Monsters of Rock Nostalgia…

The other night I decided to play Whitesnake Live At Donington 1990.  This was one of the first of many visits to Castle Donington in my younger years.  Also the first Rock Festival I had ever been to.  I started going to concerts in 1989, and just could not get enough of them.  At the time I was only earning £50 a week as a photographic lab technician, so money was not flowing the way I would have liked, but I managed to go to hundreds of gigs over the next ten years as I changed jobs and my salary increased.

The concert recording brings back so many memories of being there, the smell of the burning rubber as people had bonfires, the smell of all the different foods from hot dogs and burgers to falafels and other vegetarian delights.  The hot sun filled day slowly turning colder, and above all the exhaustion from a full day of music, beer and fun.

One of the many memories was the flying plastic bottles, usually full of pee, yes, pee.  Imagine a crowd of 72,500 people, three quarters probably men, needing a pee, and having large bottles that had beer in them, then instead of queueing for the toilet which would be miles away, then the bottles came to hand and were refilled.  Certain songs would make people go a little mad and the throwing of the bottles began, with NO lids on them, so I am sure you could imagine the carnage, and how wet we ended up.  I admit, I often used a bottle, and of course joined it.  It was all part of the experience of a rock festival.  It never put any of us off either, we all had changes of clothes with us in the cars, so could bag all the smelly muddy ones.  Each year we went we knew what would happen, but this never dampened our spirits or enthusiasm to be there, however, it did dampen our clothes.

So, I share with you the headline act from 28 years ago that invokes so many good memories, and somewhere in that crowd is me.

Music and me

I love music, I really do. When I was young I learned to play several instruments, and my father’s family are quite musical too, with quite a few pianists, especially my cousin A, who is incredibly talented. Whilst growing up I learned to play the piano by ear. I also did the Royal School of Music exams. My problem, like my talented cousin A, I cannot read music, well, not at a speed that would allow me to play from sheet music. I have a very mathematical brain, and I think this is the problem. The notes, quavers, semiquavers, crochets and all the other symbols do not compute. A dot (note) being placed randomly on a set of lines really does not trigger anything. Put a load of mathematical symbols on a load of lines and I can make sense of that.

For as long as I remember I have had music playing constantly in my life. As a kid, my father always played his records, and when he was not there my mum did the same. I played their records, and one day had my own stereo. When I was in my early 20’s I bought myself a huge Kenwood Tri sound system that I still have today and it works like a dream, it cost me at the time £1,500.00. I guess the price proved a point as 25 years later it is still in perfect condition. Over the years too, I have had every type of personal music player too, and I never skimped on paying out for good quality products. Today, I still have the sound system, but I tend to use my iMac and a set of Harmon Kardon speakers, £160 but worth every penny, the sound is exquisite, and I also subscribe to Apple Music.  My car has Kenwood speakers that have great bass. When out walking the dogs on my own I will have a pair of Bose Bluetooth ones feeding my ears with music too.

My musical taste really does run the gamut. My music collection consists of thousands of CDs and Vinyl albums. I love digital as it is easy to get, click a button to pay, and there it is on my iMac, but you cannot beat the feel or sound of vinyl, however, here in the UK it is usually three or four times the price of a CD. My vinyl collection is extensive and includes rare items from picture discs to limited pressings, white label, and signed. I started as a kid listening to my father’s rock albums, mostly Queen, ELO, and others of the time, and his classical music albums. But then I discovered Goth, and it just blew me away. My first love of Goth was Fields of the Nephilim (The Nephilim in the USA), and I have seen them in concert many many times, traveling up and down the country to see them. Of course, I loved nearly all Goth music, especially the obscure. The I added Rock and Metal to my collection, them some punk. Then I found the heavier the better, my taste over the years included Napalm Death, Pantera, Slipknot, Rammstein, and others.

The latest CD to add to my collection is Stone Sour’s “Hydrograd”. What a pleasure this is to the ears. I listened to Corey Taylor and Josh Rand talk about the making of the album and what a blast they had, and it shows in the music. Needless to say, I have had it on repeat since its release on Friday. I had pre-ordered it through Amazon, so received the physical item later on Friday, but had the digital download delivered in the early hours of that day, so it was there for me when I woke up. I guess I am a fan of Corey as I have all of Slipknot’s albums too, and I have read all of Corey’s books too, which, I heartily recommend to everyone. He looks at life they way we all do but manages to bring a bit of sense about the chaos that we see. If you are offended by explicit language, then this really is not for you. I also listen to his Beats One show entitled “A series of bleeps”, and I am sure you understand the reason for the title.

Throughout my adulthood, I have been to about 400 gigs, and about 100 classical music concerts. The most memorable classical concert would be Brahms “A German Requiem”, Goth would be a toss up between Fields of the Nephilim and The Sisters of Mercy, punk would be a Stiff Little Fingers, Gothic Punk has to be Creaming Jesus (incredible gig in Liverpool). Rock would be Pantera (Castle Donnington), Alternative Metal Henry Rollins. Pop (?) would be Alison Moyet. Electronica has to be Jean Michel Jarre. Every gig has a small place in my heart and I guess I will reminisce about them till the day I leave this earth.

My list could go on and on, as will my collection, my memories, and the music.