Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for October 7, 2011

[Washington Rocks] -- Not Washington, DC. Washington state. Last week, I was vacationing in Washington state (spending time first in Seattle and then in and around Olympic National Park). I thought it might be interesting to see what the 80s music scene was like in this state. Turns out, Washington was quite the hotbed for punk and heavy metal during that time (once you discount the brief fad of Twee Pop). Now, I had intended to post this flashback from the road, but I was not able to finish it in time. So, I'm brushing off the draft, cleaning it up, and posting it this week! If you would like to know what heavy rockin' gems I found, just read and hear more after the break. (Warning: These songs are loud, and possibly disturbing!)

Flashback #1"Remember what the dormouse said | Feed your head."

One of the most popular metal bands to come out of Seattle in the 80s was Sanctuary. Their debut album, Refuge Denied (1988), was produced by Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and featured a heavy cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" which I have selected as our first flashback of the day. I think it is worthwhile pointing that 20% of all publishing royalties received for Sanctuary's first two records originally released on Epic Records, Refuge Denied and Into the Mirror Black, are being donated to help prevent child abuse in America.

Flashback #2"We hold our fate and make the choice | But we'll not listen to that still small voice."

Our second flashback comes from a band that formed in Seattle Washington in 1980 and did not release their first album until 1984. That actually is not too bad considering how difficult it can be to break into the industry. An early proponent of the then-fledgling genre of thrash metal, they were apparently signed to Electra Records at the urging of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Their second studio album, The Dark(1986), was a commercial success due to heavy MTV rotation of the album's first single, "When the Children Pray" which is our first flashback of the day.

Flashback #3"We see the light of those who find | A world has passed them by | Too late to save a dream that's growing cold."

Our final artist for today's flashback post is probably the only one that could count as a household name. (Their 30th anniversary tour makes a stop in Tacoma, WA, on December 17, 2011). Queensrÿche formed in 1981 in Bellevue, WA. They were originally named The Mob, but were encouraged to change their name to Queensrÿche styled somewhat after "Queen of the Reich", the first song on their demo tape (remember, umlauts are cool). Now, the interesting thing here is that Geoff Tate, the owner of that distinctive voice featured on the demo that later went on to become the band's eponymous debut EP, Queensrÿche(1982), was not a full member of the band. He recorded the demos, but was reportedly not interested in heavy metal. However, based on the success of the EP, Tate was encouraged to leave his current band (Myth) and join Queensrÿche as their fulltime frontman. (Interesting note number two: Queensrÿche had never played live together at the time of their signing). They released their first full-length album on EMI in 1984. The Warning peaked at #61 on the Billboard album chart, the first single single, "Take Hold of the Flame," did reasonably well outside the U.S., and they scored a spot as the opening act for KISS on their Animalize tour. Be careful listening to this last flashback: I swear Tate has the ability to hit notes that shatter glass or render dogs deaf.

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

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