I Was There

Posted: May 20, 2020 in Books

Well, I was not there, but author Gudrun Pausewang grew up in Germany and was 17 when the war ended in 1945 and “I Was There” is the Swedish title if you translate it to English. The book is in fact titled “Jag var där – berättelser i Tredje Rikets skugga” (En bok för alla, 2016). Originally published in Germany in 2004, it first saw print in Sweden as early as in 2005. The excellent cover art for this edition is by Lisa Zachrisson and looks like a WWII propaganda poster to me. So what you get here are memories from a childhood, little stories that paints a bigger picture. Gudrun cried when Hitler died, later she felt robbed of her youth. Good for educating kids, especially if propaganda through history can be discussed.

(My shot of said book)

I came across this book yesterday – “Krönikespelet om Gyrdh Bodakarl” (Jengel Förlag, 2013) by author Rune Mats – a theater piece based on the life and times of Gyrdh Bodakarl. This play illustrates what life might have been like for the people that settled in these parts back in the middle age. Without them, there would have been no community here today (Stugun). The book has illustrations by Gulli Johansson and Sara Rehnsbo. Great cover art by Bo Persson (and you can see the mountain where I have my place behind the settlement, which is good fun). I really appreciate that people like Rune keep our history alive.

(My shot of said book)

2021

Posted: May 18, 2020 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, Magazines, Music (general)

I have been thinking about what the current situation with no concerts might mean for 2021 and in my opinion it may just end up being a pretty exciting year. Just think of all the artists out there that are not working on the road, I would think that most of them (certainly the people that are most involved in the very creation of the output) are quite busy coming up with new stuff now. Normally, most artists spends a lot of time promoting their music on the road, but that time is now redirected to preparing for the time when they can go out again. This means that there will be an awful lot of music coming out in 2021. In fact, I wonder if the industry can even handle everything that people will want to get out there next year? Everybody is suddenly at the same place in the creative cycle (or process, if you like). Then you have the problem with everybody wanting to crash out the gate at the same time going out on the road, which is another potential bottleneck. But, all in all and providing that the industry can still operate on a decent level, it should be a good year. And people will be ready to support live music again, it should be something that everybody is looking forward to. This has been a highly emotional year, what that will lead to as far as actual song content is concerned remains to be seen. Who knows what is being put down right now in studios all over the world? What worries me most right now is the magazine business, the backbone of the scene. If that scene goes to hell in the next few months, we are in real trouble.

We live in interesting times.

(My image from the Babymetal show in Stockholm back in February)

Today we remember Ronnie James Dio, whom passed away on this day in 2010. I blogged about it back in the day and that ended up in RETROFUTURE #4 (the publication I had going at the time). On his “Strange Highways” album, he sang: “Bury my bones on the moon, if they never should find me it would be too soon”. I asked him about that when I met him back in 2001 (the interview is archived in August 2012 on this blog) and he told me about it. Pretty deep stuff. But he was also a warm and giving person, supporting things like Children Of The Night (which is also talked about in that interview). He suffered blows in his life but he always walked tall. And that is how he should be remembered.

And he will be.

(My shot of RETROFUTURE #4 piece – cover inserted)

It was brought to my attention today that the fifth studio album by Dio was released on May 15 1990, so it has been 30 years now. I always liked this album and I thought the song “Hey Angel” (that they made a video for) was an excellent choice to represent what was a brand new band at the time. Guitarist Rowan Robertson was 18 when this album was released. On keyboards we had Jens Johansson and on drums Simon Wright, both seasoned professionals from acts like Yngwie Malmsteen and AC/DC. Teddy Cook handled the bass. Ronnie made a bold move with this lineup but it still sounds good to me. Cover art by Wil Rees.

(My shot of said CD – kudos to the Deep Purple Podcast for mentioning the anniversary on their Facebook page)

Monolith

Posted: May 15, 2020 in Classic Rock, Cool stuff

Just added the 2020 release of the 1979 album “Monolith” from Kansas to the old collection. Limited Edition (1,000 copies), Blue Vinyl. My copy has the number 000251 stamped on it on the back. Truly amazing cover art by Bruce Wolfe. Sci-Fi at its very best.

Pretty sure that I had this LP back in the day but it got lost when I trimmed down the collection in the 1990s (oh, what a fool I was). In my book, this is worth having for the cover alone but the music is entertaining enough on its own as well. Always had a soft spot for Kansas anyway.

(My shots of this release)

I need to write this, not to disrespect Team Babymetal, but to put my two cents worth forth regarding a very strange situation. On May 13, Babymetal released another long awaited DVD/Blu-ray in Japan only. The trailer is up for all to see, but if you do not live in Japan and want the physical product, you need to get this on import. “Live At The Forum” tops the Japanese charts and I think Team Babymetal owe the fans outside of Japan an explanation why we, at this point, have not seen any DVD/Blu-ray releases since “Live In London” and “Live At The Budokan” in 2015 (both amazing but filmed in 2014, which is a long time ago now). We did not get “Live At Wembley” (2016, save for the CD) and we did not get “Live At Tokyo Dome” (also 2016, released in 2017 in Japan). Then there was the “Legend – S – Baptism XX – Live At Hiroshima Green Arena” – the 2017 concert that was released in Japan only in 2018. All stunning in their own right. All of them bonafide Babymetal classics of great historical importance.

Now we have another landmark release in “Live At The Forum” and we are ignored again. In all honesty, this is not how you build a career. These releases should all have been out worldwide. If the label is against it, you need to get rid of them. If this is your business plan, maybe you need to take a look at how Joe Bonamassa has built his career. And one of his tricks (and it has payed off) is to get live stuff out there on a regular basis. More than a few from famous venues across the world. Because that looks fantastic. And Team Babymetal could have done exactly the same thing but has gone down another road. I also know that you have your own label and maybe there are things that I am ignorant about here, but trust me when I say that I am not alone in thinking that this is so wrong it needs to be corrected. I am just a fan, yes, but I have been in rock journalism since the late 1970s as well. That is why I write this very piece.

I just bought UK publication Metal Hammer #335 and in it Babymetal landed a prestigious #10 spot in The 50 Greatest Metal Bands Ever poll. Babymetal has a full page in this issue, commenting on this wonderful support from the online community (actually getting more space than many others on the same list in the magazine). As I see it, “Live At The Forum” would have been a pretty good release to have right now outside of Japan (in support of “Metal Galaxy”). Babymetal are beloved for the shows, people want to see as much as possible and we want to support this. The fans have also supported Babymetal through a period of uncertainty. Then show us some love here. Trust that there are enough of us to make it worth your while. We are out here. We love you. We are proud of you. We wish you well.

Your decision to showcase “Live At Tokyo Dome” and “Live At Wembley” on the YouTube platform recently was excellent thinking and in my opinion this must have created an interest in these concerts worldwide and an opportunity for Team Babymetal to release them now everywhere. This is not a lost cause. Not yet. You are still building your career. We can see the continued interest in Babymetal online. I think you can reach out to many people who are still buying physical product. Some acts still do good business and this race is not over. Far from it. I mentioned Joe Bonamassa in this piece because him and his team have spent a lot of time building his career to what it is now. And it has worked. I think it could work for Babymetal as well. You drop the ball or you do not.

If we do not see a worldwide release of “Live At The Forum” in 2020, somebody really ought to be spanked. I may be joking, but only just…

(My shot of the Swedish EMP Shop outlet earlier this week – there is more to see and more items to buy but “Live At The Forum” should have been at the top of that page right now)