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Monday, July 26, 2004


"Where were you in '79, when the dam began to burst" --Saxon (Denim and Leather)

Twenty-five years ago, my brothers went off to college, and I got on a plane to Germany. My father took his sabbaticle in Heidelberg, and I got a education, though not an acedemic one. With me on that plane, I had a cassette tape that I had made from my brother's record collection. On one side was Judas Priest's "Hell Bent For Leather" and on the other was UFO's "Obsession". Armed with this tape I entered a world now referred to as The New Wave Of Brittish Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). In Gemany I made friends with the Heavy Metal kids, but at the time we didn't have such nomenclature. Heavy Metal was a dead term used to descibe Blue Cheer and Vanilla Fudge. We liked hard rock, and the harder the better. It was there that I would get turned onto the bands that laid the groundwork for the resurgence of Heavy Metal. In my house growing up we had Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, but we never called it Metal. My freinds in Germany turned me onto Deep Purple, Raibow, Rush, AC/DC, Scorpions, and Motorhead. I remember seeing The Clash's "London Calling" album in the stores that year, and I remember thinking how cool the album cover was. The Clash, however, wasn't on my playlist at the time. Somebody at the time called them "the only band that matters", but to me the music that mattered was this new (not really) heavy music. That year was a banner year for Metal. Judas Priest released their opus "Brittish Steel" which set the standard. The Scorpions "Lovedrive", their best effort, came out. Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades" landed with a massive thud heard round the world. Debut's by Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Saxon cemented the deal. It was a new age, and I was sitting right in the lap of it. On the plane home in the summer of '80, I was reading Cream magazine, and somebody referred to Def Leppard as being Heavy Metal. It seems we now had a moniker. Over the years (by 1984 to be exact) heavy metal became a joke. The movie "This Is Spinal Tap" was released, and Metal had split into camps; hair metal (not metal at all) and thrash (far too metal). I started to buy Stones and Pink Floyd records. I still love my Priest and UFO, just as I still love the old Kiss records I came up with. In recent years I have come to the conclusion that though The Clash may have not been the ONLY band that mattered, "London Calling" is the second greatest double album (studio, not live) ever (Number one is "Exile", "The White Album" being my least favorite Beatles record). I'm very excited that Rob Halford is back with Priest and on tour (Ozzfest), and doubly pleased that Metal fans are not as homophobic as one might have thought. Rob, I knew, I just didn't care, because after all is said and done "I just want my rock forever!"

I didn't know, and am ashamed to say that had I known back then, it might've responded differently. I am very glad we all get older and thus wiser on these types of matters and am actually considering going down and dealing with the young, out of their minds, X taking, metalheads at Ozzfest just to see JP. Be worth it to hear "Victim of Changes" once again. Maybe I can get down to HiFiBuys Ampatheatre, catch JP and be back in time for Katie's bedtime...
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