Archive for the ‘Music (general)’ 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)

I have just showcased a couple of issues of Swedish publication Bild Journalen. Well, here is a book about the magazine in question. “Boken om Bild Journalen” (Premium Publishing, 2011) by authors Börje Lundberg and Ammi Bohm explore this classic title (that existed 1954-1969) over a whopping 584 pages (drop this and you are likely to hurt yourself). I really love books like this, jam packed with everything you ever wanted to see and know. Great magazine, huge legacy.

(My shot of said book)

WHITESNAKE

David Coverdale is doing press and the YouTube interviews are popping up. Apparently, “The ROCK Album” is #1 in Japan even before release. They just know it because of the pre-sales. The last studio album “Flesh & Blood” also made it to #1 on the Japanese charts.

RICK WAKEMAN

Good old Rick Wakeman has a new solo album coming out on July 3 called “Red Planet”. The Vinyl will be in Red, and they have really gone to town with that particular edition.

ACCEPT

Accept are set to release a Compilation LP (Limited Edition 2,500 copies) titled “Hot & Slow”, also on July 3. Silver/Red no less. Got to love that.

(My shot of a David Coverdale photograph from the old archive, taken by Michael Johansson back in the day)

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Third day on my annual holiday and I am starting to relax. Here is some of the current stuff that I indulge in right now. Three UK publications in Planet Rock (21), Total Guitar (333) and Classic Rock (276). Glad they are still around. Then we have Norwegian comic book Pionér (4), John Nichol´s “Spitfire” (Simon & Schuster, 2019), Norwegian Tex Willer (667) and a couple of albums – Vandenberg “2020” and Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends “Hands Of Jack The Ripper” (recorded live 1970 with Ritchie Blackmore, Nick Simper, Keith Moon and others – thank you Kalle for giving me this rare release!). Good stuff for different reasons all of it.

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It was a beautiful thing to discover that Planet Rock had Deep Purple´s “Made In Japan” at #1 in their major feature on The 100 Greatest Live Albums. Nice article about it too with some interesting quotes on what went down back in the day. First spread has a great live shot from Japan (only credited to the Getty agency). Too bad they never thought about filming it as well, but nobody could have known how important this would become (inside a year, and to this day for Purple).

Good times.

(My shots of said publications and releases)

I like the format of the TV Guide and had I lived Stateside I would surely have had a collection of them. As it stands I only own a select few and here we have two of them, April 25 1970 (Raquel Welch and John Wayne cover) and September 23 1967 (The Monkees). Left cover is by Raphael, the one to the right by Gene Trindl. I grew up with Westerns on TV so this cover is pretty special. Raquel had a show and she invited guests and The Duke was one of them. Should be out on DVD as I see it. As for The Monkees, I recall their show although I was very young when it aired. The first LP I ever got was an album by them. I have lost the original but I have it on CD. Still sounds good to me.

(My shot of said publications)

Big day for the Deep Purple Podcast as they have just added Bonus Episode #7 to their platforms, and for the first time they have got an interview with a member of the current Deep Purple. Don Airey talks about his career and it is a really good interview with plenty of interesting tales. I have enjoyed this journey and it is good to see that all the hard work has resulted in this kind of respect. Don seems to be a lovely man and it is good to hear that he is working on a book.

Well done chaps.

(My shot of some of the records that Don Airey has done over the years)

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”)

So we live in a day and age when everything is being cancelled, removed and taken down. When I was in school we actually learned from the past. Like that burning books is a bad idea. That freedom of speech is a pretty good thing too. How long before they go for the bands we love? Conservative forces tried in the 1980s and failed. But now… Oh, the mob is coming in from the other side now and the old school liberals are strangely silent. I guess the day when you could name your band after your dick is gone then?

Or is it really?

(Picture shows part of Swedish OKEJ article from 1981 – when you could still have some fun and get away with it)

There has been a few good Rock Operas (or Concept Albums or whatever you want to call them) over the years, and my Top List would include two in particular in “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1970) and “War Of The Worlds” (1978). Now I am pleased to add Eloy´s “The Vision, The Sword And The Pyre” Part 1 (2017) and Part 2 (2019) to my favourites and in order to support the project I have invested in both the Vinyls and the CDs. The man behind this body of work is Frank Bornemann (guitar, vocals) and he has surrounded himself with a wonderful cast of talent. To portray Joan Of Arc – her life, mission and legacy – and do it justice, can not be an easy task. But I feel that Frank has achieved his goal here and he deserves a lot of credit for pulling this off. Eloy is a German band in the progressive field that was originally formed in 1969 and they have released many albums over the years, but nothing quite as ambitious as this. For me, these records have functioned as my gateway to the musical universe of Eloy. The history of Joan Of Arc is astonishing in itself, what took place is the stuff of legends. Countless books, films and plays exists. Now we can add these albums (the first Vinyl is a Double LP, the second has three sides, which is a first in my collection) to all of this and I think it will stand the test of time. This is a body of work that will be performed for decades to come. It should also cement the reputation of Eloy and rekindle a fresh interest in their catalogue. Fans of Deep Purple will hear hints of “Perfect Strangers” and “Child In Time” on the first album, but I have no problem with that (it is just influenced and we are talking about Purple here). I know that I will play these albums on a pretty regular basis, I think this is beautiful stuff.

Lovely artwork, design and layout by Michael Narten. First LP has a gatefold sleeve.

(My shot of said releases)

Some books are cooler than most and this is one of them. “EVA – men´s adventure supermodel” (New Texture, 2019) has been lovingly put together by editors Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle in full cooperation with Eva Lynd (or Eva Inga Margareta von Fielitz before she moved to America in 1950 from my neck of the woods, Sweden). As a fan of old school magazines and books I have seen  Eva depicted on countless covers in all sorts of situations. I really never thought that I would ever get to know any more but here we are, a full blown fully illustrated book about her life with plenty of pictures and covers. The action drawing you see on the cover was originally in print on the cover of New Man (Magazine) in December 1968, one of many that was made by Norm Eastman (one of the all time greats in the business). He would shoot some pictures and then draw his art based on those. Eva was in high demand in the 1950s and 1960s and also made appearances as an actress in television shows and films. She also ended up on several album covers.

(My shot of said book – cover art by Norm Eastman)