Category Archives: ROCK 101

Books that Rock…nothin more,nuthin less!

Rock Candy Magazine: Dec 2020/January 2021 Issue

I have not done a “Rock Candy Magazine” review in a bit. As you already know I’m a huge fan of this magazine as it features a bunch of those brilliant Kerrang writers from the ’80s.

Since I have a tie-in with a review coming up that is featured in this issue I thought “Oh what the hell”.

Who that band or artist you ask?  Well, you will have to wait a few days to find out. How’s that for a cheap plug! 

Rock Candy is up to Issue 23 now (Yup I have all 23) and as always the writers have stepped up.

By checking out the cover above you can see all the musical goodies that are inside.

First of all, is a 10-page tribute to Eddie Van Halen which is very well done. 

“Yes” is the main focal point here and it’s a great read as there are new interviews with Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson on the making of the mega-selling “901025” release back in 1984.

Pretty cool interview with Snake Sabo from Skid Row as he talks about recording the brilliant “Slave To The Grind” release. In what will come as no surprise to anyone they were having trouble with Bach already. lol

Rick Allen from Def Leppard discusses quite openly what he went through on that night of his accident and the amazing perseverance he went through to get back into the studio to finish Hysteria.

Look at that pic above it’s Ladano’s fav Bible Belters Stryper in which Micheal Sweet talks about the success and hassles of being well…Stryper!

Now the Award for best picture (see below) in this issue of Rock Candy goes to! Drum roll, please! 

Bam! That my friends is the one and only Pat Benetar! Wowzers what a great-looking woman and R.C take an in-depth look at all the shit and hassle Pat took in the late 70’s and early 80’s on getting her music out there in a male-dominated business!

Pat had to deal with a lot of creeps but guitarist Neil Giraldo as we all know together had a bunch of great selling albums and huge singles during the roaring ’80s.

Something I didn’t know is that Giraldo played lead guitar on Rick Springfields “Working Glass Dog”. Yup, that’s Neil on “Jessie’s Girl”.

Rock Candy never disappoints as they always make each issue interesting and #23 is no exception!

KISS: Alive And Forever (2002)

For many KISS “Alive Forever” put together by Curt Gooch and Jeff Suhs is the Holy Grail of the painted one’s touring history.

Released back in 2002 “KISS Alive Forever” has been out of print since then.

Copies of this paperback book are going anywhere from $134 to $600 Canadian.

That’s crazy but there are fans I’m sure would and will pay this price!

I’m not one of them…

In saying that, a move I normally don’t do I was actually surfing iBooks through Apple, and for some reason, I typed in KISS.

In the midst of other KISS books on the market, there was Alive Forever in digital form for $25. 

Still a little steep for me for a digital copy but compared to the prices mentioned above 25 bucks was cheap.

So I bought the digital copy.

So if you read my post the other day on the Julian Gill “KISS On Tour 2020” Gill right off the bat mentions that “Alive And Forever” is the holy grail of KISS Books.

The difference between the two is that Gill features no interviews with people involved with KISS at various points during there touring history whereas Gooch and Suhs do interview a ton of people involved with KISS except KISS themselves (SHOCKER)

(check out that pic of Gene’s hair catching on fire in Ottawa Ontario back in 1975)

The authors did their homework, big time!

This book took over 7 years of research as the authors sifted over 10,000 pictures (200 are in the book)  and as I mentioned interviews by the people that were there at various points during Kiss touring history.

That’s the clincher and is the selling point of this book as you get the scoop from everyone involved in KISS including roadies, wardrobe consultants, bands that opened for KISS, and stories of KISS spending habits that got them into trouble in the 80s, as well as a hidden off the stage keyboard/sample fella named Gary Corbett(more on him shortly) who was with KISS during the late 80s.

The best part of the book I find is that whole 1980-1992 era of KISS when record sales were dipping and Stanley and Simmons were in mid life crisis mode! Not that they would ever admit to it but I will say I enjoyed it.

