Archive for August, 2020

It was announced today that Sakura Gakuin, the Idol Group that was formed in 2010 by the entertainment company Amuse in Japan, will end its activities on August 31 2021. It was from Sakura Gakuin that Babymetal was formed as a subunit built around the vocal talents of Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-metal). The first Babymetal performances and recordings took place when Su-metal, Moametal (Moa Kikuchi) and Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) were still part of Sakura Gakuin and because of this much of the very early Babymetal stuff can be found on the 2010-2013 era releases (albums, singles, DVDs, books – the first official Babymetal DVD was released in 2013 and the first album in 2014). Babymetal became an independent project in 2013, preceeding the graduation of Su from the group that year, but Moa and Yui were still part of Sakura Gakuin until they graduated in 2015. By then Babymetal was a sensation around the world. The last version of Sakura Gakuin (eight members) will now graduate a year from now, at which point 36 members will have passed through the ranks. It could be argued that Covid 19 has been largely responsible for Sakura Gakuin coming to an end. Without concerts etc, 2020 has been a tough year in the industry. This years graduation took place online and not in a packed theater. There are 10 albums out plus a “Best Of Sakura Gakuin” CD and numerous DVDs, books etc. Due to the success of Babymetal, the Sakura Gakuin stuff will likely remain available for some time. Babymetal will celebrate the 10th Anniversary in October. No word yet on what will go down or how. Some kind of event that may be live streamed seems likely. The lore, as announced on a previous performance, has mentioned the date 20201010. Former members of Sakura Gakuin can now be found in all sorts of places, in groups, in theater and in films and television etc. And some have obviously taken the very concept of Kawaii Metal to the world, and succeeded against all odds. I predict future books, DVDs and Compilations and whenever Babymetal get down to writing their history, they will certainly have a proud place in that chapter of music history as well. This is a journey that will not be forgotten.

(My shot of three Sakura Gakuin books, a magazine, some DVDs and CDs)


I have to mention this beautiful photo book by renowned photographer Robert Ellis. “The Pictorial Album Of Rock” (Salamander, 1981) was one of the first books of its kind, in which a photographer raided his archives and published some of his best work along with some historic notes. Long out of print, this is a collectors item now and well worth hunting down. Foreword by Phil Collins, 226 pages. Robert is still around and you can buy signed prints of some of his classic shots on his personal homepage.

(My shots of said book)


And the magazine covers keep on coming. Here is UK publication Power Play issue 232. Third cover in the UK in recent weeks. There is also a decent Ian Gillan chat in MOJO issue 322 (David Bowie cover) with a great shot from the early 1970s in it. Loads of publicity right now, I think the guys are doing way more interviews than ever before. Well, if you can not tour, you can still do press.


There will be a Dio comic book in June 2021 based on the cover of “Holy Diver”. It comes from Z2 Comics in the States, the same company that published the Babymetal comic book a while back.


A monster box with Uriah Heep stuff is coming up on October 30. Titled “Fifty Years In Rock” it features 23 CDs, “The Magicians Birthday” on Vinyl and a 64 page book. Original members Mix Box, Ken Hensley, Paul Newton and Lee Kerslake have all been involved in the project.

(My shot of the Power Play magazine)

Added Knasen (that is the Swedish Beetle Bailey publication) issue 15 2020 to the old collection. Every now and again they go for a tribute cover and this is not a bad one. Cover artist is not credited. I guess it could be Mort Walker, but I would need more information at this point.

(My shot of said comic book)

Swedish magazine Motor, issues 15 and 12 1967. This publication always had awesome covers. I mean, compare these cover shots with the car magazines today and there is no wonder that they are on their way out now. The magazine business will slowly dry up, one reason being that the fun has slowly eroded from the scene. No photo credits for these covers, the cover to the left looks American to me and the one to the right may be Swedish (who knows).

(My shot of said publications)

Black Sabbath´s ”Tyr” album turned 30 the other day and I have good memories from them days. Today we pay homage to ”Sabotage” though, one of the epic releases from the original lineup in the 1970s. I always loved the original cover and I think this Babymetalized art is just spot on. I would love to hear what the Sabbath guys has to say about it. Maybe in another dimension, this was the original album. And the Sabbath cover the tribute. Then again, maybe not. There is a brilliant film script in there somewhere though.

Black Sabbath – ”Sabotage” Babymetalized

”Black Sabbath’s ”Sabotage”. First off, I love the song off that album that everyone loves, ”Symptom Of The Universe”. As for the album cover, I liked the weird reflection, where you should see their backs but you see their fronts, so I thought I would do the same with the girls. This is a cover I totally recreated as opposed to adding and removing parts of an actual cover. I like making the covers either way, but recreating everything is more satisfying. If there was a picture of the girls backs from the same photo I would recreate the back cover”. (Shawn Fulford, aka ”futon”).

