Monday, October 24, 2005

Halloween and metal

Yes, I know it is a week away, but I wanted to write about the upcoming holiday and it's connection to metal. Many metal bands have written songs about monsters and other topics that tie in quite nicely to Halloween. Alice Cooper, Kiss, King Diamond and many other acts have tied in elements of horror in with their stage shows. The Coop has often done shows on Halloween and I am sure he gets a crowd. I of course love metal and Halloween so it's a fun month for me. When I was in high school and college, I would try to listen to album or two that was horror related on Halloween. Oftentimes it was Alice Cooper, King Diamond or Slayer. I have gotten away from doing that in recent years due to working on Halloween or just having to do things around the house. This year we will be taking my daughter Trick or treating on Halloween, but I may try to make time for a horror related metal album or two on Saturday or Sunday. Maiden's The Number of the beast might be the first one that comes to mind. Even though not all of the songs are related, a few are and it's a great album. Alice Cooper's Love it to death comes to mind as a top choice as well. I mean it is certainly horror related because it has The ballad of Dwight Frye which is about the character actor who was in Universal's Dracula as well as several horror films in the 1930's. I used to love King Diamond back in the late 80's, but now I find his solo stuff a bit hard to take (except for the debut) due to his voice, but I could still listen to Mercyful Fate anyday. I love horror films a lot as well and try to watch them frequently during October, but I will try to squeeze in a few horror metal albums as well in the next week.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lemmy keeps rolling on

Lemmy will turn 60 next year and he was recently asked if he would retire and said he wouldn't at this point because he enjoys the lifestyle too much. Jon Lord of Deep Purple said he would retire when he turned 60. His 60th birthday came shortly after he finished tour and he retired. The music business is so different from the usual 9-5 that it has to be up to the individual and how they feel about retiring or going on. At that point in their careers, they don't have anything to prove so I guess it just becomes a matter of how much you enjoy touring and how your body and mind at that point. I support Lemmy in whatever he wants to do because he has been such a solid example of perseverance and consistency in not just the metal world, but in the music world. He can never get too much respect in my book because he has endured getting booted from Hawkwind, the first Motorhead album being shelved, legal problems and lots of line-up changes not to mention the number of changes and fads in music that have and gone since he has been in the business. Yet through it all he has kept on putting out albums and touring. Motorhead have eventually gotten their dues to some extent yet Lemmy seems to remain being the same person he has always been.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The next singer for Van Halen is.....

It's only rumor at this time, but several sites are reporting that there is talk that Van Halen may do that show Rock Star. I did not see any of the INXS season of it, but as I understand it people compete to be the singer of a known band. I don't know if Van Halen will take part in it or not, but it is certainly strange. Roth era Van Halen were definitely one of my favorite bands of all time so it's hard to imagine 3/4 of the original line-up taking part in a show where their singer is picked by a contest. I guess it just goes to show that they have hung up their creative hats and certainly don't plan on doing anything else real as far as music concerned. Yet like I said it is all still rumor at this time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The revolving door

It seems that very few bands keep the same line-up for a long period time. Motley Crue have done well to have only had six members since the release of the first album. We always used to joke about the Exploited changing band members like most people change underwear and they probably have had more band members that any other punk band, but what about metal bands? What metal/hard rock band has had the most members? Black Sabbath comes to mind due to the changes made after it was just Tony Iommi and a backing band because they went through a number of guys just between 86-90. Whitesnake might be up there as well. They went through a number of guys before 1987 and a lot of different people have played on tours over say the last ten years. However, my guess would be the band who has had the most members is LA Guns. In an interview with Metal Sludge last year, Phil Lewis was asked to name everyone who had been in the band and it was like 26 or 27 guys. Even though they have not done a lot of studio albums, LA Guns have toured a lot over the last 17 years so I guess that accounts for all of the members. However, unlike Black Sabbath, Whitesnake or even the Exploited, there hasn't even been one member who has been in every version of LA Guns. Traci Guns was in every version from the beginning until like two years ago. He hasn't been on the last two tours or the last album because he has been doing BOD, Phil Lewis and Steven Riley are in the current version and those guys have played on fewer Guns albums than Traci. Well, I would say that 27 members is a lot of guys for a band that has only produced two good albums (the first two) although I have heard the new album is supposed to be good. Let me know if you can think of a metal/hard rock that has had more members. I am trying to think more of bands than just solo artists although Whitesnake are really just a solo band. However, if I counted solo acts then Alice Cooper is probably up there as well with the number of guys who have played with him and the Nuge and Ozzy probably have high numbers as well.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tigertailz re-releases and other