During that era especially starting at the 1981-83 period KISS was crumbling. If you click the post above (The one with the pic of ACE you will see for yourself KISS was in trouble) you get a sense of how business was being run. 

The best part is how KISS made Ace seem like a part of the band when he wasn’t as their record contract would be void and would have to be renegotiated which did indeed happen and Gene and Paul took a hit financially at the time. 

How about KISS management in early 88 telling Gene and Paul to chill out on the spending as the debts were mounting. What does KISS do? They fire management and hire Stanleys shrink for a short time to run the band.

Gary Corbett as I mentioned adds some great insight into being the hired gun to play keyboards, backing vocals, and samples on the Crazy Nights Tour.

Corbett says at one point during the Crazy Nights tour KISS would send him home as tickets weren’t selling in some markets to save money and when they would play the bigger markets the call would come to Gary to show up.

One interesting story that appeared in this book and along with the Gill “KISS On Tour 2020” was back in late 1989 when KISS released “Hot In The Shade” album and wanted to tour to plug the album. 

The only problem was the promoters were not biting on a KISS tour. At one point a promoter offered a theatre tour to KISS as they felt the demand wasn’t there for an arena run. 

But..

Out came the single ‘Forever’ and it went Top 10 and guess what? The promoters came knocking  for arena dates and KISS did the smart thing by taking on two hot current bands as opener at the time, that being Slaughter and Winger who were selling platinum so Gene and Paul knowing this would help the cause in selling tickets took the plunge and it worked as it was the best selling KISS tour ticket wise since 1979’s Dynasty Tour.

Once 1996 rolls around the makeup goes back on and the original four are back. But by 2000 that’s over as Peter is given his pink slip read the post below.

What better way than Peter knowing he’s gone than to trash his drumkit at the end of his last show at the time! 

You cannot make this kind of shit up!

My apologies for the scans as it was a pain to do it this way but I wanted to show you all how the format of the book looked like.

Now here is something cool. Now it’s common knowledge that if you are a KISS fan the Creatures of the Night Tour was a flop. A lot of has been made of that but in this book well take a look below…

Gooch and Suhs calculated the Top 5 least attended tours. 

Here friends is the proof that 1992’s Revenge Tour and 1983’s Lick It Up Tours drew fewer fans per show than 1982’s Creatures of the Night Tour.

I knew the Revenge tour was iffy at best but what surprised me was all the hoopla that was made by KISS ditching the makeup in 83 putting out a good album in Lick It Up that went Gold yet the tour before it (Creatures) had an album that sold less yet more people attended the shows.

KISS fans are a funny bunch. Myself included.

The only real knock I have on this is the mistakes in writing which surprised me as did they not have an Editor?

But in a way that’s cool as the sloppy writing reminds me of my blog!

In having said that…

“KISS: Alive Forever” was a great read. I would have preferred a paperback copy but you sometimes have to do what ya gotta do.

Seek this one out!

 

 

 

KISS: On Tour 2020 Edition

Julian Gill has put together a massive book that has all of the KISS Tour Dates from 1972 to 2020.

This book is filled with a ton of info and I have always been a geek with this kind of stuff. Tour dates/attendance and how much money was made.

Unlike RUSH who authorized their awesome book on this format a few years ago (“Wandering The Face of the Earth”) dealing with KISS, on the other hand, you won’t get any official stuff like this from them but what you will get are some hardcore fans putting these books together and releasing them.

Gill over the course of 700 plus pages in this book has listed as much info as possible on every possible KISS show from the beginning which was November 1972 when Gene, Paul, and Peter auditioned as a three-piece for Epic Records. 

Did you know that? I sure didn’t. It’s stuff like that which is very interesting to me. 

Each tour is documented by a writeup which leads to all the dates for that year.  Example ‘Rock N Roll Over Tour’ and the amount of touring they did behind it. 

What is fascinating is not so much the KISS glory years on the road (1975-79) but those tours starting from the aborted American Tours for both 1980’s “Unmasked” and  1981″The Elder” releases as in the United States those albums that were deemed flops.

