Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I have taken off work today as I do every year on this day because it's my favorite holiday. We are doing chores during the day, but then we are taking the kids trick or treating in the evening. Have a good holiday and I will be back tomorrow with the a really big Battle of the bands.

My wife has written about some real stories that she thought were scary over at her blog.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Horror movie mini-reviews:Vampire edition

Fright Night(1985)-A high school boy thinks a vampire moved in next door and tries to get a film vampire killer to help him. A little dated, but my favorite vampire film of the 80's.

Dracula(1931)-Dracula(Bela Lugosi) goes to London and tries to make a woman his vampire bride. Okay, the direction could have been better and tighter yet this is my favorite version of this story.

Dracula (Spanish version-1931)-Same as above and filmed on the same sets yet with a different cast and crew. What's better than the Lugosi version? The direction is far better with different camera angles and prime use of the sets. Lupita Tovar is great as Eva (the Mina character).
What's worse?Carlos Villarias(Dracula) is no Bela Lugosi as he struggles and severely overacts. Also Eduardo Arozamena (Van Helsing) is no Edward Van Sloan

Count Dracula(1970)-Count Dracula(Christopher Lee) tries to pull in a young woman into being his bride. This Italian made film claimed to be a faithful adaption of Stoker's book. There are a few parts from the book, but there is a lot of mess in this cheapie as well and even Lee can't save it.

John Carpenter's Vampires(1998)-Vampire hunters in the southwest run into a powerful vampire. The concept of a vampire western and the opening hunting scene are very good, but it crawls after that. Good idea is wasted on mediocre melodrama.

Taste the blood of Dracula(1970)-Dracula(Christopher Lee) tries to get revenge on three men who killed one of his followers. It's obvious that Dracula was stuck in this script late in the game. However the acting is good and the sets are strong.

Kiss of the vampire(1963)-A cult of vampires living near a mountain town attempt to pull in a young newlywed woman. I love this film for it's approach to vampirism as a disease.

Count Yorga, vampire(1970)-Young people get pulled in by a vampire living in LA. Benefits from being a little brutal at times, but is hurt by cliches such as Yorga wearing a cape in 1970.

Planet of the vampires(1965)-Not really vampires like the blood sucking variety, but more like living undead. A rescue spaceship finds a missing ship, but the crew begin acting strange and members of the rescue mission go missing. Italian film from Mario Bava (Black Sabbath, Black Sunday) that's just okay for the story, but visually stunning and odd for the time.

Blade(1998)-A half human/half vampire martial artist takes on vampires. The action and fight scenes are stunning, but it's like a big music video at times.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ozzy-Diary of a madman, 1981

Remember a time when Ozzy was coherent and he was actually cool? Yes, I miss those days and it does seem ages ago. When Ozzy was booted out of Sabbath in 1979, many people didn't think he would do much after that. However, not only did he put out some quality albums right away, but he made an even bigger impact than Sabbath did without him. Diary of a madman was the second album from Ozzy's solo career and to me it's his best. It contains eight tracks without any filler at all and some of the strongest writing and performances of Ozzy's long career. With the way he is and has been for at least a decade, it is sometimes easy to forget that he was once a real leader in metal. At least during the first two albums he and his band were really laying down some foundations for 80's metal. The band is so tight in their playing and Ozzy is spot on at hitting changes with ease and using his voice to the fullest. Songs like Over the mountain, S.A.T.O and the haunting title track allow the band to take less conventional approaches yet they still come across as being heavy. Tracks like Flying high again and Tonight show that the band is very much capable of pulling off strong melodies and be memorable without being fluffy. The more I listen to this album the more positives I find in it. I think in the 80's that Ozzy got labeled as this metal madman and got stamped with this image that he portrayed at times, but it was largely more image than reality. However Diary does so much as it manages to bring together lots of sounds that fall in the realm of hard rock and metal yet the transitions in the songs are seamless. If a band (no matter what the style) were needing an example of how to properly do pace changes and get the most out of them then this album would be towards the top of my list of suggestions for required listening. The rhythm section is great and keep things going throughout the course of the album. Randy Rhoads got a lot of credit as being a virtuoso guitarist and I think that gets debated to some extent. He was a great player, but I am not sure he had time to really establish his own style before his untimely death in early 1982. Anyway he can shred on the solos for sure, but his rhythms and the ease with which he plays the many various parts here is phenomenal. I think we as listeners forget how well he is doing this just because he does it so effortlessly. You only need to pull out other metal albums by other artists and you will hear what I mean and understand the difference. Just a great, great album that earns Ozzy a lot of praise despite what he is now or the fact that he only did one great studio album after this. My only complaint with this album might be that there is a track or two where they fade out on a solo. This is a method that I do not like at all because if you play a solo then we want hear it played to it's fullest.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What's coming up?

The first part of next week is still in October so those topics will be:

-Ozzy-Diary of a madman review (I listened to it Friday afternoon on vinyl)
-The last ten horror movie mini-reviews
-Something on Halloween

The rest of the week is of course the start of November so those topics will include.

-Battle of the bands
-Metallica-Master of puppets twenty year old album review (I have my vinyl set out to listen to this weekend)
-and maybe one other topic

Actually I pulled out several albums today and in addition to Ozzy I listened to Ratt, At War, Dokken and Vyper all on vinyl. There is still something great about lowering the needle and feeling the anticipation as you hear the quick pops right before the music starts.

**Here is an issue that's going on and will probably continue for a while. With Tower records going out and more ordering online and downloading, do you think record stores will eventually be phased out completely?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Top ten Scooby Doo episodes

I have been doing a few non-music related topics lately, but Halloween only comes once a year. My love of horror might very well have begun with watching this cartoon when I was kid. Now I watch it with my kids. Here are my top ten favorite Scooby Doo episodes and brief descriptions of each.

10-The ghost of the bad humor man-The gang runs into the strawberry, chocolate and vanilla phantoms at an ice cream factory.

9- That's snow ghost- A snow ghost who flies through the air causes problems for the gang.

8- Which witch is witch-A witch living in a swamp appears to turn people into zombies and is using voodoo dolls.

7-The spirits of '76-Something is going on in a national museum in Washington DC. Are the ghosts of three famous traitors behind it?

6- Scooby's night with a frozen fright-Has an ancient cavemen really come to life?

5-The headless horseman of Halloween-The headless horseman is looking for a head and the gang are caught in the middle.

4-Go away, Ghost ship- Can Redbeard the pirate really be responsible for the recent disappearances of several ships?

3- Jeepers, it's the creeper- A monster known as the creeper appears to be robbing banks.

