Archive for the ‘Babymetal’ Category

I am 59 years old as of today so one more year to go before the big 60. Not that I care much. It is just a number. It will mean that I am one year closer to retirement though, which will happen (the way I see it now) at 65. We shall see. I consider myself a pretty lucky guy. Born in a country like Sweden in 1961 was a blessing. It was a very safe environment. We had a library closeby when I was a kid and that was a blessing too. I read books when I was 10, not just comics and stuff like that but thick books on history and of all the wonders and the mysteries of this world. In the 1960s I listened to the radio because it was the only outlet, but I was lucky in that my mother bought records that I enjoyed so I used to raid her collection. So much great stuff, Elvis, Tom Jones, The Hollies, Cliff Richard. Then you saw Elvis on TV and he certainly made an impression. Then it was The Monkees, also on TV. The first album I ever owned was an album by The Monkees. Then I got “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and without knowing it at the time (this was probably in 1970) I had now touched on the Deep Purple Family (as singer Ian Gillan sang the part of Jesus on that album). In 1971 I discovered Deep Purple and so at age 10 I dived deep into the wonderful world of rock music and radio was the natural outlet still. And friends in school that had older brothers and sisters whom owned great albums (that is how I stumbled across Purple). It was the age of great discoveries, but Deep Purple would remain the heroes.

On TV, you had a lot of Westerns. I know now that the boss of the two channels that existed back then was a huge fan of the genre, and he made sure that the Swedish people got to see all the classics (still love that stuff to this day), and we also got High Chaparral (which, along with The Addams Family surely added something to my cultural DNA). Once a week you had a detective story on TV that everybody watched. There was a bunch of them over the years that everybody loved – Columbo, McCloud, Baretta, Kojak, Cannon etc etc. The 1970s was awesome. I recall a summer (could have been 1973) when TV aired all the classic horror films and we all watched them. That introduced horror comics. The comic book scene was fantastic. So much to chose from, and so I collected a lot of titles. I used to draw comics myself, just for fun. But this interest gave way to music and in 1978 I created my first publication, a magazine called DEEP PURPLE MAGAZINE. Within a year I started to write for newspapers. In 1981 I got to meet Whitesnake in Stockholm (interviews with David Coverdale and Jon Lord can be found on this blog). That changed things and within a year or two I met a lot of the artists that visited Sweden. By 1986 I started to write for major publications abroad, like METAL HAMMER in Europe and METAL (published by CREEM) in the States.

Did radio, did a lot of things. It is all a bit of a blur now but I recall a lot of it. At 30 I was a bit tired of it all so I slowed down and started another Purple fanzine, this time it was a publication called DEEP PURPLE FOREVER. This went on for 13 years and then I started to publish magazines with a much broader content (basically anything I wanted to include, with one foot in the past and one in the present). This only ended after me having done over 100 magazines a few years ago. I never gave up on music. I never stopped reading magazines and books. I felt that good bands were still coming along although the 1990s had been pretty brutal. There will always be good stuff out there. Always. If you can not find it you are not looking.

That attitude had me check out Babymetal in March 2017 (I mentioned it on this blog that very day) and My God did they surprise the hell out of me. It was like 40+ years of Rock and Metal had to happen before this could even be considered. And a lot of other cultural stuff coming out of Asia as well. Babymetal came out when the time was right and we suddenly had this wonderful weird thing that defied all logic. But it worked and it was beautiful. And they are now pulling in yet another generation into the music that I have loved for 50 years now. It will never go away. Hell, I hope it lasts forever. I need it until the day I leave this earth and I think it will always be there. The classic bands will go away but new music will come along. Just look at all the talent. Look at all the young kids that are playing their instruments on YouTube clips like they have been at it for decades. They will hopefully be in bands some day and of course many of them will. All this stuff is like positive energy to me. I think I share that feeling with a lot of people.

