Wednesday, 10 March 2010
When I was a kid in the early '70's my big brother listened to Black Sabbath. I was going to church and sunday school at the time and won awards for my scripture exams. As such I always thought that my brother Gordon would be going to hell for listening to devils music.
I used to sit in his room and listen to his records with him, mainly due to big brother worship. Slade were okay which was mainly down to Noddy Holder's voice which seemed to grab you by the ears and give you a bloody good shaking. No-one can shout like Noddy.
He listened to David Bowie which just went in one ear and out the other, it was Sabbath that fascinated me. The sombre, doomy song Black Sabbath that starts with a thunderstorm and has lines like 'Big black shape with eyes of fire'.
These were more than songs, they were theatrical pieces.
As I grew a little older I started listening to Johnny Cash because some of his songs had fights in them and told stories which I thought was great. Relatives however thought this meant that I liked all country music so bought me Dolly Parton and Ken and Billy Ford albums.
The punk movement was at it's peak when I got into my teens and I was a bit too young to get into it. My friend Paul listened to the Boomtown Rats so I did too.
Looking back they were pretty much public school punks but there songs had structure and they knew how to play their instruments.
Punk went out of fashion then a Mod/Ska revival occurred with the Specials, Madness and the film Quadrophenia at the cinema.
This held no interest for me as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal happened at the same time and everything clicked into place for me.
I can remeber going to Bradleys Records in Halifax, the metal section was downstairs and I didn't know where to turn, there was stuff everywhere. I bought my first three albums that day, Deepest Purple, Wheels of Steel by Saxon and Glory Road by Gillan. My friends and I would go to each others houses and listen to Axe Attack and the Friday Rock Show with Tommy Vance.
We wore denim sawn off jackets covered in patches, it didn't matter which bands were on them, as long as they were metal. Pop music was looked down on as people only liked it because it was fashionable. Metal is all about the guitars and the talents of the musicians and if your band has mediocre musicians then you won't last long.
Ozzy Osbourne was the uncrowned king of metal and we went to every gig we could, leaping up and down in the crowd and bellowing ourselves hoarse. Neckache and ringing in the ears were suffered the day after concerts but it was worth it.
We would go to the Tram Shed on Sunday nights and blag our way past the doormen because we were underage and spend the evening there, headbanging and trying to make half a bitter last all night because I only had money coming in from two paper rounds.
Thirty years later and I have just been to see Trivium, an American thrash band with my mate Colin, whose house I used to listen to the Friday Rock Show in all those years ago.
Musical fashions come and go but metal just won't go away. It creates sub species and is used in mainstream media but it is still looked on as a poor relation, an embarrasing noisy cousin who refuses to grow up and mature gracefully.
Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath put his finger on it when he said that liking metal is like supporting a football team. Once you know you like it you are in it for life.
I know that I am and I give thanks my big brother Gordon for letting me listen to those booming Black Sabbath materpieces when I was a kid. Cheers.