IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, STAND BY FOR A GOOD ROGERING...



That's the feeling echoed by the team at Planet Rock and who am I to argue?

I once met someone who said they did not like music - any music - at all and never listened to it. I am afraid I could not imagine life without music and my taste is rather weird. I am equally at home listening to Classical music or Rock music with not too much in between. Mozart or Motorhead will do me just fine depending on my mood. I like Progressive rock, heavy metal and even thrash metal when I need to 'big up' my day.

I lack culture you might think. Well I own in excess of 100 classical albums and have a few real favourites such as: Mozart - Requiem Tchaikovsky - Marche Slav. That said, I don't really care if people turn their noses up at my musical taste - I like what I like.

Rock is where I am really at home. I shall be reviewing a few albums on these pages. Music that has taken me through my life. I'll try a new angle by suggesting some tracks or even whole albums and explain why it's so important to me. Perhaps you might have heard some of it. As Ronnie James Dio said 'WE ROCK'.


I DEDICATE THIS PAGE TO BERNARD CROWHURST,THE MAN WHO GOT ME INTO ROCK MUSIC WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER. WITHOUT HIS ENTHUSIASM, HIS LOVE OF THE GENRE AND HIS WILLINGNESS TO SHARE THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES I WOULD NEVER HAVE TAKEN THE JOURNEY.


Let me begin by giving you my top 20 rock tracks. Well, to be fair my choices change like the weather but you won't go far wrong with this little lot and I play these tracks all the time.

Top 20

1. Black Sabbath - The Mob Rules (This was the first gig I ever went to. It was the 'Mob Rules' tour at new Bingley Hall Stafford on January 9th 1982. I recall that the drummer, Vinnie Appice was burned by dry ice. This was a seminal evening and I became a rock music addict. Every band I have seen, every record I have ever bought can be traced back to this gig. I crossed the rubicon here.)

2. Yes - Turn of the Century (My favourite track of all time probably for sheer depth and ability to stir my senses. It takes me on an emotional journey and gets better every time I hear it even after all these years. If you don't enjoy this, you have no soul)

3. Judas Priest - The Ripper (I often sing this aloud. It is brilliant, what a voice. Never turn your back on the ripper.I played it before a job interview once and got through. I looked the interviewers in the eye and gave them my best shot as would Halford and the boys.)

4. Y&T - Barroom Boogie (This band was criminally underrated. I love this track - it was off the Black Tiger album, which I had for my eighteenth birthday; what joy. Thanks to Martin Vickers for getting me this!)

5. AC/DC - TNT (A monster - I recall seeing them live in Hamburg and my mate could not time the words properly as he sang along. The fact that a crazed drunken German was trying to mount him from behind didn't help! It's dynamite)

6. Rush - The Trees (When I was younger, this was the track to listen to from the Rush trio. Very political, it is impossible to ignore; especially the references to the Maples (Canadians) and the Oaks (English). I thought Neal Peart was a twat for having a go at the English for this one but I learned to appreciate the track for its musical content not its political overtones.)

7. Uriah Heep - July Morning (I play this every first of July - and when I met Mick Box and told him so! It reminds me of warm summer mornings wearing my tee shirt and smelling the cool air after rain. It reminds me of love and freshly cut grass. Wonderful stuff.

8. Ozzy - Bark at the moon (Ozzy was my childhood hero (still is) especially being a fellow Brummie. I sang this relentlessly at work - which really pissed people off...owoooooooo)

9. Pink Floyd - One of my turns (Day after day, love turns grey, like the skin on a dying man...Powerful and thought provoking, this track has been a major influence in my life and I suspect the lives of many others.)

10. The Who - Behind Blue Eyes (You just have to sing this in the car. It is mega catchy and brilliantly played. It is a song for all seasons, The Who really were a staggeringly good band)

11. Deep Purple - Burn (I love this song. I especially like the California Jam version. This is one to whip your hair around and rock out to. It has that 'something' that all great rock tracks have. It never diminishes in quality no matter how many times I hear it.)