Wow, this turned into a bit of a rant. I guess when you look back on a lot of great things it is only natural to look forward too. I do think that art and culture is good for the soul, for our very wellbeing. I spend some time almost daily with this blog, because it is fun. Maybe some of you are here because you share some of my interests. All I know is that, for the moment this is my outlet. This is my little universe. At 59 and with everything I have seen, I think I should be allowed to rant a bit every now and then. It is like half of me is a grumpy old geezer (I loved that TV show, if you know the one I am talking about), but I still have a lot of positive energy. I try to stay positive on this blog. There is way too much negativity out there as it is.

Of course, one year from now, we either live in a normalized place again, or we are well and truly fucked…

(My top image – had to have one for this rant)

Well I just blogged about this album and period of Black Sabbath (see last post) earlier today, and here we have the Babymetalized cover by artist Shawn Fulford (aka ”futon”). A wonderful tribute to a wonderful cover (it kind of grows on you, might take a couple of decades though!). Ian Gillan has stated that he was so upset when he saw the ”Born Again” cover (with the satanic looking baby) that he smashed his albums that the record company had sent over. He was also unhappy about the mix on the album. The 2011 CD (the ”Deluxe” version) has a better mix, so he was right all along. Live, the band was awesome though. Even with Bev Bevan on drums. Who knows how Sabbath would have progressed with Gillan had the Deep Purple reunion not happened when it did? Imagine another two or three albums with these guys… Here is what Shawn has to say about the Babymetalized cover.

Black Sabbath – ”Born Again” Babymetalized

””Born Again” is an album that is highly underrated. My best friend and I got that album back when it was released, we thought ”Zero The Hero” was amazingly heavy (I still think that). The video for the song is weird too. The album art wasn’t well liked, but I thought it was satanic looking and I loved the colours and how they contrasted. It’s worth your time to Google the story of how that album cover came about, it’s pretty funny! I had that cover in mind for a long time to use for BABYMETAL, but never found a photo that worked for me. During the last BABYMETAL tour I saw the picture of Su and it was perfect, except I mirrored it to match the face looking to the left on the Sabbath cover. I couldn’t find the font from the actual cover, which was odd as it looked too be a common medieval font, so got it as close as I could. It’s a simple cover but I love how it looks”. Shawn Fulford (aka ”futon”)

(Classic Rock Calendar: September 1983)

Well the day clearly belonged to Babymetal. About 140,000 people watched the free YouTube feed of the 2017 concert “Legend – S – Baptism XX” (I checked right before it was removed). Not only are they selling merchandise (how about a Babymetal pet-collar designed by Su-metal!), people could also donate during the airing of the show. I could not believe how fast the donations came in. They clearly wrote history today.

Thank you Team Babymetal!

(My shot of post-show still and message at the very end of the feed)

Babymetal will share yet another historic event on YouTube (on Sunday, June 28) and this time we are likely to see the 2017 “Legend – S – Baptism XX – Live At The Hiroshima Green Arena” DVD. Recorded and filmed over two nights on December 3 and 4 2017, these shows highlighted Su-metal´s 20th birthday in her hometown of Hiroshima. It was a big deal and they put on one hell of a production. Kerrang! published a four page story on these nights in # 1702 and the DVD came out in August 2018 in Japan (the seventh official live release no less). In the end, history was written here as Yuimetal had fallen ill and they had to decide on the spot whether to go on with the shows or cancel. They carried on. Su-metal and Moametal just had to cope and they did their very best (especially Moametal whom had to carry some tunes that she and Yuimetal would normally do as a duo on her own). In the end Yuimetal would never return to Babymetal, and it would actually take more than 10 months for that to be officially announced. By that time, the DVD was out. For fans of Babymetal it can be tough to watch this, but only because of the history (these shows were also the last for guitarist Mikio Fujioka before he passed away in January 2018). Babymetal are doing a great thing here, sharing all these shows (this will be the third time they do it). Nice way to give something back to the people, and keep a high profile through some difficult times.

(My shot of first spread in said Kerrang! piece and the DVD – you can find a review archived on August 16 2018 on this blog)

You have got to hand it to Babymetal mastermind Kei Kobayashi (or Kobametal) and how he has promoted this wonderful invention of his. He made sure to film concerts right from the beginning and no other band in the known universe with less than a decade under their belts has got more official product available (in Japan, at least). Then he created The One, the official Fan Club, and when Babymetal started to take off he started to put out boxes with highly exclusive stuff on a regular basis. “Babymetal World Tour 2014 Apocalypse” set the standard (the Budokan set that came out before this looked different) and they are still at it.

