Fireside 2.1 ( The Metal Cell Podcast Blog Wed, 01 May 2019 17:00:00 +0100 The Metal Cell Podcast Blog en-us Motorhead....burning Dunlop's to my Walkman! Wed, 01 May 2019 17:00:00 +0100 ef3a4f61-0fed-47d4-b685-756ccac2e4b6 Cassette, is an analog magnetic tape recording format for audio recording and playback. It was developed by Philips in Hasselt, Belgium, and released in 1962. Motorhead's No Sleep Til' Hammersmith was the first cassette I ever played. I didn't have a ghetto blaster, twin deck or anything fancy like that. Nope my cassette player looked like a packet of tissues. You'd load the cassette into where you'd pull out the tissues by pressing the eject button, which shot open a darkened plastic compartment to place your cassette into, the strength of that spring opening mechanism was lethal. Cassettes would be spat out at you on a regular basis. You would then press the loaded cassette down into the box and then you would have five buttons to choose from. First button was the stop button/eject button, the second was play, the third was fast forward, the forth was rewind and the final one was record. Interestingly enough the record button didn’t record when you pressed it, you also had to press down the play button with the record button at the same time. Then you were sorted in so far as you could record people speaking but not really music as the quality would be terrible. If for example you were recording anything off the radio because there was none built into my cassette player, you'd hold it alongside the radio and tape the song off that. So I had to make do with cassette player until my mate got a Walkman....the game changer! It was an even smaller version of my cassette player about twice the width of a cassette box and about an inch longer complete with headphones. The modern age was upon us metallers. Of course I wanted one straight away but being broke had to wait till I eventually got a cheap shitty one out of saving up stamps from my dad’s petrol purchases until 8 pages of stamps later I got a Walkman. It was black and had round orange foam earphones which were held together by a thin metal band that cause the earphones to push away from the fucking ears!!! Still the improvement on sound was noticeable and I was really looking forward to wearing them along with my new black orange Dunlop runners as I headed out to the local hangout; an amusement park called Perks. As soon as I met up with the lads I got slaughtered....dunno which was worse, the slagging over the orange/black runners or my new orange headphones.... although I did manage to brazen it out trying to say this was the new look, they cost a fortune and were smuggled bask from the U.S because they weren't released yet in Europe. No one believed me and because it definitely wasn't helping my chances scoring with a girl, I headed off home cursing my poverty as Lemmy belted out "Overkill". It reminds me of another fashion faux pas, imitating Keifer Sutherland whom I spotted on Empire magazine wearing jeans, white t-shirt and a black dinner jacket. The following weekend I arrived out minus the Dunlops to the amusement park wearing jeans, slip on shoes, cream t-shirt and my dad’s blue tweed blazer......fuck me what was I thinking....absolutely slaughtered again and early exit home. Getting back to the cassettes we found an older dude called Donie to make us up cassettes with all of the coolest metal albums on them. One clear memory is of me and my mate Timmy standing near this big generator overlooking the whole of the beach and amusement park with his stereo blasting out Manowar's "Fighting the World." We thought we were kings of all we surveyed, that was the effect metal had on us. Powerful music blasting out, fists in the air, adrenaline coursing through our bodies, ready to fight for metal! Seems kinda corny but those were the feelings of a sixteen year old metal fan. Cassettes were really cheap as well. You could get a 120 min, 90 min, 60 min or a 30min one if you were really broke. 90 mins was the preference because you'd get an album copied on each side and maybe a bonus song also. Compilations were a real pain in the ass for the person making them because it meant swapping vinyl for every song, same if it was on tape and it was a twin deck. The hardest part was when you simply had no cash and you had to choose a cassette to tape over an already copied album. A lot of the cassettes had these tabs at the top where you'd break the tab off it couldn't be recorded over. To get by this you'd stick on a piece of Sellotape over the tab and you were ready to record again. I know I actually did this to original cassette albums definitely my brothers Bob Dylan ones but the result would always sound like shit which was ironic considering I hated Dylan anyway. My favourite copied cassettes were in no particular order Iron Maiden's Live after Death, Metallica's Master of Puppets and Sacred Reich's Ignorance with on the other side Indestructible Noise Command. I often think of a teenage me, putting a few of my favourite cassettes in the Parka jacket, ready for a beach walk with my shitty Walkman.

