The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘virginia beach

White Witch – S/T 1972

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Here’s an odd one from my old vinyl collection.  Danile and I were at Electric Smiles Records in Virginia Beach about 15 or so years ago rummaging through their $1 bins and I ran across both LPs from White Witch.  They were automatically interesting for 2 reasons…band name and imagery.  I bought them without hearing them.  Why not?  They were only $1 each.  I think that was the same day we saw Pantera’s first 4 albums on LP as well, but they were like $15 each and I wasn’t into spending that kind of cash that day.

I had no idea what to expect from this band.  Seeing that they were an early 70s band, I expected something sort of Sabbath-esque and maybe a little proggy like YES.  Instead it’s a little more psychedelic with a few flashes of prog rock.  Maybe a little Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash thrown in for good measure.  Overall this first eponymous album is pretty good with some catchy chorus and musical hooks here and there.  I bought the CDs for these several years ago and they apparently sell for decent cash on eBay these days.  I sold their 2nd CD on eBay a year or so ago for $40.  I preferred the debut album so I kept it.  Now it’s in the stack to be sold with much of my CD collection and I am making the transition to going almost completely digital.  Interesting that they toured with Alice Cooper.  That would have been a cool show to see for sure.

So if you’re into the trippy 70s rock, I highly recommend that you download this.  It’s been out of print for a few years.  Read up more on the band here.

I really dig the guy’s vocals.  He has a Barry Gibb tenor thing sans the falsetto.  Favorite tracks are You’re the One, Don’t Close Your Mind, And I’m Leaving, Illusion (double bass!) and Help Me Lord.  I do tend to skip over Home Grown Girl and It’s So Nice To Be Stoned.  They’re both a bit goofy but pretty normal for the time they were written.

Download here.

Paul Dianno is coming back the the USA?!

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According to published reports, Paul got his visa cleared to do a US tour.  I guess I will try to go since he will be playng a few blocks from my apartment.

My history with seeing Paul live is pretty interesting, well to me it is. 

The first time was Battlezone/Obsession in 1987 at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  I loved the Battlezone records and got stoked on seeing 2 bands that I loved.  The whole time Battlezone was on stage, we were hanging out with Obsession and I never really got to check them out.  Pity.

The second time was in 1993.  The bill was Paul Dianno’s Killers and Solitude Aeturnus at the original Peppermint Beach Club in Virginia Beach, VA.  At this point, I was a HUGE Solitude fan and was more stoked on seeing them than seeing Paul.  I thought his Killers stuff was terrible.  I get to the venue early that afternoon as I was always prone to do to get some stuff signed and Solitude was inside hanging out.  I had them sign both of my cassettes(!!!).  Super cool guys.  Shortly thereafter Paul and his band came in and I had him sign my Battlezone LPs, Iron Maiden’s Live +1 (Greek pressing) and a compilation called The Best of British Rock which featured Dianno’s first post-Maiden band “Dianno” doing Antigua which was a great song.  That album also had Persian Risk on it which featured some of the guys that were in Battlezone/Killers.  Paul called his bandmates over and they all signed it and we hung out for a while.  Paul asked me if I played pool and drank beer.  Yes!  We shot pool together and drank a few pitchers of beer and just talked about stuff.  I never talked about Maiden with him other than to say that I was a big fan.  He was pretty cool.  Now, if you’ve read his book “Beast”, you’d see the other side of Paul that it seems most people saw and I got to see later than evening.

After Solitude Aeturnus played to a crowd of a whopping 30 people or so, I helped them get their gear offstage and ended up hanging out backstage with them during Dianno’s set, missing him play one more time.  About ¾ through the set we hear the music stop suddenly and one of the Solitude guys opens the backstage door.  On stage you see Graham Bath holding his jaw and Dianno says, “We’ll start playing again as soon as my guitar player stops playing like a c*nt!”  I remember looking at John Perez of Solitude and thinking WTF?  John said it was a common occurrence.  Paul talks about his habit of fighting people over stupid stuff quite a bit in his book.  I feel lucky to have survived my few hours with him unscathed!

So…2 times I’ve gone to see Paul play and missed him both time.  Hopefully in February I’ll actually get to see him play.

