By Martin Popoff
By Keven Anstett at www.maximummetal.com
Ye Olde Metal: 1973 to 1975, the second in Martin Popoff’s series of books detailing the early, odd, under-appreciated, or just all around forgotten gems of metal, finds Alice Cooper gracing the cover, bottle of drink in hand, giving the reader quick insight of the tales to be found inside.
This time out, the author elected to include a number of double band entries. From the granddaddy of shock rock, you get Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare. Alice is extremely candid in these recent interviews regarding these (30+ years old!) albums, with extra special consideration given to Billion Dollar Babies, the longest chapter in the book. Deep Purple gets the dual treatment as well, with their amazing, classic, oft-under-appreciated Burn, and the tumultuous Come Taste the Band, of which Martin accurately and acutely describes as “the culmination of disaster upon power struggle upon downward descent all within the clouded judgments of intergenerational miscommunications.” What a great sentence! BTO is another band getting the twofold treatment with treatises on Not Fragile and II. Finally, Nazareth gets a pair of albums dissected, Loud ‘n’ Proud and Hair of the Dog, both brought into the mad scientist’s lab for deeper analysis. Other gems include Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs, such a stellar album which garners little respect outside the musician’s community these days, despite being a huge hit in the U.S., going platinum even! Hell, even the mighty Opeth recently covered the title track. Mick Box and his boys get more props (getting a look – at yourself! – in the first book as well) with the inclusion of Sweet Freedom. Sammy and Ronnie give their perspectives concerning Montrose and the debut of the same name, another fiery history once again stoked up and now seemingly somewhat resolved. The unheralded and often unheard of Buffalo gets a moment in the spotlight with their hilarious album pictured, Only Want You for Your Body, and Budgie’s Bandolier flies in for a quick aviary exam. Completing the excise is the Dictators’ Go Girl Crazy!, New York Dolls and their drag-drenched debut, Foghat’s Fool For the City, the Texas-sized twanged Fandango from ZZ Top, and Piledriver from Status Quo.
Another enthralling read, and even if you don’t enjoy some of these bands, it’s interesting to learn about their intertwining musical connections. For example, did you know Kiss changed their initial costumes from drag to the characters they became known for, as the New York Dolls were experiencing some success in the big city, and that had Kiss worrying they may be seen as a bunch of copycats? Or, did you realize that Ross the Boss, guitarist for Manowar, was a member of the Dictators? If you’re interested in picking up other tidbits of trivia like these, go to www.martinpopoff.com for ordering info, then sit down in your favorite reading chair, light up a smoke, take that shot Alice is offering you, and commence.