The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

I’ll throw the ashes to the sky…

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So it was the summer of ’86 and I was working at Farm Fresh grocery store in Suffolk, VA as a bagger and stockboy making $3.25/hr which I believe was minimum wage at the time. The was the summer before my junior year. I was getting about 30-35 hours a week in for the summer because both of my managers liked me a lot. After taxes I was getting roughly $70-$75 a week. Not too shabby for a 16 year old. Gas was about $0.90/gallon and cassettes were generally $7.99.

So, after picking up my paycheck one morning I went to the A&N shoe store in the same shopping center and bought a pair of hi-top Chuck Taylor’s in the beige/off-white color. I went home, put em on and went about my day. Later that same day my older brother and I went out to bum around town and ended up back at the same shopping center to go to Roses department store. I’m not sure what he was looking for but I went straight to the tapes.

Just browsing through I saw Loudness’ Lightning Strikes. I read a review of it a few weeks earlier and it got a good rating. I didn’t really know anything about them except that they were Japanese. So I bought it. $7.99+tax. After being rung up, my brother and I were walking out (he was a few steps in front of me) and a woman grabs my arm and says “Come with me.” I said, “Say what? Robert! Check this out!” So my brother turns around and we’re both arguing with the lady, a plain clothes police officer. I’m getting pretty belligerent at this point saying “What the fuck is this about? Let me go bitch” etc etc. We go to some back room and the first thing she asks me is “Where did you get those shoes?” So I belligerently tell her that I bought them that morning from A&N. “I don’t believe you.” This is where it gets fun. “Oh yeah? The receipt is on my bed at home. Call my mom and she’ll read it to you.” Before she called my mom the cop was asking me where I got the money to buy the cassette and was accusing me of stealing those shoes from their store. “Look bitch, I work right next store. I don’t bust my ass bagging groceries and stocking eggs for nothing. I work for money so I can buy shoes and tapes and whatever else I want. I don’t need to steal. And if I did, do you think that I’d be stupid enough to wear them back to the store?” What was really funny looking back at all this is that I think my brother had stolen something and had it in his pants. What a doofus. Typical.

So anyway, the cop proceeds to finally call my mom. “Ms. W., we have your son Sean here and we think he stole some shoes from our store. He said the receipt was on his bed. Can you check for it?” A few seconds lapse and I hear mom say, “Yes, I have it. He bought them this morning.” Then the conversation changed. Most of you don’t know my mom but she’s not one to mince words. She ripped that cop a new one. My brother and I could hear it and we were laughing out loud. Mom demanded to know her boss’ name and phone number at the police station. That dude got an earful too. The cop tried telling my mom that I had a foul mouth and I heard mom tell her “Wouldn’t you be raising hell too? Now let him go.”

So they hang up. The cop apologized to me about a dozen times. I told her to piss off. I was pretty upset and shaken up about the whole thing. I don’t steal. period. I saw her around town for several years after that and she even apologized to me again a few years after the non-incident. All was forgiven.

So what does all this have to do with Loudness’ Lightning Strikes? Because of the happenings of that day, this album always held a special memory to me. While it’s not their heaviest or best album, it is certainly my favorite. 1000 eyes, Ashes to the Sky, Dark Desire and Street Life Dream are my favorites but the whole thing is good.

Akira is a shredder and Higuchi’s drumming is insane. He never needed double bass to get a full sound out of his kit. He had the chops.

There is another version of this album called Shadows of War which was the original Japanese pressing. It has a different mix in production and much of the vocals and guitar solos are different. I heard it for the first time a few years ago and was blown away by the differences. I love both versions.

A few years ago, Kelz and I got to see them live in Fayetteville, NC with about 40 other people. Pathetic turnout but it was a cool show. Not enough old stuff and only one half of one song from Lightning Strikes. They were really nice guys and Akira was phenomenal.

Dig the video for let It Go:

Written by The Metal Files

October 15, 2008 at 4:16 pm

One Response

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  1. Thunder in the east was the first Loudness album I ever heard. When I was like 10 I was at a King’s department store while my parents went to the grocery store next door. I went to the bathroom at Kings and when I came back out thie guy was waiting and told me to go in this room. He and another guy started asking me what I stole and I where I hid it in the bathroom. I told them I hadn’t stolen anything. There reasoning was that they saw me walk into the bathroom with my hands in my jacket pocket. My response was it was winter and I just came in from the cold. So one of the guys then went to the bathroom to search for what they thought I had taken. He came back empty handed and told me I could go, but he was sure that I had stolen something. I left and didn’t tell my parents until I got home. My mom is a fairly quiet person, but she took me back to the store the next day. She complained to the manager and he apologized repeatedly. The two guys who I talked to the day before were not there that day, but the manager said he would talk to them.

    Metal Mark

    October 15, 2008 at 9:24 pm


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