KISS did a tour in 1980 as they went to Australia where it was mass hysteria as both the Unmasked album and single Shandi were riding high on the charts.

Where this book comes in as a great read is that the KISS shows made 3 million dollars on that Australian tour which is a ton of money but the promoter still lost $250,000 grand on the tour as KISS showed up with an entourage of 45 people and lived it up.

The live it up motto would haunt KISS into the 80’s even more but that’s a story for another time. ( come back in a few days as I will explain it in my next book review)

What I decided to do was ask KISS Superfan the one only John T Snow as he has seen KISS five times in the ’80s. So you can get a good look at how this book is set up.

Here are John’s dates followed by what was printed in KISS On Tour 2020 for each show that the Snowman saw in Atlanta.  You can click on each review to make it bigger as it will be easier on your eyes.

Dec 26, 1983;

 

Jan 9, 1985;

Dec 31, 1985

Feb 10, 1988

 

July 20, 1990

Thanks for sharing those dates Snowman!  As you can tell by those five pics you can get a feel for how this book is laid out.

Even better is the fact that Gill mentions the aborted Canadian Tour that KISS had planned for Canada on the “Hot In The Shade Tour” back in October 1990! 

Damn it if Thunder Bay wasn’t going to be one of those stops! See for yourself posted above!

I knew about this date back then as there is a story tied to it but that’s for another time. Ask me next time I’m on the Lebrain Train!

“KISS 2020 Tour Edition” is a massive read and was actually priced really decent at Amazon ($40 Canadian) and is a great addition to any KISS Fan out there.

 

 

 

 

 

Adrian Smith: Monster of River Rock (2020)

Adrian Smith is one of my favorite guitar players/songwriters’s ever. Just check out those Maiden classics like “Die With Your Boots On”, “Two Minutes To Midnight”, “Wasted Years”, “The Wicker Man” that all begin with that Smith trademark opening riff. 

I’m more surprised and if you’re a Maiden fan you could relate to this statement that I was psyched out that Adrian of all the guys in a band decided to write a book!

“Monsters of River Rock, My Life As Iron Maiden’s Compulsive Angler” is the title of Smith’s book, and as you can tell he loves fishing.

When I preordered the book back in July it had a delivery date of early October. By the time I finally got the book it was more like mid-November. 

In between the book being released first in Europe in September the reviews were mixed. Many comments were “there’s not enough talk about Maiden” ” Too much chat about fishing”  “the book is 70-30 % fishing” etc.

I get it folk’s but like his pal, Bruce Dickinson’s book where Bruce talks about his love of aviation and keeps his private life out of it Adrian goes down that same road in talking about his love of fishing but does open up about his private life somewhat.

You can’t really knock Adrian on how he wrote the book. The title says it all and even though I’m not a fisherman myself you can’t knock the man’s passion which is music and angling.

Over the 300 pages, Adrian writes about how his father took him fishing as a youngster every Sunday when he was a young lad, and from there that ruled his life until the young lad came across Deep Purple’s Machine Head and he packed in his fishing rod and picked up the guitar.

Being a Maiden fan I wanted to read about some history in regards to the band that has made itself a household name.

Adrian writes about how he grew up with Dave Murray and the two of them always stayed in contact with each other. When Maiden was looking for a guitar player in late 1979 Dave and Maiden’s main man Steve Harris asked Adrian to join them.

Adrian at the time turned them down saying his band Urchin was making some progress and didn’t want to pack it in. 

As fate would have it a year later Urchin had called it a day. Working at a dead-end job with no money as he couldn’t afford the bus home Smith was walking when guessing who he bumped into?

Steve Harris and Dave Murray were walking coming right towards him and after some small chat Harris told Adrian point-blank that “Maiden was making a guitar change would he be interested?”

Again!

Adrian knew this was his last chance as he said he could see Harris with a stern don’t waste my time if your not 110% committed look whereas Murray had a grin knowing that his friend had better say yes!

