Descent into Metal

Having already covered my descent into skepticism in a previous communication I thought I should cover what I regard as my journey to the correct side of music. I was about 15 when I found my way. It was a gradual dawning, that slow awakening, the discovery of sounds and noises that made me feel. A friend suggests that emotional response to music is a basic measure of personality and psychological construction. I would agree. I don’t think that the shiver down the spine can be manipulated. It is a basic fact of your identity. Anyway, here’s my own story of metal with some embarrassment along the way.

Before 1982 my main exposure to music was listening to ABBA cassette tapes that my mum owned and Oxygene by Jean Michel Jarre that my dad had. Not a good start it must be said. For some reason the punk explosion of the 70s was completely missed on me, being only six years old at the time. I can remember a couple of Dr Hook songs and that’s about it. Remember that at this time in (un)civilisation there were exactly three tv channels and about four legal radio stations.

At some point the music in the charts began to make its way into my consciousness. Previously I have indicated my first single and album purchases. I don’t count these as having any particular musical taste because I was buying what was popular. I did listen to those songs a lot though. My first real taste of excitement came with a particular guitar solo in a particular song.

Together in electric dreams

This single by Georgio Moroder and Philip Oakley was the main track from a film soundtrack but the guitar solo was something else. It really made me think about guitars and the sounds they make. This was late 1984.

My next music references occur during 1986. I had joined the Air Cadets (a communication about this will definitely follow) and was now mixing with older teenagers and listening to their music and conversations. The following is a list of music events during 1986 and may not be in correct chronological order but given that it was 26 years ago that’s not a great surprise.

  • Europe released “The Final Countdown” and I really liked it.
  • Bon Jovi released some songs from the “Slippery When Wet” album and I really likes those.
  • Status Quo released “In The Army Now” which I liked.
  • Top Gun came out and the soundtrack was ace, especially the tile track and its gentle  guitar riff.

In 1987 Def Leppard released “Hysteria” and I think my path was realised. I distinctly remember being at RAF Brize Norton for ATC annual camp and we listened to “Hysteria” and “Slippery When Wet” all the time. I was 15. During the summer Guns ‘n’ Roses released “Appetite for Destruction” and I saved my pennies and bought the album. I managed to get a copy of the record with the dodgy robot-rape cover that got changed (I didn’t think much of it at the time). I can remember being in the car driving home from Bishop’s Stortford and reading the lyrics from the inner sleave and being amazed that they had printed the swear words. Towards the end of the year I had discovered Iron Maiden and their album “The Number of the Beast”. At some point in that year “Animal” by WASP was discovered along with the song “DB Blues” and the bad language and music was really starting to work. Now I’m not quite at heavy-rock-bottom yet but I have pretty much followed my path of destiny.

1988 was the start of my concert going and the release of “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” by Iron Maiden. My mum bought the album for me and it made me very happy. I was meant to attend the Def Leppard concert at the Royal Albert Hall over the Easter break but was called upon to attend the ATC Cyprus Camp for about 12 days so elected to head overseas. This meant that my first concert was Iron Maiden on the 10 December 1988.

At some point over the next year or so I got into Metallica and AC/DC. In the mean time there was a documentary on BBC2 called Heavy Metal. I watched it and there was a clip of a band called Megadeth playing “Peace Sells” at a concert. I didn’t really think much of it but for weeks I had the opening riff bouncing around in my head and I decided to buy the album. Initially I was slightly disappointed but over time the whole album sunk in and stayed. It’s brilliant along with the next one called “So Far, So Good, So What”. It’s all lovely stuff.

Fast forward to 2012 and I am just about finished buying up CD versions of all my albums and putting them onto my iPhone. There’s a couple of albums I still need to get and I’m always on the search for new stuff that affects me but I’m starting to reach the point where a lot of music is old hat and just a particular fashion coming around again to be unleashed on the next generation.