Cassettes or tapes?

Is it a cassette or a tape?

Technically, it’s a cassette tape. With the invention of that thing called a CD, some people call them trash. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.

I’m sitting here at my desk and I just noticed that my stereo has no cassette deck. We live in a small apartment so I have a compact Phillips stereo system – 5 CD changer, tuner, USB port. I’ve had it less than a year, I bought it to replace a similar Phillips stereo that had a tape deck but an unreliable 3 CD changer that died.

Back to the cassettes…..or tapes…..

I used to buy them when I was a kid. They were the same price as a record but they were portable. You could put the tapes in your Walkman, car deck, boombox…..they were just easier. You didn’t have to worry about scratching them. The only problems were older tapes snapped or got eaten in the car deck, I could live with that, it was better than some big scratch across your favorite record.

When I moved on to buying CDs, I started to replace my cassettes. I replaced all my KISS cassettes, then Judas Priest, Maiden, and so on until I finally replaced Metallica - Ride The Lightning a couple months ago. All the cassettes were in storage and I eventually sold them all on Ebay…..all the proceeds went to the “CD fund”. Up until yesterday, I was cassette free.

I’ve been in the market for a new turntable, so I can pick up some old vinyl that never made it to CD (and probably never will), vinyl now being second in the media hierarchy. I’ve been expolring vinyl possibilities and then I found it…..I found the album I had to have even if it was just for the cover…..Predator – Easy Prey (1985, Metal Blade).

Predator - Easy Prey

That has to be one of the best ’80s covers I’ve seen in a long time. That just wouldn’t fly today. I’ve known about the band and album for a while, Jeff Prentice (guitarist/band leader) used to be on one of the Graham Bonnet forums on Yahoogroups and he talked about it a few times. (By the way, Jeff has a cool band called Outland that everyone should check out). I had to buy it so I got the cassette so I could listen in the car. Problem is I have nowhere to go that will last the tape’s length and I’m not going to sit in the driveway for 30+ minutes. Now I need a cassette deck…..

There’s a local store that we all used to go to as kids, Luke’s Record Exchange, they have a ton of old, sealed ’80s Metal cassettes for $5 each. Now I have the itch for some tapes…..just another thing to collect.

For more info on this album, click here.

Alcatrazz – Dangerous Games (1986)

Alcatrazz - Dangerous Games

Alcatrazz – Dangerous Games (1986, Capitol)

  1. It’s My Life
  2. Undercover
  3. That Ain’t Nothin’
  4. No Imagination
  5. Ohayo Tokyo
  6. Dangerous Games
  7. Blue Boar
  8. Only One Woman
  9. The Witchwood
  10. Double Man
  11. Night Of The Shooting Star

Total Time – 38:08

Band Lineup:
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Danny Johnson – Guitar
Gary Shea – Bass
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Jan Uvena – Drums

Graham Bonnet official website

Mr. Bonnet takes a last kick at the can with Dangerous Games. It’s the same band except, of course, on guitar. Danny Johnson (ex-Alice Cooper) joins in the fun, replacing the now departed Steve Vai, who moved on to David Lee Roth’s solo band. It’s ’86, Hard Rock like Alcatrazz has exploded on FM radio and MTV but Alcatrazz hasn’t broken the U.S. market. Probably due to mounting label pressure, this album is more commercial (watered down).

It’s not a bad album, just mediocre, a 7 on a 10 scale. There are 2 covers: It’s My Life (The Animals) and Only One Woman (The Marbles). Both aren’t bad but are they necessary? There are some good tracks here: Undercover, No Imagination, and Ohayo Tokyo (my personal fave). Ohayo Tokyo could have easily fit on MSG’s Assault Attack or the Alcatrazz debut.

My problem with this album is lack of guitar and too much keyboard. Obviously going for a commercial sound but “guitar rock” is what sold in 1986. The drums sound bad too, electronic…..surprising because I think Uvena did an excellent job on the first two albums. Can’t blame the guys for getting softer, everyone was making money and Alcatrazz tried to ride the wave.