Posts Tagged ‘Girlschool’

As you may have read, I was on vacation last week. The cool thing about vacation is that you actually have time to do all the things that you really want to do. What did I want to do? Visit as many record stores as I possibly could. Did I do it? No…..not until last Saturday! Last Saturday my family and I went down to Newport, RI for the day and I was able to hit four different record stores and browse without my wife and kids pushing me out the door. It was great, I got to look at everything, check all the used bins, flip through vinyl and even check out some old buttons and posters. The first stop on my neverending quest for Heavy Metal was my childhood hometown record store: Luke’s Record Exchange. I have been going to Luke’s since I was old 10 years old and it used to be THE place to get your Metal back in the ’80s. A lot of good memories are there! A couple of months ago, I was trying to teach my 10 yr. old daughter about the culture of “mom & pop” record stores and I took her to Luke’s…..she was hooked. The only problem with Luke’s is that it’s always been disorganized but, if you know how to search, you can come up with some serious gems. After my daughter picked out vintage posters of AC/DC (circa 1990) and KISS (circa 1989) for her bedroom wall, I was able to check the racks of Heavy Metal wax for some vinyl. So what did I pick up?

One album…..

Girlschool - Hit And Run (1981)Girlschool – Hit And Run (1981) – $5: I checked everything but the only LP that caught my eye was this mint copy of Girlschool’s sophomore record. The cellophane was open but the record and sleeve on the inside were perfect. No ringwear or bent corners on the album either…..this was a steal! Here’s a little cool aside: the back of the album had a price tag on the cellophane from another old record store that used to be around when I was a kid: Midland Records. The regular price was $8.98 and it was on sale for $8.49!

So after the other three “mom & pop” record stores yielded nothing, I came home and decided to order a couple of things online…..

Tokyo Blade - Night Of The Blade (The Night Before)Tokyo Blade – Night Of The Blade (The Night Before) (1984/1998 reissue) – $26: Back in 1997, I read about this label out of Germany who were producing some great reissues of obscure Metal albums/bands. The label: High Vaultage Records. I started to collect High Vaultage releases but they were limited edition and became scarce as the late ’90s rolled into the early 2000s. Tokyo Blade is one of those unsung bands from the NWOBHM and this album has the unique distinction of being recorded with the original singer (Alan Marsh), scrapped, and re-recorded with the new singer (Vic Wright). High Vaultage re-released both versions with a lot of bonus tracks and great booklets. This version, THE NIGHT BEFORE, is the album recorded with Alan Marsh and includes the HAVE AN ICE DAY demo (1990) from Marsh’s post-Tokyo Blade project Mr. Ice. Of course, this demo would be released as a Tokyo Blade record of the same name in 1998 by Zoom Club Records. Confused yet?

greatestits_lgTed Poley – Greatestits (2009) – $22: this CD was actually a pre-order through Ted Poley’s website. The artwork and title are limited edition for the first 1000 copies, after that everything will be changed, so I jumped on the collector’s item. I always like Danger Danger and this 2 CD set features a wide range of Poley’s work outside of Danger Danger including Melodica, Poley/Rivera, Bonemachine and more. It looks like a good set…..and I’m not just talking about the cover!

ironmaidenandnewwaveofbyw4

Iron Maiden & The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal DVD (2008, Sexy Intellectual Productions)

(Region 0, NTSC, Total Running Time = 157 minutes)

When I was a kid in the early ’80s and I started getting serious about Heavy Metal, many of the bands that I started listening to were from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Samson and Girlschool were all playing on my stereo and their pictures were hanging on my walls alongside KISS, Judas Priest and AC/DC. As I got older, I discovered a lot of other new bands from the NWOBHM and older Metal bands that benefited from the movement. Judas Priest, AC/DC, Motorhead and even Black Sabbath saw a resurgence at the beginning of the ’80s due to the NWOBHM explosion.

For those not familiar with the NWOBHM here’s a quick simple explanation:

By the late ’70s, big time Arena Rock acts like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, KISS, and Aerosmith were viewed as dinosaurs of the music world and the newest musical fads were Disco and Punk. In the U.K., the Punk movement was a phenomenon and the do-it-yourself rebellious attitude influenced an entire movement of kids forming bands and trying to do something different. Taking a cue from the “dinosaur” bands, these new musicians actually learned to play their instruments well, something many Punks didn’t bother with, and set out to “make it”. The music was loud, raw and heavy and took influences from all styles of music. The biggest bands to come out of the NWOBHM were Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon but there were literally hundreds of bands popping up all over England almost overnight and the new Metal movement made it’s mark.

