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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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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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DREAM EVIL: THE EVOLUTION OF RONNIE JAMES DIO

If Your Circle Stays Unbroken Then You’re a Lucky Man ‘Cause it Never, Never, Never has for me No words spoken by Ronnie James Dio rang truer than the lyrics to “Invisible.” Heartfelt and honest, the statement finds Dio reflecting on the past while in the midst of reinvention. His story is one of broken dreams and unimaginable triumphs. In the end, Dio emerged a legend whose legacy continues to strengthen after his death. Dio was no stranger to change. An elder statesman, Ronnie’s music career pre-dates the very existence…

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To Live Is To Die: A Tribute To Cliff Burton

Cliff Burton was already a legend when I discovered Metallica. Not that I knew who he was at the time. And Justice For All was a brand new album and I was taking it all in through the ears and eyes of a 6th grade boy. Vague, half-remembered memories remain of watching the “world premier” of the “One” video just days after first hearing Justice. There was a feeling that I was witnessing a historic moment. Turns out, I was. Metallica had just released their first record without Cliff Burton….

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WE’RE A HAPPY FAMILY: THE CRETINS OF THE RAMONES

Right out of the gate The Ramones had the best lyrics. Their first album contained songs of sniffing glue, chainsaw wielding maniacs, and tales of beating brats with baseball bats. It also ushered in the first of many colorful characters. This list celebrates the most beloved cretins in the vast Ramones universe. JUDY IS A PUNK Jackie and Judy are a lovable pair of punks with a thirst for adventure. For reasons unknown, they ran away to Berlin and joined the Ice Capades. The lyrics offer little in the way…

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NOT OF THIS WORLD: THE DANZIG SKULL AND THE SAGA OF CRYSTAR

The artwork of the first Danzig record was perfect. A white skull occupied both panels of black gatefold. All was secondary to the skull. No track list was present. Even the actual logo was pushed to the bottom corner. Visually stimulating, the skull boldly ushered in the next chapter of Glenn Danzig’s storied career. Of course Glenn was using the skull long before his eponymous debut. It was unveiled with the birthing of Samhain. Unlike the Crimson Ghost, this new creation was not taken from Hollywood. It had no immediately…

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UNITED FORCES: METAL COVERS PUNK

It didn’t take long for metal and punk to influence each other. Crossover bands like D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies embraced both genres. Even strictly METAL bands had punk influences. What follows are just a few examples of what happens when METAL COVERS PUNK!   SAINT VITUS – THIRSTY AND MISERABLE No band was better prepared to cover Black Flag than Saint Vitus. Spot produced their early records and Dez Candena sang backup on their namesake song. A proud SST band, Black Flag is in the Vitus DNA. Saint Vitus transform…

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Lou Reed’s 1974 Australian Press Conference

By 1974, Lou Reed had firmly established himself as a solo artist. Sure, he had not disconnected completely from the past. The live record, Rock and Roll Animal, featured mostly Velvet Underground songs. Yet, the subsequent studio effort, Sally Can’t Dance, held the distinction of being the first Reed album not to feature a Velvet Underground track. The success of Transformer and brilliance of Berlin proved Reed could escape the shadow of his past. Still, wherever he traveled, his reputation preceded him. Lou Reed’s Australian press conference is nothing short of…

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Loser: Beck Interviewed by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore – MTV 120 Minutes – 1994

In 1994, Beck was thrust into the limelight on the strength of his first hit, “Loser.” The eye-catching video was tailor made for MTV and the network responded by keeping the song in heavy rotation. It was only natural to feature this visually minded musician on the alternative rock showcase, 120 Minutes. A two-hour block dedicated to the cooler side of rock and roll, the show was a perfect forum to introduce Beck to serious rock fans. Even better, Beck was to be interviewed by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth….

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Ace Frehley and Kiss: The Tom Snyder Interview – Halloween 1979

On Halloween night in 1979, Kiss appeared on the nationally syndicated The Tomorrow Show. Almost immediately, a clearly inebriated Ace Frehley stole the show. Reacting to Tom Snyder’s assertion that Gene Simmons played the “bass” guitar, Ace jokes that he is the “trout player” before schooling his amused host on the proper pronunciation of Gene’s instrument. One can’t help but be taken by Frehley’s laugh. Ace is at once revealed as a jokester who saw the humor in a grown man dressing like a space alien. He couldn’t help but…

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