Thanks to KP for picking up my slack. That girl is nuts.
Brother, this Judas Priest record is so “very metal.” British Steel (1980) is not the most consistent record but it contains a couple true classics. “Breaking the Law”? You know it. One of my first garage band covers, with me on drums. “Living After Midnight,” check. And I’ll also throw the lesser-known, but anthemic gem, “United.” The band had really found their groove at this point, with that locked-in driving metal sound that got right to the point.
Check out this “Breaking the Law” video and watch for the moment that caused Beavis and Butthead to call singer Rob Halford a “wild and crazy guy” a la Steve Martin.
Yes! Today we celebrate. I’m celebrating because Mary and I got a new site up today for Heavy Duty Incorporated at WeAreHeavyDuty.com, our art and home furnishings business. To celebrate I’m finally posting Judas Priest’s Defenders of the Faith.
This album contains a song that has become my heavy metal mantra, “Heavy Duty.” The song contains the lyrics “I’m Heavy Duty” in the first chorus and “We’re Heavy Duty” in the last one. The first line I mentioned is, of course, the namesake of this web site. You can read more about why I chose that name. “We’re Heavy Duty” happens to be the URL for Heavy Duty Incorporated. “Heavy Duty” is simple metal dirge with some silly metal lyrics, but it never fails to give me a boost when I most need it. I play it all the time, and I have two copies, just in case. Just in case.
Another sentimental reason I love this record is that on April 12, 1984, the night before final exams in my senior year of high school, Roger Williams and I went to see Judas Priest live at the Hampton Coliseum. Roger is/was sort of an intellectual metalhead. If I remember correctly, he was valedictorian of his class and went on to Notre Dame. We lost touch after high school, which is unfortunate for him because I’m pretty sure one of those albums in the picture in his. Sorry Roj. Contact me to negotiate visitation rights.
The show was fantastic in a completely over the top heavy metal way. The “Metallian” creature on the cover was the actual stage, with the drums inside the mouth and a huge mechanical arm that lowered to allow Rob Halford to walk out. At least that’s how I remember it. Halford also rode a Harley onto the stage at one point. The whole band played perfectly was locked into the driving grooves that made this middle period Priest music so great.
Some of the other great songs on Defenders are “Freewheel Burning” and “Some Heads are Gonna Roll.” While overall the lyrics are the usual tough guy silliness you would expect there are more than a few corny-but-inspiring metal moments like this from “Rock Hard Ride Free”:
No denying, we’re going against the grain
So defiant they’ll never put us down
Rock Hard Ride Free
All day, all night
Rock Hard Ride Free
All your life
But my favorite, of course, comes from “Heavy Duty.”
We’re Heavy Duty
So come on let’s tell the world
We are defenders of the faith…
This Mother Love Bone record, Apple, is better than I remember. Too bad the singer Andrew Wood wasn’t able to manage his state. He died of a heroin overdose before this album was released. On the back cover there is a note: “In memory of Andrew Wood.” At the time I thought they were a little too perfect, too Seattle, too trippy. Some of the lyrics and titles still strike me as a bit uh… something, but the record has plenty of great riffs and hooks. My favorite song is a dirge, “Stardog Champion.” I’m a sucker for gang vocals from a bunch of kids. Check out the video, and stay tuned for the kinders at the end.
If you’ve heard only one song by MotÃ¶rhead it’s almost certainly “Ace of Spades” from the album of the same name. There’s an AT&T television ad in heavy rotation, or maybe it’s just the type of shows I watch, that has a burly metalhead singing the song at the end. I’ve seen it so much I had to hear the real thing again.
One fun thing about the Ace of Spades (1980, this version on Profile Records 1986) album is its copious use of that curious percussion instrument the vibraslap. Hear one at Wikipedia. No sound conjures up the spaghetti-western, guns-about-to-be-drawn vibe more than the vibraslap’s rattle. I first became intimately familiar with the vibraslap when I was a percussionist in my junior high band, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. So, it’s probably no coincidence that my all time favorite Motorhead song is “Shoot You in the Back.” Just listen to all that vibraslap.
There are a few other great songs, but despite its fame this is not a consistent record. Unfortunately, there is also some really off-putting stuff like “Jailbait.” Come on, man.
I can’t believe I just found this. This is a last minute post, but go see Kings of Prussia at Gourmet Perks (Asheville, NC) tonight. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about them soon. For now I’ll just say if a combo of Durutti Column, Voivod and Death Angel sounds good to you, then you’ll love this. Check out the video of my new favorite band.
And congrats to whoever made that show flyer. Fantastic.
When I first heard of Raging Slab they were being described as a combination of Motorhead and Lynyrd Skynyrd. That’s a dream music combo to me, but probably a nightmare to some. Some version of that description was frequently used by magazines for a number of years. When you consider that the band started in NYC and that Assmaster (1987) was put out by a punk rock label you can probably guess that the description was at best simplistic, and probably misleading. This music is weird, and truly unique. The founding band members may have had a love of boogie rock but after it filtered through their contemporary punk and noise influences the output was something completely new.