Tigertailz are (yes, they are together again) a Welsh metal band. They formed around 1983 and were around until the mid-90's and then reformed again a few years ago. They are supposed to actually be releasing a new album next year. I remember seeing their debut Young and Crazy on the new record shelf at my local record store back in 1987. They had very much a glam look yet their debut was distributed on Combat here in the states which was strange because Combat mainly released speed metal and hardcore albums. I thought about buying it then, but didn't. Then around 1991 I saw Young and crazy on cd for maybe $3.00 so I bought it. I really like it and they had their influences, but it was different from other glam bands in some way. It was a bit more raw and not and they didn't seem to be trying to just make party style music. Many glam bands of the time seemed more influences by Kiss and Aerosmith, but Tigertailz main influences seemed more like Cheap Trick and Sweet. In the late 90's I sold this cd along with a number others when I needed the money to buy food and pay the rent. I regretted that of course as I eventually wanted to get it again and found out it was out of print and went for a high price on ebay. I was able to get a copy on lp last year for $3.00 on ebay so I was glad for that. I had never heard any of their other releases, but did know that they existed. A few years ago I saw that all of their releases were fetching high prices on ebay so I resigned myself to the fact that I may never hear any of their other material. Then recently I noticed that their second release Bezerk and a collection of B sides called Banzai were scheduled to be released on October 11th for $9.99. I couldn't believe it and considered ordering them. Yesterday I decided to stop at the record store and see if possible they had them in because this store is sometimes good about having imports for low prices. Sure enough I got both for $9.99 a piece.
I will try to be brief with my comments on these two albums. I knew the band had changed singers after the first album. Steevi Jaimz was replaced by Kim Hooker who sang on every release after the debut and is the band's current singer. Banzai is overall better than most of the releases from glam bands of the time, but not as good as I hoped. It sounds like fans of this band are split as to which singer they like, but I have to say I prefer Steevi Jaimz. He may not have the more powerful voice, but his voice his more distinct and that's what set him apart. Kim Hooker is solid, but sounds like a lot of other singers. The overall sound of Bezerk is similar in that Tigertailz seemed to have opted for a more popular sound instead of picking up where I think the debut left off. They still have some heavy riffs here and there that set them apart, but they also come off sounding like a heavier version of Danger Danger at times as well. Not that I mean that as a negative, but I think they could have been even better than they were. Banzai is a collection of B sides, it is certainly one of the best collections of rarities that I have heard. Most of these kind of albums tend to have songs that didn't make it onto an lp for obvious reasons or you get something listed as a remix, but it doesn't sound any different than the original version. Banzai is overall very good and just as enjoyable as Bezerk. Most of the songs are similar in style to the songs on Bezerk. It does have covers of Metallica's Creeping death and Megadeth's Peace sells. The Metallica cover is solid, but the Megadeth cover is more impressive because they put more of their sound into it. I glanced at their website and the band talked about how they had been trying for a while to get Banzai and Beserk re-released. They did say that they were hopeful about getting their third studio lp Wazbones re-released. Unfortunately they didn't think Young and Crazy would get re-released due to legal complications. Bezerk and Banzai are pretty cool albums if you like late 80's-early 90's glam metal and they are fairly priced.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Why are they unplugged?