It was a cold night in February 1988…

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…when I met Nicko McBrain. He had come to town to do a drum clinic for Sonor Drums and Paiste Cymbals. As a zit -faced, poofy-haired kid who loved Iron Maiden more than just about anything, this clinic was like a taste of Heaven. There were only about 30 people there as Whitesnake were in town touring for the ’87 LP. I was one of 2 people who actually got to get up on stage and play his drums with him standing right there. It was awesome. During one of his rambles, he mentioned the size of the crowd being small due to Whitesnake being in town. Under my breath from the front row I said “Fuck Tommy Aldridge.” Nicko stopped his speech and said, “Steve, give that man a beer!” So his tech handed me an ice cold Heineken which I had Nicko autograph after the show. I still have that bottle, unopened and it’s all chunky inside. I didn’t drink at the time so there was no reason to open it.

Here it is:

Written by The Metal Files

January 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm

AT WAR – Infidel – CD Review

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It was 1987 when I first met and saw these guys.  I was with some former friends and I think we were at the keg party on atwar_infidelPotter’s Rd seeing Ratchet.  I saw them live shortly thereafter and was just blown away.  Pure American thrash.  They were good friends with another band from that area that I loved, O.T.T., so I got to see and hang out with these guys often.  I believe I may have only seen them live twice, which was a pity since they were local homeboys.

It was pretty exciting for me when Paul sat in with my Motorhead tribute band and sang The Hammer.  What an honor!  It’s really only been in recent years that I really got to know those guys and again, it’s a pity that I don’t live near them these days.  Paul and I have become great pals and I got to hang with him here in Austin quite a bit a few months ago when he came in for a visit.  What a blast!  He’s still a maniac.  I love it.

But I guess I am here to talk about their latest album, Infidel.  All of us have been asking those guys for years when they would get back together and do another album.  We always heard the same thing, “It’s coming.”  Sure, Paul.  It had been coming for 20 years!

But then it happened.  Boom.  At War got on Myspace.  Started posting news about recording an album with the world famous Alex Perialas.  The buzz got going and I was excited that they were really doing it.

So when the record came out, I pulled the rock star card and emailed Paul with “Where’s my copy?”  It was said facetiously as anyone who knows me knows I always buys CDs and even hate being on the guest list for a band.  Those folks aren’t playing for free, ya know?  But Paul sent me one anyway.  It was nice to see my name in the special thanks, albeit undeservedly.

So I put the album on right when it came in.  BOOM!

AT WAR!  Infidel!

Fourteen seconds of noise and then it’s Paul Arnold in your face on the opener Assassins.  Hot damn, this sounds like At War!  I’ve listened to this about 15 times now and there’s not a stinker in the bunch.  If you’ve ever liked At War, then you still will.  This really picks up where they left off 22 years ago, except with better production.

It’s difficult for a band that gets back together to record 15+ plus years after the fact and to be able to retain the level of good metal that they once had.  At War did it with this one.  To be truthful I like this one even better than their previous albums.  I really don’t think I am being biased at all.  This album kills.  It’s At Wars perfect blend of Venom, Motorhead and their own touch of thrash that really always set them a bit apart of other thrash bands of their time.

So…Nice work Paul, Shawn and Dave!  Now bring the show to Austin, you fuckers!

Visit them on Myspace.

Written by The Metal Files

October 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Motorhead…MOTORHEAD!

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To be truthful, I’m still only a relatively new fan of Motorhead.  I never really checked them out in the 80s and never motorheadowned anything by them until the 1916 album, which I love.  I first saw them live in 1993 and really only went to see Mikkey Dee and got to hang out with him quite a bit that day.  It was seemingly a down time for them as the Peppermint Beach Club in Virginia Beach, VA may have been half full.  I’m glad to see that their popularity has gone back up in the last decade or so.

It really wasn’t until the last 10 years that I started digging deep into their repertoire and became a fan, especially of the Fast Eddie/Philthy era.  One of the first ones that I bought was the debut album, Motorhead.

I can see why a lot of the punk crowd digs this album because it really is a punk record IMHO.  I love it and it’s easily in my top 5 Motorhead albums.

Train Kept A-Rollin’ notwithstanding, this album is almost perfect.  I never cared for that song after hearing the Aerosmith version my whole life.  Blech!  But the title track, Lost Johnny, Vibrator, Keep Us On The Road, IRON HORSE/BORN TO LOSE!!!  C’mon!  Those songs are great!