2- Spooky space kook-An abandoned airfield, a space ship and a monstrous visitor from space all add up to a strange mystery.

1-The Backstage rage-The gang suspect some counterfeiting and the clues lead to an old theater and some puppets that seem alive.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

King Diamond-Fatal Portrait, 1986

Following Mercyful Fate's 1984 album "Don't break the oath", there were disagreements in the band over lyrics and musical direction. The band split and King formed his own band. His first solo release was the single "No presents for Christmas" in 1985. Then in 1986 he was ready to release his first full length album.


The candle- There are some weird voices as the introduction and then we are underway. This song is fairly medium paced, but is very busy with swirling guitars, numerous pace changes and King's range all over the place. Yet it never feels out of control and always come back to the main focus of the song.

The Jonah-Okay, more odd sound effects at the beginning and then it comes on slowly. It takes about a minute and a half for this to really get underway, but once it does it's fairly interesting. Different form the opening track, but it works.

The portrait- This one comes on like a storm with a big riff and a heavy drum beat. They sound very much in control and everything is very sharp. By this point the songs are different from each other in pace, but the band has already established the style of their sound. Some great work on the solo here, it's brief yet solid.

Dressed in white- Track four comes on with no build up and the King wastes no time in using his range to the fullest.This songs is just over three minutes long, but it is chock full of everything that is good about this band. No wasted notes on this song, that's for sure. Best song so far.

Charon-King screams to start this off and then it goes into a simple medium paced approach. Lots of vocals and very little music changes during the first say two minutes, but then it picks up a little. Seems a bit more confined than the previous tracks which makes it a little less interesting to me.

Lurking in the dark- A little routine at first, but the solo is very strong. Overall good, but took some time to really get going.

Halloween- This track is fairly straight forward with a simple rhythm, but very precise. This song does a good job of proving that the band know how to deliver some solid hooks.

Voices from the past- A bit odd sounding instrumental with different tones and pace changes. It certainly works as this point though because it's so different.

Haunted- Nice closer overall as the track has a very distinct sound. As with most of the album this song is exceptionally tight.

Final Word/Verdict- I used to think that the three albums after this were better. Now I am sure that this album is better than "Them" and "Conspiracy". It is very close to being as good as "Abigail". It's far more concise that some of the albums that follow. The music is the focus rather than the stories and it shows. So often the music of this band gets overlooked because of the image that is often associated with the King and his beliefs, lyrics and stageshow. There really were and are some great musicians in this band. The production is stellar as well. This is one of the few twenty year old albums I have reviewed that actually sounds better to me now then it did in 1986. It took me a while to find time to really listen to this, but I am glad I did as it is still quite a solid album.

**Next month's 20 year old album review will be Metallica's Master of puppets.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What's going on?

Well, for starters I will finally have that King Diamond- Fatal Portrait review out tomorrow as long as Blogger cooperates. I have about 2/3 of it written. The speakers on my computer are working again so that makes it easy for doing a song by song review.
The other news is that I think I have top ten albums for 1986 completed. I will post these one a day in a countdown that will take place during the first ten days of December. Then on day eleven I post the "Golden Turd award" for 1986 and I have decided what it will be. I don't like to be totally negative so I am going to add a new award and it will "Biggest improvement". So the Biggest improvement award for 1986 will be posted the same day as the Golden Turd. On the twelth day of December I will post the top and bottom five album covers for 1986. I have not figured those out yet though. I did this project last year and it's been just as fun doing it this year.

Metal Oktoberfest

I talk so much about American and UK bands on my blog, but I probably don't give enough praise to German metal bands. The Scorpions get their share of praise, but they are one of the few who are widely known. Accept get some praise in some circles here. There was once a great outpouring of speed metal bands from this country back in the mid to late 1980's. The "big three" was a term used for Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. They rose to the top of the German speed metal pack by say 1988-89. Warlock got some notice over here after a few albums. They probably got notice due to lead singer Doro Pesch was often in pictures in the metal magazines. She went solo after the band broke up, but her career never really took off here. Then there are some old style straight up metal bands like Grave Digger and pirate themed band Running Wild. Both bands are still going although they each only have one original member left. Beer themed thrash band Tankard might actually be the most productive thrash band of the last twenty years if you count how many albums they done. There are also Scorpions' related acts such as the Michael Schenker group and Uli Jon Roth, both of whom were former Scorps' guitarists. So make it a Metal Oktoberfest and celebrate by listening to some German metal.

*Feel free to add your favorite German metal artists that I didn't mention.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Can't keep up with new releases

It seems like I buy very few new releases anymore. Not because there aren't good albums coming out, but because of lack of funds and there are so many past releases that I am still trying to track down. I just learned yesterday that Faster Pussycat released a new album a few months ago although it seems to have received a number of less than favorable reviews. I also just found out that Bang Tango released a new album although I think it is just singer Joe Leste as the only original member. I also just found out that former Kix member Brian Forsythe was in Rhinobucket and played on their new album which I also have yet to hear, but it has gotten good reviews. Krokus have a new album out and it is getting generally good reviews so I may have to track that down as least.

Ten more mini horror movie reviews

Kingdom of the spiders-1977
William Shatner and a few towns people try to survive being overrun by angry tarantulas.
Surprising decent film that works by using simple effects and decent performances.
Grade: B

Tales from the darkside the movie-1990
Anthology film of three tales within a framing story.
Overall decent yet the effect are slightly dated.

Teenage Monster-1958
The monster is actually a man who mumbles and is covered in hair. It's also set during frontier times so the monster wears jeans, boots and a flannel shirt.
A true waste of film in every way. If you know of a worse film then keep it to yourself.

House of Frankenstein-1944
A scientist uncovers Frankenstein's notes and the monster. He tries to revive the monster while Larry Talbot begs the scientist to cure him from turning into a werewolf.
Messy plot, but a great cast and nice sets make it one of the better monster films of the 1940's.

The Swarm-1978
Swarms of killer bees attack American cities.
Despite a well know cast, it's a little hard to take. This film is long and takes itself a bit too serious.

And now the screaming starts-1973
Newlywed couple are haunted by a family curse and a severed hand.
A bit slow, but fairly effective gothic horror.

Anthology of horror stories including a Father's day story, a man battling bugs and more.
Very predictable and a little dated, but a fast pace helps out.

Army of darkness-1993
Horror comedy about a one-handed man who is sent back to medieval times where he battles the book of the dead.
Wonderful film that I never get tired of. Perfect blend of horror, fantasy and comedy. I have seen this film at least fourty times.