Okay, there is another metal hasbeen tour has just started up and getting read to go across the states. This one is VH-1's Stripped which features Don Dokken, Stephen Pearcy, Jani Lane, Kip Winger and Firehouse. I think there are other artists who may join the tour in various cities. the tour is coming near where I live and Reb Beach is listed as being on the bill, but I am not sure if he is playing by himself or with one of the other artists because he has previously played with both Winger and Dokken. Anyway the Stripped part refers to this being an all acoustic set and this is where I raise my eyebrows. I certainly don't mean to harp on these guys because I understand them just wanting to make some money if they can, but that acoustic part gets me just considering who these people are. I honestly don't think I have ever heard Firehouse so I can't comment on them. I remember Kip Winger as being an okay singer, but it has been a long time since I heard him. Now the other three singers are my main cause of concern. Don Dokken was in his prime the best of the three singers by far, but reports are that he just can't his certain notes anymore, but keeps trying and it's not pretty. Stephen Pearcy has always been known for not being a great singer live and for having maybe not the strongest voice around and I am referring to reports from 20 years ago. Jani Lane is the one who seems to get the most criticism as in recent years he has been known to struggle singing live plus the number of shows and tours he has cancelled or pulled out of all together. I understand when some of these bands are put on a tour like the Rock never stops because they are playing the music they were known for playing and that's fine. Now this Stripped tour has guys who were never known for being the greatest musicians trying to do the kind of show that really requires talent to pull it off. I have always felt that if you suck or struggle during an acoustic set then it will be much more noticeable than during an electric set. They have three guys on this bill who are known for vocal limitations and that scares me. To be honest if I was forced to choose between seeing these five acts unplugged or seeing any two of the five playing an electric set then I would take the electric. I have to be honest and say that I just don't think some of these guys have the talent to pull off a good acoustic set and I am not sure what possessed VH-1 to think this was a better idea than just having a couple of these bands tour and play their regular sets.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ten days in December

I am hard at work on determining my top metal/hard rock albums of 1985. Well, actually I have just been listening to a lot of these albums on way to work. I am very near to having the top ten albums that will be in my top ten, but I don't have the order completely figured out yet. I am sure of the top five and their spots, but I am still working on the other spots. I also have two albums that I am considering for the number ten spot so I am taking my time in figuring it out because the one not selected will not make my top ten.
Oh, I guess that I should explain the title of this entry. My plan is that on December 1st, I will start with the number ten spot and write a few paragraphs on why this album deserved a spot in my top ten. Then I will do a countdown and announce the rest of my top ten at a rate of one per day. My number one album of 1985 will be announced on December 10th. I am sure no one is reading this, but doing this project has really helped me to listen harder to albums and really think about and explain why it's good or bad. Doing this has really my listening skills and helped me to listen further than just the surface or the first impression. I would certainly say it has been a good experience and I hope to do it for a few more years.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Grim Reaper- Fear no evil

Background/ initial thoughts
I wrote the last blog just about background information about this band and where they were at the time of this release. I remember the guy at the local music store telling me about this album the day it came out, but I bought something else that day. I eventually heard this album a few months later. I now own it on album and probably on tape somewhere, but I will be listening to the album for this. Probably the last time I heard this was back around 1999 because I remember pulling out albums that I had not heard in years and this was one that I listened to. I liked this album back in the 80's, but thought it was good rather than great. I liked Nick Bowcott's playing, but wasn't too big on Steve Grimmett's voice. So let's put it on the turntable and see what we have.
They tear into the title track and it's a middle pace offering, but heavy enough and very sharp. It's a good opening song that has me more pumped than I would have thought. Never Coming Back is up next and quite honestly it drags a bit. What's even worse is this song is just not good for Grimmet's voice as he sounds like he is really struggling to muster up some power here, but it's just not happening. At this point I feel like some of my enthusiasm after the first song is starting to disappear. Lord Of Darkness comes on and the vocals are certainly better, but the music sounds like it's in the background way too much. This surprises me as this did not happen with either of the first two tracks. All they had to do was bring the guitar up a notch and this would have been a good song instead of just decent. Matter Of Time is track four and it's overall a good fairly solid song. The sound is good although the rhythm may be a bit too simple, but that's a minor complaint. It's been a mixed bag so far and the next track is even a little more different than any of the previous songs. Rock & Roll Tonight just feels a little out of place because it just sounds like a basic hard rock song yet it feels like they are trying to just heavy it up so it fits in and that doesn't really work. It's not bad at all, but it just sounds more like a B side kind of song. Let The Thunder Roar comes on and this is where I made the realization of what I think was this band's biggest problem was. I used to think it was soley the vocals, but listening to this song was when I realized how the lyrics sound really crammed. Grimmet is trying to sing a lot of words and they are trying to squeeze them in to a very limited space of music. This is where I realized that Grim Reaper's main problem is that they weren't the best writers in the world and it wasn't actually the fault of Steve Grimmet's vocals. Lay It On The Line follows and it's in the same category as Lord of darkness in that the music is a bit too low, but it's still a solid song. Fight For The Last comes on strong and never lets up. It's a bit of an anthem, but the strong rhythms help it to stand out. The song has a very good solo as well to compliment it. Last up is Final Scream which starts out with some annoying spoken word nonsense that doesn't have a whole lot to do with the song. After the spoken word comes a few plodding notes and then it rips into the song. This makes a very appropriate bookend to the opening track and both are pounding tunes that are similar in style. Also present in this song is some of Nick Bowcott's best work. The song ends and it's time for me to figure out what I think and what I know.

