When Van Halen first appeared on the live scene in the late 70s, they revolutionised hard rock. Artists like Led Zeppelin were playing mammoth live sets, dominated by huge solos and many other rock acts were seeming just a little…tired. Van Halen’s combination of volume and energy was said to floor any act they were invited to support. Just one listen to their self-titled debut album makes it easy to see why.
The power in ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’ and ‘On Fire’, combined with the jaw dropping ‘Eruption’ – during which guitarist Edward Van Halen pretty much reinvented what was considered “cool” at the time – still makes that record a thrilling listen decades on.
With debut albums from Crowded House and The Housemartins standing alongside massive hits from Madonna, a-ha and Red Box, 1986 would already have a strong enough grounding to challenge 1984 as one of the decade’s finest years for music. With Huey Lewis’s ‘Fore!’ challenging 1983’s as his masterpiece, a strong AOR debut from Robert Tepper and Jackson Browne’s ‘Lives In The Balance’ channelling a very commercial sound, it was also very much a year for great Transatlantic AOR and sounds that now seem so entrenched within that decade, you can’t help but love them.
1977 saw a change on the UK music front as punk made a fairly grand entrance. It wasn’t the giant new broom that revisionists will have you believe, as disco and pop still had a strong grip and the prog rock bands remained a fixture in the album charts.
Perhaps the greatest thing the punk movement brought was the idea that such energy could be used to create great three minute songs. In 1978, utilising the energies of punk and a firm grasp of radio friendly pop choruses, bands like Blondie and The Jam went from strength to strength.
British rock band Slam Cartel released their debut album ‘Handful of Dreams’ in 2011. Since then, the band have gone through a few changes and played a seemingly endless stream of gigs. REAL GONE caught up with guitarist Damo Fawsett to discuss his influences, as well as the band’s past, present and future. Bringing a few insights into the world of a hard-working band – as well as Zeppelin-y tangent – a lengthy chat ensued…
As guitarist for Creed and Alter Bridge, Mark Tremonti has built a fan following over the years, but 2012’s ‘All I Was’ marked his first solo venture (albeit issued under an eponymous band name). Moving away from Creed’s post-grunge sounds and AB’s much-loved retro hard rock, Tremonti takes a more metallic approach on the album. Although one of 2012’s best metal-based albums, the recorded work doesn’t resemble the intensity of the Tremonti live set…