These boxes are fabulous. In this one you get the two London shows from 2014 on CD and DVD, plus a fantastic show from Japan filmed at the Makuhari Messe on September 14 2014. And on top of this you get bonus stuff from Europe, Canada and America, including scenes from when Yuimetal and Moametal celebrated their birthdays in France and Germany (as they both had their moment in the spotlight in front of the dedicated fans). The photo book is spectacular. Great shots from Dana “Distortion” Yavin (one of the top photographers in the business) and Miyaaki Shingo (Japan). This all captures the moment in time when Babymetal conquered the West and it really is an awesome story. In Japan, they were really going places. In the lore at the end of the Makuhari Messe show you can see them announce the next stop in Japan, at the Saitama Super Arena. That is a 37,000 venue. The girls must have been in awe of everything that happened to them.

These boxes are not cheap, but they are great.

(Thank you Kalle for securing this box on eBay – my shots for this post)

And here we have the current “Live At The Forum – The One Limited Edition” Box from Babymetal. One has to wonder how many fans they have that have signed up to buy this stuff? One thing is for sure, the Babymetal fandom is something else. And so is the Japanese Fan Club boxes. They really are a collectors dream. I should know.

I reviewed the official Japanese Blu-ray on June 5 on this blog but this is obviously the Rolls Royce version. Great photo book as usual, which in itself makes this set go “boing!” on the old cool-o-meter. No extras though on this one, they must be holding loads of stuff back for some future project.

Still, this is the stuff of legends and it is great fun to be following them on this journey.

(Thank you Kalle for securing this release on eBay – my shots for this post)

I have been thinking about this for a while and the time has come to mention it on the blog. There is an interesting bonus track on the Japanese version of the third Babymetal album “Metal Galaxy” titled “BxMxC” (or “BMC” if you like) that could in my opinion become a big crossover hit. I was not happy about it at first but it started to grow on me and when I saw them perform it live in Stockholm it had an enormous impact. And it has a bit of everything in it, stuff that I would never ever listen to in a million years. But it also has the incredible talent of Su-metal on vocals and a very powerful, crowd pleasing kind of feel (and great optics with their dance moves). This song, it has to be said, has the potential to bring in a brand new audience for Babymetal. The live version of this is incredible and you have a few takes of it filmed by fans on YouTube. I have already seen reaction videos based on these that has people go nuts. This could become another runaway hit, and I predict (as if anyone ever could do that with Babymetal!) that they will push it eventually. Luckily, it will be on the upcoming “Legend – Metal Galaxy” that will be released in September (see earlier post today). So we will soon have the live version.

“Metal Galaxy” still got legs.

(Live shots seen here was taken in Stockholm by Kalle Thelin, some obviously during the song “Megitsune”)

Word is out that Babymetal will release “Legend – Metal Galaxy” on DVD, Blu-ray and CD on September 9. It was the final (mega) shows they did in Japan earlier this year before heading to Europe in early February. Massive shows with both the Japanese and the American Kami Bands present, and all the Avengers (guest dancers). 24 songs in all recorded over two nights.

No word if this is a world wide release, but it should be if you consider that the 10th Anniversary is coming up in October.

(Official image)

Well, the Download 2020 Festival did not happen (as we all know), but they did put up a good show over the weekend on YouTube with the Download TV 2020 Shows. Loads of great clips from the past and live interviews. Today we got to see Babymetal from 2016 and 2018 and the show is far from over as I write this. People can donate to the festival which is a good idea.

We will never forget 2020.

(Shots taken from the showing of “Karate” from Download 2016)

I thought it would be interesting to see what bands and artists the visitors of this blog has discovered in the last decade. Please leave a comment, or if you see me post this link on Facebook, comment there. Give me your Top Three list (and feel free to comment on why).

If I have to pick three right now, it would be BABYMETAL, ELOY and CRYSTAL VIPER.

(Top image shows Over The Rainbow at the Rockweekend Festival in Sweden back in 2010)