Verdict/ Final word- I think I summed it up about halfway through by saying it's a mixed bag, but overall decent. There were a few really good songs and some that could have better. The strongest songs showed their potential and their talent, but I think the song writing held them back. The first album is a very similar style, but it's just a shame that they didn't show much growth from the first album to the second. Although I would say this is my favorite album of the three as their best songs here are better than most of the songs on the other two albums. I think it is almost as good as I thought it was back then. Although my problems with it are different now then they were back then.Grim Reaper received decent reviews and some people thought they had bigger things ahead of them. Their third album was originally entitled Night of the vampire and it was supposed to be out as early as fall of 1986. I am not sure why but it didn't come out until summer of 1987 and the title was changed to Rock you to hell. They toured with Armored Saint and Helloween in 87 on the Hell on wheels tour, but broke up shortly thereafter. Steve Grimmet ended up in speed metal outfit Onslaught for a while and I believe he did a few other projects. Nick Bowcott was writing a guitar column for Circus magazine and had a band called Barfly. I believe they did get signed, but I don't think they ever released an album. So one of the last hopes to emerge from the New Wave of British heavy metal failed to join the ranks of Iron Maiden or Def Leppard, but they left behind some albums that I will listen to from time to time.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Starwood, who and why?

Starwood are actually three/fourths of the Lizzy Borden line-up that did Lizzy's last lp Deal with the devil. Yet they changed their look, sound, bandname and dropped their last names. They did an album called If it's not broke, break it back in 2004. It was kind of a shock to me because back in fall of 2003 Lizzy Borden's site said they were looking for a guitarist and a new Lizzy album would be out in spring of 2004. Some time not too long after this, the site went down and Starwood popped up with an album just a few months later. Lizzy Borden have always been pretty much a metal band, but Starwood is much a hard rock sound with some definite 70's glam influences. A few months ago the Lizzy Borden website resurfaced only it just had one page with a live picture and said there would be a new album in 2006. I saw this as recently as last month. Today Blabbermouth reported that there would be a new Starwood lp early next year and that the band was getting ready to play a few dates in Japan and then they would be back in the states to start recording. Now I am confused because I doubt there will be an album from both bands and since the Starwood news is more recent then I would say a new Starwood album is more likely than a new Lizzy Borden album. My question is why are they all of a sudden having a change of identity and sound? My guess is they would sell more albums as Lizzy Borden then as Starwood, but money may not be an issue at this point. I am a Lizzy Borden fan from way back and I was looking forward to a new album. I only bought the Starwood album when it showed in the bargain bin for $3.99. It was certainly good, but not as good as the last Lizzy Borden. Then again I am probably talking about two bands where only a few dozen people care about anyhow.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The worst concert experience: A memory