Adrian said yes and we know the rest. But as he writes imagine if he had enough money to take the bus home that day he would have never bumped into Dave and Steve.

Fate!

Being a Canuck it was a hoot to read about Adrian’s Canadian Adventure.

Smith writes candidly that after the 13 months Powerslave Tour ended in mid-1985 he and his Canadian girlfriend now his wife Nathalie rented a Trans Am and hit all the fishing lakes around Banff Alberta and as Adrian writes it wasn’t the smartest idea to rent a fast car for dirt roads in which he posted a pic of the car lying on the side of the road in a ditch.

Here’s another cool little story from his book below on another brilliant Smith composition “Stranger In A Strange Land”.

Stories like this are their weight in gold as I had no idea of this taking place and that was back in 1986-7.

Smith does an awesome job of weaving in and out his passion for fishing as well as his timeline of being in and out of Maiden. (Smith left Maiden in 1990 but both he and Bruce returned in 1999)

Definitely worth the read.

 

Dave Mustaine: Rust In Peace-The Inside Story of a Megadeth Masterpiece

Happy New Year’s Folks. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting nothing but Book Reviews. Hope you find some interesting reviews here that may even pique your interest in checking this stuff out.

A cool concept for a book really from Dave Mustaine and his ‘Deth buddies.

Write a book on the timeline that took your band from basically being a minor league team into a major league team.

“Rust In Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece” is a great read over its 208 pages.

Once I dug into this book it was a two day read as I could not put it down.  

This book comes right from the people who were there recording “Rust In Peace”.  

Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Marty Freidman, Mike Clink(producer) all get their say in the making of a game-changer album in their mega world.  Sadly ‘Deth drummer Nick Menza passed away back in 2016.

Chapter One begins with Megadeth on tour promoting 1988’s “So Far So Good So What” release and touring Europe opening for Iron Maiden (along with David Lee Roth and KISS) on that summer’s Monsters of Rock Tour.

Plain and simple Megadeth is a mess. Both Dave’s are strung out on heroin and are having issues, to say the least at what is happening off stage instead of what’s happening on stage.

Basically, their management yanked them off the tour and sent them back to LA to pull it together which took time as both Dave’s were in and out of rehab more times I could count. 

The two Dave’s were so out of control with drug abuse ( you name it they did it) that they fired their management at the time and hired Doc Mcghee but before they even recorded the album Mcghee quit as there manager as Doc said he was tired of cleaning up Motley Crue and certain members of Bon Jovi. 

Enough was enough came the word from everyone around the Megadeth camp. 

Album four from these guys would be the make or break record and of course, we all know it definitely made the ‘Make’ category.

The two Dave’s basically canned guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Beehler (who in this book talks openly about his time in the band). 

The book focuses on the rehab stint’s of course as well as the auditions of guitarists and drummers and the recording process of the Rust In Peace album.  A real good read as the book has a good flow.

Ok here’s a few juicy tidbits of info for you. Maybe you will know this info already but I didn’t…

-Marty Friedman before joining Megadeth had actually auditioned for Ozzy before Zakk Wylde got the job.

-Being a drummer in Megadeth is no easy feat as ask the two techs who got the job of the full-time drummer when the main guy wasn’t cutting it anymore. Original drummer Gar Samuelson (RIP) was replaced by his drum tech Chuck Beehler and a few years later Beehler himself was replaced by his drum tech who was Nick Menza! No such thing as job security in Megadeth!

-Producer Mike Clink was on speed dial when Guns N Roses would begin recording their “Use Your Illusion” records as Clink would bow out of the recording which is what happened towards the end of the recording of the ‘Deth album. Needless to say this irked Mustaine!

Publishing and writing and what basically boils down to money are also featured predominately in this book. 

Below is a paragraph from Mustaine that sums it up.

Chris Poland was the original guitar player in Megadeth on their albums so as you can see alumni have come in and out of this band over that time period.

Once the album hit the streets and touring as part of the European and North American Clash of the Titans tour as well as opening Judas Priest’s Painkiller Tour pushed this album to Platinum and in return made Megadeth a headline act once 1992’s “Countdown To Extinction” came out.

