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Sebastyne

A rock fan. A thinker. A psychic empath and a channel, a Tarot reader. The lover of men, kings, and gods. An eternal romance analyser. A polyandrist. A romantic pervert. (A psycho-spiritual life coach.)

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Embarrassing confessions about my rock fandom

I am a bit of a snob when it comes to my rock n’ roll. As soon as I hear something I don’t like, I turn my nose up at the entire band. (Then again, I did forgive Aerosmith for Angel and Lightning Strikes, and Extreme for… Ehrm… The entire III Sides… *cough*) I am also super conscious of the bands that one SHOULD like but that I don’t either like or have never listened to, amongst them ALL 60’s and 70’s bands that fall behind my “security settings”. Believe this or not, but if Jim Morrison had the right to say that a soul of an Indian went into him when he was a child, I have the right to say that my previous life ended in a heroin over doze in early to mid 70’s and because of that, I have subconsciously drawn an almost unbreakable line between myself, drugs, and the heavy metal bands of the time. So this means no Sabbath. No Skynyrd. No Aerosmith prior to Pump, not even the Doors. For the longest time rock didn’t exist for me before the 90’s. This is because, I found out only a couple of years ago when I had already accepted that I was still a drug addict even though I had same subconscious hard line with anything addictive; I drool at the smell of rum, I pretend to “smoke” pens and HATE drug movies… If I gave it an inch it would take my whole life… So I have not had my first drink yet at the age of 38. The reason for this became apparent as I first put on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird. Just a few bars into the song, I was tripping. My consciousness changed, and I knew I had been listening to that song live, sitting alone in the side of a ball room, high as a freaking kite. That is why I have never – apart from Aerosmith, that was virtually rammed down my throat at the time they sobered up by divine intervention – looked up 60’s and 70’s bands until now. I have never checked out the bands that my heroes named as their influences. This includes Van Halen.

Of course I’ve heard Van Halen before. I’ve probably heard all of them at some stage, but whenever someone put them on, I’ve gone into myself, emotionally hiding from them, only half listening. And when Nuno Bettencourt, my absolute #1 guitar hero, said in an interview just a few days ago that when he picked up Eddie’s guitar hooked to Eddie’s rig that ready to go, he was disappointed because he still didn’t sound like Eddie Van Halen but he sounded like himself. “Who the fuck cares about Eddie Fucking Halen?!” I thought to myself (I know, there’s a lot of guys turning in their future graves right now) and I dug out some Eddie, a clip titled “the coolest Eddie Van Halen solo ever” or something along those lines. And… Sure enough, few bars later I prayed for forgiveness of the Rock Gods saying I didn’t know. I was full of remorse. I know. I am a sinner. I could clearly hear where Nuno got his style from. He HAS been trying to sound like Eddie. And I love Nuno’s guitar more than ANYTHING. HOW COULD I BE SO WRONG?!

I put on some Van Halen… And you know what? It sucks. It fucking sucks balls, Van Halen. Sure enough, Eddie is a genius, but as a band they fucking suck, and I don’t care what anyone says about that. They are a parody of all hard rock. They could as well be Spinal Tap and there’d be no freaking difference in the laughability of them. Put a camera on their ass 24/7, and you could refilm Spinal Tap and not miss a freaking clishé I’m convinced of it. That fucking vibrato singing… Oh please slash my wrists!!

I figured that OK, this must be the case of “the earlier stuff was better” so I dig out their first albums… So now I know everything that I hate about hard rock comes directly from Van Halen (most likely).

So I started thinking, how the hell can I listen to fucking POISON without vomiting if I can’t sit through a song of Van Halen? Halen is a freaking legend, Poison… Ah, a bit of a joke, don’t you agree? Yet, I love Poison.

I didn’t always, I must say. I didn’t always love Poison, I was too embarrassed to. You don’t love Poison if you want to be taken seriously in the hard/heavy rock/metal circles, you simply don’t. But once I realized you don’t have to take every band equally seriously, I admitted that I did love Poison, and now I wanted to figure out what for. I put on one of my favourite songs that I used to listen to years ago, and a few bars into Unskinny Pop I’m like… heeeelll yeah! This is FUN! This is FUN rock, it has a sense of humour that is lacking from so many other bands – it’s party, it’s a flirt, it’s a bass, drums, and a singer who knows his stuff. His stuff. You know? Sure they look kinda ridiculous (and when I say ‘ridiculous’ I mean ‘hot’ in some bizarre way), but shall we fucking compare these two images:

Here’s David Lee Roth looking cool as hell in the video “Panama”. Yeah. He looks a bit like some kind of a confused bumble bee. (Granted, there is NO WAY to do that and looking cool, so perhaps we have to blame that on the management.)