That Grim Reaper review is coming soon, but the rain today made me think of another rainy day back in August of 1992. I have not been to that many concerts, but they have mainly been good experiences. Actually all but one have been overall good and that one is what I wanted to write about today. It was August of 1992 and I was going to start college in a few weeks. I was 22 and I had bounced around trying to figure out what to do before deciding to go to college. The four years of full time work had allowed me to save enough money to pay for college on my own. I had gone to zero concerts in 1991, but I had managed to go to several shows all in the summer of 1992. One of the best shows I saw was Wrathchild America at Hammerjacks in maybe June or July. They were really tight and just tore through songs from their two albums plus some new material. Well, in August I heard that Wrathchild was going to be playing at a speedway in south central Pennsylvania about half an hour from where I live. Along with Wrathchild were Harpo who were a veteran hard rock band from central Pa. and Cry were a young band from York, Pa. whose demo had gotten a positive write-up in Rip magazine earlier that Summer. Also on the bill were Trouble Walkin, Spellbound and some other local band I had never heard of. A friend of mine lived about ten minutes from the speedway and asked if I wanted to go so I was certainly up for seeing Wrathchild again.
The day came and it was cloudy, but I'm hopeful the sun will come out. I went with my friend, his wife, his younger brother and two of his friends. Now I have to tell you that I live kind of out in nowhere and this speedway was further out in nowhere. As soon as we pull up there are two security guards who have us get out of the car while they search it to make sure we aren't trying to smuggle in beer. Why is it that the least important events tend to have the most serious security people? Anyway that was overwith and we went in. The stage was actually a fair size and there was an open area in front of it for people to be and metal stands behind that. We sat on the stands and waited as the temperature was dropping and the skies were getting dark. Soon enough the rain started and people tried to find shelter. It rained for most of an hour and then stopped. During the rain, I had overheard someone say that Harpo and Cry weren't going to be playing yet no formal announcement of this had been made. Once the rain cleared, equipment was set up and a band called Spellbound came on. I think they were from Lancaster, but I am not sure. Now this was a small nothing place in south central Pa. in 1992, but Spellbound looked like they thought it was 1985 and they were and LA band. They had big hair, lots of scarves and several of them were wearing make-up. Unfortunately they didn't sound like Ratt or Motley Crue, they just sounded like a poor cover band with even worse originals. Actually the music was okay, but the singer was bad and I mean sounding like a cat being strangled kind of bad. I think their rock star posing is what got to me and there were plenty of teenage girls who thought they were good. They did a cover of Def Leppard's Let it go which I had to admire them for picking a more obscure Lep song, but they butchered it. They even thought enough of themselves to toss out guitar picks and t-shirts. Once they finished, I truly hoped the next band would be better. After more rain and an even longer wait, guys came out and set up different equipment. During this time, I overheard someone point to an RV nearby and say they thought Wrathchild were in there. The next band came on and it was a three piece cover band called Trouble Walkin'. They were local and unlike Spellbound, there were no costumes, posing or make-up. Just a decent band who did some cool covers of Metallica's Seek and destroy and Van Halen's Ice Cream Man plus some other covers and a few originals. They were nothing spectacular, but they were solid. After their set, I couldn't help notice that the RV that was nearby was now gone. I also wondered why the t-shirt stand had shirts for Spellbound and shirts for the event, but no Wrathchild shirts. I had just seen Wrathchild weeks earlier and they had lots of merchandise for sale. The rain really set in at this time and the area in front of the stage became a big mud pit. At this time the murmuring began that Wrathchild had pulled out because the promoter didn't have their money. However some more equipment was being set up, but there was no Wrathchild banner and there was some weird pillar being put up to the side of the stage. Finally a guy came on the stage and he was obviously straining to try and smile. He went up to the microphone and said he had good news and bad news. He started with the bad news which I was afraid of and that was "Wratchchild America will not be performing tonight". The name of the promoter was Charlie Starr (I think) and as soon as this announcement was made, one guy near me shouted at the top of his lungs "Well, Charlie Starr can kiss my ass". Even though he was drunk, I agreed with the sentiments and almost everyone else did to and they let a loud round of boos. Once it quieted down, the guy said and the good news is "Scary Mary from Littlestown will be playing instead". This lead to another round of boos even though I doubt anyone knew who this band was. Littlestown lives up to about half of it's name as it is little, but I am not sure it qualifies as a town. Anyway after the boos died down, the guy said Wrathchild America would be playing there in two weeks with four other bands and anyone who had paid for this event would receive a pass to go to that event for free. Only problem was I was leaving for college two days before that event so I would be rooked. About twenty people left after these announcements. We decided to stick it out and see Scary Mary. They came on and the singer was shirtless and well, if you are chubby and white as paste then you should put your shirt back on, but he was good. They came on and played Wrathchild by Iron Maiden in honor of Wratchchild America and it was tight. They played covers by Judas Preist, Accept, Metallica plus Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains. They were solid and their originals sounded a lot like early Metal Church. We watched about an hour and then left because it was getting late and the rain was getting worse.
I went home and took a hot bath because I was cold after sitting in the rain all day. It wasn't a good concert experience and it just made me feel that I lived in a small area where I shouldn't have expected a real concert to take place. At the end of the day I was left knowing music as I knew it had changed and it was a bit sad to me as a big metal fan. The metal I knew had been getting pushed out for almost year by this time even though I didn't want to admit it. Seeing the spectacle of Spellbound trying to pretend it was still the mid-80's sunk in as did the fact that Scary Mary were obviously a metal band who now felt the need to play grunge covers in order to stay current. Another sign was that most of the people at the concert were over 20 and most of the over 20's were wearing metal shirts like Ozzy, Maiden and Priest while the under 20's were wearing shirts of Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It was a bit of a last hurrah for me, I just wish Wrathchild had played so it would have been a good memorable experience. Still, I am glad for my memories both good and bad.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Setting up Grim Reaper