Pit and the pendulum-1961
Vincent Price plays a man who fears he has buried his wife alive.
Takes lots of liberties with Poe's story, but it's atmospheric and overall works.

A long running war between vampires and werewolves takes place.
The idea has promise yet the vampires are mainly aristocratic snobs while the werewolves have no personalities at all. Lots of wire stunts and shooting seem to be the focus. It does look good overall and that helps.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Metal musicians in horror movies

Once while in college I walked a mile each way to a video store just to rent "Monster Dog". This was a very cheaply made 80's horror films starring Alice Cooper. It wasn't much good at all yet I was glad that I could say that I saw it. I am probably one of the few people who were glad that they saw this film though. It seems that horror movies and metal seem to go together fairly well. The afore mentioned Mr. Cooper has been is a few horror movies. Gene Simmons and Ozzy were both in the heavy metal themed "Trick or treat". Dee Snider wrote and acted in "Strangeland" although I have never seen it. Also behind the camera Rob Zombie has worked as a writer, producer and director for horror films in recent years. Glenn Danzig is supposedly writing and directing a voodoo/zombie film called Ge Rouge which I am sure will awful if it ever sees the light of day. Anyway I guess a number of metal bands write about dark topics because they like horror movies or horror themes so being in horror films is not too surprising for some of these people.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Different singers

Recently Theo over at metal-mixtape was writing about the new Skidrow and some of the comments left and my own opinion had me thinking about vocalist changes. As far as this band goes, I am in the camp of those that have no real interest in a Skidrow album without Sebastian Bach. Yet looking back I was one of the few who supported Motley Crue's one album without Vince Neil. So why do we accept some bands who change vocalists and not others? I have always seen Van Halen with Sammy as a different band than they were with Dave. I accept AC/DC with Brian Johnson a little more although I much prefer the Bon Scott material. I like Iron Maiden with Bruce and with Dianno yet I try hard to forget the Blaze Bayley era. Sometimes it's just whether an album is good or not. Then other times like with Van Halen or Skidrow, I think it's very hard to replace a frontman who was so good because you identify that band with that person.

Any thoughts?

What's coming up?

I am back from my trip. This week I hope to have the following out as Halloween gets closer.

-King Diamond-Fatal Portrait review
-Ozzy-Diary of a madman review

-Metal Oktoberfest
-Ten more horror movie mini-reviews
-Top Ten Scooby Reviews
-Metal musicians in horror movies

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ray's post

The last guest blogger of the week is Ray who writes Pulses, verses and other flotsam. Ray is also one of my oldest friends and I am not just saying that because he is nine days older than I am (hehehe).

Metal Memories with Metal Mark
By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Thanks to Mark for inviting me to blather at his dedicated readership for a few... Mark and I have been friends since 1983 and he was my main metal brother in our farmstead Palookaville known as the North Carroll region.

Collectively we may have had less than ten serious metalheads in our area, so we didn’t really have what you’d consider a “scene,” but we had about as many punk rockers that we assimilated with just before the crossover phenomenon of the late eighties, which is something I personally had always wanted to see and was something I discussed with the punkers in our high school because frankly, an outcast is an outcast, and if we’re digging the same music or similar-oriented music, why not dispel with the division lines in light of the common enemy, which was the preppies and princesses that looked down upon us?

I think my friendship with Mark started over comic books before metal, but that avenue became the core of our association and even as a metal journalist who now writes for nine magazines and a handful of websites, I still defer in many ways to Mark. He’s always been the real-deal (though a little stuck in his ways…just kidding, man!) and to me that’s why I think we’ve remained friends for so long, at least from my perspective. Mark’s always been true to himself and his thoughts on metal and other things in life we’ve discussed over the course of 23 years.

I can honestly say I miss the simplicity of our lives when we’d be yakking on the phone most nights, slagging the people we hated in school, slagging the poser bands out there and the poser fans (Mark will recall a certain permed Bon Jovi freak we used to torment incessantly, who ended up being right that Queensryche was a great band), but most importantly, we’d celebrate our love of metal in different ways, most of which were obnoxious to our parents.

Back then, you had tapes before CDs came out….ugh, how archaic…and Mark would always drag a small tape player and play something that would freak his parents out, Mercyful Fate, Raven, WASP, all sorts of good stuff, and I would do likewise, though I had to turn my stereo up to make it sound through the phone, annoying my folks in the process…

Mark and I briefly bagged groceries together at a local store and we had a small little record store in the same shopping center that we’d both piss our paychecks away at. I think together, Mark and I couldn’t be beat between our collections. If anyone was talking about a certain metal band, either of us was likely to have it. Mark started following the black and death metal scenes that I was initially leery of, but I soon saw the value of what was coming out and then it was game on for me. I can honestly say the more extreme side of my music tastes was initially nurtured by Mark.

We were both quiet, pissed-off teenagers who gave the finger a lot…even to each other on occasion! We hated normal people and bellyached frequently about them (more so me than Mark, depending on the situation). We were quintessential mall rats always on the prowl for metal and we’d loudly criticize the stores that didn’t have a proper metal section, which was most of them if you’re talking about malls! I think we did have one in the Cranberry Mall (now known as The Town Mall of Westminster) that had a pretty good metal section back in the day, now that I think about it. Who would’ve thought? Kind of funny now, since metal today is a big mall commodity…

I kind of wish we’d been able to go to more shows than we did back in the day, but we did catch some cream of the crop concerts back then such as Priest with Megadeth and Testament, Anthrax with Helloween and someone (Mark, help me here), Monsters of Rock ’88, Government Issue, and he’s been with me a couple of times recently for Mastodon, GBH and one of the most memorable nights of my metal life, Joey Belladonna’s solo gig right before he rejoined Anthrax. Joey let us hang with him and I conducted a rather lame, off-the-cuff interview, but he treated us like guests and we spent about two hours with Joey before he took the stage to a miserably-attended crowd of maybe 40 people, but he played like it was sold out, and Joey even took the drums…

Before this drags on too much longer, I’d have to say that I enjoyed having Mark as my compatriot in metal back then, and even though our lives have changed a good bit over the years, it’s good when I get the rare opportunities to visit him that we still yammer on about metal, and Mark, true to his fashion, plays snippets of albums for you to sample by. His presentation is unique, because you leave his house wanting to hear more from like 3 or 4 bands that he’s put into your ears. He’s always done that. Damn you, Mark…

A final thing that comes to my mind was when Mark and I got together with another mutual longtime friend Bob, and we took our shot at starting a band. Mark ponied up the money for me to play drums and I was slow paying him back. It’s too bad we couldn’t get anything going with our little band, but I sold the drums, paid Mark back and the biggest testament to that whole failed endeavor is that the three of us remain friends to this day, and I’m probably the only one willing to admit we had the band at all! The point is, Mark’s as close a friend as I’ve had in my life, and it’s a pleasure to write this little (well, maybe not little) piece on his blog that I’m quite proud of him for doing…

Friday, October 20, 2006

Steve's post

Next up is Steve who writes Heavy Metal Addiction. He is a brave soul because this is the second time he has volunteered to guest blog here for me.