What this DVD tries to accomplish is to chronicle the history of the NWOBHM from interviews with some of the movement’s players and Rock journalists of the time. There are interviews with Paul Di’anno and Dennis Stratton (Iron Maiden), Brian Tatler (Diamond Head), Thunderstick (Samson), Rob Weir (Tygers Of Pan Tang), Tino & Chris Troy (Praying Mantis) and Girlschool. These are band members that lived the experience and they shed a personal light on what it was like starting out and continuing on with their careers. Other interviews come from journalists Geoff Barton, Malcolm Dome, Jerry Ewing and Joel McIver who all had a first had account of the Metal climate of the time and they add critical review to different aspects and bands of the movement. Of course a retrospective DVD on the NWOBHM would not be complete without the insight of Neil Kay, the Heavy metal DJ who formed the Soundhouse club and who almost single-handedly spearheaded the NWOBHM with his love of well-played Rock. If it wasn’t for Neil Kay, would bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon be playing to millions to this day?

This DVD packs in a ton of rare footage from newsreels, concerts and studio sessions to give an inside historical look at the beginnings of the new Metal genre. There are plenty of interviews and commentaries as well as a bonus section that includes some extended interviews, the NWOBHM and BBC Radio 1, and a interactive challenge game. Like I said, I’m a big fan of the NWOBHM so anything that gives a historical perspective is at the top of my list, the only complaint I have is that there wasn’t much said about some of the lesser known, and less successful, bands of the genre. I would have liked to hear a little more on Rock Goddess, Tokyo Blade, Angel Witch, Jaguar, and many of the rest but there’s only so much time to a DVD! Honestly, you could make a multiple DVD set, or an entire series, exploring the numerous NWOBHM bands but it would get out of focus. This DVD focuses on the more well-known bands, the most successful bands, and moves on from there. No matter what, it’s one of the best DVDs I’ve seen in a long time.

Just a quick word to the wise here: you may have noticed that the DVD title uses Iron Maiden? If you’re looking for footage of the current lineup of Iron Maiden, or a lot of Maiden footage, then I would go out and buy a Maiden DVD. There is a good size portion of the DVD dedicated to the rise of Iron Maiden, they were the biggest and most successful band of the NWOBHM, but the current lineup of Maiden, their management and their label have not authorized this DVD. There is some audio and video of early Maiden but the official stuff is under the cpyright control of the band. It’s still an awesome DVD!

Bottom Line:
If you’re a fan of the NWOBHM, then you should run right out and buy this! If you’re a Metal fan and enjoy learning about the history of Metal, then this is an absolute must! What really makes this DVD is the genuine love of the NWOBHM music that everyone involved with it has. These band members and journalists were right in the thick of the movement when things were new and ideas were fresh and their enthusiasm in talking about it all makes it genuine. For me, this DVD was a great companion piece to The NWOBHM Encyclopedia (by Malc MacMillan) reference book. I’ve had that book since it was published in 2001 and it has been an invaluable resource in my quest for picking up NWOBHM albums, I recommend finding that too!

For more info on the NWOBHM, check out these websites:

NWOBHM.info
The Old School Metal Show
Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives

girlschool-legacy

Girlschool – Legacy (2008, Wacken Records)

  1. Everything’s The Same
  2. From The Other Side
  3. I Spy
  4. Spend Spend Spend
  5. Whole New World
  6. Just Another Day
  7. Legend
  8. Still Waters
  9. Metropolis
  10. Don’t Mess Around
  11. Zeitgeist
  12. Don’t Talk To Me
  13. I Spy (Dio/Iommi mix)*
  14. London*
  15. Emergency*

*U.S. bonus tracks

girlschool_04_013b

Band Lineup:
Kim McAuliffe – Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
Enid Williams – Bass & Vocals
Denise Dufort – Drums
Jackie Chambers – Lead Guitar