Normally I put this kind of background stuff in with the review, but I decided to make it a separate entry because I went off a bit more than normal. I choose this album to review for October because the band had some horror related songs and because I wanted to review an album by a New wave of British heavy metal band or the NWOBHM as I will refer to it. The NWOBHM hit in the early 80's, but by 1985 a lot of bands had broke up or faded away, but there were still several that were very active. Once metal started getting popular in the early 80's American labels starting signing bands and not to sound snooty, but bands from other countries realized that if they wanted to make serious money then they would have to get on an American label. So by 1985, Iron Maiden had made it huge and I mean huge just about everywhere. Def Leppard had made it big as well when Pyromania came out in 1983. Yet by 1985 their future was a bit uncertain after Rick Allen's accident in late 84. Saxon made a little bit of an impact in the early 80's and they landed a major label deal, but by late 85 they had failed to gain the kind of popularity many thought they would achieve. Raven got signed by Atlantic and released their major label debut Stay Hard in 85. Unfortunately their sound had become somewhat tame and they did not make much of an impact. Venom had been signed to Combat and headlined the Ultimate Noise tour. They had a huge impact on the speed metal scene that was just starting to explode. Unfortunately Venom had not tried to grow at all musically and they were quickly being passed by the same bands they had influenced. That was a lot of the major players who had managed to land US record deals except Grim Reaper. This band formed in 1981 at the height of the NWOBHM, but it took them a while to get their sound together and finally they did get signed by tiny Ebony records who released their debut See you in hell. RCA picked them up and distributed the album over here to good reviews. By 1985, Grim Reaper were getting a good push from magazines and they were due to release their second album in the summer of 1985. Would it catapult them to being the next Iron Maiden or Judas Priest or would it be too little too late? I will have my review out as soon as I can.

Monday, October 03, 2005

October rules

Ah, finally my favorite month of the year. We have Halloween, the NFL season is in full swing, the world series can be interesting, the weather is cool and horror movies tend to pop up all over the place. Lots of reasons why it's my favorite month. It tends to go way too fast and I always feel a little sad on November 1st. I don't have a lot planned for the month. I do plan on carving some pumpkins, watching a lot of horror movies and taking my daughter trick or treating so definitely a few things to look forward to. For my album review this month I wanted to do something Halloween related. Iron Maiden only did a live album in 1985, King Diamond only did a 12 inch, Celtic Frost only did an ep and there were no Ozzy or Black Sabbath albums out that year. I thought briefly about doing Slayer's Hell Awaits or Possessed's Seven Churches, but I decided to do Grim Reaper's Fear no evil instead. I have actually listened to it already so now it's just a matter of writing the review so hopefully I will get to that soon. Enjoy the month!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Thunderstruck- Movie review