The Death of Music Retail

by Steven Angulo

If you have been keeping up with the news regarding Music Retail, then you might have seen that the legendary Tower Records has gone out of business. For those who don't know, Tower owed a lot of money to various creditors and clients and the chain had tried to hang on. With major competition from online stores, downloading, and large "big box" retailers (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc.), Tower was sold to the highest bidder and the doors have started to close around the country.

The closest Tower Records to me was in Burlington, MA, just North of Boston. I'd say it was close to a two hour ride from Pawtucket, RI so I never went there for music. Every Halloween, I take the the ride to Salem, MA to take in the ambience of the season in the historical town famous for the Witch hysteria that gripped the early settlers of our nation. Without fail, I would always pull in to the Tower on the way home just to see if there was anything there worth picking up.

People have spoke about Tower Records and described it as one of the most sacred places for music lovers: the unique decor, the competitive pricing, the surly but knowledgeable staff. The one detail I have read about over the years was Tower's unique selection of music, a supermarket for albums spanning every genre. The chain carried everything from the latest releases to the most obscure oddity. If they didn't have it in stock, they could acquire it for you and always at a decent price.

A local Tower store became a meeting place for music junkies of all kinds. In certain parts of the country, especially Los Angeles, police directed traffic in and out of the parking lot. There were lines just to get inside and numbers to take for special releases. Once inside, you were able to connect with people of the same musical tastes and still be enlightened to something slightly outside of your expertise. People flocked there, people lived there.....and now, people just don't go there anymore. It's far easier to "point and click" our way to music through downloading or shopping online. It's also easier to buy that new CD while grocery shopping at a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. The human element has been taken away and the music retail business has taken the hit.

Like I said, I never went out of my way to visit Tower Records, except that one trip a year. I don't have the connection to it that others may have but the situation got me thinking. I thought about all of the independent record stores I frequented over the years: 2 Guys Music, Listen Hear!, Good Vibrations, The Record Store, Rock City.....all are gone. I thought of the chain stores that have come and gone: Record Town, Tape World, Strawberries (still around but half have closed), Coconuts. These were some of the "hallowed halls" of my childhood and teenage years and now few remain.

I went to Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI this past Saturday because I hadn't been in a long time. At 2pm on a beautiful Saturday, the store would be packed. Parking spots near the store were scarce and you would have to walk from an adjoining parking lot for a supermarket, which was also packed. Sadly, this day I was able to park in the first spot and count no more than 8 people in the store: myself, my wife, three employees and three other customers. After browsing quickly, my wife and I headed for the door and she commented how it just wasn't the same. We talked about how you could spend hours inside and talk to complete strangers about music, how it was fun to go bin diving for that used CD that was the elusive jewel of your collection. We remembered the electricity in the air: people shouting to each other over the music, discussing albums, recommending bands, etc. It's definitely not the same anymore. The fun seemed to disappear, the electricity gone.

So what is it? What has slowly destroyed the music retail business across the country?

Here are a few possible answers:

1. Time - Today people are in such a rush. People are looking for the easy way to buy new music (downloading/buy online) and spending an hour in a record shop is not something they can afford. A record store is about exploration but there is no time for that anymore. Go to Amazon.com, find your album, put in your credit card.....done! Three days later your CD arrives at your door and you forgot you bought it.

I also think that many people don't make time to actually sit and listen to music. Music has become background noise: something to listen to while driving, or doing housework, or having on when there is nothing on television. Most people I've talked to don't sit and LISTEN anymore, they don't take the time to absorb an album, it's seen as idle time.

2. Price - One of the biggest problems by far. Why is it that you can buy a brand new release on DVD, a two-disc special edition with tons of bonuses, for $19.99 and feel like you got a great deal for your money but you buy a 10 song CD for the same price and feel ripped off. The labels have set the prices too high for wholesale and the retailers jack the price to off-set the loss. I remember going to a store in the local mall a couple of years ago and the regular price for a single CD was $21.99!I could go to a used section and get two CDs for that price!

Even used CDs have gone up in price. I used to buy used discs for $5.99-$7.99 at most stores in my area, now the range is more from $8.99 to $14.99. Retailers have seen the light: there regular stock doesn't move due to the price but the used stock does, why not jack up the used prices?

3. Selection - I defy anyone to walk into a local Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or large retail music store and try to find AC/DC's FLY ON THE WALL. How about any Billy Joel album released in the late '70s/early '80s? Maybe any Pink Floyd release besides THE WALL or DARK SIDE OF THE MOON? Gone are the days of retailers stocking full band catalogs, we are now subject to countless greatest hits compilations and budget releases. Unless the band has a new album, there isn't much to choose from and even then there might only be a few copies of that new album. I looked in the Aerosmith section at Newbury Comics, I counted three different greatest hits CDs, two live releases, and a copy of 9 LIVES. Where was TOYS IN THE ATTIC? Or even PERMANENT VACATION? No wonder the masses flock to the Internet, they can find what they want!

4. Customer Service - I was going to ask the clerks at the desk if they had a CD in stock but I didn't bother. The clerks were too busy chatting about their dates so I didn't bother. The times I have asked a clerk for assistance in music stores, I ususally get the blank stare, the "I don't know", and the obligatory check of the computer. This usually results in a more puzzled look on the clerk's face and no CD. I remember a time when the people who worked at a record store were knowledgeable about music. Maybe not fluent in all styles but at least they could communicate with the customer. That was one of the allures of Tower, they had excellent staff that were experts in there department. You could go up to the Jazz dept. and find someone working there with a deep appreciation for Jazz. Same for Classical, Country, and Rock. Today, if an employee even says "Hi", you're lucky.

5. Quality - You here the single, you rush out and buy the album. First song is the single you enjoy, the other 10 songs suck. Is it the same band? People have gotten hip to the label's game of taking no-talent hacks and celebritites, making a record with a catchy lead single, and then the rest of the album is bad filler. If more artists/bands took the time to work on their craft and release better material, I believe that people might go into a record store more often. Once you get screwed on a $20 disc full of bad tunes, you're probably not going to get fooled twice.

