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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

UP THE HAMMERS

On the back of Iron Maiden's 1981 live EP, "Maiden Japan" it says in the liner notes; "Up The Hammers". At the time I though it was a reference to Hammer guitars. Adrian Smith played a Hammer Explorer at one point, so it sort of made sense, but at the same time felt wrong. I knew deep down that it was some sort of English shit that us Colonials didn't get. Years later I would meet Paul Daly and come to understand that the Hammers were in fact the West Ham United football team. So it should have dawned on me that it was in fact Paul and Leslie Daly who gave me the Maiden DVD - which is fucking awesome.

Iron Maiden were smart enough to document their sets going way back to the very early days. This DVD contains 3 concert films and a second disc containing at least one excellent documentary that I watched today, plus two other 'titles' that I haven't yet checked out, probably videos.

I have always been a big Paul Di'Anno fan, and he's very well represented here. Bruce Dickinson was the right choice for the band during one of many critical moments, and more often than not it's the same story - touring kills weak men. Di'Anno couldn't do it night after night, got depressed, and then it's what the drink and drugs do to you. If you are confident, and committed, and have a strong constitution, the drugs and drink work themselves out, but young men in rock bands in 1981 didn't get time for anything, certainly not rehab.

It makes me wonder what would have happened to Paul Di'Anno, Clive Burr, or Def Leppard's Pete Willis if they'd been given 28 days. Maybe it was for the best, because they are all still alive, and Def Leppard's Steve Clark, like so many others, is not.

Gee, I didn't want this to get so down. The DVD is great. Iron Maiden is great. Paul and Leslie are great.

Comments:
I should mention also that My Baby is great. She told me it came from Paul and Leslie.
 
The guitars are Hamers, with one "m." They enjoyed a brief resurgence in popularity in the mid 90s with indie bands (played ironically, of course), but then they disappeared.
 
And they were pretentiously pronounced 'hay mers'. I say if you want a Gibson copy, go with Epiphone - cheap, reliable, and affiliated with Gibson.
 
I love ironic guitar.
 
There's a Hamer Slammer short scale bass that's apparently well-liked.
 
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