at the very least, like Slipknot, when faced with the death of Paul Grey, lost their momentum.

As Mabh’s review from their recent UK trek showed, A7x have certainly got the chops to headline an arena tour. If they can do that, they’ve certainly got what it takes to headline the likes of Download.

They’ve even got a pre-made nickname in A7x.

Alter Bridge

It’s very tough to argue with a pedigree like Alter Bridge’s. Not only do they have Myles Kennedy, who could sing the phone book and make it interesting, they’ve also got Mark Tremonti on guitar. His own solo material is good stuff, and earns its plaudits with very good reason, but when he works with Slash’s vocalist of choice, it’s all over bar the shouting.

They’ve certainly got the songs. Anastasia, for instance. That one’s a festival closer by any and all measures. It’s not the only one in their arsenal, either. Whenever they release an album, it makes the annual top ten lists every time.

As I said, you really can’t argue.

Prophets Of Rage

Here’s another one that is almost impossible to argue with. Surprisingly, it’s the only “supergroup” on the list. Even more surprisingly, these guys have only released an EP so far.

Who are they?

You all remember Rage Against The Machine, right? Definite festival headliners. Replace Zak De La Rocha with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, light the blue touchpaper with the current political climate in the US, UK and all around Europe and stand well back.

OK, like most supergroups, they may not have the longevity of the likes of Rammstein, Nightwish, Alter Bridge and A7x, but while they’re around, if you were in a band, would YOU like to try and follow THEM onto the Main Stage at a festival?

So that’s the immediate future sorted out. Come back next week and we’ll take a look even deeper into the future and take a look at the bands who may well take over in the decades to come…

Classic One-Shot: Alice Cooper, Poison

This song takes me right back to The Wendy House at Leeds University; a riot of black eyeliner and chokers, nu-rocks and spikes, intermingled with the odd ruffle and the occasional bit of black lace (not the band, thank goodness). The Wendy House was an ‘alternative’ night, in that it veered somewhat from the mainstream path, whilst still being accessible to the average Joe. There was a cyper-punk room for the hardcore, but the flashing lights and neon colours verged on epilepsy inducing, so I usually remained in the main room, surrounded by the other stomping, sweaty punters.

The DJ’s choices wandered from Nine Inch Nails to Faith No More, Rammstein to The Cult, and the playlist was only predictable in one regard: there were always a few songs that got played every month. Poison was one of them, and it was always at that particularly drunk stage of the night, when screeching into your friends’ faces that I LOVE THIS SONG IMA DANCE NOW becomes completely appropriate behaviour.

The track hails from the end of the eighties, and retains that sense of drama and glamour that was prevalent throughout the decade. At the cusp of the nineties, Cooper avoided the stagnation that seemed to be occurring to other bands and genres, and released a raw, sexually charged song that has somehow aged very well.

The video came in for some stick, thanks to topless shots of Rana Kennedy, so there are two versions of the video, and the one mainly played is the slightly censored version. It would be easy to accuse Cooper of misogyny for using a topless model to promote his song, but I think that’s a bit lazy. If you really listen to the song, it’s about a woman using her sexuality to literally enslave a man; I think she’s pretty empowered! In an interview with Max Music TV in 2012, Cooper said he wanted to sing about something that happens to everyone: loving someone who you know is no good for you. It’s a universal theme, and combined with the songwriting talents of Desmond Child (Kiss I Was Made for Lovin’ You; Bon Jovi You Give Love a Bad Name etc) an anthem was created.

That long drawn out opening note with the touch of feedback, that launches into the simple but oh-so-catchy guitar hook; it’s so familiar to me now that it’s almost like a comfort blanket. And if having a song redolent with themes of bondage and cruelty as my comfort blanket makes me weird, well so be it.

Classic One-Shot: Iron Maiden, The Trooper

EMI, 1983

I love that feeling when you’re just pottering about, and an absolute belter comes on the radio and you have to stop what you’re doing, or at least incorporate some head bopping into your task. Even one of these happenstances a day can cheer me right up.

Today’s metal moment came courtesy of Iron Maiden, via Planet Rock (other rock stations are available) which I was sneakily listening to while doing some exceedingly tedious reports. It’s a few seconds before I realise my eyes have glazed over and my fingernails are tapping out the guitar riff on the curve of the mouse.

I’d love to say this track takes me back to 1983, but the truth is I was a wee bit too small to remember this song the first time around, and I probably came to Maiden about 1990, via an old cassette tape of Killers which I, ahem, borrowed from my parents’ collection. In awe at tracks like The Ides of March and Murders in the Rue Morgue, I soon sought out more, and The Trooper was one of those songs that has stuck with me from that point onwards.

There probably aren’t too many songs based on 19th century battles, certainly outside the folk genre, anyway. It’s a real skill that Maiden have, to take a pretty controversial topic and turn it into a killer (pun intended) tune with some of the catchiest hooks known to man. This particular offering comes from bassist Steve Harris, who took inspiration from the Tennyson poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. The video for the track had footage of the 1936 Errol Flynn film of the same name, which the BBC found ‘too violent’; how the world has changed in 34 years!

The Battle of Balaclava was a bloody and desperate affair, and as the lyrics state ‘on this battlefield, no one wins’. There were almost equal casualties on both sides. Without getting political, there is some clear resonation with current events if you dig deep, another sign of a great, well-crafted song.

And those guitar harmonies… so beautiful! This track is a four-minute oasis in a rather busy day that leaves me smiling for a good while after. Let me share that joy right now…

 

Some thoughts about Sepultura

I know there are those of you who will class this as something tantamount to heresy, but I think Sepultura are much better off without Max Cavalera.  Let me explain…

Having heard the new Sepultura album, Machine Messiah, and thinking back to the last album (which was the first Sepultura album I ever bought), I’ve come to the conclusion that Max Cavalera was what was stopping me liking them.

As a qualifier, I don’t like Soulfly either.  For me, the only places that the Killer Be Killed album fell down was when dear old Max opened his gob.  He disrupted the rhythm of the song, damaging the flow it had.  He’s also very limited in what he can do (in my opinion).  He can do the heavily accented “shouty-growl” thing, and that’s about it.  There’s no light and shade or variation of the kind someone like Alissa White-Gluz, his replacement, Derrick Green or Robb Flynn can produce.  For me, he’s a one-trick pony whose trick has worn out it’s welcome.

He also seems to be the only person on the planet who has a negative story about meeting Lemmy for the first time (Cavalera was being a pissed-up twat while Lemmy was playing the fruit machine, so he poured his drink over him).

I remember hearing Sepultura for the first time back in the late 80’s.  I remember thinking it was OK until the vocals came in, then my enjoyment kind of stopped.  To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of growled vocals back then.  Being around near the beginning of Thrash, I was used to “clean” vocals in my Metal.  Machine Head were another band around at the time that I wasn’t a fan of, but warmed to later, so much so that I’ve loved their last two albums.

So there it is then.  I don’t like Max Cavalera as a musician or as a singer.  Sepultura are so much better with Derrick Green fronting them.  Plus Andreas Kisser is a top bloke (interviewed him at Bloodstock a few years ago) and an excellent guitarist.

So here’s the question: Which musician do you dislike that everyone else seems to worship?

Put your answers in the Comments (along with reasons – let’s not just make it a slanging match), and we’ll see what happens.