Tag Archives: Jason’s Boom Box

Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part One)

So a couple of general thoughts hit me as I was writing my Iron Maiden posts. I knew I wanted to do something about Metal in general…the history, the different styles, etc.

Then my buddy Jason posted something that I thought was worth exploring, specifically about Maiden. And then my friend, fraternity brother and other Metal Mentor, Barry gave some awesome insight into his love of the genre… and Boom!

Since neither are guest blogging, you’re stuck with me. But these are the two who Metaled me up… And hey, look, Boys! Thirty some odd years later it worked! I’m hooked!

METAL MUSIC
So where does one start when looking for info. on any given subject? Wikipedia, of course.

“Heavy metal… developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.”

“In 1968, the first heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple attracted large audiences, though they were often derided by critics. During the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre’s evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Beginning in the late 1970s, bands in the new wave of British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden and Saxon followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as “metalheads” or “headbangers”.

A couple of things stand out for me. First, it amazes me how things that are on the fringe become so mainstream at a certain point in time. Zeppelin and Deep Purple are Classic Rock bands to me! Granted I came to them later in their careers, but that was normal FM Radio/East Coast listening. And let us not forget that The Beatles started off as the enemy to many a parent. Then the Stones came out as the even more evil rockers! And of course, speaking of Metal, Iron Maiden was cast as devil worshippers.

Some folks consider AC/DC a Metal band, but to me they are just hard rock and one of the highlights to come out of Jason’s Boom Box. Same with KISS. And while Judas Priest was always blasting that summer, I never really listened to Metal on a regular basis. In fact, when people asked me what musical genres were the ones I knew the least about, I would always say Rap, New Country and Metal.

Now Rap and Hip Hop come pouring out from behind my daughter’s closed bedroom door (No, that is not really it!!!), along with a fair amount of Show Tunes! Though I am also happy to say that her playlist has a heck of a lot of Classic Rock on it!

I will admit that I got into NWA, Dr. Dre, Tupac and others all “after the fact.” Way before my daughter, but after the fact…and I will also admit that I do get “parental” from time to time, as I hear certain lyrics being sung by my kid. Ugh.

And I always had a soft side… and I guess I still do… as my favorites of the time were Steve Miller Band and The Eagles. My first concerts were more Classic Rock than anything else, too. Chicago and Orleans was my first. Then The Eagles, Heart and the Little River Band

Usually as people get older their musical tastes get smaller and more “refined”.  Not me! My tastes have been growing and expanding for a long time now. And as I said, I seem to come to certain things late… like Metal! Which also has friends accusing me of doing to try to stay young. That’s not the way I work. I listen to what moves me, what grabs me and I do not care where and who it comes from. More politicians need to do this with good ideas! It should not matter what side of the aisle it comes from! A good idea is a good idea, and the goal must be to problem solve, help and create joy.

But this post is about MUSICAL JOY! So what is it about Metal that has taken such a hold on me? Iron Maiden is in regular rotation. I love the new Metallica album, and the Judas Priest 30th Anniversary CDs are kicking me into gear. I wrote about how studies have shown that this music can actually relax people. I can actually see that, but for me, it just makes me happy and energized, and I love to CRANK IT! To 11!!!

Barry wrote:
“It’s all about the energy. Metal still motivates me and gets me pumped like no other genre. And the metal bands that I like best – the ones that exhibit extreme technical precision like Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, etc. – appeal to me from my early years as a classically trained pianist. (Which is probably why I enjoyed grunge, but never got into it as much as I did metal – the precision was always a little lacking for me.) I am also a huge fan of guitar virtuosos like Reb Beach, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, John Petrucci, George Lynch, et. al. – their craftsmanship and precision continue to astound and inspire me.

Right on, Barry!!!

Robert Walser (author of Running With the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Musicsaid that Metal’s “most influential musicians have been guitar players who have also studied classical music. Their appropriation and adaptation of classical models sparked the development of a new kind of guitar virtuosity [and] changes in the harmonic and melodic language of heavy metal.”

 

And specifically on Maiden, Jason wrote:
“I think another thing that is important to mention — for the uninitiated — is to not pre-judge Iron Maiden because of Eddie (their mascot, who is on all their graphics). Maiden is not what you might hate about metal — in fact it’s quite the contrary. Musically, their material is high-energy and rocks hard (and they are great players), it’s mostly very melodic and their lyrics are unobjectionable (no cursing, no objectifying of women, and many have historical context, e.g., “The Trooper,” about the Crimean War, “Aces High,” about the WWII air wars and Battle of Britain, “Where Eagles Dare,” based on the great WWII film, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” based on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, etc). They are all smart individuals, family men, and their lead singer actually flies the band plane (a fully loaded 747 with the band gear, not a little prop plane.). With streaming services, it’s easy to sample their music or their bio-pic, “Flight 666.” Enjoy the journey and Up the Irons!”