Just so everyone knows, I am not usually this cynical about Music Retail. I go to record stores every week and actually make purchases. I still go to stores and browse, sometimes I'm there over an hour or two. It's my hobby, it's what I do and have done since an extremely young age. I guess I'm just frustrated with that the old paradigm is dying a slow death because I still enjoy physically shopping. It will be a very sad day when the last of the music retailers shut down and all we have is the Internet, the human element will be gone and the sensation of physical discovery will be lost.

That said, I'm off to Ebay to snag the new Krokus album because no store in my area has it in stock!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fuzz's post

First up is Fuzzbox who writes blugstuff.

When Metal Mark graciously accepted my offer to write a guest review on his site, I had to sit back for a moment and decide which group and album to review. Being from the State Of Texas, I knew that I must pick a Texas Band. Texas is proud of the musical talent that has contributed to various genre's. The logical choice for a metal site would have been Pantera but I have never constrained myself by choosing the most logical choice.

I wanted to review an album that gets down to the basics of blues and rock that gives metal it's background. Metal is more than a sound. It is an attitude. It is looking at the bullshit in life that gives us the blues and saying to hell with it. Metal at it's best is a Fuck you attitude at it's loudest. That is why I had to pick that little band from Texas, ZZ Top. I also wanted to go back to the earlier days of ZZ (pre-Eliminator). I wanted to pick an album that to me stood out as having both a hard edge of sound and attitude. That album for me is Tres Hombres.

Starting out with Waitin' For The Bus and Jesus Just Left Chicago, the band is just warming up. Firing up the speakers just like the initial spark of a Texas Barbecue grill. Then the band kicks in with their anthem to the rock and roll lifestyle, Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers. With the song Master of Sparks, the band displays a gritty feel of pure music. Possibly one of my favorite ZZ Top songs comes next, Hot Blue, and Righteous. It reminds me of sitting in a Blues Bar sucking down a cold beer and thinking of all the people that have gone from my life. Move Me On Down The Line shows the bands mastery of finding a great hook and rolling with it. With Precious and Grace, the little band from Texas shows how versatile a three man rock group can be. In La Grange, the boys create not just a great song but modern folk lore with a kick ass beat. I never have been a great fan of The Sheik but if every song on every album were great when would you have time to take a leak and get another can of refreshment. Have You Heard brings things to a close with more of that good ol' Texas blues.

Having listened to all of ZZ's albums countless times and seeing them live on numerous occasions, I am always amazed at the sheer volume of sound that this three man group can use to drive a crowd. Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard are more than just musicians. They are true Texas Hero's keeping alive the musical legacy of the blues. And in 1986 the Texas Senate bestowed that honor on them right along with the defenders of the Alamo.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Current playlist

Once again I just have not yet had time to listen to King Diamond's Fatal Potrait so I could review it. I will get it done before the end of this month. Then I started writing a topic on Metal Oktoberfest, but blogger would not save it so I lost what I wrote for that. So I decided to just list what I am listening to and make it easy.

Lately I have been listening to:
Black Sabbath-s/t, Sabbath bloody sabbath, Paranoid, Heaven and hell, The Mob rules
Tigertailz-Original Sin
Dark Angel-Darkness Descends
Whitesnake-Slide it in
Surrender-Better later than never

What are you listening to?

***I may have Metal Oktoberfest out later today if I get time. If not then there are guest bloggers lined up from Thursday through Saturday and I will be back on Sunday.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Horror movie mini-reviews part one

Here are ten horror movies I have watched over the last month.

Legend of Boggy Creek(1972)
Pseudo documentary about a bigfoot type creature in Arkansas.
Good idea, but very dry and cheaply done.

Friday the 13th(1980)
A summer camp is about to open, but someone is killing off the counselors.
The acting is amateurish and the dialog is poor at times. However it also has excellent make-up effects, nice locations and it bothers to build some suspense.

The Innocents(1961)
A women takes a job teaching two children at their home. She hears about the deaths of two people and she begins to see their ghosts.
Wonderful film with spectacular photography and fine acting.

Silver Bullet(1985)
Wheelchair bound boy suspects recent deaths involve a werewolf.
Silly in the way of many films of that time involving kids. Still some decent action and it moves along.

Die, Monster, Die(1963)
An American goes to visit his girlfriend in England only to find her house has a deadly secret.
Slightly silly concept is made bearable by Boris Karloff and nice scares.

Jesse James meets Frankenstein's daughter(1966)
Jesse James is fleeing from the law and his partner gets shot. They visit a doctor who is the daughter of Frankenstein(!). She turns the partner into a monster.
This has poor acting, worse dialog and some hokey science.

Dog Soldiers(2002)
Scottish soldiers on maneuvers in the woods run into werewolves.
Some great action and decent looking werewolves. Only complaint is that the accents are so thick that it is hard to understand them at times.

Devil Bat(1940)
Scientist (Bela Lugosi) controls bats to kill people who he think wronged him.
Silly story with big floppy rubber bats.

Count Dracula goes to England to find a bride.
Frank Langella is good as Dracula and there are great locations. The supporting cast are mainly so-so plus the film seems a little dated today.

Captain Kronos:Vampire Hunter(1972)
A vampire hunter and his partner are called to a town where young girls are being drained of their youth.
I love British horror films and this is one of the best. Kronos is a swashbuckling vampire fighter in a story that's part mystery and involves a different take on vampires.

I will likely write-up ten more horror films next week.

13 albums to listen to for Halloween

Here are some sort of scary type albums to listen to for the holiday. They are in no particular order.

1-Black Sabbath-s/t
Never gets old and it's creepy at times.

2-Grim Reaper-Fear no evil
I have to be in a mood for this band, but this is the time of year for them.

It may seem tame now, but this always seemed like a scary type album to me back in the 80's.

4-Electric Wizard-We live

Big, heavy slow sludge and they even used sound clips from the great film Psychomania.

5-Alice Cooper-Welcome to my Nightmare
It has Vincent Price, songs about the dead and more.

6-Lizzy Borden- Love you to pieces
Sort of horror type songs here and there plus it's a pretty good cross between glam and more traditional metal.

7-Mercyful Fate-Don't break the oath
Very eerie atmospheric album

8-King Diamond-Abigail
Like many King Diamond albums, it's a concept album and a horror story of sorts.

9-Slayer-Show no mercy
I love the debut more than most people as I think was very straight forward.

10-White Zombie-La Sexorcisto Devil Music volume 1
It's a bit goofy, but heavy enough and lots of horror movie influences.