As the 90s went on eventually Menza and Friedman both left replaced by other players yet come 2015 there was talk of a reunion but to make a long story short, money(Shocker) and one person not being up to snuff in the chops department put an end to any chance of a reunion. 

This was a great read as you can see the inner workings of a band on its rise but almost coming unglued due to the excesses of the two Dave’s but cleaning up gave them a new lease on a career which is still going to this day.

 

 

Rob Halford: Confess (2020)

 Amazing that Rob Halford will turn 70 years young next August and in that time Robbo has lived the life of the “Metal God”.

 “Confess” is the autobiography right from Halford’s long and still ongoing career and when the book was announced 4 or 5 months ago I preordered it right away on Amazon.

I really was interested in what the Metal God would have to say as Rob has kept his private life private but now comes the time for Halford to…

Confess! 

What a great title for a book. Brilliantly written and it’s as if Rob is reading it to you. The great thing is the book keeps moving along so basically, the first 50 pages are about the young Halford growing up in England. 

From there on out it’s about how theatre life and music piqued the interest and of course how Rob ended up in Judas Priest and how they became a HUGE band in North America in the 80s.

Halford goes into great detail about a lot of things about growing up a gay man in the ’70s and into the 80s where he had massive anxiety issues if people were to find out. I must mention that his bandmates in Judas Priest always respected his lifestyle as did his own family including his parents and siblings.

The story however is not all rosy…

Rob touches on how he was sexually assaulted by a friend of his dads as a teen which he said if his father were still alive he would have never put the story in the book. Also, there’s the time when Halford had sobered up in the mid-80s by the time Turbo was released and Rob’s then-partner committed suicide.  Speaking of suicide there is also the story of the two young men who tried to commit suicide (one died and the other man lived) and how Priest was taken to court back in 1990. 

Rob goes back and forth in telling the tale of personal issues(relationships) going on in his world as well as personal issues in Judas Priest which with success happens.

The story of Priest is great as Halford goes into great detail about there first two albums Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny being on the Gull label and how for years CBS Records were trying to buy the rights for it but the owner of Gull Records to this day refuses to sell them.

Lots of great inside stuff as Rob talks about how Priest broke through in America touring their asses off and making album after album.

Want to know the real story about whether or not “Unleashed In The East” was live or as fans called it “Unleashed In The Studio”. It’s all here described in great detail.

If you are looking for any real Priest drama there really isn’t much(except for the issue of KK quitting) but the one thing that surprised me was that the two guitar players Glenn Tipton and KK Downing have not got along since 1977 when Priest was recording the Sin After Sin album. 

Rob writes about the time they recorded in the late 80s with writing trio Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW). The British trio had written a string of Number One U.K, Rick Astley! Need I say more. Even though the three songs Priest recorded with SAW  never saw the light of day Halford still says he likes what they did with them.

Lot’s of touring stories and Rob is candid about that time on tour when Priest played Toronto on the Operation Rock N Roll tour back in 91 and how things broke down in all thing’s Priest.

Rob talks about leaving Priest in which he says it was a miscommunication as he wanted to make a solo album and go back whereas the Priest guys took it that he wanted to quit.

Tons of info (Rob seems like a genuine fella ) and as Rob does say it was good to Confess after all these years.

Get This!

Pictured below Izzy and The Metal God!

 

 

I Want My MTV by Rob Tannenbaum & Craig Marks

 

Growing up in Canada we didn’t get MTV in the ’80s. (What we got was our own video station called MuchMusic). MTV was a big business when I was in high school as they played way more hard rock videos than what MM offered here in Canada.

A guy in high school had a huge satellite dish in the mid-80s and various times during the year we would go over to his place to watch the debut showing of the latest Van Halen or Def Leppard videos. I still recall watching “KISS- Animalize Live and Uncensored” at his place the very first time MTV showed it. (early 1985) We were blown away as Canada’s MuchMusic even though it was good would not show that kind of stuff. 

“Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free”

I Want My MTV is put brilliantly together by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum who did over 400 interviews with directors, executives, producers, artists, VJs, and anyone else associated with the industry of MTV from its beginnings in ‘81 to the end of the music video era in ’92. 

The pic below sums it up perfectly…

Crazy to think that MTV when it began its run on Cable TV and even though it was based in New York. None of the NY cable companies would touch it. 

It was places like Tulsa Oklahoma and secondary markets that broke MTV, not the big U.S cities where all the main cable providers said that MTV would be done in a year.

Tons of great Chapters(see the picture above, how can that not get you psyched out) as one chapter focuses on David Bowie calling out VJ Mark Goodman out on why MTV for not playing Black Artists in 1983. Check it out below. Bowie tunes Goodman up. 

Michael Jackson basically changed that with the release of Thriller and Beat It. MTV took the stance of playing only ‘Rock’ videos so they said Jackson wasn’t rock until all of sudden Eddie Van Halen plays the solo on “Beat It” and MTV  basically says ‘Yep that’s Rock so add it to the rotation” Plus the time when umm, well read the excerpt below!

Rap had the same problem as well getting onto MTV than came the Run- DMC and “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith mashup broke down those barriers.

DMC tells the cool story of how they had Aerosmith’s “Toys in The Attic” in a crate with other records as they dug that drum intro which goes into the guitar riff.

DMC says that when they would talk about the song they would only know it by “Toys In The Attic”-Track 4 which was “Walk This  Way”. 

Run- DMC had no idea that the band was called Aerosmith or for that matter, they had no idea who Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were.  They had no idea the title of the song. Run- DMC only knew the song as track 4!

A contestant who won a Lost Weekend in Detroit with Van Halen was just that!

 

Any guesses on what video Chapter 21 is about?

This is such a great read as it goes year by year. The MTV Awards became a yearly staple at MTV.  Funny how to read stories about how Madonna basically stole the performance that year (1984) and made her a household name.

You can read about how MTV execs convinced Mick Jagger to say “I want my MTV” for $1. Or that the car on the cover of a ZZ Top album cost $250,000, so they put it in their videos to get the tax deduction! How video directors would all bid for the same jobs and at times it would get ugly between them. Better yet how about when Guns N Roses were the biggest band in the late to early ’90s. Axl had one of his friends hired at MTV to host Headbangers Ball. As Axl told his pal (Riki Rachtman) “You want the job at MTV? I’ll make the call!”

WOW!

 Just read below as it pretty much sums up an 80s boardroom meeting at MTV!

Gene Simmons! LOL

Sorry for the shotty pics folks it’s the best I could do!

This book is full of stories about rockstars, dwarves, models, and drugs. How MTV almost did not make it into a second season or for that matter the second-ever video as after The Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star Was Played the screen went black.(in case your wondering Pat Benetars You Better Run was the second video played) The perseverance of the original creators of MTV (Bob Pittman, John Sykes-not the Whitesnake fella, and John Lack) was very instrumental in getting MTV into all the homes in the U.S.A.

Amazing Read!

Martin Popoff: Iron Maiden Trilogy.

Hey, Folk’s Martin Popoff has just released his third book in a series focusing on Iron Maiden.

Empire of the Clouds just came out last week and I just received it in the mail and I’m psyched to dig into this book on what is easily my all-time favorite band.

Martin in all three books goes album by album,song by song not only the Iron Maiden material but Popoff also digs into the solo albums by Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Adrian Smith, Paul Di’Anno, Blaze Bayley throughout the four decades of Maiden!

As a fanboy since the summer of 1981, I can honestly say Martin does his homework as he basically has interviewed all of Iron Maiden even manager Rod Smallwood at various times throughout the years.

So for me, these books are legit.

Basically with the three Maiden Books combined you’re getting well over 700 pages of stuffed info!

