The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for March 2009

Mike Howe? Where are you?

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Seriously.  Dude.  Please come out of retirement and rock out for us one more time.  I honestly don’t really care if you’re doing metal or some rock stuff, just grant us the privilege to hear that voice again.  Some of your counterparts did it like John Arch and Michael Kiske and their stuff sounds pretty good.  I know you still have the pipes.

I remember when I first heard Heretic’s Breaking Point and thinking, “Damn, this dude’s got a unqiue voice.”  I really liked that album too.  When I read that he had joined Metal Church to replace David Wayne (RIP), I was looking very forward to it even though I was a huge Wayne fan.

So Blessing in Disguise comes out and me and all of my metal friends were toally into it.  They had a video on Headbangers Ball regularly (Badlands) and went on tour.  When they rolled through my area of Virginia they did an in-store autograph signing at Tracks Records at Wards Corner.  So some friends and I pile into CK’s truck (Alice) and head out there to meet the guys.  They were super cool.  Small crowd to meet them but it worked out to our advantage.  Craig Wells and Mike Howe asked us to hang out after the signing to share some pizza with them.  How cool?!  So after the signing was completed, the band was allowed to get 2 CDs of their choice and then headed back upstairs for the pizza.  Kirk Arrington was sick as a dog, looking like death warmed over.  The other guys seemed healthy enough.  They were great fun that afternoon and it was an experience I’ll never forget for sure.

That night we headed over the The Boathouse in Norfolk to see the show.  It was Metal Church/Meliah Rage.  Both bands kicked ass.  We hung out with them again after the show outside of the tour bus.  I have a slew of photos somewhere that I need to get scanned in.

I ws looking forward to the Human Factor album but was greatly disappointed when it came out.  Honestly I cannot tell you the name of any song besides Date With Poverty and I really don’t even remember how it sounds.  I should revisit that one, eh?  When I saw Hanging In The Balance came out, I was pretty much disinterested and didn’t bother picking it up until years after its initial release.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it.  Good production and the songwriting was good.  I think the production on Human Factor is what turned me off.  It seemed too muddy for me.

Shortly after the Balance tour, Mike was gone.  What a pisser that new was.  I remember reading an interview with him within the last 8 or 9 years and he said he’s hanging out in Kentucky or Tennessee doing carpentry work.  Wait, isn’t that what John Arch is doing too?

So please, Mr. Howe…please come out of retirement and give us one more.

How You Gonna See Me Now

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One of my older brothers, Robert, was a pretty big influence on me musically in my pre-teen years.  He was the one who got me into KISS, Priest, RUSH, Uriah Heep, The Stones, The Who and thankfully Alice Cooper.

Now, I’m not the biggest Cooper fan in the world even though I own pretty much everything up to and including Constrictor.  But some of his albums are very special to me…especially From The Inside.  This seems to be one that alot of Cooper fans love to hate.  For me it’s brilliant.  Sure it got slick production and had songwriting credits from Bernie Taupin (Elton John) and guitar work from Steve Lukather (Toto).  Philip Bailey even adds a cameo falsetto on the album albeit uncredited.

Throughout the late 70s and early 80s I spun this album a lot.  I know every lick and sound on this album by heart.  I can recite it in my sleep.  When we lived on the farm, Thomas would come over from time to time and hang out and we’d spin this one.  I remember he especially liked the closing track “Inmates (We’re All Crazy)’.

There’s not a stinker on here.  As a kid I didn’t get some of the references on this album like this from “Nurse Rosetta”:

I’m suddenly twice my size
My pants are all wet inside

C’mon.  I was under 12 years old, I had no clue.  haha.

In case you didn’t know and have been living under a rock, this is a concept album about living in a mental institution.  Sure, a bit cliche for Cooper but it worked.  I really like “Millie and Billie”, “For Veronica’s Sake” and especially “Jackknife Johnny”, “How You Gonna See Me Now” and “The Quiet Room”.  Cooper really displays the sadness and depression of the characters in these songs. 