11-Candlemass-Epicus Domicus Metallicus
Slow, heavy and very unsettling, but in a good way.

12-Iron Maiden-The number of the beast

Aside from being one of the best metal albums of all time, it also has some horror based songs.

13-Ozzy-Diary of a madman
I remember sitting in my basement as a teenager listening to this over and over.
***This album will get a proper review next week.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Guess that hair band

Here is a slideshow game from a local newschannel. Use the link and then scroll down to where it says "Guess that hair band". It will show you a band and then go to the second slide for the answer. Most of them are pretty easy.


What's coming up?

I only have to come up with topics for the first half of this week. So between Monday and Wednesday I hope to do these:
-King Diamond-Fatal Portrait 20 year old album review
-Ten horror movie mini-reviews
-12 albums to listen to for Halloween

Then from Thursday through Saturday I will have guest bloggers posting because I will be on a short vacation. I hope to be back posting next Sunday.

***Even though I will be away at the end of the week, I will be a guest blogger over at
Fred Charles' blog on Friday, October 21st. That topic is not about music though, it's actually about running.

***Do you have any special plans for Halloween this year?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Final thoughts on Black Sabbath

In listening to numerous Sabbath cds this past week, I am reminded of just how good they could be. I am also sure that much of their material is still relevant. I am reminded of a time twenty some years when I would put a cassette of their first release in my walkman and go walking in the woods. I remember being just drawn in by the music and I hope I still get that feeling when I listen to it twenty years from now. I have enjoyed doing this theme week and I have you've enjoyed it as well.

***In November my theme week will be "Canada rocks week". This means I will be writing about hard rock and metal bands from Canada.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Metal Kids

There is a new picture of my kids over at my wife's blog if you want to see it.

Black Sabbath-The Mob Rules, 1981

I don't know what Black Sabbath were looking for when they needed a replacement for Ozzy in 1979. What they got was one of the most consistent and powerful singers in metal. Ronnie James Dio was a good fit overall. When Heaven and hell came out in 1980, the style was different but Dio added a much needed surge of energy. No matter how much you like the original line-up, the facts are that Technical Ecstasy and Never say die were not that good. Sabbath were back on the map, but the second release with Dio was going to be even better. Bill Ward was out Vinnie Appice was in behind the drums, but other than that it was similar to Heaven and hell. The main reason I prefer this album is that Heaven and hell has a few fillers and this one does not. "Turn up the night" roars on with no build-up and the solo is crazy with Iommi just peeling off those odd tones that were so much a part of his style. There is also a moment in the middle of the song where Dio just reaches out with his voice and just elevates the level of the song with ease. "Voodoo" is next with a more subtle approach, but a strong beat keeps it going. Up third is "The sign of the southern cross" which sees band bringing more power than many critics thought they had left. It's a slow song that's heavier than a lot of bands were doing at the time. The odd instrumental "E5150" stays around a little before going into the title track. "The Mob Rules" is faster, but just as heavy yet very smooth. "Country Girl" is simple yet extremely catchy with it's simple rhythm. "Slipping away" allows to show his range and the band to show some pace changes. "Falling off the edge of the world" almost shows some shades of earlier Sabbath and quite honestly it;s a big monster of song that's nearly perfect. "Over and over" closes it out is grnad fashion luring you into a sense of it being a slow, calm song, but then Tony just lays it out with the solo. Wow, if you have not heard this or have snubbed it because there is not Ozzy then you are missing out. Probably one of the best albums of Dio's career and a top ten album in 1981 (which was a very good year for metal).

**On Saturday I will wrap up Black Sabbath week and tell what's coming up next week.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sabbath after Ozzy

Ozzy briefly left Sabbath in late 77 and into early 78. He was briefly replaced by David Walker. He returned in early 1978, recorded Never say die and did the tour. By 1979 Black Sabbath had reached a point where something needed to change. So Ozzy was let loose and the band needed a replacement. They brought in Ronnie James Dio who had left Rainbow. Dio had a much different voice than Ozzy, but it allowed Sabbath to take a new approach and he added a much needed charge to the band. So they did two studio albums and a double live album over the next three years with Dio. Then problems arose again and Dio left to go solo taking drummer Vinnie Appice with him. Then they brought in former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan and original drummer Bill Ward returned. Gillan is a great singer and he was in 3/4 of the original line-up. This seemed like a good move yet Born Again was a very listless and dull album. Gillian left after the tour to go do the Deep Purple reunion. After some searching the other members decided to break up Sabbath in 1984. Iommi retained a record deal and started doing an album in 1985. He wanted it to be a solo album, but when it came time to press, Warner Brothers insisted he use the Black Sabbath name but he could put featuring Tony Iommi under it. So the Seventh Star came out in early 1986 with Iommi as the only original member and Glenn Hughes was the vocalist. Hughes lasted just a couple of dates before being fired and the band brought in Ray Gillen to do the rest of the tour. The band reportedly struggled to bring in crowds as they tried to do an arena tour (at the same time Ozzy was packing people in on the Ultimate sin tour). Then the band changed singers and Tony Martin came in. He was a very strong singer and The Eternal Idol was a solid release in 1987. To me the next two albums were just okay and they were the Headless Cross in 1989 and TYR in 1990, both with Martin singing. Black Sabbath were struggling to sell albums by this point so they decided to bring back the Dio line-up. So the line-up of Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice released Dehunanizer in 1992. It was really just a decent album at best. Although the line-up would soon break up and Tony Martin was back in for Cross Purposes(1994) and Forbidden (1995). That was it studio lp's from Black Sabbath, but the original line-up did a number of reunion tours starting in the late 1990's.

Okay, that's the history, but the issues that are often talked about are what is real Sabbath? Some purists think Black Sabbath is only Sabbath if Ozzy is in it. I am not in that camp as I like the Dio era Sabbath and consider it to be real Sabbath. I also consider Born Again to be real Sabbath even though I don't think much of it. My reasoning is that it ahs three original members. However, I think Seventh Star was the start of the Tony Iommi solo albums because it's more him than it is Sabbath. Now we get into the terrortory of whether using a band name is more than just having the legal right to do so. Dehumanizer was a reunion album and it is Sabbath, but to me all of the other albums from Seventh Star on are more Iommi solo albums. That's just me though.

***I hope I got all the history right. Ron Keel claims he was very briefly the singer for Sabbath, but I only ever heard him say that. His story was that he was hired, but wanted too much money and was let go. I think this may have been after Gillan left in late 1983 or early 1984.

