Getting the best of you.

My life in metal

So I recently posted about my love of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and got a resounding headbang from my fellow Balkers. So how did I become metal? Well let me take you down memory lane.

1. Proto-metal Snack: The Seventies. Like so many other children, I did truly love disco but there were two bands that were my absolute favorite that would set the stage for my love of rock. My first memory of truly loving a song was "Feeling Like Making Love" by Bad Company, which I horrified my mother by singing all the time when I was about five years old. But it rocked and I understood that fact. The other was Sweet. I was introduced to their song "Love is like Oxygen" when it topped the charts in the late 70s. I had this little transistor radio that I'd carry around and was just so enraptured when they were on the top 40. I later bought the Ballroom Blitz, their most popular album.

2. The Arena Rock Years: If there was one official album of my fifth grade class, it was Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC, which I listened to endlessly. Same way with Back in Black. It's hard to describe how popular they were at the time but Back in Black is one of the biggest albums in history. And it rocks so much. The other great ones included Van Halen I and Cheap Trick Live at Budokan. Damn, that Cheap Trick album still kicked ass.

3. NWOBHM: I became hungry for more music. Now I lived in a podunk town and when it is like 1982, when there is no email, no big cities, no cable and you live in some crappy one horse town, you can't quite imagine how podunk it truly is. I think music for me was a way of discovering the world and when me and my brother started reading British Music Magazines, we got overly excited about getting import albums and listening to music that none of our friends did.


So we POURED over magazines to discover bands, knowing things that like there used to be two Slayers—one US and one UK based and they battled it out. And that there was a whole world of bands that progressively became harder (first there was Celtic Frost—though OMG, King Diamond was so weird and then Venom, which was billed as the hardest band ever. Bands either became heavy because they were super fast—speed metal or super slow—like Dirge metal). We also used to listen to a lot of Canadian bands as well, because we were like 30 miles away from the Canadian border so obviously it was a big influence. I mean, a big one was Metal to Metal by Anvil so to see the documentary was like seeing a bunch of people with the same tastes that I had then. We'd buy a lot of random stuff that we thought may be good, like the Poison Dollys or Icon or TKO. Once we bought GNRs first EP before Appetite for Destruction. We'd just buy by label (Megaforce, etc) or random compilations because there was no way to listen to any of this before it came out. Favorite bands were just random.

Somewhere in like 1981, we started listening to Def Leppard—before Pyromania. Our first album was actually High N Dry and then we found out their favorite band was UFO. Between me and my brother, we bought every UFO album and all the spin offs, Waysted, MSG, Fastway, etc. I mean, we listened to all sorts of music but at the heart of the collection was UFO. I personally began buying all the Judas Priest albums—the best was Stained Class. But we liked others—like I referenced. Yes, I owned two Diamondhead Albums. I listened to Phenomena. I owned a fair amount of Saxon and Marillion. I thought Girlschool rocked. You name it. I bought it.

4. Late Metal Influences: As time went on, LA metal became HUGE.That was a mixed bag. I liked Hanoi Rocks and could never really like Motley Crue after Vince Neil got drunk and Razzle died. I also found it really sexist and I know that a lot of music was sexist but it got depressing. Maybe that's bad but it was upsetting after a while to see video after video where women were in cages and tied up and shit. There was a WASP video where the whole thing was some half naked woman who was basically in a glass tube, possibly drowning and it was supposed to be hot. I had it with that shit. The objectifying overwhelmed the rest of the music.

Then I discovered Ride the Lightning in about 1983. That was exciting. They wrote about real shit and not just fucking women. It's the same way that I liked Anthrax, who said they like women or Slayer, who I used to make my mother listen to on car trip much to her consternation. God, the best out of the bunch was Testament—this is a band I still listen to at times. My best friend, who was from NYC and listened to more punk and hardcore (no metal at all) developed a love of them after I gave her several cassette tapes.

I listen to a variety and I always did. I liked New Wave for example the whole time. I listened to a lot of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets and Peter Murphy in Hight School. But metal has always been a great love of mine.


What say you, BALKERS? What is your history in metal?

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