(Classic Rock Calendar: July 1975)

Mission accomplished. I added the final touches to the new hobby area storage room (see August 21 post Storage Space Finally Converted To Hobby Area) yesterday for the comic books etc with a couple of carpets (love the Union Flag one) and a low stool for comfort if you need to reach the lower shelves without blowing out a knee or two. Pretty happy with the job done this week.

As I mentioned in the previous blog post the entrance to this room is from the music room/library in the basement. So I can go nuts down there and you will only ever see it if you are invited to this area (or if you follow this blog, but hey, we are all friends here). I thought it was good fun to add these old Rainbow (“Long Live Rock´n´Roll” era) and Deep Purple (“Come Taste The Band” era) posters to that door, visible only when it is open. After all, it is the music room.

Crazy traffic on the blog today.

(My shots from the old man cave – Thank you Kalle for the trip yesterday)

Deep Purple are on a roll right now and it would seem that the collaboration with producer Bob Ezrin (this being the third album in a row now) has been very good for the general confidence and vibe. Not to mention the sound they have now, fat and rich in detail. First of all, the new album “Whoosh!” is a hit – number 1 in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and Top 10 in Sweden, France, Canada, Czech Republic, Norway, Poland and elsewhere. It crashed in at number 4 in the UK, highest chart position there since the early 1970s. It has also found strong international support on iTunes, whatever the hell that might mean (I am a grumpy old dude). In other words, all is well in Deep Purple Land.

Musically the album rocks. There may be the occational filler track here and there but every song here has great moments in it. The playing is on a level that is just outrageous, musicians will absolutely love this album. Then you have the classics, the killer tracks. Songs that will grow and demand your attention. It opens strongly with “Throw My Bones” and then it just continues to deliver on a level that is quite enjoyable. Steve Morse and Don Airey is all over this record, they are out of this world good as a team and “Nothing At All” in particular is very playful and radio friendly. “No Need To Shout” has a groove that reminds you of “Stormbringer”. “Step By Step” is haunting and heavy, Ian Gillan sounding great. He has found his comfort zone and he really has a knack for writing clever lyrics. Or funny as hell, whatever he sets his sights on comes out in a way that is very good. “What The What” is a good party song. “The Long Way Round” has a galloping thing going on and it really is a Purple classic. Roger Glover and Ian Paice is one hell of an rhythm section. When they take it down a notch to let the song breathe they are basically using the Purple formula of say “Woman From Tokyo” to full effect. Still works. “The Power Of The Moon” has a great groove and on “Remission Possible” (basically a standout instrumental) they are having some basic good old fashion fun (could have been a great theme song for a classic television show) before it moves over to the big classic on the record, “Man Alive”. This song has it all. Depth, power, a strong message. A song for our times. I think this one has the power to pull in a new generation of fans to the fold. “And The Address” opened the very first Purple album “Shades Of Deep Purple” in 1968 and here they are closing this album with a good version of it (kind of going full circle I guess), except there is a bonus track in “Dancing In My Sleep” that kind of blows it. Not a bad track, but this album should have ended with the song that started it all. The feeling may have been that this might be the last album. Right now though, they are talking about recording a follow-up to “Whoosh!” before they hit the road next year. Would that not be one hell of a twist in the tale?

All in all, this is a superb Deep Purple album (with a great cover it should be added). It is a classic. And you have to love a rock album that casually mentions Fred Astaire.

(Top image shows the Box Edition and one of the Vinyl Editions)

There is a new facebook group called “Deep Purple – All Shades” that I will support. The only rule, and this is good news, is that members need to respect all versions of Deep Purple. The sad individuals that live for negative comments if they do not like a certain lineup can dwell happily elsewhere. I think it is good news that we can have a positive place and this is it. It is one thing to have opinions but the sad geezers that hate everything since they stopped listening and dedicate their lives to point this out can be rather annoying.

See you there.

(Press shot seen here was handed out by EMI Records to Swedish media in 1975, the guy with the beard worked at the office)

Classic Joan of Arc

Posted: August 22, 2020 in Comics, Cool stuff, Hobby

This is a continuation of yesterdays post. I found some really nice comic books from the old days when I unpacked the old boxes but I have to say that the price has to go to this title, issue 11 (printed in 1968) of the Swedish edition of Classics Illustrated: Joan of Arc. Just look at that cover art. I was seven when this was published, probably added it to the collection in the early 1970s but there is a chance that I actually got this myself upon release. I certainly started to collect comics as soon as I could read. 165 titles are mentioned on the back of this publication so this was obviously the second time that this title saw print.

Great nostalgia.

(My shot of said comic book)