Additional Musicians:
Kelly Johnson (R.I.P.) - featured on ‘Everything’s The Same’
JJ French – guitar solo on ‘Spend Spend Spend’
Neil Murray – bass on ‘Whole New World’ and ‘Legend’
Phil Campbell – guitar solos on ‘Whole New World and ‘Just Another Day’
Fast Eddie Clarke – guitar solo on ‘Metropolis’
Eddie Ojeda – guitar solo on ‘Don’t Mess Around’
Lemmy Kilmister – bass, vocals, triangle on ‘Don’t Talk To Me’
Ronnie James Dio – vocals on ‘I Spy’ (Dio/Iommi mix)
Tony Iommi – guitars on ‘I Spy’ (Dio/Iommi mix)

Total Time = 50:46

Girlschool
Girlschool MySpace
Wacken Records

Girlschool is back to celebrate their 30th anniversary with a new record, LEGACY, and it is dedicated to their late guitarist Kelly Johnson (R.I.P.) who succumbed to cancer in July 2007. Most bands wouldn’t have the fire after a founding member passes away but 3/4 of the original lineup is intact and Jackie Chambers has been in the band since 2000 so Girlschool is still a high octane Rock ‘N Roll machine. Adding to the celebration, the band has invited a bunch of friends to play on the record, we get performances from Lemmy, Phil Campbell, JJ French, Eddie Ojeda, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, Neil Murray, Tony Iommi, and Ronnie James Dio.

Opening track ‘Everything’s The Same’ features the last performance of Kelly Johnson and the song recalls the early days of Girlschool with their Punk/Metal hybrid akin to Lemmy’s Motorhead. Same thing goes for ‘From The Other Side’, it’s a brash guitar rocker that reminds me of the band’s NWOBHM roots and Punk attitude. The gem of the album is the doom-laden Black Sabbath style ‘I Spy’ which comes in two versions: the Girlschool mix (track 3) and the Dio/Iommi mix (track 13) that is tacked on as one of the bonus tracks. Both versions are similar with the exception of Dio taking over the lead vocals and Iommi handling the lead guitar. RJD is one of the premier Metal vocalists and he continues to have a msterful command of how to present a song. The Dio/Iommi mix is much better than the Girlschool version due to the obvious Sabbath style.

‘Spend Spend Spend’ is a very catchy melodic tune but it doesn’t really sound like the original Girlschool sound (but I like it) and ‘Whole New World’ sounds pretty basic with it’s spoken word style. JJ French (Twisted Sister) makes an appearance on ‘Spend’ and Neil Murray (ex-Whitesnake) and Phil Campbell (Motorhead) lend their talents to ‘Whole New World’, I especially like the main guitar riff. Phil Campbell guests again on ‘Just Another Day’ and the song goes back to the Metal/Punk style that the women are known for while Neil Murray strikes again on guest bass on the melodic tribute to Kelly Johnson, ‘Legend’. There’s a diversity to the band’s sound as they are changing from being brash to melodic and sometimes it just doesn’t work. ‘Legend’ is a good example because the band sounds like they’re holding back the power to be more melodic.

‘Still Waters’ is harder tune but with an overly repetitive chorus but impressive drum sound, not the best song but a step in the right direction. ‘Metropolis’ is obviously a cover of the Motorhead classic, complete with axework from ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, and it’s pretty good but unnecessary, let’s have another original. I like the faster ‘Don’t Mess Around’ (featuring Eddie Ojeda for the guitar solo) and the machine like pounding of ‘Zietgeist’ but the obvious connection is the Motorhead inspired ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ complete with Mr. Kilmister on vocals and bass. This is how I like to hear Girlschool sound: no holds barred, frantic, and powerful…..just like Motorhead, just like the old days.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some bonus tracks included on LEGACY. First is the Dio/Iommi mix of ‘I Spy’ that sounds like a long lost b-side from the DEHUMANIZER sessions. Second is a remake of ‘London’, a song that can be found on the full-length album 21st ANNIVERSARY – NOT THAT INNOCENT (2001)the third bonus is a remake of the classic ‘Emergency’ from the band’s 1980 debut DEMOLITION.

