Friday, August 30, 2013

Top 20 Hair Metal Power Ballads of the 80's

There's so much crap going on these days, and I am well aware of all of it. I am just too awe struck by the idiocy of the so called leaders of this country, that I choose to live in the past for a while.

Sooooo, What better way to live in the past than to rattle off the top 20 hair metal ballads of the 80's.

This isn't going to simply be a listing of the songs with the most air play. It will be a list of songs based on musical content. For example, More Than Words by Extreme will most definitely NOT be on this list. Neither will Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue. There will be a couple radio hits, but most of this will be great songs that were overlooked by the music machine that is the radio.

So, here's a good idea for a date night. Grab that lighter, the laptop, some beer, cuddle up with your
 significant other, and lets get on with this list. Listen to every song as you read this! NOTE: The titles of the songs here are also links to the songs.

An under rated band, as most of the bands listed here will be. This ballad had power, skillful guitars, good strong vocals, and a chorus that knocked you into the next room. The first time I heard this one, I was convinced that Leatherwolf would be the next 'big' band. The problem was that this song was released in the LATE 80's. Not really enough time to catch on before the 90's. 

Yeah, we GOTTA throw some Racer X in here. This band should have been huge, but I guess the radio execs were scared of all the crazy guitar to push them. Oh wait...They pushed Mr. Big. I got nothing.

This one was a radio hit, but it was not their biggest hit. I include it in this list because of the sheer emotion in the music, and Jani Lane's vocals. RIP, Jani. I got to open for him back in 2004, and got to hang with him. Great guy.

Number 17, Livin' Without You by Shotgun MessiahThis song is great on so many levels. It is the PERFECT breakup song. And it would be equally perfect today. A girl probably wouldn't have heard the song, so you give it to her, and she listens, and hears the lyrics, and thinks that the guy is heartbroken until she hears the line 'Living without you don't bother me.' Then, it heads into the line 'If there's a tear in my eye, it's not for you. Don't flatter yourself.' The girl would be shocked and angry, especially if SHE was the one doing the breaking up. 

A very deep and heart felt anti suicide song. Very emotional singing, deep lyrics, and music. Not much more to say, other than great song.

Dokken wrote great ballads. Period. It was hard to narrow it down to one, so we'll just go with their first one. The guitar solo in this is phenomenal. Glen Tipton of Judas Priest thought so too

Yeah, I know that this was a mega radio hit, but it was definitely worthy of it. And, someone would have gave me crap had I left it off!

Number 13, Ballad of Jayne, LA Guns Kind of a deep song for LA Guns, but a great song none the less. Jayne Mansfield, the working man's Marilyn Monroe is immortalized by the Guns, but I can answer their question. Q: What happened to Jayne? A: She died in a car accident. What a shame.

LOVE this song. Not sure why, but its been one of my favorite ballads since it came out. MUCH better than Bathroom Wall, right? 

Calm down now! I promised that Home Sweet Home wouldn't be on the list! Without You is a song that Crue actually put effort into. Its a great song. Vince Neil actually sings, and the music actually does something, unlike that other one that ends with a hummer from Vince. 

Number 10, Love Song by Tesla
Another one that if I had left out, someone would have been all over me for!

Yes. I put them in the list. They were a great band. Extremely talented, and this song DOES belong in the top 10. Listen it it! I guess people couldn't get past the band's look. What a shame. I'd rather they had made it big than say...Winger. I'd put them deeper into the top 10, but there are some great songs coming up.

Not your typical power ballad, but it still kicks ass. Can someone tell me what the song is about please?

Number 7, Dreams by Van HalenLove this song. It soars like an F-18. (Ok, that was bad I know, but this video is one of the only places you get to see the Blue Angels these days thanks to you know who!)

This song is great. A perfect and beautiful eulogy. Can't really say much more than that, other than Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum make an appearance further down in the list. NO PEEKING!
-See what I did there with Dreams and Fly To The Angels? ;)

This is Stryper's best ballad. Great piano, and a great guitar solo. Why this song isn't a hit for the first dance at weddings, I will never know. 

Yes. Forever Free by Wasp is number 4. Think about it, it is everything you'd expect if you heard the term 'power ballad' for the first time. Ok, go ahead and give me hell about it. This list was harder than I thought! It was either this or Nobody's Fool by Cinderella! 