Anyway, Black Sabbath week marches on with a review of a non-Ozzy album. On Friday I will review The Mob Rules

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The week so far

I am just checking in to say that I have a good week so far. I like doing theme weeks, but sometimes they seem very impersonal and that kind of goes against how I approach my blog. Anyway just wanted to say it has been a good week so far because:

Sunday-I got to plant some flower bulbs for the Spring.
Monday-My Broncos beat the Ravens.
Tuesday-I took off from work so I could go to the Baltimore Zoo with my daughter's pre-school class. The whole family went and we travelled seperately but we walked around with another mother and her daughter. Metalgirl loved it and Metalboy was in a good mood.
I don't have anything special planned for the rest of the week though.

Okay now back to Black Sabbath week.

Black Sabbath-Sabbath, bloody sabbath, 1973

Everyone has their favorite album by an artist. As far as Sabbath goes, I have switched favorites over the years, but ultimately I think my favorite is this one although the debut and Volume 4 come very close. I think this disc is a combination of aspects of the band's previous outings. I think it has some of the eeriness of the debut, the memorable riffs of Paranoid, the fuzzy distortion of Masters of reality and the heaviness of Volume four. Yet it also sees the band being able to make very smooth pace changes and Ozzy may have been at his peak. My feeling is that this is the original line-up at their tightest. The title track comes on like a steamroller with it's heavy yet fairly simple riff and the song builds and Ozzy gets his voice going to a level he has only rarely achieved. "National Acrobat" begins with all the gloom of a week full of rainy days. On this album the band doesn't just play, but rather they seem in total control of really putting emotion to every single part of this album. My favorite track is "Spiral Architect". I realize it's not a typical track for the band. It's a little less heavy and less of the gloom and doom yet it also very much brings across the offbeat approach that was so much a part of this band's appeal to me. I also think the band sounded extremely confident and excited on this album. Unfortunately it would be one more good album in Sabotage and then things would start to turn sour for the original line-up. Still this is to me one of the best heavy metal albums of all time and very much required listening for any fan of heavy music.

***Black Sabbath week continues on Thursday with "Black Sabbath after Ozzy".

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The importance of Black Sabbath

So if you did something like "It's a wonderful life" and you could have a glimpse of what music would be like if Black Sabbath had never been around then what would it be like? My guess it that it would be quite different. Someone would have eventually created something similar, but that would have changed things I am sure. Sabbath are quite possibly the most influential heavy metal band of all time. Why? Largely because they did a lot of things first, but also because they have aged so well. They are not just an influence on metal, but an influence on all heavy music as well. They created a style, but they also created very different tones and their whole style on the early albums showed that there wasn't just one way to approaching song structure. Some people would argue that they put the heavy in heavy metal. I think there is a good case for that, if not then they certainly defined much of how it could be done. Through the course of their first six releases they also made it look easy even if it wasn't. That is probably an aspect that many bands strive to achieve. Ultimately outside factors wore the band down a little by the mid-1970's they looked and sounded tired. However the original line-up had a great six album run and there were some more good albums to come with different line-ups as well. I think their albums have aged nicely and I think it's a fair guess that thirty some years from now people will still be listening to and be influenced by these albums.

***Black Sabbath week continues as I will review Sabbath bloody sabbath on Wednesday.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Black Sabbath-s/t, 1970

There are times when the beginning really is the best place to start so I will start with this album. Some bands have debuts that show potential, but there is work to be done before the band is great. Some bands that fall in this category are Deep Purple, Kiss, Def Leppard and Anthrax. Then there are albums where the band establishes themselves from the get-go and I think Sabbath's debut would be towards the top of that list. This album came out the year I was born. If I really had a time machine then I would love to go back and see people's reaction the first time they heard this. This album just seems like it was so far beyond or at least outside of most music of the time. I think this statement comes from what I think of the band's skill, but also from their approach to their music. The album kicks off with the rain, bells and simple notes of the title track. The first time I heard this I was floored by the approach. It wasn't the most complicated song ever done, but every little part worked to make it be very effective. I think the whole album works that way as well. Ozzy's nasal vocals take on range of emotion while Tony Iommi throws out killer riffs out of nowhere. We also hear Geezer's pulsing bass lines and Bill Ward defined heavy with his drumming. Add to that the odd arrangements and the fact they played with a confidence that very bands at any point play with on their debuts. The album has aged beautifully and probably actually gets better with each listen because you will hear about it to like each time you give it a spin. Black Sabbath didn't just create their sound, they created a huge foundation of what would become heavy metal. Yet their albums didn't shoved to the back of the closet as new bands came along. No, people listened and still listen to them today. The band had created something special and fortunately their was more to come.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Black Sabbath week begins

I will be dedicating this week to Black Sabbath. Here is the tentative schedule.

Monday-Black Sabbath-s/t review
Tuesday-The importance of Black Sabbath
Wednesday-Sabbath, bloody sabbath review
Thursday-Sabbath after Ozzy
Friday-The Mob rules review
Saturday-Wrapping up the week

So for today my question is what are some of your favorite Black Sabbath songs?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Halloween-Don't metal with evil, 1985

Okay, a slight change of plans here. Originally I was going to do a 20 year old album review on King Diamond's Fatal Portrait this week. However in order to do that I need to give it a good listen and that has not happened. So that review will be out in two weeks because next week is Black Sabbath week. Instead today you get a review of the debut by Detroit's own Halloween. The band billed themselves (and still bill themselves, read on for that) as Detroit's heavy metal horrorshow. This album was released on a small independent label and I actually just picked my copy a few month's ago although I had heard of them back in 1985. There are plenty of 80's metal band's that existed mainly in the underground and for one reason or another got talked up as being good. Some of these "lost gems" turn out to be less than gems and lost for good reason. Every once in a while you find one that slipped past and really should have received more attention. This album is a good one, not great but good. There is a bit of an LA influence on their sound. The main one is Shout at the devil era Motley Crue although there are maybe some hints of early WASP and early Lizzy Borden as well. However, don't let the Crue influence make you think they are light because there are heavier than the Crue. At times maybe almost on a Judas Priest heaviness level. The album has a solid rawness to it and the lack of production actually helps it. The vocals and a number of the guitar solos help set these guys apart. I am somewhat surprised that a major independent label didn't nab these guys back in the mid-80's. I could have easily seem them fitting in on Metal Blade Records. They are still around as they released an ep and an lp this Summer, but I have not heard those yet. They play a few shows a year, mainly around the Detroit area.
"Don't metal with evil" used to be fairly rare a few years ago, but now the band sells it for $15 from their site which is below.