Bottom Line:
I have to give credit to Girlschool for coming out with a new album for their 30 year milestone, they could have easily put out a live record or another hits package or even a live DVD, but they didn’t and they created an album that has a lot going for it but also a lot you’ve heard before. Overall the sound is pretty good, especially Kim McAuliffe’s vocals and the backing tracks…..the guitars are good too but after a while you just keep hearing the same riff. There are a lot of guest stars helping out, especially on guitar and bass, and it makes me wonder if it was out of need or a gimmick. The overall record is better for it but I think the women of Girlschool can do it well without the outside musicians. Girlschool is at their best when they are in your face like their male counterparts Motorhead, I’m not used to the melodic side of the band but they do it well. Overall I’d say this is an album worth getting but it’s a grower…..after weeks of spins I enjoy it a lot more.

Favorite Songs:
‘Everything’s The Same’, ‘I Spy’ (both versions but the Dio one is better), ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’, ‘Don’t Mess Around’, ‘Don’t Talk To Me’

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st Gen)
4482 songs (387 albums)

I’ve got the MP3 player shuffling as I’m creating a new master list for my CD collection so here’s the first 20 songs that have come up (band-song-year)…..

  1. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Bad Times’ (1980)
  2. KISS – ‘Hard Luck Woman’ (1976)
  3. Icarus Witch – ‘Mirror Mirror’ (2007)
  4. Iron Maiden – ‘Man On The Edge’ (1995)
  5. Def Leppard – ‘Bad Actress’ (2008)
  6. Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’ (1970)
  7. Scorpions – ‘Obsession’ (1999)
  8. Daylight Dies – ‘A Portait In White’ (2008)
  9. Iron Maiden – ‘Remember Tomorrow’ (1980)
  10. Dio – ‘Straight Through The Heart’ (1983)
  11. Quiet Riot – ‘Overworked And Underpaid’ (1999)
  12. Primal Fear – ‘Fighting The Darkness’ (2007)
  13. Q5 – “Our Love Has Come And Gone’ (1984)
  14. Vinnie Vincent Invasion – ‘Burn’ (1988)
  15. KISS – ‘The Oath’ (1981)
  16. Westworld – ‘Bring The Water To Me’ (1999)
  17. Running Wild – “The Poison’ (1998)
  18. Girlschool – ‘Metropolis’ (2008)
  19. Rainbow – ‘Street Of Dreams’ (1983)
  20. Black Sabbath – ‘Die Young’ (1980)

Bonus Track: Saxon – ‘Forever Free’ (1993)

It’s been awhile since I had a long weekend off so I decided to do my best and relax, listen to some music and get back on track with the website. The good news is that the laptop is fixed, all it needed was a little compressed air into the fans and it works! So here’s what I’ve listened to this weekend and what I have on tap for late night tonight…….

Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008): Alice is one of my favorite artists but I really haven’t given this album much play since it’s release. I’m really not sure why because he has had an excellent track record with his last 4 records. I’ve been spinning this more than any album lately and I’m really starting to get into it. Alice is just creepy and this serial killer concept is great.

J.C. Cinel – Before My Eyes (2008): Very cool acoustic melodic rock from singer/songwriter J.C. Cinel. This is kind of light because it’s all acoustic and it has a lot of Country influences in it. It kind of has a Jon Bon Jovi/bret Michaels solo vibe to it but a lot better. I’m a sucker for good acoustic guitar and there’s plenty of it here!

Uriah Heep – Wake The Sleeper (2008): I picked this up a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t tear the wrapping until today. Heep is one of those legendary bands that I always try to get into but I never buy their albums because I find something else. I read some reviews online and grabbed it. Too early to make a judgement after one spin.

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008): I bought this the day it come out, listened to it a half dozen times and moved on. I really want to like this album but I haven’t been able to get into it.

Judas Priest – Jugulator (1997): I thought that this was a great album when it first came out. It’s very heavy and Tim Owens does a great job singing, even if the Halford comparisons are there. With all the news on Owens leaving Iced Earth and joining Yngwie Malmsteen for a new record, I decided to go back 11 years and hear how everything started. Some solid tunes here: ‘Burn In Hell’, ‘Jugulator’, ‘Cathedral Spires’…..the whole album is top notch, I just think people couldn’t get by the Owens vs. Halford debate.

‘Burn In Hell’

Two – Voyeurs (1998): Rob Halford + Trent Reznor + John 5 (John Lowery) = one big mess! I bought this in the hopes that Halford would answer Priest’s JUGULATOR but this ended up being one of the worst albums I’ve ever bought! I give Halford credit for trying something new but Industrial Metal isn’t his thing, he was trying to emulate Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails and failed miserably.