Hidden treasures, vinyl feasts and tennis rackets. Mon, 01 Apr 2019 17:00:00 +0100 ee5d07e2-b9d0-45b2-9d70-aeb45c7e40cb When you inherit a record collection you can unlock your potential as an artist, become a contortionist and still manage to burn potatoes. When I turned ten years old my older brother had moved out, his bed was dumped and I had a large room to myself. I also inherited a Ferguson record player and a collection of scratched, bent eared vinyl, whether any other kid would have bothered investigating this hidden treasure is anyone’s guess. That summer of 1981 was spent by most kids playing sports or just roaming around fields and newly built estates pretending they were soldiers for hours upon end. The summers were a lot warmer back then so more often than not you were booted out of the house early by your parents rather than be sat in front of a TV/console unless you were me. Since both my parents worked I had the choice. When I’d wake up it would be to an empty house and a list of chores which would be done to Gillian’s "Future Shock" or Sparks "Propaganda" playing in the background on the record player. Radio never played that stuff.
My brother’s collection of vinyl was full of original first pressings and are now considered classic albums unlike my parents Feast of Irish Folk records. I had Deep Purples “Made in Japan”, Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak”, Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti”, Saxons “Wheels of Steel” and Motorhead’s “No Sleep Til Hammersmith” to name drop a few of the forty or so LP’s my brother left behind. I’d always check to see if there was printed lyric’s on the inner sleeve of those albums or strange markings etched into the vinyl where the circular label was. From my experience, if for example you had an older sister, you were really goosed vinyl wise. Those collections included anything from Donny Osmond, Chris De Burgh, Boney M, Abba, The Carpenters and Simon & Garfunkel and because both of my close friends had big sisters swapping vinyl wasn’t an option. Since we had hardly any money but just enough to buy a magazine, we’d all meet up in each others houses and look longingly at Kerrang or Metal Hammer to check out all the cool American bands whose artwork looked amazing.
I lived in an end of the row terraced house on a hill and every Saturday morning metal was blasting out of my brothers Ferguson record player to people going down town to do their shopping. They’d often stop and stare into the windows as I’d manically duck down and laugh back at them. Having no guitar I used a wooden sweeping brush which became Jimmy Pages Les Paul, when I got a new hurley, it became Angus Youngs Gibson SG and a tennis racket (more realistic as it had strings) became Jimi Hendrix’s Strat. I never had the urge to be drummer and as for keyboard player, don’t make me laugh! I just wanted to be battering out a song or sliding along my knees on a stage or I'd just jump off the couch to Motorcyle Man by Saxon or bunny hop along to AC/DC pretending I was Angus. I’d have one eye on the clock the whole time as usually both parents came up to the house for dinner at 13:00. My biggest concern whilst hammering out metal was not to forget to turn on the gas for potatoes at 12:00 though a lot of times I did and get a bollocking because of it.