Their my space site has videos and music. The videos are songs from this album so they were done in the mid-80's. Kind of fun videos as they are like zero budget, but you get to see the band with their graveyard stage set. The guys looked like a cross between Motley Crue and Twisted Sister. The video for "Nice place to live" has almost two minutes of credits before the music comes. Still be patient because I think it's the best song off this album and the video is a great slice of mid-80's metal.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Black Sabbath week is coming

Next week will be Black Sabbath week. I will be doing a few album reviews, something about the importance of the band, something about the band after Ozzy and maybe something about favorite Sabbath songs.

Helloween-Better than raw, 1998

Germany's Helloween are considered one of the creators of the genre known as power metal whether they wanted to credited with that or not. When they first started in the mid-80's the band was originally lumped with the early speed metal scene around 85-86. Then in 1987 the band released Keeper of the seven keys part one and saw a change in style that would have the band on what appeared to be the brink of making it big. Unfortunately metal fell out of favor a few later plus Helloween's main writer Kai Hansen left to form Gamma Ray. This line-up change resulted in the band doing two very erratic albums in the early 90's. Then in 1993 the band changed singers and drummers. New vocalist Andi Deris had a strong voice and the band started off in a new direction. A direction that I feel lasted for three great albums between 1994 and 1998. 'Better than raw" is the last and best of what was likely Helloween's best period. The album surges from start to finish with the band sounding both severely polished, a tad more serious and highly confident in what they were doing. The two previous albums "Time of the oath" and "Master of the rings" saw the band building on their late 80's sound, but adding a layer of heaviness, speed and a sound that soared at times. "Better than raw" sees the band achieving a peak with this approach. The first time I heard this album I was a bit taken aback by how strong it came on. The opening instrumental "Deliberately Limited Preliminary Prelude In Z" is like classical music and gets you feeling a bit calm and then the band throws a real hammer at you as "Push" flies on. Next up "Falling Higher" is a little slower, but no less aggressive in it's approach. "Hey Lord!" is a song that you can tell was designed to be a single, but it's a strong memorable song. The albums slows down a little after that yet it stays on course to be a great one. I wonder if it would have been more successful had it come out a few years later once metal was rising again? We will never know, I am glad it came out and it was certainly one of the best metal albums of the late 1990's. Helloween have done three albums since then and all are good, but not one of them have come close to the level of this release.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Satan and heavy metal

Many people consider Black Sabbath the first real heavy metal band and coincidently Sabbath were often accused of being devil worshippers. So that would mean that people thinking that metal and the devil went hand in hand has been around as long as metal itself. The 80's were the real height (at least here in the states) of metal getting accused of being evil or promoting the devil. The PMRC had their trials in 1985 and I remember news shows and magazines having stories about this topic fairly often between say 84 and 87. Some bands like Venom, Mercyful Fate and Slayer really talked about topics relating to the devil. Yet more often than not, it was a matter of metal bands getting bad rap from people that knew nothing about music. I had tough time as a teenager because my mother hated the music I listened to and she was probably worried it would corrupt me. I think I turned out okay. At least I got past that heavy metal stage of my life, oh wait maybe it wasn't just a stage. Anyway now there are plenty of underground metal bands that love to talk about the devil. I guess it's not as shocking as it was 20 years ago though.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cutting down for real

I had vowed to cut down my posts starting in September, but my ideas and lots of comments spurred me on to keeping up a fairly regular pace. However recently I was offered the opportunity to write some movie reviews for a possible project with a message board that I have been posting on for six years. I wouldn't get paid anything, but if it got published then I would get credit. However in order to really concentrate on it I will likely need to cut down on my posts here. It also seems that many other bloggers have stopped posting or have other things going on so maybe this is a good time to cut down. I will try to post every other day at least. However if the number of readers continues to drop off then I may give up the blog early next year.

Do it yourself heavy metal Halloween costumes

Sure anyone can dress up in Kiss make-up, but what about some other metal personalities?
Here are some suggestions for ones you can make at home.

You need-
Leather jacket
straight brown hair wig
small piece of tape

Put on jacket and put wig on head. Let cigarette dangle from mouth. The most important part is to tape raisin on forehead to simulate wart.

Scott Ian
You need-
Bald cap or razor
small brush broom
rubber band
black marker

Slip bald cap on head or shave head with razor. Attach brush broom to chin using rubber band for Scott Ian goatee. Take black marker and darken eyebrows.
*Note-You may have to color brush broom a different color if Ian is currently coloring his goatee.

Vince Neil
You need-
Blond wig
lots of alcohol

Consume alcohol and once it takes effect then put pillow under shirt for Vince Neil belly. Put wig on head, grab microphone and proceed to stumble around and sing way off key into microphone.

Feel free to add your own costume ideas.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Battle of the bands

I decided to do battle of the bands early this month to make way for Halloween related topics towards the end of the month. This one may not get a lot of votes but here it is. Just pick the band you prefer and state why. So it's:

Anthrax vs. Megadeth

I will pick Anthrax as I think they had more great albums and fewer clunkers. I don't like how they treated their singers in their last two vocalist changes, but I still think they have been more consistent and I listen to their music far more often.

So who do you pick?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Halloween: Now and then

I did say there would be a few non-music posts this month and here is one. I was born in 1970 so it would have been the mid to late 70's when I was enjoying Halloween as a kid. As I parent now, I decided to compare aspects of Halloween from thirty years ago to Halloween today. I will just concentrate on a few parts of the holiday.

Halloween shows/movies
Then-In the 70's seeing It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown came on once and you made sure you had your snack and were in front of the TV to see it.

Now-We have it on DVD and we can watch it whenever we want. However it may not be the event it was back then.

Then-You had to wear a plastic mask that was held on with a rubber band that was stapled to the mask. The mask had one little one around the mouth to breath through. The costumes were hot and didn't always look like the character.

Now-Costumes look cool and are way lighter, more comfortable and usually easier to put on. Also facepaint is easy put on and can be bought at almost any department store.

Then-You had a good selection and I always looked forward to Halloween being the only time you could get candy corn.

Now-Having a lot to choose from can be good, but it's almost overwhelming with Wal-mart having an entire two sided aisle dedicated just to Halloween candy. The plus is that there does seem to be more chocolate candy now.

Lots of one dimensional paper hang-up things. Some looked good, some looked goofy.

There is far more to choose from, but I think you have both ends of the spectrum. There are some cool things like lights and such and many things are cheaper. However there are plenty of tacky Halloween decorations as well. For example I saw a light-up baseball jack o lantern at the store yesterday.

So there are differences, but there was good to Halloween then and now.