Round 1 to Judas Priest!

Halford – Resurrection (2000): A huge comeback! The Two project sucked and I think Rob Halford knew it so he went back to his Metal roots and made sure everyone knew it. The title track signals the return but ‘Silent Screams’ is a gem. I also really dig the duet with Bruce Dickinson on ‘The One You Love To Hate’.

Judas Priest – Demolition (2001): Priest was in the middle of making this album when Halford dropped his RESURRECTION bombshell, after hearing that comeback I just knew that Priest would have a tough time competing. Some good tracks here, ‘Feed On Me’ is the best, but the album feels disjointed. This doesn’t even compare to JUGULATOR so forget the comparison to RESURRECTION. When I went to get this album out I noticed that I have four copies: the promo advance, the regular U.S. CD, the Japanese pressing (1 bonus track) and the Australian Tour Edition (3 bonus tracks, one being the bonus from the Japanese release).

Round 2 to Halford!

Rose Tattoo – Blood Brothers (Special Tour Edition w/DVD) (2008): I only gave this one spin but it was good to hear Angry Anderson and the boys again. This one is on my list for late night listening.

Girlschool – Legacy (2008): This album is out out in a couple of weeks, in a month for the U.S. I always liked Girlschool, they came in with the NWOBHM and I always seem to acquire their albums. This is the album I’m holding for later tonight after the NFL game…..I’m betting it’s good.

The new album titled LEGACY from Girlschool will be released through Wacken Records / Steamhammer on October 24th in Germany, October 27th in Europe and November 4th in the USA.

30 years of female powered heavy Rock N Roll, 30 years of Girlschool. The longest existing all-girl band Girlschool is back with a bang. Their newest album Legacy mixes old school Classic Rock with new and modern influences. As Legacy is the 30th anniversary album of Girlschool some friends showed up and left their mark. RONNIE JAMES DIO is singing on the bonus-track version of ‘I Spy’ as well as Lemmy left his voice on ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ and such musicians like J.J. French (TWISTED SISTER), Neil Murray, Phil Campbell (MOTÖRHEAD), Fast Eddie Clarke, Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister) and Tony Iommi (HEAVEN AND HELL) left clicks and licks on several songs too. Even the original guitarist Kelly Johnson, who died last year, can be heard on the opener ‘Everything Is The Same’ with a special ghost appearance! But enough talking, take a deep breath and enjoy the Legacy.

Tracklisting: ‘Everything’s The Same’ (feat. Kelly Johnson on percussion – her ashes), ‘From The Other Side’, ‘I Spy’ (Girlschool Mix), ‘Spend Spend Spend’ ( feat. J.J. French – guitar solo), ‘Whole New World’ ( feat. Neil Murray – bass, Phil Campbell – lead guitar solo), ‘Just Another Day’ (feat. Phil Campbell – guitar solo), ‘Legend’ ( feat. Neil Murray – bass), ‘Still Waters’, ‘Metropolis’ ( feat. Fast Eddie Clarke – guitar
solo) Motörhead cover, ‘Don`t Mess Around’ ( feat. Eddie Ojeda – guitar solo), ‘Zeitgeist’, ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ ( feat. Lemmy on bass, vocals and triangle). Bonus Tracks: ‘I Spy’ (Dio/Iommi Mix) ( feat. Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Tony Iommi – lead guitar), ‘Emergency’, ‘London’.

Upcoming live dates:

September
4 – 100 Club – London, England (album release party)

October
4 – Martorell October Fest – Martorell, Spain
10 – Pul – Uden, Holland
18 – Lantaarn – Helendoorn, Holland
19 – Metal Female Voices Festival – Wieze, Belgium
20 – Zeche – Bochum, Germany
21 – Ballroom – Hamburg, Germany
29 – Z7 – Pratteln, Switzerland
30 – Halle 101 – Speyer, Germany
31 – Outback – Bad Arolsen, Germany

November
1 – Conne Island – Leipzig, Germany
15 – Keep It True Festival – Wuerzburg, Germany

December
16 – Astoria – London, England (30th Anniversary Show, with DORO, MCQUEEN, guests)