Number 3, Quicksand Jesus and Wasted Time by Skid Row
These two songs are equal. I sat there for 20 minutes trying to decide between the two. Both have very deep lyrics, dark and powerful music, great singing, intense lyrics, and are just overall great songs, so I decided to list them both at number 

Ok, this song rules. It features one of the greatest metal singers of all time, in one of the first progressive/speed metal bands to make it big. All though, Crimson Glory never made it huge, they have a hell of a cult following, and this album is one of the most respected prog metal albums of all time.

I've been saying this for years. This song has it all, and then some. It is probably one of the best written preformed, and produced ballads I have ever heard. Sadly, this great song was overlooked. There is really no excuse for it. Emotion, great guitar, vocals...Everything. 10/10

Ok, as I mentioned earlier, this was MUCH harder than I thought, but I did have a good time, and I listened to every song I posted here, so it was a good night. 

Let me know what you think, and if I left something off. I had fun, hope you did too!

Honorable Mention and a spot as #1A to Love Kills, by Vinnie Vincent Invasion.
Because it was in the soundtrack of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

HELLO CLEVELAND!!!! My own personal Spinal Tap moments in bands

This will be a kind of short one, but here we go...Here are some stories about my onstage mishaps over my life.

My first show was in 9th grade with my first band, Epidemic. We were horrible, but we thought we were awesome. We were legends in our own minds. There was a video tape of it, and I saw it a couple years later, and thought that if anyone else saw it, my reaction would be something like this:

Luckily, I don't think the tape exists anymore...I hope. We did get better, and even good.

Same band, 2 years later, the drummer had constructed a drum cage out of PVC pipe for his drum set. It collapsed during a show, and took out a $1200 Ovation acoustic guitar.

Same band, we had a show at a park during a local event. We were the headliner, and we played our first set. After that set, we took a break, and the cops showed up. Not to shut us down, but to give a K9 display. They literally did it for 45 minutes, and by the time they were done, there were maybe 10 people left in the audience.

I have had 2 experiences that came straight from 'This Is Spinal Tap.' I have had radio transmissions get picked up on a wireless. Also, in a 5 piece band, with me on vocals, we had a guitarist who didn't show up to practices and missed the learning of a new song. He assured us that he knew the song after one practice, right before a show the next night.  He didn't.  During the song, he lost his place, and got lost in the song. He took off his guitar, threw it down, and walked off stage. We finished the show as a 4 piece.

I have fallen off a stage before.

But, I think the most embarrassing Spinal Tap moment was in Nashville, TN.  I was singer/guitarist in a band, and the guitarist talked me into wearing fake leather vinyl pants on stage. I had worn them once before, and they were hot as hell, and I was sweating bullets down there,  so I decided to free ball for this particular show. (Free ball means wearing no underwear) During a guitar solo, I dropped to my knees, and leaned backward. The crotch of the pleather pants ripped, and I was airing out for all to see. I didn't realize it right away either. A group of ladies did though, and that wound out being a good thing for me later on, but I was still very embarrassed. 

Moments like this happen to every musician. If you have any tell us about yours!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interview with Pamela Moore

I'd like to thank Ms. Moore for the opportunity she gave me to interview her. I had a lot of fun, and she is a very friendly lady. We discussed her new album; Resurrect Me on Rat Pak Records, which I also reviewed earlier. 

Here is the interview:

Me: I do have one Queensryche related question for you if that's ok.

PM: (laughs) That's fine go ahead.

Me: What was it like coming out on stage at their album release concert, and doing Suite Sister Mary with Todd LaTorre? Because, when you took the stage, the crowd just went nuts.

PM: It was awesome. So you were there, huh?

Me: No, but I did watch all the Youtube footage from it.

PM: You know, it’s always awesome for me to be on stage.  I love it!  Solo, or with my friends!Queensryche, all of them have been like family to me, and being able to join up with them is kind of like being “home”. <giggles> I've done “Sister Mary” with Geoff, of course but this was a first with Todd,  it was a very pivotal moment, especially for him, and he kicked butt! He was just ON, and I was like "WOW!" I mean we rehearsed it to make sure we were doing the right notes, but when it was time for performance, Todd just turned it on!  He killed it!  WOW, there it was. All I could think was Good job!  I was really proud of him.

Me: Yeah, on the last high note of the song toward the end is a dual note, and the two of you nailed it together. I don't think I ever heard it like that except on the album until that point.

