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Friday, August 05, 2005

DONNINGTON

On August 16, 1980 a special thing happened at the Castle Donnington Raceway in the United Kindom. Heavy Metal arrived. Twenty-five years ago a throng of loud and unruly types convened and put on the first of what would become the now infamous Monsters of Rock festivals at Donnington. One year later I wandered into Nuggets in Kenmore Square and purchased, for 1.99, the coolest record I own, Castle Donnington: Monsters of Rock. The bill that year was headlined by Judas Preist, Rainbow, and the Scorpions, with support from Saxon, April Wine, Riot, and Touch. Since all those bands were Mercury/Polygram artists, it was a no-brainer to release a record featuring highights from the show. Unfortunately Judas Preist were the sole act on the bill not associated with Mercury (they are Columbia recording artists), and they don't appear on the record. If they had, the world would have exploded because you can't have all that rockin' on one record. Rainbow and the Scorpions made out well, because they each got an extra track on the record. Rainbow's line-up at the time featured vocalist Graham 'your as daft as I am' Bonnett, who has an amazing voice, but had alcohol and wardrobe problems. Their two songs are the epic Dio co-penned 'Stargazer', which is the best thing Ritchie Blackmore did outside of Deep Purple, and the comic 'All Night Long'. How many times will rock bands use this title? The call and response whistling is worth the price of admission. The Scorpions hit it lean and mean with 'Loving You Sunday Morning', and 'Another Peice of Meat'. I saw the Scorpions not long after this show, and man, I have never seen a more hard rocking band ever. Saxon gives us 'Backs to the Wall', which was my intro to Saxon, and I've taken a boat load of crap about being a Saxon fan (Saxon Militia Gurd card carrying member since 1981), but they embody the most earnest and basic fundamentals of Metal. Saxon is metal. Their records got real bad real fast, but from 79-83 they were tops in my book, right up there with Priest, the Scorps, Motorhead, and Maiden. April Wine's 'I Like To Rock' does just that, even the Touch tune, 'Don't Ya Know What Love Is' is a great song. Riot's 'Road Racing' is the weak link, but they'd make up for it the next year with their only great record, 'Restless Breed', which would feature a new and much needed singer, Brett Forrester, who sounds alot like Paul Rodgers in a good amount of pain.

This record has been out of print since the day after it came out. In fact I think it may have been a promo only that went to radio stations, Nuggets always had alot of those. Anyway, it's the coolest record I own. You can find it here: http://www.sunsetwestproductions.com/cds/castle.htm. Incidently, when I was doing the wee bit of research I sometimes do (get the date right), I googled 'Castle Donnington 1980', and about five entries down was a link to avc.blogs.com, Fred's blog, and a comment I made about Nuggets, and this record. Fred is Ubiquity.

Comments:
I believe it's Rhett Forrester. He was a victim of a violent crime and killed on the streets of NYC I'm fairly certain. I have Restless Breed, and the live album, both of which rock. You'll have to play me some Saxon to refresh my memory of why they suck. Perhaps I'm worng about that.
 
With Saxon, you can proove that they suck as easily as you can prove they don't. You are right about Rhett, not Brett. I believe they were from Brooklyn. Probably played Lamours alot.
 
Judas Preist, Rainbow, and the Scorpions... Wow that's a great bill

Never was into Saxon, QR, or Wine.
 
Riot, not Qiet Riot, eeeechh!
 
SHIT!!! Rhett was killed here in Atlanta...

Atlanta Journal-Constitution ~ January 22, 1994
Man dies after being shot at intersection. A 37-year old Tucker man died Saturday morning after being shot in his car at a northwest Atlanta intersection.

Atlanta police stated that two men approached Forrester while he was stopped at an intersection. A witness said he overheard arguing then one of the men shot Forrester in the back. The bullet pierced his heart yet Forrester was able to drive a few blocks where he flagged down a police cruiser. The only words he spoke to the officer were, "I’ve been shot!" He then collapsed and died. Police have no motive or suspects. The murder case is still pending.

More here

http://www.thecutting-edge.net/rett.html
 
I was in atlanta during the time that Rhett was killed and found it odd that one month he would have a broke arm in cast and the next month a foot or leg in a cast then the other arm in a cast. He and his mom shopped in the store that I work in. The word was it was drug related.
 
That sounds somehow both strange and reasonable.
 
I came to this page searching for info on this album I used to own. I share the assessment of the poster here. Great album with the exception of Riot. I started looking for it after hearing the really bad studio version of Rainbow's All Night Long and then remembering the version on this album is really good.

Right on!
 
Wow, I wondered what ever happened to that album. It was called "Monsters Of Rock" from 1980. But you guys are all wrong about RIOT. "Road Racing" was a good tune from an excellent rock album "Narita." And that was Guy Spearanza on vocals on that recording, their first singer. Rhett Forester replaced him in 1981 and they recorded 2 more great rock albums. It was their last one with him "Born In America" that went downhill. Both singers died. That's terrible what happened to Rhett. I never knew about it, but I'd like to know more. My friend had this album back in '82 in High School. We listened to it a lot and I would love to hear it again. Had a great rare version of Rainbow's "Stargazer" w/Graham Bonnet singing it. Also, like the one guy said Saxon were great in their early years. "Power And The Glory" (1983) is a classic metal album, everyone should have. Saxon was a very thrashy but basic metal sound. Not the quality rock of some of the other bands. Scorpions were at their peak "Lovedrive" tour on that album. Too bad for Rhett and Guy S., short time in rock & roll history, they had great voices. It would be great if they released all the rest of that concert festival on CD - Mike Fabiano, Santa Monica
 
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