Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Heavy Metal & Me

Heavy Metal music and I have a long storied history.  It starts of course with my Uncle Bob and Cousin Steve.  They introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and a lot of heavy hard rock.  This all happened to a 7 year old me.  Except for Black Sabbath many of those bands are not considered true Heavy Metal.  The foundation for what came later was made.  I enjoyed hard rock in all its permutations.  By the age twelve I had some favorite bands: Led Zeppelin, Queen, Heart, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, and Rush.  Many are still not considered true Heavy Metal, but you can see the trend.  What resonated with me was the shear power of the music.  It permeated ever bit of my being.  Much of the themes of alienation and disenfranchisement sung to me as a pre-teen.

Growing up in my neighborhood in Oxnard, California in the early eighties us hard rock/ Heavy Metal kids would trade our records (real old school vinyl) and tape what we did not have.  Hell, we even raided our parents 70’s and 60’s collections.  I introduced Janis Joplin to many a Metal kid in those days.  In early 1981, I was introduced to Judas Priest, AC/DC, Rainbow, Rush, Ronnie James Dio, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, Saxon, Motorhead, and Van Halen.  I got in trouble when I first saw a picture of Rob Halford; I mentioned he looked like a gay biker dude like the guy in Village People.  My arm was sore after that.  I was in a Pentecostal Junior High from 1981 to June of 1982.  That was my initial introduction to what would be considered to be true Heavy Metal.  There was still this weird vague idea what was Heavy Metal, some considered many hard rock acts Metal others did not.  This was a very amorphous time for the style.

In the Summer of 83 Heavy Metal as we knew it exploded. This was when Quiet Riot released their first U.S. Album, Def Leppard released Pyromania, and Iron Maiden released Piece of Mind.  Piece of Mind was not the huge album that the previous year’s Number of the Beast, but it was proof that this iteration of the band was not a flash in the pan with songs like Trooper, Flight of Icarus, and Where Eagles Dare. This was also the advent of Metal hitting the charts.  It was everywhere in Southern California.  That was the epicenter of the U.S. part of this musical movement.  Glam metal started to make its rounds. At 14 and 15 I was not impressed.  I was introduced to Motley Crue’s first album.  I thought musically they were OK, their whole made up look and feather hair did not do anything for me.  At this time Metallica, Anthrax and other Thrash/ Speed Metal bands were making their early albums.

Through the next few years I started to drift away from the pop Metal bands towards the Classic Hard Rock acts, Hardcore Punk and Thrash/ Speed Metal.  Suicidal Tendencies, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, and the Cult were putting out albums that spoke to me during the mid to late eighties.  I was drifting away from Heavy Metal in my Twenties, so were the bands.  Living in the Portland, Oregon area at the time we were hearing rumbling of new bands with a hard heavy sound reminiscent of Deep Purple and early Black Sabbath with a punk ethic.  These bands were Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Mother Love Bone and Nirvana.  This new sound would be called the Seattle Sound or Grunge.  They were more concerned with the music and less with image.  The Metal scene had become style over substance.  The Thrash/ Speed Metal scene was becoming more mainstream and losing some of its edge at this time.

During the early to mid nineties Grunge and later Alternative became the creative wellspring for Heavy Music.  Alternative was not so much a style than a philosophy of being alternative to the corporate music machine.  As always many of the acts became part of that machine. Heavy music did make a comeback with acts like Ministry, White Zombie, Korn, Rage against the Machine, Offspring, Clutch, Disturbed, Godsmack, Eagles of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age, and others.  By the early 2000’s I was not into Heavy Metal or its various offshoots anymore, or at least newer acts.  I still listen to older acts with newer material.  Once and a while I will find a new Metal or Hard Rock act I like, for example Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang or the Pirate Metal band Alestorm.  In general I am no longer in that scene, it really is a younger man’s game.  So I will let them have it. 

Here is a list of Heavy Metal/ Hard Rock Acts I think people should check out (this is based on my own personal tastes):  Accept, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Airbourne, Aldo Nova, Alestorm, Alice Cooper, Alice in Chains, Andrew W.K. Anthrax, Audioslave, Autograph, Billy Idol (more punk and new wave), Black Sabbath, Blitzkrieg, Blue Cheer, Cheap Trick, Clutch, The Cult, Danzig, The Darkness, David Lee Roth, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Diamond Head, Dio, Dream Theater, Eagles of Death Metal, Extreme, Faith No More, Fastway, Godsmack, Great White, Green Jello/ Jelly, Guns N’ Roses, Hanoi Rocks, Heart, Helmet, The Hives, Iggy Pop/ Iggy Pop and the Stooges/ Stooges, Infectious Grooves, Iron Butterfly, Iron Maiden, Jet, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Judas Priest, King Crimson, The Kinks, Kiss,  Korn, Krokus, L.A. Guns, Led Zeppelin, Living Color, MC5, Megadeth, Metallica, Metal Church, Michael Schenker Group/ McAuley Schenker Group, Ministry, M.O.D., Monster Magnet, Montrose, Mother Love Bone, Motorhead, Mudhoney Nirvana, Offspring, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Pat Benatar, Powerman 5000, Primus, Probot, Queen, Queensryche, Queens of the Stone Age, Quiet Riot, Rage Against the Machine, Rainbow, Rammstein, Ratt, Red Fang, Rob Zombie/ White Zombie, Rush, Sammy Hagar, Savatage, Saxon, Scatterbrain, Sepultura, Slayer, Scorpions, Screaming Trees, Silverchair, Skindred, Slipknot, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Spinal Tap, Steppenwolf, Steve Vai, Stone Temple Pilots, Stormtroopers of Death, The Strokes, System of a Down, Suicidal Tendencies, Ted Nugent, Temple of the Dog, Tesla, Testament, Thin Lizzy, Triumph, Uriah Heep, Van Halen, Velvet Revolver, Wednesday 13, White Stripes, Whitesnake, Wolfmother, Y & T, Zebra.  This is by no means a comprehensive list just my personal favorites or ones I feel are historically important.  There are a few omissions.  Those are acts I personally do not care for to the extreme.  This Is My Not So Humble Opinion.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