12. Rainbow - Catch the rainbow (I have seen Ritchie Blackmore live several times. This man has the ability to literally make every hair stand out on my body. There's something exciting about him all dressed in black with his cream Fender gleaming in the spotlight. A virtuoso guitarist, he has it all and this song typifies his mercurial delivery. The only downer for him is that he originates from Weston-Super-Mare. Oh well, you can't have it all.)

13. Magnum - The Spirit (One of those songs I jump about to like a mad kangaroo and play my imaginary drums on the nearest piece of furniture. I saw Magnum several times and they never failed to entertain.)

14. Iron Maiden - The Trooper (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on! Wow, I love that line. When things get tough in life I think of this line, pick myself up and get stuck in...brilliant.)

15. Marillion - Forgotten Sons (I saw Marillion well before they hit the big time. I loved their early work. This was taken from 'Script for a Jester's Tear' - a monumental album. This song has brought tears to my eyes on several occasions for many different reasons.)

16. Whitesnake - Ain't no love in the heart of the city (If I leave aside the percieved arrogance of the man, Mr. Coverdale and Whitesnake were and still are incredibly good and influenced much of my early days of listening to rock music. Images of leather and denim come to mind when I hear this)

17. Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Delilah (Listen to it, sing it and forget your worries. Alex Harvey was bonkers but you couldn't take your eyes off him for a minute. When he was onstage, anything could happen. He died too young.)

18. The Scorpions - Blackout (This song, more than any other is the one I have played on my air guitar in front of a bedroom mirror! As a youth I dreamed of rushing out across the stage and blasting the audience into submission with monstrous face-melting riffs and screwy facial expressions. They were one of the first bands I ever saw and I shall ne'er forget them running onstage from underneath a drum riser, in striped spandex trousers. I WANTED TO BE A ROCK STAR AND DO THE SAME!)

19. Saxon - 20,000 FT (Often played when I am flying somewhere, and a real neck-bender of a track. What you see is what you get with Saxon, and I love them for it. Good old Biff with his sock down his pants, that's what rock is all about man)

20. Benedictum - Wicca (I wanted to include a contemporary work - something of a bright light for here and now to let us know that the rock journey continues. I discovered this band by accident but they are living proof that accidents are not always bad things. See article below.)

I could have put hundreds more in. I have not even touched on Thin Lizzy, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Gary Moore, Rammstein, Pat Benatar, Genesis, Mostly Autumn and Therion but this just illustrates how wide the musical field really is.


One of my idols. Steve Howe is an ispiration to me. The way he plays guitar, the range of music he can play and the sheer passion he has for his work makes him my favourite guitarist of all time.



BENEDICTUM

I want to introduce you to a new experience. If you are a rock fan and you have a preference for bands like Dio, Rainbow and Savatage you will want to check Benedictum out. I say 'like' Dio etc but they are their own band, in their own right, with their own brand of music. I recommend all three of their albums (I will stake my reputation as a rock fan on them) and I also suggest that you badger your local rock station or Planet Rock itself to play more Benedictum and embrace this band. This may help to get them over here so we can enjoy their brilliant music live. Find them on You-Tube, be suitably impressed then support them by buying the albums.

EXCLUSIVE Sample track - Dark Heart





-BENEDICTUM BIOGRAPHY-

Surging forward as they are driven by the powerful momentum of founding members -front woman Veronica Freeman and the guitar pyrotechnics of writer and guitarist Pete Wells, the time has come for the world to be on notice. Benedictum is again upon us. Infused with the new influences and talents of Chris Shrum on Bass, Tony Diaz on keyboards and Mikey Pannone on Drums Benedictum intend to bring it! Formed in 2005 and quickly noticed by Dio guitarist Craig Goldy, the wheels were soon set in motion for their debut album "Uncreation". The collaboration of producer Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Dio, Foreigner) and the musical works of vocalist Veronica Freeman and Pete Wells along with the talent of drummer Blackie Sanchez, bassist Jesse Wright and keyboardist Chris Morgan, "Uncreation" was released to great reviews. Benedictum was selected as one of the top bands to watch in 2006 by Classic Rock magazine and one of Rock Hard Germany's top 50 albums for that year. Guest appearances included Jeff Pilson, Craig Goldy and Jimmy Bain.

