Blog Archives

Album Review: Wildestarr – A Tell Tale Heart

If I told you about a band that sounds a bit like Judas Priest, Queensryche, Savatage, and Dio would you listen?  I bet you would.  Wildestarr is that band and was band formed by Vicious Rumors original bassist Dave Starr.  I have heard of Vicious Rumors and interestingly enough, about 22 years ago I won tickets to a Vicious Rumors show and never had the chance to go due to lack of transportation.  Ok, back to our story.  Wildestarr, the California-based band, embodies all of the elements of the bands listed above which makes for cool old-school rock/metal experience.  The vocals are cool and crisp, guitar riffs cut to the bone, and drumming pounds the chest.

Read the rest of this entry

Monday Metal Madness: The 80’s

Last week’s gaming poll revealed that most people would prefer to play RTS games for action packed multiplayer fun.  Thank you to those that voted.

Lately, I have been on some kind of Steel Panther kick which, of course, has heightened my desire to go back to the 80’s (not physically) and listen to some cool “Hair metal.”  This poll is about those bands that I thought were better than average due to their song composition or quality musicians.  In other words, this poll isn’t about one-hit-wonders from that decade.  My opinion probably differs from most on what I perceive to be good 80’s metal, but probably not that far off the mark.  I am going to leave out the obvious stars of the decade – Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Aerosmith, etc.  This poll is about the other ones that didn’t quite make it that big or unfortunately didn’t last.  Here are my choices.

Dokken was probably one of my all time favorites back then.  I had a few I liked, but Dokken was a bit different from the rest of the pack.  George Lynch is  a great guitarist and it’s too bad that interpersonal relationships within the band ended their reign.  Here is the video for The Hunter off the album Under Lock and Key.

Extreme was never really one of my favorites back in the day, but when they had a good song it was really good and catchy.  They are probably best known for the song More Than Words, unfortunately because it was sappy and chicks dug it.  They had more substance to their music than that particular ballad.  For a brief moment, they had Mike Mangini in the band who recorded this particular song (below), Hip Today, back around 1995.  Although this song was not recorded in the 80’s, the band formed in the 80’s and reached the pinnacle of their career at the tail end of the 80’s into the early 90’s.  This one is a bit of a grey area for the poll, but I believe still qualifies for this post based on the style of music they played.

This Sacramento, CA band was a bit more stripped down than most other bands of the 80’s.  Though forming in the mid 80’s, they also took their career into the 90’s before virtually disappearing for a while.  Tesla had a hard rock edge to them; less glam and more emphasis on rock n’ roll and that is what I liked about them. Here is the video for Love Song.

Of the bands listed so far, Ratt is probably more glam than the rest.  They formed in the early 80’s and lasted quite a while for disappearing and then recently releasing an album in 2011.  I actually had Out of the Cellar on vinyl; I think that was the last record I ever owned before switching to cassette…just dated myself.  They may have been more glam, but weren’t so over-the-top-cheesy.

Believe it or not, this 80’s band featured two members that both played in Megadeth.  While Lion, another band with a killer ballad, couldn’t quite reach a status to that of some of their counterparts.  I think it might have had something to do with their Extreme-like ballad When The Children Cry which was way over played.  Other than that popular tune, these guys did know how to rock out.  They tried to reunite and tour in the last several years, but interpersonal problems and threats of lawsuits prevented that from happening.

I could probably go on for quite a while, but these bands were probably the ones I listened to most in addition to the über popular bands listed above that are not on this list.  Do you have any favorites from those days – Trixter, Bang Tango, Skid Row?  Feel free to write in your vote.


Remember When…

At some point in a metalhead’s life there was a point at which metal entered said life.  If you are anything like me, there was a moment when your life changed from what it was to what it is now.  I am taking the time in this blog to reflect on where I came from (in musical interests) and the exact moment that my life changed.  This is one of those where you when JFK was shot moments…only I wasn’t alive back then.

In the 80’s I was into what was popular and at the time and 80’s hair bands ruled as far as I was concerned.  My first declared legitimate favorite band came in 1983 when I was 10 years old.  I was so hooked on Def Leppard’s Pyromania record…yeah I had the vinyl.  I had one of those portable suitcase type record players and I listened to the shit out that record.  At 10 years old I had my first favorite band and I was so jealous that my older brother was going to see them live.  My favorite songs on that album were Rock of Ages, Die Hard The Hunter, and Billy’s Got A Gun.  They still are.

I wasn’t until 2009 that I would catch Def Leppard live at Download Festival, U.K.  It was neat to see them live even if I just came from the Trivium headlining show at the second stage. 

From Def Leppard my muscial interests expanded to what is now affectionately known as hair metal, but I usually just call is 80’s rock.  My next favorite band is one that I actually got to see live…my first ever concert when I was 14. I bought my own ticket and got myself there.  It was actually a fairly short walk from home.  The headliner was none other than Loverboy, but the opener was the band I really wanted to see which was Dokken.  To this day I still really like Under Lock and Key and Beast From The East.  Dokken held the favorite band title for quite some time.  I was beginning to dabble with Ozzy and Judas Priest as well, but if you remember the 80’s like I do even Ozzy and Judas Priest were not scary at all and were not far off from the glam and glitz of that time.

Throughout the decade as I was trying to find myself, I was regularly listening to Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Dokken, Def Leppard, Ozzy, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, White Lion, Tesla, Poison, Great White, AC/DC, and just about any other band that played on MTV…when they actually played music.  The 80’s bands pretty much dominated MTV at the time so I listened to it all.

Sometime during the summer of 8th grade I had a little job working as a bus boy.  I had fun with it allowed me to buy my own music.  At this time I moved on to cassette tapes.  Anyway, in the back of the restaurant was this slightly older (by a few years) long haired kid who washed dishes.  Whenever I brought him stuff to clean he was always listening to this crazy heavy music.  I was intrigued, but all too shy to say anything.  Then one say said individual asks what I listen to.  So I start of rattle off the above mentioned bands.  He says that’s cool, but asked if I heard Metallica.  I say no, so he hits the play button on his boom box  The song that came on was Leper Messiah off Master of Puppets.  I remeber hearing Lars go 1,2,1,2,3,4,5 and then bam, ba, ba, bam, bam and so on.

That was it!  I never looked back.  I mean I definitely never forgot what I used to listen to.  But that warm summer New Hampshire day is when it all started.  When this kid took some time off I did the dishes for about two weeks and he left a case of tapes behind.  I soon heard Iron Maiden, Wasp, Megadeth, King Diamond, and many more.  I think that was summer of 87.  That’s when it started for me.

Today, I listen to pretty much the same metal, but that has expanded especially in the last two years after being in Europe.  I have been exposed to so much more.  BUT, after all is said and done I still throw in Under Lock and Key and Pyromania.  Do you remember when your metal began?  I would love to hear it.  Have a great day! Long live metal and those who inspired it.

 Photo Credit:

Def Leppard –

Dokken –