In 2013 there were quite a few goals I set for myself.  A few did not happen, new job, the Epic WINTer Formal, the Swashbuckler’s Ball, Don’t Stop the Serenity, seeing Muse live and few films in the theater.  I did accomplish a lot more that was chronicled in A Bit of Reflection.  I had a few goals regarding this blog.  I decided to dedicate this blog to recovering who I am and some of what I lost.  It was not to be too obvious about it for the most part.  I did a few articles where I came out and said what was going on and had been.  I have created friendships and connections. 

In January I wanted 24 articles for 2013 I accomplished 25 at the beginning of November.  I had not posted them I had them completed.  In July when my blog hit 1,000 hits I hoped it could get to 2,000 by the end of the year.  This article is a celebration of the 2,000 hits goal.  Including this article I have over half of the year 2014 articles finished.  2014 will have only one new article a month.  The reason for this is I am going to get back into fiction writing again.  To do that, I am going to half my blog output.  Once I get work I am going to work into getting a place closer to Portland, Oregon.  Then upgrade computers and then there is a project I am thinking about doing.  If that happens, things may change here radically.  Change is not bad, for me it has been extremely good.

I would like thank some folks for their support, encouragement, and inspiration.  Some of you I have only interacted with through the internet, I do my best to meet any local folks in person.   Most I know, a few I do not; but they inspired me all the same:  Kaebel Hashitani, Atomic Arts, Aaron Duran, Scott Dally, Andrew McIntire, Elisabeth Allie, Chooch and Viv Schubert, Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine, Scott Sigler, Nathan Lowell, Chris Lester, Charles de Lint and MaryAnn Harris, Dan Clark, Kielen King, Vicki Dunn and Wilton Merritt, Riley Crowder, Andy Yerman and Laura Evankovich, Dawn Taylor and Patrick Hurley, Royal and Jessica Hebert, Jaime Kirk, PDXYar, Greg Nibler, Sarah X Dylan, Funemployment Radio Network, Chronicles of the Nerds, Mikey Neilson, Ibrahim Moustafa, Allen Bethel, Jeff “DJ Switch” Sorensen, Ken Texley, Bobby Roberts, Cort Webber, Byron Beck, Mike Russell, Melissa Booker, Sean Stutzman, Jenny and Adam Hieronymus, Cheryl Kanekoa, Derek M. Koch, Eric Busby, David Walker, Tha Mike Pilot, Eric and Hope Tomorrow, Steam Powered Giraffe, Bunny Bennett, Lana Wachowski, Riona Eire, Nance Cedar and her family, Charles Radley and Sirene Darrell, Kevin and Dina Bryson, Jesse Graff and Rebecca Rummel-Graff, Nathan Ayling, Michael Ring, Podiobooks, Things from Another World, Julian Moraga, Alton Brown, Quentin Riggs, Stanley Perez, William Wylde, April and Damon Gallaty, In One Day Radio, Kevin Palm, Guardian Games, Tim Richey, Steven Moon, Lorna Donegan, Paul E. Cooley, Gail Carriger, Mur Lafferty, P.G. Holyfiled, Bridge City Comics, Christiana Ellis, Neil Gaiman, Steve H. Wilson, Andrew Walker, Kristen Bowie, Robert Wagner formerly of, Todd Werkhoven, Jeff Futzer, Jim Willig, Abigail Hilton, Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, Mike and Emily Myers, Aaron and Beverly Myers, Scott Backinger, Peter Albini, Dallas Christopher, Charles McFall, Matthew Wayne Selznick, Alica Orme, Dante Ross, Sara Ivette, Ted Naifeh, Kip Manley, Andrew Hill, Chris Todd, Bob Weyer, Courtnry and Katie Case, Kari Fredheim Goglin, Tristan Mayer, Matt Grigsby, Karen Edwards, James Sinclair, Geek in the City Radio and Comics, Scott Douglas, Ann Nystrom, Dan Bozyk, Lisa and Brian Wood, Rian Jeong, Seth Harwood, and many more.  Sorry if I did not mention you specifically.  Those I forgot to mention are still in my heart.