Thanks for the books, Martin…

Click the link below and check out his books and support independent writers!

http://www.martinpopoff.com/html/bookslist.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

OFF THE RAILS- Rudy Sarzo (2012)

Rudy Sarzo as we all know was the Bass Player in Quiet Riot and Whitesnake but has also bounced around in other various acts throughout his 40 years of Slappin da Bass when the Cuban born Rudy ended up in Los Angeles and hooked up with a six-stringer named Randy Rhoads.

Off The Rails was written by Rudy himself and is basically the story of him meeting Randy, joining him in Quiet Riot in 1978. When Q.R could not get arrested with a North American Record Deal things fell apart.

Randy than left Q.R and joined the Blizzard of Oz in England where Rhoads recorded the debut album with Ozzy.

When Ozzy made band changes in 1981 Rhoads was the one who put out the call to get Sarzo in the band. Rudy auditioned and got the Ozzy gig and this is where the story takes off.

The book is written like a Diary. Day by Day, Month by Month as Rudy tells the tales of the Osbourne band on tour in the early days.

What is pretty interesting is everyone knows how iconic the Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madmen records are now. But back in 1981 when the North American Tour started some shows were packed where many also were sparsely attended. 

People were focused of course on Ozzy who already had the rap of biting off a doves head at a Jet Records meeting so that tag line followed the band throughout the first part of touring the States. 

Throughout the book, during this time Ozzy is lost in an abyss of booze and drugs in which his manager and soon to be wife Sharon tried to keep him from. It only got worse in 1982 but more on that shortly.

Rudy throughout the book posts actual reviews of those earlier Blizzard shows. There are more than a few Music Critics who thought that Bob Daisley (Bass) and Lee Kerslake(Drums) were still in the band playing the North American shows whereas it was Rudy and Tommy Aldridge(drums) who were in the band at that point as Kerslake and Daisley were fired a few months earlier.

That is called not doing your homework!

Off The Rails is a fitting title as Ozzy was indeed off the rails personally at the time in the early 80s as his marriage was crumbling apart and he just couldn’t kick booze and drugs. 

Aldridge/Sarzo and especially Rhoads were super chill as Ozzy was whacked off his rocker most of the time. Yet the band kept on touring and then on March 19, 1982, it really took a turn for the worse when Rhoads and two others perished in a plane crash which Sarzo writes in the book that Rhoads asked him to go with him and Rudy said he was too tired to get on that airplane.

In the book are all the affidavits of the witnesses of the plane crash. 

Ozzy, of course, went right downhill after yet as all the band and crew wanted to pack it in it was Sharon who kept the Crazy Train on the tracks. Bernie Torme as we all know filled in right away but couldn’t deal with it as he was trying to get a solo album finished at the time. So he was there and gone quickly. 

John Sykes was almost brought in but Sykes manager wanted too much money.

As everyone knows Brad Gillis stepped in and took over on guitar and Brad can be heard on Ozzy’s Speak of the Devil album. Upon its release, Rudy called Sharon and told him he was quitting.

Speaking of the Speak of the Devil record. It was supposed to be recorded with Randy. What I didn’t know was it was supposed to be all Sabbath stuff with Randy on guitar and the original plan was for the record to be recorded at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens! Randy was opposed to recording a double album of Sabbath tunes as Ozzy was in a pissing match with his ex Sabbath mates at the time. Speaking of pissing this was right around the time Ozzy urinated on the Alamo. 

Randy grew tired of the shenanigans and told Ozzy he would do two more records(one live and one studio) and one last tour and that would be it. 

Needless to say, Ozzy wasn’t happy and it led to more friction.

One guy that was really wild to read about was Marq Torien. Who is Marq Torien you ask? In the late ’80s Torien was the lead singer of the Bullet Boys but back in 82 Marq played at an audition with Ozzy and impressed Oz so he sent Torien to Sarzo and Aldridge who jammed with him and in no time told Ozzy there was no way Torien could play or handle the Rhoads stuff.

Clearer minds prevailed.

The Torien stuff is what makes these books interesting. Those little known facts that you have no idea that even took place.