PM: It was a great night… (laughs)

Me: Ok, that's all about Queensryche. I just had to know about that particular moment. It seemed really special. So, when is your tour for Resurrect Me kicking off?

PM: Hopefully soon. Right now, I hope to have at least one more show under my belt before the end of the year, but no tour scheduled yet. I just booked my first Concert Cruise - Cruise To the Edge~2014 that my band members and me are excited about doing in April In the meantime, I'm still practicing with the band.  My Band sounds awesome! The songs translate so well, live.  Very powerful!  That's why I am really excited to get out there and show it off!  Hopefully, other people feel the same way.

Me: So, the album met or exceeded your personal expectations for it?

PM: Oh yeah. It took a long time to make, and the only reason for that was because of a lot of things that happened in between. It was 4 years in the making, and it was only supposed to be one or two. I ended up moving from Chicago back to my hometown, which is Seattle. I did a couple tours with Primal Fear, just a lot of different things that kept me busy. But, I was able to record my first year, and put together my ideas for format on the songs, and I was happy. I was excited about the different things we were working on. It really seemed to resonate with me at the time, a lot of growth came out of it, and I feel like it really pushed me, and pushed my vocal ability, and my heart a little more too. I went through a change, there were some specific things that I can keep for myself, and hopefully, other people can take what they want from it. It’s funny because we pieced this whole thing together. Seriously. We didn't just work out of one studio.We recorded out of four or five different ones, so all things considered, the way that it all fell together, and the common thread between it all, turned into a really good album that I always wanted to make, and I want to do another one.NOW! (smile)

Me: I'll buy it! PM: Well, thank you. (giggles)

Me: I haven't heard any of your previous releases, and I get the feeling that this is your first metal album.

PM: The last album I did that was considered a solo album because I co wrote on it with a friend of mine. It had a harder edge to it, but it wasn't metal or hard rock. It has more of an electronic ambient feel to it. The other releases that I did before, I didn't write on very many of them. On one CD, Solna, I was commissioned to only sing which Ralf Scheepers was also commissioned to do. And then acouple of really early albums from when I had just gotten out of school, those are really soft, album oriented rock, so again, I have a diverse taste in music, but my heart is in the rock and metal vein which I'm known for. I've dabbled in a lot. The only thing I haven’t dabbled in is country.

Me: Lets not do that one just yet. (laughs)

PM: (Laughing) Yeah that might confuse people even more.

Me: Where was the Paranoia video shot?

PM: We shot it in Concrete Washington, which is north of Seattle, in the foothills of the mountains. The building is an old concrete factory that they tried to destroy, but it didn't come down. The area is very peaceful, but eerie. The building has been graffiti all over, there are big holes in the walls from where they tried to destroy the building, and there are stories about something paranormal going on there. It was really the perfect location for the type of song that Paranoia is. It was really cold, and I was damp and cold, and afterward, it seemed to take 24 hours to warm up.

Me: One thing I gotta know is whether or not the album is a concept or themed towards vampires? My wife swears that by listening, she can formulate a vampire story.

PM: That would be awesome. That's funny! I've been asked that before, and it was never intended to be a conceptual album at all. It was just us putting things together, and I think the common thread was me going through these difficult moments, personally, but I can tell you this...One of the songs, Melt Into You. After I heard the music, I went and watched the first episode of Twilight, and the whole idea of falling in love or having a crush on somebody who isn't necessarily that good for you. It might be a bad thing, but it was pretty interesting to me. I think I said in another publication that our most destructive relationships are the most interesting ones, and so that song out of all of them, that’s the one that was probably vampire inspired. But if you think about all the songs, they really could be. If you wanted to write out a movie set, and get your wife to write down what she was thinking, you never know!  Sounds like a great idea! I don't really like to tell people what certain songs are about because its your job or wish as an artist that people latch onto a song and find personal ownership in it, it makes it really interesting for them, and I feel like the song even more. So, if I said, "Ok, this song is about eating cracker jacks." you're like "Well, yeah," and you kind of lose the whole romanticism of your interpretation.

Me: My favorite songs on the album are 'Wide Awake' and 'We are Damaged.' I was wondering what your favorites are.

PM: I love them all! (giggles) My favorite lately has been Awakening. The reason for that is because it’s kind of a sleeper. It has that kind of mid tempo and easy feel to it, and then it takes you into this huge, chaotic and crazy ending. Another one that is becoming a favorite of mine is also 'Wide Awake.' I think of all the songs, that’s the one song that is isn't as dark, and almost like a prequel to the next album.