Okay, I have been on an AC/DC kick as of late which is why I am going to write a brief review of a movie that is sort of about them, but mainly not. This Australian film just came out on region one disc a few weeks ago. The film starts out in 1991 and five friends see AC/DC in concert then they avoid being killed because they find an old poster of Bon Scott in an alley way. They think he was watching over them so they make a pact that if one them dies before reaching 40 the others will take the remains to be buried next to Bon Scott. These guys are in a garage band and of course they think they will be big. Flash forward 12 years and life has been poor to average for four of them, but Ronnie has made money by writing jingles. The five former friends have not seen much of each other in years. Ronnie is killed in a freak accident and the others must decide whether to follow through with the promise. They eventually decide to do it and set out to take his ashes to be buried next to Bon Scott. They run into all kinds of obstacles and odd people along the way before finally fulfilling their promise.
I will start with the negatives and the biggest one is their is only one AC/DC song on the soundtrack which of course is Thunderstuck. I was really surprised that there weren't more AC/DC songs here and it would have helped. Some of the humor falls flat and the pacing seems a little awkward at times. That's about it for my problems with this film.
The positive list is a little longer overall. The acting was overall decent, not spectacular but believable enough. There were a number of funny moments throughout the film and even some just strange humor which is always welcome.What I liked most about the movie was that it was subtle in how they dealt with friendship and dealing with getting older and taking responsibility. While watching this film, I was reminded of Without a paddle which is a recent film with a similar plot. In Without a paddle, three friends are brought back together when a fourth friend dies an untimely death. They find a treasure map left by their friend and they set off after the treasure. It's a good film, but because it's Hollywood the film has to tie everything up nice and neat and have all of the characters have the problems in their lives resolved to some extent. That's not true in Thunderstruck and I like that. They may imply some things at the end of Thunderstuck, but because it's Australia instead of Hollywood they didn't feel that they had to wrap everything up perfectly. I commend them for doing this because it is perfectly okay to leave something to your imagination.
Overall this was a decent film, it could have used some more AC/DC songs, but it's worth seeing.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

When should a band call it quits?

As a sports fan, I think of this situation as it applies in sports and it happens often. The situation is when should a sports star retire? They love the game and sometimes they play beyond their prime and they tarnish their record by becoming a joke. Back in the 80's this wasn't that common in metal, but now it is as many bands from the 80's embark on comebacks, reunions or whatever they want to call them. I think about some of these bands who do tours every summer and I am reminded of some words from one of my favorite Halloween specials. In the Peanuts Halloween special Lucy is asked where Linus is and she says something to the extent of "He's out in the pumpkin patch making his year fool of himself." So my question is are some of these bands who don't do albums, but just tour each summer just out there making their yearly fools of themselves? Or are the people who pay good money to see them the fools? I don't go to that many shows so I have not been to any of shows although I have thought about going to a few. This topic does tie in with one I wrote about hasbeen tours back in maybe July. To get back to the heading, when should a band call it quits? A number of these guys are not putting out albums so they are just touring. However someone like Cinderella aren't doing albums yet they are supposed to be really good live and they have the same line-up that did most of their tours in their heyday. While other bands like LA Guns and the Bulletboys are doing albums that get poor reviews and these bands have just one or two members from their prime days. I am sure the band's answer is they stop when the people stop coming to see them, but I think that's when they started doing package tours with the hopes that four bands will bring enough of a crowd for it to be worth their while. My feeling is a band shouldn't be doing continual tours if they are not doing albums. I know that's not written down anywhere, but that's how I feel. Yet I see pictures from these shows and it's a lot of guys my age or even older going to see them. Virtually no kids unless it's the kids of people from my age who have somehow gotten their kids into 80's metal bands. A lot of the bands that are embarrassing now are bands that have been embarrassing for years or don't have that much musical talent to begin with.