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Ten Punk Rock Movies

As punk rock surfaced from the underground, representations of the genre crept into popular culture. Movie studios promptly produced cartoonish caricatures of punk rock. Invariably, the best film portrayals of punk are documentaries that take their cameras directly to bands and fans. This list features a mix of punk movies ranging from classic documentaries to the rare mainstream work that accurately mirrored the punk aesthetic. ANOTHER STATE OF MIND In 1982, the Better Youth Organization organized a 6-week tour with Youth Brigade and Social Distortion. Both bands and crew piled…

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This is Spinal Tap: Greatest Spinal Tap Moments

The “rockumentary,” This Is Spinal Tap, catches the iconic group as they release the Smell the Glove album. With cameras trailing the band at each turn, moments of triumph are captured. Unfortunately so are blunders. Join us, as we revisit the ten greatest Spinal Tap moments. GETTING LOST BACKSTAGE Early in the film we witness the exciting moments before Spinal Tap takes the stage. Chants of “Tap” echo through the arena. Filled with adrenalin, the band begins a triumphant march to their adoring audience…until it all goes hilariously wrong! Arenas…

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Articles Observations and Musings 

Heavy Metal Parking Lot: Judas Priest 1986

Judas Priest released the divisive Turbo in 1986. Despite alienating core fans with synthesizers and pop hooks, Turbo became the band’s highest charting album to date. The subsequent “Fuel For Life” tour was equally successful. Fans turned out in droves to see Priest live. Although Judas Priest filmed the tour for home video, two filmmakers provided documentation of a different sort. Armed with equipment borrowed from a cable access studio, John Heyn and Jeff Krulik interviewed tailgating fans outside the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland. Aptly titled, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, the…

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Iron Maiden: The Legend of the Black Cat

Eddie has been the face of Iron Maiden since day one. From seedy underworlds of urban decay to Egyptian pyramids and hostile ice planets, creator Derek Riggs has famously buried jokes and messages in the landscapes that Eddie called home. One particularly murky legend is that a black cat is hidden in each Iron Maiden album. The black cat legend is rarely discussed. I wondered if the concept was some half-invented figment of my imagination. A Google search yielded no conclusive evidence. If not for fruitless inquires posed by random…

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Top 10 Thrash EPs

The EP was a popular format for thrash bands signed to cash strapped labels. Typically holding between three to five songs, bands filled these shorter records with a variety of material. Sometimes an EP unveiled new songs. Other times the format doubled as a live album. Cover songs were another popular option. Join us as we explore the glory days of the Thrash EP! SLAYER- HAUNTING THE CHAPEL Clocking in at just over 13 minutes, Haunting the Chapel was the perfect follow-up to Show No Mercy. “Chemical Warfare” and “Captor of…

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Ten Anthrax Cover Songs

Anthrax just can’t resist recording songs from their favorite artists. As anyone who has seen the band live can attest, a healthy dose of covers also find their way into the set. After all, many of their biggest hits were originally recorded by other acts. What follows are ten memorable examples of Anthrax interpreting classic songs! I’M EIGHTEEN The history of Anthrax cover songs had a contentious start. Fistful of Metal contains a version of the Alice Cooper anthem, “I’m Eighteen.” It also has the distinction of being the ONLY…

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Hardwired…to Self-Destruct: Reconciling with Metallica

Full disclosure. I was one of the fans that felt alienated by the “Black Album.” Those feelings only intensified with the release of Load and Reload. I hated their new image, the haircuts, the music, but most of all, I resented that they had turned their backs on metal. In short, I disconnected from all things Metallica. Please don’t be angry with me. I know many fans stayed with the band every step of the way. Millions came on board during the era that caused me to flee. I don’t…

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Blue Oyster Cult: Don’t Fear the Reaper in Movies and Television

Blue Oyster Cult scored their biggest hit with “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” The macabre love song quickly transcended the music world to appear in movies and television. With a creepy riff that highlighted a lyrical embrace of death, it’s little wonder that “Reaper” first appeared in a horror film. John Carpenter set quite a precedent when using “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in Halloween. Expertly combining the song’s fixation on death with marijuana culture, he touched on two themes that future filmmakers would revisit. Even in the seventies, “Don’t Fear the…

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Articles Observations and Musings 

All The World’s A Stage: Shakespeare Through the Lens of Rush

Rush have a long history of using literary themes in their songs. Songs like “Tom Sawyer” have obvious sources. Other adaptations are less clear. If not for the liner notes explicitly giving thanks “To the genius of Ann Rand,” the author’s influence in “2112” may have been missed entirely. Yet, when the band invokes Shakespeare, the public immediately recognizes the immortal bard. Rush has utilized the line “All the world’s a stage” twice in their career. Taken from Shakespeare’s comedic play, As You Like It, the connection between theater and music…

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Black Sabbath: Revisiting Born Again

Born Again has enjoyed renewed interest in recent years. The only album to feature vocalist Ian Gillan, the lineup faced the unfair burden of competing with preconceptions of what Black Sabbath should be. Gillan soon returned to Deep Purple while Iommi began work on the Seventh Star record. Born Again has since become a half-forgotten gem in the vast Sabbath canon. Time has a way of mending wrongs. As older fans listen with fresh ears and younger ones retroactively explore Deep Sabbath, Born Again has earned a cult following. Not only…

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