So you can see how and why these two are my Metal Mentors… Jason on a Teen Tour, and Barry as my Frat House roommate in College! We listened to a hell of a lot of great stuff back then, Boys! And this does not even include all that Al Jarreau and Spyro Gyra, Barry! What? We needed to charm the ladies!

Come back next Monday for Metal Monday – General Thoughts And Rockin’ Ramblings (Part Two) when we talk about all the different sub-genres of Metal and more!

 

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My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 1)


Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Korn, Slayer, Motorhead, Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Anthrax, Dream Theatre, Queensryche, Twisted Sister, Exodus, Motley Crue, Dio, Tool, Megadeath, Pantera…

This is part of the list of the top 50 Metal bands of All-Time. Just to get us all on the same page.

With that said… I am so NOT a Metal guy. Judas Priest was as deep as my Metal musical tastes went for many years… And yes, my love and knowledge of them came from my friend Jason’s Boom Box. Readers of this blog will know I have spoken often and lovingly of this magical, music-making box.  They will know exactly just HOW much of my musical loves and Rock N’ Roll education came out of that boom box on a summer teen tour across this amazing country of ours. Sitting in the back of the bus, in the year ____, listening to incredible Rock N’ Roll changed my life… Truly!

(Yes, I purposely avoided mentioning the specific year…mostly because I have to remember which year it was!)

British Steel was on regular Boom Box rotation back then, but that was as far as it went for me… Until a few years ago.

Well, okay… Twisted Sister, Zeppelin (if you include them in Metal) and Motley Crue were always on my playlists, but still.

My buddy Jason LOVES Iron Maiden. And yes, this is the Maiden shirt I want (Hint, hint) Best Of The Beast. But not one with those horrid and thick iron-on, screen prints that stick to your chest when it gets hot! You know what I’m talking about!

I love how Jason was telling me yesterday that he has an “A” Maiden shirt… One from the Piece Of Mind tour, that features “The Trooper” on it. Apparently the whole family knows how to treat this shirt when it makes its way into the wash. And when he wears it out…well…that must mean something special!

We’ll talk more about Maiden shirts in Part 2… And yes, it is a thing!

Jason kept giving me a Money-Back Guarantee… That if I bought tickets for Maiden and did not absolutely LOVE the show, he would give me my money back. Winning tickets from local, Classic Rock radio station KLOS let him off the hook, but I loved his iron clad deal.

So…a few years back I really started listening to Maiden…and… I fell in love with them. Does that even make sense to say in the Metal world? See! I mean, yo Dudes… I really like that kick-ass Maiden shit.

It’s funny how many friend and peers think I’m nuts. I mean who comes to Metal in their… Oops! I almost gave my age away, so let’s just say mid-life years? I sold it as me having a Metal Mid-Life Crisis!

Metal is good. It releases so much. And it makes me happy! In fact, in a 2015 study from Australia’s University of Queensland that was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, it noted:

“Instead of increasing listeners’ anger, the extreme music calmed them, producing a result similar to sitting in silence. Student Leah Sharman said: “We found the music regulated sadness and enhanced positive emotions… The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt, but also left them feeling more active and inspired.”

Metal!

When I was back in NYC last year with my daughter, Iron Maiden was playing the Garden (Madison Square Garden for you non-New Yorkers!) I so wanted to go, especially with Jason’s passionate demand that we MUST go and how I MUST introduce my then 16-year-old to Maiden. But the night before I had taken my daughter to her first Springsteen show there, and while she loved it, I knew I kind of owed her the Rihanna concert my very generous friend Snod (college nickname) offered us. And yes, I really do owe you another one now, my friend! So Maiden was out… and Rihanna was in.

Then through a misunderstanding and not realizing I had a friend who wanted to go… AND could have gotten us free tickets…DOH!… I missed Maiden again when they were in LA a few weeks later and playing at the Forum. Not a fan of this venue (See my review of U2 at the Forum) but I would have loved to have been there.

So when they announced their July 1st show at the San Manuel Amphitheatre, formerly the Blockbuster Pavillion at Glen Helen… or Glen Helen Pavillion or whatever the heck it’s called, I KNEW I would be there.

Come back tomorrow for the continuation and review and My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 2)

 

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me