The original release of Assmaster came with a fantastic comic book produced by two artists from Marvel Comics. (Click image for larger version.) The comic book and cartoon album cover art may lead the uninitiated to dismiss Raging Slab as some stoner rock clowns, but that would be a mistake. Front man Greg Strzempka’s (a.k.a. Jagory Slab) lyrics are always interesting, often brilliant, and occasionally poignant. There have been periods where the music was more mainstream, but it was always good.
This is a very interesting band, and a favorite of mine since this first record. Raging Slab have had a long rollercoaster career of indie label obscurity and major label mainstream success. And then there’s the period where they moved into a farm house in rural PA and started a rock commune… Read all about Raging Slab at Wikipedia.
I am the master of my… aaaaass
I’m no one’s prince, and no one’s… baaaaaastard
I am the master of my ass
Long time no listen. “Good Times Bad Times,” the first song on the first Led Zeppelin album, is probably my favorite of all their music. When I see how young the guys look on the back it’s even more impressive how out there this record is. Another favorite is “Communication Breakdown.” It’s more punk than the punk music that would come along almost a decade later. I liked it so much as a punk rock teenager that I recorded my own cover of it on my Tascam Porta One cassette four track. I played all the tracks and did a good job on drums and bass. My guitar work was not uh… scintillating. And I’m pretty sure the vocals were an octave lower out of genetic necessity.
Note on the back cover:
This is a stereo recording. For best results observe the R.I.A.A. high frequency roll-off characteristic with a 500 cycle crossover.
My personal rule for all the music I’m posting is that I have to listen to the entire thing and decide whether to keep it. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve consumed the entirety of Metallica’s over-the-top-box-set Live Shit: Binge and Purge (1993), again. It’s almost nine hours of live music! There are three VHS tapes and three CDs. I don’t even have a VCR any more. They released it later with DVDs but I couldn’t wait for that. Actually, this was a birthday present, I believe, and it was stupid spendy. But worth every penny!
That package is the coolest. It even has little metal hinges on the back. In addition to the audio and video stuff there is a small stencil, a moss pit pass from the tour, and a great book. The book has tons of photos and photocopies of set lists, and some serious, but humorous, memos about what the band can and can’t do on stage in various countries, and much more.
I got to see them play at least once on this mega-tour, but I can’t find the ticket stub. This package is an even better memento. Happy birthday to me, and as they say the introduction in the book, “Happy Overdose”!
I don’t know where I got T.V. Sky (1992) by The Young Gods, but it’s always been a favorite. These guys can be called “industrial” but the sound on this record is really more hard rock or metal with plenty of sampling, loops and tricky time signatures. I love the whole thing, even the 20 minute Doors-y “Summer Eyes.” My favorite is the album opener, “Our House.” The lyrics sound like something from Sesame Street, maybe because these guys are ESL. But they’re perfect juxtaposed with the minimal and ultra-heavy jackhammer riff that finally kicks in for the last minute of the song, after two minutes of almost ambient loops, with when singer Franz Treichler yells “Hey Friends!”
Another great song is “The Night Dance.” Listen for the deft sampling and looping of Guns and Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” guitar riff.
Fans include The Edge (U2) and David Bowie.(?) Those geezers are cooler than I thought.
From the looks of it they’ve gone acoustic more recently. You can check the acoustic version of “Our House” at the Young Gods’ MySpace page.
Our house… is a house… that moves…
Just like the ocean, just like the ocean, just like the ocean
If you wanna come by
It’s easy to find, it’s easy to find
It’s front of the sky, it’s in front of the sky
The article on Wikipedia about White Zombie lists Soul Crusher (1987) as their first full length record, but there were a few EPs before this. I had one with a black and white cover, but I think I sold it when I had my own record store. I had read about them in Maximum Rock and Roll and decided to buy it when I saw the record at a store in NYC. Even though I knew better I decided to buy another White Zombie record, today’s offering.
This stuff is nothing like the stomping-metal-disco-monster-movie-rock that made the band famous. Their early work is more noise art than metal, although Soul Crusher did begin to introduce something akin to riffs. Still, it can be hard to listen to. I used to enjoy extreme music just because it was extreme, new, different. Nowadays I need something else, or more. The psychedelic album cover might make you think “stoner metal,” but don’t be fooled. This music is closer to Pussy Galore or the most irritating Sonic Youth than Black Sabbath. Rob Straker’s vocals (he wasn’t calling himself Rob Zombie yet) sound like a more angry and annoying version of Mark Arm (Green River, Mudhoney).
I’m not likely to ever play this again, but I might keep it as part of the White Zombie collection.
Want to know what it's like to have brain surgery? Well here's the long version of my experience. Complete with pictures and videos! Read all about the Brain Surgery Experience.
"I'm Heavy Duty!" was my original blog about everything. Now it's about new music, old records, live shows, stories, memorabilia, garage band demos, anything and everything else related to music. Over 500 posts at this Music Blog!
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