Oddly enough, though, I don’t think this album gets enough credit.  Granted the production isn’t the greatest and it’s not really a heavy album, it shows their roots quite a bit.  When people ask me what I recommend to start them off on a band, generally I tell them to start at the beginning and work their way up and this is especially true with Motorhead.  The transition from this album to Overkill is perfect.  Getting the On Parole version is worthwhile as well.

Alright!

Screaming Trees – Sweet Oblivion

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So early in 1993 I was drumming in Epitaph, a band that consisted of some of my best friends. It was fun being in a band with those guys, especially since we always basically agreed on everything that we wanted to play. Good times had by1182967463_4570_24924 all. The only real problem I had was that I wanted to play out. Sure we did the occasional party here and there but I wanted to get into some clubs. We were certainly good enough but those guys didn’t have much interest in it and it wasn’t too big of a deal. I understood where they were coming from.

So one day I cruise over to Mark S’ house and hang out with him a while. I had known him for quite a while as we worked together at the grocery store in 1986 and there weren’t that many drummers in our small town, therefore we all knew each other. Mark was/is an incredible drummer, definitely someone I’d love to be drumming for me now (I can’t play anymore; I should blog about that sometime). So we’re in his garage and doing some drum tradeoff stuff. I was dazzling him with my double bass skills and he was dazzling me with his overall drum badassedness.

Anyway, to make a long story longer, he told me that he was playing in a band (I AM I from Virginia Beach, VA) but had to quit it for whatever reason and hooked me up with an audition. I got the gig and it was fun while it lasted (1993-1995). We played out a lot. It was what I would call a progressive rock band. It was tough to quantify as we all had such different influences. We had quite an array of songs, 4+ sets of material which were about 50/50 originals to covers.

One of the covers we did was Nearly Lost You by Screaming Trees. I had not heard this before but I liked it. I ultimately heard the song again in the soundtrack to the movie Singles (great film). Screaming Trees got pigeonholed as being a grunge band but personally I think they were heads and tails better than most of the bands that came from that NW rock scene and they were doing their thing for several years prior to that wave of music. They had a certain something that was very different. They were dark, depressing, heavy at times but not in a Nirvana kind of way. I ultimately bought the album Sweet Oblivion and instantly loved it. There was something in Mark Lanegan’s voice that just screamed that he was hurting deep down. It reminds me a little bit of Hank Williams, Sr. No matter how upbeat the song sounded, you could hear the pain in his voice.

This album has that front to back. Great hooks and melodies, Lanegan’s haunting vocals. It’s a perfect album in my opinion. Oddly enough for as much as I adore this album, I never delved into the rest of their catalogue. I remember hearing Uncle Anesthesia a few times when it first came out, but it didn’t stick with me, nor was I ever really trying to listen to it as it was always background music to something else. I heard some of Lanegan’s solo stuff and it’s very dark and moody. I briefly jammed with Drew from Unicorn Records in Portsmouth, VA and we did a few of Lanegan’s songs. I never got into his work with Queens of the Stoneage.

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends

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I’m pretty sure it was spring 1987 and I was down on Atlantic Ave at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront hanging out for dark angelwhatever reason.  There was a little record store there that I can’t remember the name of.  I’m pretty sure it was an independent store and don’t hink it lasted more than a few years.  I can’t even remember if anyone was with me…maybe Robert S.  Anyhoo, we were browsing the cassettes and I saw Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends.  I immediately knew that this would be my purchase.  I had seen the ads for this in various metal mags and it was on Combat Records which had a pretty good track record of bands so far.

I remember getting in my 66′ Nova 4dr and heading back home while the tape started.  I was immediately blown away.  The drums.  Holy shit, the drums!  I remember seeing fotos in magazines of the band and the big huge drummer in shades looming over them in every foto.  I was fortunate enough to meet him earlier this decade and he was the coolest mofo in the world.

But back to this massive album.  There’s not a stinker in the bunch but my faves are Burning of Sodom, Black Prophecies and Perish In Flames.  Sure it’s a tad sloppy and severely underproduced, but it set a/the standard for early thrash and death metal in my opinion, especially for drummers.

When I finally saw them live in 1989, I got to help sing Merciless Death as the new singer said he didn’t know the lyrics that well.  I was the happiest acne-faced, bad-haired kid in Virginia Beach that night!

If you’re into classic metal and especially early thrash, you NEED this album.

I finally found the foto of Gene and me from 2001.  gene hoglan me