Here’s Bret Michaels looking his… worst – It’s not like he looks good enough to eat in that, but at least he’s not clipped onto the roof by his ass like Roth, who was probably made to mimic Steven Tyler’s acrobatics on a genuine freaking trapeze which he also did live not only on a video, by the way, over the freaking audience… LIKE A BOSS! Let’s just say that looking cool is definitely not what separates these two bands… Especially not in the favor of Van Halen. So what is it? Probably Eddie Van Halen. Some guitarist picked out Halen’s solos and figured oh, he’s awesome, and as he plays for Van Halen, that means Van Halen is awesome. Wrong. Eddie Van Halen is awesome, but is he better than Nuno Bettencourt (of Extreme)? No, but he came before him, so points to him – but outside solos, Bettencourt is better. He is at least equal to Eddie as a solo guitarist, but he’s also a great all-rounder as a musician and a singer… but Eddie is his freaking hero, so…

Steven Tyler on trapeze during a live show – proof of fucking cool

 

As far as Poison goes, they have a sense of humor to their show, they are truly hot guys who take just a little piss out of their own show and the chicks who dig them – Van Halen doesn’t. The fucking red necks actually think this is as cool as it gets. That’s the difference between Van Halen and Poison. Poison has style. Halen… Red neck stuff. I wonder when guys say they don’t put an emphasis to what their idols look like… Aren’t we lying just a tad bit? The biggest difference between Van Halen and Poison is that Poison guys are actually self-confident MEN where as Van Halen guys are, although good looking by the day’s and genre’s standard, not really very sexy. It’s far easier to one’s self-esteem to hype the sexual underdog rather than the guys who can pull ladies left and right – BEFORE they got famous. (I don’t know if they did but I’d be willing to put my money on it…)

OK, as I just put down one of the biggest rock singer’s vibrato style of singing, I wondered, how in lord’s name can I bow down to Sebastian Bach if I can’t stand vibrato? So, even though I know Skid Row’s recordings through and through and a whole bunch of Bach’s solo stuff, I needed to analyze this… and there it was, no drama. When a heavy vibrato starts from the beginning of the long note, they start it early on and carry it through to the end of the note, Bach has a classical singer’s background and it comes through in his singing. If you didn’t know, he was the lead soprano in a boy’s choir of an Anglican Church when he was 12. Even though that was a long time ago, what you learn as a babe you won’t forget as an ancient, and what he does is that he sings a clean note from start to almost to the end where he goes into very moderate, understated and controlled vibrato. BEAUTIFUL. He never overdoes it, and there is such FUN and sense of humor to his whole character, again, he takes rock as something humorous and fun to do, not a freaking ego trip.

Then, I started going through all the bands you don’t like if you want to be taken seriously: Cinderella, Ratt, Tyketto, Winger… As far as hard rock bands go, they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of compared to Van Halen, but they simply don’t have their own man-approved virtuoso, but as bands they work AT LEAST just as well if not better… But at the same time, yes, they are sort of fast food rock, but with a lot more interesting rhythms than Halen does. (Winger is actually quite good… I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re one of the most underrated bands ever existed, but they’re pretty fucking nice to listen to.)

Then, what about the other legend… White Lion and Whitesnake. One of them is a yes and one of them is a no, isn’t it? By memory, I think it was OK to like Whitesnake, but not White Lion. 😀 Ironically, neither ever did anything for me, but I loved Mike Tramps (lead singer of White Lion) new band, Freak of Nature, which kicked fucking ass! I also do have to confess to liking Whitesnake’s Is This Love far, far too much more than what it was really worth.

Speaking of Freak of Nature, I fell in love with them after being dragged kicking and screaming to another hallowed rock n roll legend’s show which they were opening for. The headlining act Helloween, the heavy metal band, akin to Gods to my male friend, but at the time Helloween was too heavy for me. I had barely listened to them, but I went along. Freak of Nature came on and I lapped it up. LOVED them. They were drumming like men possessed! Then, we get Helloween on the same stage, and what usually works well at a football field didn’t quite work at a classic concert hall… People wearing their fan T-shirts were LITERALLY standing in there with their fingers up their ears. I kid you not. Was there enough professionalism in their mixing team to lower the volume just a tad to fit the venue? Nah. It was fucking terrible, but if you appreciate a band for the sole merit of knowing how to play even louder than Joe Fucking Perry in Tyler’s ear, then I suppose you’d forgive them. (I did write a heated entry to my diary that day – but I have since burned all the evidence of my teen years.) Although Helloween was terrible, this was not:

Then, I must ask how many of you assholes would be listening to Kiss if they’d look like David Hasselhoff on his good days, because they’re actually not that heavy you realize? Same goes with Alice Cooper, who looks like he’d eat bats for breakfast like the real kings, but musically isn’t much heavier than Michael Jackson – just drank a whole lot more.

And now that I’ve dived into the bargain bin of yesterday’s rock bands… Do kids still play rock these days? 😀

I’ll leave you with this… Just a sample of what happens when heavy meets a few Finnish cellos and an awesome American singer… If I made a bet, would you believe cellos can produce a sound too heavy for some of you..?

 

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Sebastyne

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