Dave’s story was well received and as a result has inspired another metal mini-biography from Sam. I hope you like it. We certainly did.
The Power of Eddie
I read Dave's story and it got me thinking about my own and my love affair with Metal and the subsequent effect it has had on my life, so here goes...
It was 1984 and I was nine and up until then had only been exposed to my brother's music (Zappa, Little Feat, The Doors etc) and the early Now That's What I Call Music. Then one fateful day I went to Heathrow airport with my mum to pick up a friend of hers. Whilst waiting we went into a shop to get a present or something for her mate, she let me wander off to look at the selection of cassettes on offer. One album cover leapt out at me and told me that it had to leave with me at any cost. It was Iron Maiden's first album Iron Maiden. I could not take my eyes off the picture of Eddie, I had never seen any thing like it. It is now tattooed on my left foot.
I took it off the shelf and basically harassed my Ma into buying it for me, I think she did it to simply shut me up. We collected the friend and went home where upon I ran upstairs and put on the tape and listened whilst staring at the cover. I wish I could say that I loved it there and then, but that would be a lie. I loved the cover but my young ears just weren't ready yet. It was put away in a box.
A year later whilst tidying my room I found the tape and stuck it on, this time I had a very different reaction. Steve Harris' bass on Running Free made me shiver as did Iron Maiden. I learned the lyrics and sang along having no idea what it all meant, just that it was awesome. There it began, as did my collecting of any Maiden album I could lay my hands on.
The next great discovery came in the form of punk. My cousin gave me one Christmas The Clash's Combat Rock and a home made anarchy badge and a whole new world opened up. From that I discovered The Sex Pistols and Putney's first twelve year old middle class punk was born. I had the lot, bondage trousers, donkey jacket with ‘I Hate’ in safety pins on the back, ripped Pistols T-shirt, DM's and spiky hair. I loved The Pistols and still do.
From there regular trips to the bowels of High St. Ken market led to bands such as Charged G.B.H. and The Exploited and obscure one's like The Snivelling Shits. I could not get enough of punk.
I went to school at seven and made friends with a dude called Alex and on my return to school after the awakening to Maiden we started to listen to as much Metal as we could. This was aided by his older brother, Dan, who not only had loads of tapes but also played guitar in a band. We listened to W.A.S.P, Led Zepplin, Motorhead and lots of Maiden, Scorpions and plenty of 80's hair metal.
W.A.S.P were a favourite, how could you not love a band that covered themselves in blood and raw meat and sung about fucking like a beast, drinking and so on, perfect.
Then it all changed as we found Metallica and Megadeth. We just could not believe our ears. What was this? Thrash was just so much heavier and faster than what we had known before and we loved it.
The first Megadeth album we heard was Killing Is My Business, it was mind blowing, but then came along Peace Sells and it was even better. The title track is with out doubt one of the greatest thrash tracks ever written, it is timeless. If it was first released tomorrow it would still be seminal.
Megadeth were our favourites by far, how ever Metallica of course made an impression. We loved Kill ‘Em All and in my opinion their finest album, Master of the Puppets, a perfect combination of technical thrash and pounding heaviness. I enjoyed Justice but never became a big Metallica fan.
By now I had become obsessed with punk and metal. I got my first leather jacket. I started to collect vinyl at a ferocious rate all my pocket money, birthdays and Christmas were used to buy records. I still have a lot of it and bought a record player recently to play them again. I went to Our Price, Reckless Records, Ken Market, Shades and later Metal Head off Carnaby St, where I managed to do work experience after G.C.S.E's.
Even though I was on a search for as heavy as I could find when Appetite for Destruction came out both Alex and I were hooked and it still is one of my favourite records ever. To me Guns and Roses were a one record band like the Pistols, one moment of pure perfection. Thanks to Slash I got hold of a guitar, cowboy boots, and started to smoke.
1989 was a big year in metal for me. Firstly, through the BBC Arena documentary I made two very important discoveries. Firstly, Napalm Death and the mighty Slayer. Napalm were amazing, so fast and so heavy and yet still reminded me of early 80's punk. I went out and bought Scum, From Enslavement to Obliteration and the Mentally Murdered E.P., which had a band photo with Lee Dorian wearing khaki army trousers with confuse written on them, so I did the same. I became a total Grind fan and an avid collector of any Earache release. Carcass quickly became a favourite; Symphonies of Sickness being a classic album.
Slayer, what can any one say about them, unbelievable. Raining Blood is another timeless thrash track, the feedback, rain effect, then Dave Lombardo's bass drum and the duel guitars howling out that riff. They fast became one of my favourites and I still listen to them.
Secondly, I went to my first gig with my older brother, Overkill at the Astoria, supported by Mordred. It is safe to say I was shitting myself, but ended up loving every second. It took awhile to relax but by the end of the gig I was singing “Fuck You” at the top of my voice along with Bobby Blitz.
Thirdly, I discovered the band Death one of the first true Death Metal bands. I was now into extreme metal any way but this was different, Leprosy was my first Death album and was spellbinding. Not long after finding Death other Death Metal bands emerged form the Florida scene, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Massacre all genre defining bands.
Last but not least I met your resident Metal Muppet, Matt, at school. We became a double act and the Heavy Metal Dicks were born!
Matt and I dedicated the next 8 years to all things Metal. We formed a band Exus, recorded a demo which Shane form Napalm liked. We were never out of our metal uniform, combat trousers, boots, T-shirts and painted leather jackets, bullet belts and the odd mistake like our prat hats, TWAT hats more like. Matt's Butchered At Birth jacket became well known on the London scene.
We attended any gig we could go to and I mean any. From a shit pub thrash band to Guns and Roses at Wembley Stadium. We even got free tickets and back stage passes to Iron Maiden, thanks to my Dad. There are far to many to mention here but I will mention the ones that really stuck out as special; Deicide, Biohazard, Obituary, Ministry, Fuck Reading festival especially The Exploited, Slayer, Carcass, Megadeth, Overkill, Morbid Angel, all the Donnington's attended... this is stupid we saw them all, every great band in Thrash and Death from that 90's era, I don't want to sound arrogant but we really did!
My love of Heavy Metal went on a break when is was 21 and I lost myself in dance music. 10 years later I started listening to the old bands again and fell in love again. The first gig I went to, after the break, was one of my top bands ever Suicidal Tendencies, they were awesome and it was my first pit in 12 years. Since then I have been to quite a few gigs.
I am not as hardcore as once was, my tastes have changed. There is more chance of catching me in high end fashion, trying to learn how to make men's clothes and listening to Johnny Cash, than boots and leather. But even now that image of Eddie I was so drawn too at 9 defined my taste, as did my whole youth spent with heavy metal. I am covered in tattoos, lots of skulls, I am a sucker for skulls and the darker images of life. But I think most of all, like the music, I just can't conform, I can't be part of straight (normal) society. Always on the fringe and not quite accepted and may it stay like this forever.
Writing this, I know I have missed out so much stuff, stories, moments, and bands. I think I have talked about myself enough. When all is said and done I think I am still a 12 year old punk stuck in my ageing 35 year old body. I will all ways love Metal in its many forms and if I have any kids they better get their ears ready...
Thank you to Matt and Alex for being my partners in Metal and all those bands that shaped my youth and still affect me even now.