Me: Its kind of funny that you say that. That song comes off to me as darker, as one of the more darker songs on the album.

PM: Well, it does have a kind of gothic sound to it, with strings, and chanting "I am!" But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s about a rebirth. Finally, you are wide awake. You can see things, and you're rising up, and asking those to come with you. ” I am wide awake”. But the music is probably what you're hearing as dark. Most of the songs have a pretty darker subject matter to them. Lets see, the darkest would be maybe Acquiescent, or even Resurrect Me. There's a lot of things going on in there. I think when you talk about dark content, you may be talking musically. I am talking lyrically. Particularly on Wide Awake.

Me: Yeah, I was referring to the musical content and not the lyrics. How did your band come to be your band?

PM: Michael Posch wrote Most of the music, so for shows, I obviously had to find some people that would fit the bill, and I lucked out. I have some pretty amazing and very professional musicians. These guys have really been under the radar, so once we start playing, a lot of people will stand up and take notice. I want to reenact the album live, and that's pretty much what you hear.

Me: That's good. Is this going to be the band who records the next album with you?

PM: I don't know. We'll have to see. I have about 4 songs that Michael and I have in the box that we revisited this summer. It very well could be that the guys record the album with me, that would be awesome, but you never know.

Me: Judging by the photos from the debut show, it looks like all of you are just up there having a blast.

PM: Yeah, it was awesome, especially for Michael because he and I wrote the album, and this was the first time playing these songs live in front of an audience, and to get the response that we got was simply amazing. We've been really blessed, and that is huge validation, a huge pat on the back!  And, with everybody, the chemistry is just right, and that is really cool because it is really hard to find that, and when you have something like that as a musician, you want to make sure you hang onto that, you know?

Me: Yes, I do. A couple adjectives that I would use to describe your voice are 'haunting and beautiful.' I can remember even back in the 80's when Mindcrime was released, and hearing your voice, and thinking 'who is this lady, and where did they find her?'

PM: I remember back in the 80's, a lot of people thought it was Geoff singing, and once the Empire tour came around, they were like "Oh, it IS a girl singing." (laughs)

Me: Well, those people didn't read the album credits.

PM: No, they didn't, but I am always thankful for compliments for anything I have done. Thank you.

Me: Thank you for an awesome album. I have 2 more questions for you. One, have you ever been approached to sing the National Anthem at a sporting event?

PM: No, I haven't, but I think I'd be afraid. (laughs)

Me: Well, singing acapella is kind of scary.

PM: Its really neat. It is quite the song, and its been done very differently by a lot of different people. Sometimes horribly, sometimes honorably.

Me: The best was Whitney Houston at the Super Bowl in the early 90s.

PM: And what about Christina Aguilera? Come on, you gotta get the lyrics right!  Right?  (laughs)

Me: If you do get to sing it in the future, please make sure someone in your inner circle is filming it.

PM: (laughing) Ok, it seems like everyone is filming everything these days, so that shouldn't be too hard.

Me: Yep. Ok, last question. If you look on You Tube, there is footage from the early 80's of Meatloaf performing with a Pamela Moore. I gotta know if that's you.

PM: Nope. That's not me. In fact, I have been trying to find that woman because we both broke onto the scene around the same time. She has also worked with Bob Segar, and another band. But we get ourselves mixed up and rightfully so because we are both singers with the same name and we've both done a little bit in the business.  Nope. I have always tried to seek her out!

Me: Hey, Pamela, I loved you with Queensryche, and I hear you got a new album about vampires!

PM: (laughing) Yep, and she's like "That's not me! What are you talking about???" So, if you ever come across another Pamela Moore, please tell her that I want to talk to her. (laughs)

Me: Well, I'm not going to take up any more of your time, and I want to thank you for this chance to interview you. I had a lot of fun, and I hope you did too. Hope you have a good night.

PM: Thank you. Spread the word for me, and I really appreciate this opportunity! You have a good night too.

So, buy the album,
 (here is an Amazon link) and see her when she comes to town in concert! Also, if you know the other Pamela Moore, tell her that Sweet Sister Pamela would like to grab a cup of coffee! Her Facebook page is here. Also, book your ticket to see Pamela Moore along with another familiar favorite on  the Cruise to the Edge 2014.