The result of the second collaboration between Jeff Pilson and Benedictum was their 2008 release "Seasons of Tragedy" which evolved them into a Metal force which could not be denied. With Veronicas' raw and powerful vocals, songs with memorable melodies and the magical talent of Pete Wells along with new drummer Paul Courtois and the guidance of Jeff Pilson, "Seasons of Tragedy" further solidified the fact that there was something quite special at work here. "Seasons of Tragedy" garnered more great reviews and were on many a list for top albums of 2008. Guest appearances again by Jeff Pilson, Craig Goldy and also George Lynch who added his special flare to the track Bare Bones and the cover of Accept's "Balls to the Wall". Their driving music and energetic shows allowed Benedictum to grace the stage of many festivals including: Wacken, Gods of Metal, HRH and a tour with DORO.

Now ready for yet another amazing chapter, Benedictum are off on a new and exciting musical episode as they have signed a contract with Frontiers Records. Building upon their great foundation Benedictum has recruited Grammy Award winning producer Ryan Greene (Megadeth, F5, NOFX) and are firing on all cylinders. The new music promises to continue to expand the horizon for Benedictum and is sure to please current fans as well. Whether an old fan or new, Benedictum welcomes you! Get ready for more info and a new CD.

Crank it up and become a "Victim of Benedictum"!

BENEDICTUM WEB SITE



R A M M S T E I N



Any band that arrives on stage with flame throwers and proceeds to take the first three rows out has to be way up there on my list of impressives. Quite simply I can think of no better live show from any band. They sing almost always in German, which totally suits, they play an awful lot with fire on stage, cook the keyboard player in a huge cauldron, ride the front row of the audience on a giant penis and surf over their heads to the back of the concert hall and back in an inflatable boat. My God it doesn't get any better than this.

I should state that they are an 'Industrial metal' band from Germany and they continually wind the German press up with their antics. When I put their music on I almost literally want to smash my head through the speakers and merge as one with the sound. You must check them out at their web site here

Rammstein web site


Sample track: SPIELUHR



THE ENID

And now for something completely different. I am willing to bet that many of you have either never heard their music or heard of the band. Formed in 1974 (yes, that's 1974 - where have you been?) by Robert John Godfrey the Enid have delivered some stellar music. Godfrey was actually a member of Barclay James Harvest and he has been involved with any number of people musically.

I love to see him at work. He sits majestically behind his keyboards conducting his orchestra subtely and sometimes not very subtely. A furtive glance to a band member here, a smile there, or perhaps overt hand gestures whilst (eyes closed) he lifts his head t'wards the heavens completely lost in the aural delight that he himself has manufactured.

Look on the back of a ten pound note. That's Charles Darwin you see but Robert Godfrey is his doppelganger. One man made history with his views on evolution. The other made (and continues to make) history by transporting mortals to a world that Darwin could never have envisaged. I just love this band and I very much hope I can get to see them again.

Of course, no conducter has any real worth unless he has a fine orchestra to work with. In the Enid, the alchemic fusion of age and youth combine to send the listener into exquisite ecstacy if they will make themselves receptive to such an experience.They are a fine bunch of musicians and in attending an ENID gig you are not just going to a show, you are having a musical experience.

This is a band who has a relationship with their fans like no other I have known. You can BE part of the band, not onstage but supporting them to ensure that they continue to play.

BECOME A MEMBER OF THE ENIDI and you'll be part of a community that you never want to leave. GO AND SEE THEM LIVE. Sell your kids, put 'must attend ENID gig' on your bucket list, defer a mortgage payment, do what you have to do but go and see them whilst you can!

But what is their music like? When I asked Robert Godfrey in Milton Keynes 2010, how he would describe it he ventured to suggest that it was 'Pink Floyd meets The Orb meets the Berlin Philarmonic'.

Intrigued? You darned well should be. Visit their web site (Come on in, you're welcome)

The Enid web site


Carl's Planet home page