As Sarzo puts it. He joined Ozzy with a phonecall and quit Ozzy in a phonecall from Sharon.

I remember reading in Circus Magazine back in the mid-80s that Ozzy sucker-punched Sarzo backstage at an outdoor show when the two met face to face.  This indeed happened as Ozzy was still pissed that Sarzo had quit.

Time Heals All Wounds.

But by the mid-90s Oz, Sharon, and Sarzo all mended their differences and put the past behind. Sarzo does write about it more than once that if it wasn’t for Sharon and Ozzy, Rudy would have never got a career going. 

Off The Rails is a great read as you get a glimpse of what it was like touring in a new band with an out of control lunatic at the mic (lol).

It’s like if I wrote this book myself. By that, I mean the paragraphs at times look off-center as well as spelling mistakes throughout which I even picked up on. Just the simple things really. Where was the Editor in all of this? Rando, another Bass Player should read this book, and let’s see if he has the balls to point out these writing flaws to his fellow 4 stringer Sarzo! 

I think not!

Little Sloppy but than again it’s like reading my Blog! Ha!

 

 

Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life In Music (2020)

 

The name Ted Templeman first came on my radar back in early 1981 when I purchased my first ever Van Halen record that being Women and Children First with the album produced by Ted.

Just a few months later in the spring of 1981 comes another new Van Halen record titled Fair Warning and once again the name of Ted Templeman is listed as Producer.

Even at my young age back in 81, I knew there was a pattern developing, and by the time the 1984 album-hit the stores the last name of Templeman was listed as a producer on all six Van Halen records by that point. (1978-1984).

Author Greg Renoff has done a great job as the book reads like if Ted is talking to you directly over some beers. 

Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producers Life In Music is a great read. There are lots of cool findings in this book starting off with  Ted at a young age hanging in the studio watching Frank Sinatra sing and tell the producer what to do which Templeman adds came as a valuable lesson in dealing with artists down the road. A delicate balance.

Ted’s first production job was producing The Doobie Brothers’ self-titled release from 1971. From the Doobies, it was onto Van Morrison, Captain Beefheart, Montrose (enter Sammy Hagar) Little Feat, and tons more of musical acts and artists.

When you look at Ted’s resume of production credits it’s very impressive (producing from 1971- 2010) but with all the success Templeman talks openly about working on albums and releasing singles that had stiffed on the charts. Ted can say when he was wrong and good on him for admitting the good and bad. Kudos to Ted talking about the Honeymoon Suite album he produced back in 1988. (Racing After Midnight)

When there is a credit to be be given Ted acknowledges how important Donn Landee(engineer) was to his production staff as he was Ted’s, right-hand man in the studio. 

Ted’s working relationship with Van Halen is of course what I was fascinated to deep dive into and Ted goes about it the right way.  He admits that there was turmoil in VH as the years went on but as Ted says Van Halen made it work for a while anyway’s.

Ted spills the beans but it’s the music that he spills the beans about which is a classy way to go. Renoff guides the conversation along with Ted as he goes from artist to band vice versa and in doing so talks at great lengths not only about the successful albums that he produced and the studio magic that happened.  

Van Halen gets a lot of pages as you would expect as Ted produced the first 6 Halen albums along with a coproduction of the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album from the Van Hagar era. (Andy Johns was not happy about Ted getting asked for co-produce that Halen album).

I loved this part of the book as Renoff gets Ted to go into great detail each album by album in the Van Halen catalog that he was involved in.

As I mentioned earlier Ted can admit fault when he knows he’s been wrong as in the case of not thinking Jump would be a hit as it was too much of a diversion of the classic Van Halen sound.  

What I found really interesting was how Ted said he wished the band had stayed the course of the Fair Warning sound which to my ears is probably the heaviest in the history of VH.

I could go on with about another 100 stories about the recordings of those Halen records but the best thing I can say is get a copy of this book and enjoy the story of a man who has his first and last name on the back of many of our Records/CDs and Cassette tapes in our music collection.

A must-read!