Then & Now

Posted: January 27, 2021 in Comics, Cool stuff

Some things never change, or at least not very much. Swedish comic book Agent X9 has not changed much over the years and that is a good thing. Seen here is 1 1977 and 2 2021 and Modesty Blaise is still the cover star. Rip Kirby, Corrigan, this is timeless stuff. It has been going since 1969.

(My shot of said issues)

Dodgy cover, but I am so glad to have this epic film on DVD now. The 1981 masterpiece (no other word for it) “Excalibur”. Helen Mirren is mentioned on the cover but the film is packed with well known people (some of them making their mark in this very movie), like Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson. But you also have seasoned actors like Nicol Williamson (Merlin) and others in there. Also, the music is by Wagner, which makes it even better (Ozzy picked it up for his live shows around this time, not sure which happened first). I saw this film in the movies back in the day and it was great. Still holds up. It is quite a tale for sure.

(My shot of said DVD)

Got these publications on import from Japan, Metal Hammer (Vol.4) and PMC (Vol.18). Now it has to be said that the Japanese edition of Metal Hammer is a lot more impressive than the original in the UK. It is just the way the Japanese do things. 130 pages in thick paper, superb quality. 25 pages of history and interviews with Su-metal and Moametal plus a double sided poster, all presented with great photographs. The PMC magazine is equally impressive (it also sports their third cover since Vol.13!), with 47 pages of Babymetal. Basically a third of the total content, also with interviews and loads of history. I do like that Babymetal presents themselves in such a mature and graceful way, and that they take the highroad as rolemodels. Metal could use more of that. Total professionals.

(Thank you Kalle for securing these magazines for the ever growing collection)

In this part of this series we go back to two publications (I was now in a period when I thought it was good fun to publish one off titles, all under the umbrella of SLICE), Raket Magasinet 2006 (translates to Rocket Magazine 2006) and LE (short for Lektyrentusiasten, or The Magazine Enthusiast). The latter had a nice shot of Tarja on the cover taken in Finland on September 22 2007 (by Michael Johansson). So let us take a dive into what I was publishing at the time as the story continues.

Over in Germany a gentleman called Andreas Jost met Tarja for an exclusive dinner/concert/meet and greet in Berlin (where she was performing a Christmas show at the Passionkirche). Andreas got in touch and I printed a report from him on this occasion and in doing so I could continue the coverage of Tarja post Nightwish from the word go. It was just one spread in this magazine but I think it was a rather nice article and this was obviously before she returned with her career in rock with the “My Winter Storm” album in 2007. Raket Magasinet 2006 was published in may 2006.

LE (Lektyrentusiasten) came later, it was published in December 2007. This was a promotional 24 page edition that I handed out to people for free in different ways. Michael Johansson´s cover shot was just phenomenal, with Tarja posing with the SLICE 2006 magazine (see part 5 in this series). Perfect cover for a magazine that looked back at what had been. Obviously, this was the third publication with a Tarja cover. We had the idea to shoot Tarja holding LE which would have been an incredible cover had it happened, but that never materialised. Bit of a shame. Tarja was not available for interviews when she visited Sweden for the “My Winter Storm” album so I felt that it became less interesting to continue the ongoing support. Or less doable.

I did hand out a bunch of copies at the venue in Stockholm on June 1 2008 and Tarja did get some magazines. The covers popped up on her homepage in the magazine covers section. I did continue to give her some coverage and we will end this series with the last hurrah in part 7.

Previous posts: Part 1 (January 1), Part 2 (January 6), Part 3 (January 10). Part 4 (January 15). Part 5 (January 20). Part 7 to be published on January 28.

(A big thank you to Michael Johansson and Andreas Jost for being there for me)

Point Of Know Return

Posted: January 23, 2021 in Classic Rock, Cool stuff

Very happy to have been able to get the 1977 Kansas album “Point Of Know Return” again, as it just appeared in a Limited Edition run of 1,500 copies on flaming Vinyl. I always loved the cover of this album (was it the first ever to have a Sea Serpent on it?), Peter Lloyd did a great job with that. Some great tunes on this album, not least “Dust In The Wind”. Kansas had a strong identity, I guess they still do.

(My shot of said release)

Commando 5403-5406

Posted: January 21, 2021 in Comics

Commando 5403-5406 is out today in the UK. Just search “Commando comics” should you want to subscribe.