And of course when I spin this on CD now, it really takes me back to those days in the late 70s and early 80s…far simpler times.  I mean really, what worries did I have when I was 10 or 11?  Not too many.  Mostly just worried about my brother and the trouble he was getting into.  That really did take a toll on me at a young age.  I looked up to him a lot and watched him go down some pretty bad paths.  Unfortunately I couldn’t help him although I wanted to.  I felt it was my job.  But there was nothing I could do, especially being 6 years younger than him.  I was his bratty little brother and with the things he was getting into, we weren’t as close as we were when we were both younger.

I will say that even today I am surprised that he’s still alive.  I had to learn at a young age that I couldn’t live his life for him…a life lesson for me.  A difficult lesson when it’s about someone that you love and looked up to.

So again, when I listen to this album and think about the time when I first heard it (I was 8 and he was 14), those were good times…sunny days…but really the beginnings of some dark years ahead.

Senate reviewing how college football picks No. 1

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http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hV4mOJQgUsQthrydU_Vty4iVgC5gD9759GG00

Dear Mr. President and Congress:

Don’t you have better things to do with your time and our tax money? Thought so.

Thanks.

Sean

Foodeater!

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I guess it was late 1987.  I went over to my friend Don’s house to see River’s Edge on HBO.  He had cable and I believe it was a Sunday night showing of the flick.   Unfortunately it was a 9PM showing and it was also a school night.  I only got to see the first hour of it because of my stupid curfew.

The main reason any of us wanted to see the movie is because we had read that Slayer and Fates Warning were in the soundtrack.  I finally got to see it in full about a year or 2 later when I found it for rent on VHS…or maybe I bought it.  I don’t quite remember.  I just remember watching it several times; both then and now.

This is in my top 5 or 10 movies of all time.  not only because of the soundtrack, but because of the movie itself.  Crispin Glover and Dennis Hopper have some great one-liners.  “I know, Feck.  You had to kill her.  Women are evil.”  “You…know this?” and the greatest line delivered by anyone in the flick was by *gasp* Keanu Reeves (worst actor ever?  maybe).  The scene (shown below) is between Matt and Jim (Matt’s mom’s boyfriend).  Really it’s the whole conversation, but when Matt replies to Jim calling him a “mother fucker” with “foodeater!”, it’s simply awesome.

But yeah, the whole movie rules.  I think I have watched it at least 50 times and watch it at least twice a year.  Really, Glover’s character makes this movie what it is and Hopper’s performance is right behind it.  Daniel Roebuck plays  a perfect role as someone who really doesn’t give a damn about anything.  The character of Tony has a great line too.  He’s getting interviewed by a reporter talking about how it’s hard to be subjective because he knew the perpetrator in question…then he stops and says, “Oh, by the way I play guitar.”  hahaha.  Awesome!

Glover has another great line when he’s asking for gas money for his baja VW…”What, do you think this car runs on God’s own methane?”

Here’s a list of quotes:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091860/quotes

If you’ve never seen it, please do so, especially if you were a metal kid of the 80s.

10/10

In memory of a legend…

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Well, he is a legend to me.  My Dad.  1942-1997.

Around the time that my Dad was dying of cancer, I was living at their house in North Carolina trying to help out a bit.  My drive to and from work was an hour each way so I was listening to music for the drive.  At that time I was really into Amorphis’ Elegy CD.  It’s very folky, heavy, dark and moody and seemed to be the perfect enabler to the sadness I felt knowing that my Dad wasn’t going to be around much longer.

I absolutely love this record but even now, some 11 years after the fact, this album reminds me of my Dad.  There’s no real lyrical connection or anything like that, just one of those things that reminds you of an era in your life, good or bad.  I was also listening to Nocturnal Rites’ Tales of Mystery and Imagination.  Both kept steady rotation in my minivan for months on end and both remind me of Dad.

So come now, children of the beast, be strong and…

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Shout at the devil!!!