When you’d get an album on vinyl, like for example Iron Maidens “Powerslave” and take the time to admire the artwork of Derek Riggs, it’s the metal equivalent of being handed a Carravaggio. The amount of time spent staring at Derek’s works of art and trying to understand it and discuss the symbols just goes on for weeks and weeks when you were a kid. You’d spend time all your time trying to draw and perfect the cover or the bands logo with a pencil and then go over it using a marker. A skilled logo artist was a busy one. There was numerous army jackets called Parkas that needed to be logoed up long before tattoo sleeves became popular. If you were flush enough to be able to afford a denim jacket, a back patch was a necessity though the sleeves were never cut off back then. This usually resulted in a trip to the city with the mother and while she would be in some clothes shop I would be in the Queens Old Castle shopping mall trying to buy patches. Countless arguments ensued with parents over what patches and pin badges could be allowed on the jackets. I was in over in Camden last year for a gig and was enjoying stall after stall of pin badges, patches and bullet belts. AC/DC came on over the speakers and I could feel myself slip back in time to that album Let There Be Rock. I could vividly remember putting that beautiful piece of black vinyl onto my Ferguson record player and flicking the switch to play it. If there was a tennis racket in that stall in Camden I would have grabbed it and bunny hopped off into the distance

Its a midlife Podcast! Sat, 23 Mar 2019 15:00:00 +0000 a03f8ff2-336c-4bec-a3fb-60959de848aa When maturity comes calling to those who love Metal! I don't remember not listening to hard rock or heavy metal as a kid. I was fortunate enough to have a brother 11 years older than me growing up in the 70’s. Damn that’s fairly scary when I think of it now....the seventies! Most guys, like me when they hit their late forties and are still listening to metal, never really grow up. I’m sure our wives and partners would agree with that, they gave up trying to understand the joy in our eyes as we gleefully cradled the new release from Slayer whilst oblivious to the needy child, animal or loved one. Sure we physically aged, we got grey, lost hair, gained a few pounds but mentally we are all still in our late twenties, a definite advantage over most other genres of music. Imagine a fifty year old over weight raver for example wearing flairs and trying the same dance moves he tried in his twenties on the dancefloor now and not looking ridiculous. Whereas there is no bullshit with us metallers, we all wear black, we either stand at the front, middle or back of the gig and try not to get in each other’s way. As I get older I’m seen less at the front, it obviously depends on the amount of Peroni I drink so if a pit starts up I’ll participate but assess the risks coldly. Like if its full of kids with their tops off I’m moving to the side of the fleshfest or big drunken lunatics with beers in their hands causing spillages and pile ups on the dancefloor is equally off putting and a right pain in the hole! Not to mention one night at the Academy where some weirdo dropped a load of Pistachio nuts he was gobbling and I could feel them through the soles of my Cons, the amount of guys that slid along them carrying beers was no ones business. Horrible just horrible! When us “metalheads” get together, it’s with youthful abandonment we approach gigs, we have the same conversations about bands, albums and t-shirts. There's no gossip exchanged only some nodding sympathy to the lastest aches or pains. So yes there is a downside of all this youthful exuberance back in the days of the stage diving and mosh pits because we now are all suffering with back, knee and neck problems. I remember a few years back going to the aptly titled Dr. Lim in The CUH Hospital in Cork on a referral from my local doctor as I was suffering neck pains, shooting pains from my elbows down to my hands and unable to sleep comfortably. He looked at my MRI results and sighed the sigh of a man that’s going to deliver the worse news possible. I folded my aching arms and waited for the inevitable outcome. Dr. Lim said that I had the neck of a seventy year old man, he showed me slide after slide of wear and tear on my cervical vertebrae. He leaned back and asked me what type of awful job I working in that could have caused this. I knew it wasn’t the current one for the last 17 years, where there is a small amount of manual handling but I still gave him answer after answer to which he continually shook his head until we had exhausted all options. He then asked did I play sports to which I repied I didn’t and then followed that up by asking about hobbies. So I told him that I loved going to gigs and music. He sat forward frowning and his eyes narrowed, “What type of gigs and music?” When I said heavy metal he slammed the pen down on the table and triumphantly announced that was the source of my neck degeneration. Forty years of head banging and there was no cure. He did suggest Botox injections four times yearly but the thoughts of me going full Klingon left me feeling numb. I manned up and the pains subsided….eventually.

Pic taken by Janer Ali at The Exploited in Voodoo Dublin 2018