(Covers courtesy of Commando)

Excellent 10 page Deep Purple feature in Record Collector 514 (Tom Jones on the cover). Interview with the current band by writer Malcolm Dome plus a dive into the catalogue. Also listed in the magazine we have a couple of upcoming releases, on February 14 we have a Double LP of “Live In California 74” from Eagle (so that looks like California Jam) and on March 21 we get a CD/DVD titled “Live At Montreux 1996” from earMusic, so these looks like official releases. Add to this the “Live In Stockholm 1970” Double LP on February 5 that we have already mentioned and the dodgy looking “Rock Box” 3 CD set on February 26 and it will be expensive to be a collector. EarMusic is also putting out a Limited Edition Double LP (White Vinyl) of “Rapture Of The Deep” on February 26 (personally I will dodge this as it looks like they will remaster this album fairly soon). Then there is the extended Purple Family and we have some stuff to check out for sure. Tommy Bolin “Shake The Devil – The Lost Sessions” (on CD and LP) on February 12 (that would be stuff from the “Private Eyes” sessions). Don Airey And Friends will have “Live In Hamburg” (2017) out in February. Fans of Rainbow can look forward to “Osaka 1978” in early February and friends of Glenn Hughes has John Norum´s “Face The Truth” on Vinyl in early March, not to mention the Dead Daisies album “Holy Ground” (on CD and Purple Vinyl) this week. Also released recently is a Phenomena collection with 17 tracks that all feature Glenn Hughes, “Still The Night – 1985-2006” and a rather dodgy looking Whitesnake CD called “Tokyo Nights” (1988). On the magazine front we have Ritchie Blackmore on the cover of Guitar Player Magazine 704 (great MK3 era shot) and Glenn Hughes has the cover of Bass Player Magazine 404. Rainbow is featured in the current issue of Classic Rock (284, Foo Fighters cover). All in all, we are knee deep in Purple stuff as the year kicks off. Oh, and Roger Glover jokingly suggests in the Record Collector interview that if they record another album they might call it “Splat!”. That made me laugh.

(My shot of Purple spread in Record Collector 514, with artsy layout on top)

Budokan Magic

Posted: January 20, 2021 in Babymetal, Classic Rock

Babymetal has just performed the first two dates of the 10 that they have booked at the Budokan. The last two will take place in mid-April. Slightly less than 5,000 was allowed in each night due to Covid-19 and they had to wear masks and follow strict instructions. The stage construction looked very smart and the pyrotechnics was awesome. The set list did remain the same and the chosen Avenger for the first shows was Momoko Okazaki (completing the trio onstage). The Kami Band was picked from the classic Japanese pool of musicians and merchandise was sold online only (although they had displays to showcase the stuff outside the venue). No tickets sold to fans outside of Japan. Knowing how they operate I would certainly expect a The One (Fan Club) Box out of these 10 shows. Ending this run of shows in mid-April is also leaving the door open for touring abroad, should things open up. Good to see that Babymetal is doing what they can to fight back.

(Image seen above is from official platforms)

And so we have arrived to the SLICE 2006 issue (published in February 2006). This was the most expensive publication yet back then (more colour pages) and I am proud of this magazine. I mean, to start with, just look at that image of Tarja on the cover by my friend Michael Johansson. That is a super exclusive cover right there and I will tell you why.

At the time, Johansson had bought a Xena chakram (second generation) from the source that made them for the actual television show. For him to get Tarja to pose with it was just amazing (many other photo sessions with ladies in rock were to follow). Compare the chakram with the Xena Warrior Princess Magazine (issue 6) cover on this image. This rates pretty high on the old cool-o-meter. This makes this one of the best Tarja covers ever in my opinion. It was also in print right after the split, and it looks pretty symbolic to me. It just worked. That is why you have the “Twilight Of The Gods” headline there.

Since this was in print pretty much back to back with the PIZZA 2006 publication (see Part 4) this also dealt with the breakup of Nightwish. Both the official letters, Nightwish´s and Tarja´s, were reprinted with comments on the general situation, exclusive pictures by Johansson (Stockholm, September 8 2005) and Finnish press clippings. Pretty nice 4 page special.

Once again, I think we covered Nightwish better than any other Swedish publication at the time, which is not bad for a low key fanzine type of a deal. When I look back on my fanzine publishing, this one always comes up as a Top 5 publication. There is some other super exclusive stuff in it too (like a major Deep Purple MK4 story, a history piece on Japan etc). Throw in some Xena (season 5 episode guide), Vampirella etc and you have got a pretty eccentric mix. Which was the point of SLICE to begin with. Later on, Johansson met up with Tarja again and she posed happily with this issue.

Naturally, this became yet another cover but that is another story. And that we will save for Part 6 in this series. Good times.

Previous posts: Part 1 (January 1), Part 2 (January 6), Part 3 (January 10). Part 4 (January 15). Part 6 to be published on January 24.

(Many thanks Michael Johansson for the amazing images and for the good times)

Took this snapshot through a window from my house of the little cabin in the backyard just now. I have been so busy with the house that I have not yet done anything with this place. And yet it is full of possibilities and I have been thinking about it for some time now. I have decided to have a crack at it on my next holiday, making it into something useful. This gives me six months or so to decide on what I want to do. Fresh paint is a given, I will use this place to hone my non existent skills in this field. Then I should be able to have a crack at the garage, which is way more visible. Quite looking forward to this. I love sinking my teeth into a project.

(My shot of said cabin)