My first recollection of hearing Crue was probably on the radio (K-94 or FM-99) when they first played Looks That Kill.  Maybe it was on Metal Shop?  Not really sure.  But I do specifically remember when I first heard the album in its entirety.   It was late fall of 1983 and I was on a camping trip with the Scouts.  Hunter March, one of the older guys in the troop, said, “Hey Sean, you like metal, check this out.”  So I popped the Shout at the Devil tape in my Walkman and freaked out.  The opening track sort of wigged me out.  It was pretty evil for the time.  Then they started singing about the devil and things seemed right in the world again.  hahaha.  I listened to the tape all that night and was hooked.  This band had quite a different sound.  A good sound.

Now, if you’ve been paying any attention at all to my older blogs, you know that my mom didn’t approve of the metal in general.  She got swooped in by some other parents at my church that it was of the devil.  You know, the whole KISS = knights in satan’s service type crap.  We had to be subjected to some anti-heavy metal seminars from guys like Albert Long who would stand on stage in front of us showing metal videos, album covers and reading lyrics trying to convince us that rock and roll was going to send us to hell.  Little did he know that he was opening us up to a whole new world of bands!  Thanks Albert!

One weekend we took a church trip to somewhere in North Carolina to see one of his seminars.  While there we visited some mall and I bought 2 7″ records…Huey Lewis’ Finally Found a Home (b/w Walking on a Thin Line) and Crue’s Looks That Kill (b/w Piece of Your Action).  Funnily enough I am pretty sure Mr. Long was pounding on the Crue during his seminar.

That stuff was pretty jank, ya know, those seminars.  Hearing him say that Angus Young was possessed by the devil was absolutely hilarious.  One of my favorites was when he showed the video for Twisted Sister’s You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll.  Satanic?  Really?  Dude.  C’mon.  Anyway, I wish I still had that Crue 45.

I really love this album except for Helter Skelter.  I’m not a Beatles fan in the least and don’t really care to hear covers of their songs (exception being Sacred Rite’s Eleanor Rigby).  Danger, Ten Seconds To Love and Too Young To Fall In Love are my faves.

There is a pretty funny and somewhat embarassing story attached to Looks That Kill.  I went over to Kelz’ house as his band was jamming.  They ripped into Looks That Kill and I grabbed the mic and started singing it (poorly, I’m sure).  Kelz’ mom busts in the jam room and asks what song that was and if we knew the lyrics.  Like a dumbass, I spoke up.  D’oh.  It’s not like it’s a bad song, but the fact that it was Crue sent her over the edge (again).  She was pretty much the mastermind of the “metal is evil” campaign.

I guess they all meant well but at the time it sucked for us.  Having to hide tapes and trade them secretly really sucked.

Anyways, Crue ruled on this album…not so much afterwards.

Too Much Blood…alright!

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My fondness for the Rolling Stones has never been much of a secret and I have always chosen them over the Beatles (blech!).  They are my #2 band of all time right behind Iron Maiden.  My earliest memories of hearing them are through one of my older brothers.  I can remember him spinning Sticky Fingers and Some Girls on the record player.   I was pretty much a fan from day 1.  Maybe 1977 or 1978?  Doesn’t matter.  I was pretty young.

Undercover (1983) was the first one of theirs that I owned on my own.  I remember buying it at Murphy’s on vinyl after hearing Undercover of the Night and She Was Hot on the radio.  It was a bit of a different album for them, yet it still retained the feel of a real Stones album, unlike Dirty Work (terrible).

This album gets dissed by a lot of hardcore Stones fans, probably because of their MTV sirplay.  No me importa.  I love it.  Even though I wouldn’t consider it their best album, it’s my #1.  Songs like Too Much Blood, Pretty Beat Up, Undercover of the Night…great songs.

I love Mick’s ‘rap’ in Too Much Blood: “Did you ever see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Horrible, wasn’t it. You know, people ask me “is it really true where you live in Texas, is that really true what they do around there, people?” I say, “yea, every time I drive through the crossroads I get scared, there’s a bloke running round with a fucking chain saw. Oh! Oh! oh No, he’s gonna cut off, Oh no. Don’t saw off me leg, don’t saw off me arm.”

Good times.

Odd to think that this video was banned from MTV for a long time.