SK88: Old School Skateboard Playlist

Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends.  It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie.  Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.

This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned.  Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music.  Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.

I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video.  I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents.  I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it.  A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band.  I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved.  I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for!  Great album, all in all.

This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.

Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years.  This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.

Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out).  Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits).  Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.

Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:

Part 1

  1. McRad – “Weakness”
  2. Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
  3. Descendents – “Coolidge”
  4. Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
  5. Devo – “That’s Good”
  6. Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
  7. Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
  8. Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
  9. Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
  10. Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
  11. The Stupids – “Skid Row”
  12. Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
  13. Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
  14. Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
  15. Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
  16. Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
  17. Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”

Part 2

  1. The Cult – “Wildflower”
  2. The Damned – “Love Song”
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
  4. Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
  5. Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
  6. GBH – “Too Much”
  7. Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
  8. Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
  9. The Stranglers – “Peaches”
  10. Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
  11. Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
  12. Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
  13. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
  14. Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  15. Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
  16. The Skids – “Into the Valley”
  17. Fugazi – “Blueprint”

Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years.  There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.

Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials.  I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.

And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling.  Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…

Gym Playlist #1

Have you been hitting the gym since the start of the year?  Punishing yourself with cardio and weights as you fight to shed those extra pounds that attached themselves limpet-like over the festive season?

I’ve been slaughtering the gym since the start of the year, but then I always do.  Not that it seems to do any good.

Whilst I’m there, pummelling away at the flab in a vain attempt to get in shape, I need some tunes to motivate me.  The music in the gym is usually dancey disco stuff, which is fine if you’re dancing, but when I’m working out I need something a bit more aggressive.

Albums by various bands get a regular spin, but I also made this iPod playlist to help me focus like a Viking ransacking a monastery.  Sometimes I’m so amped I feel like I could run through the wall, rather than just plodding on the treadmill.

You could do worse than to listen to this cacophony yourself.

  1. Rocket From The Crypt – “Pushed”
  2. Audioslave – “Cochise”
  3. Big Chief – “Lion’s Mouth”
  4. Metallica – “Die Die My Darling”
  5. Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
  6. Rage Against the Machine – “Guerrilla Radio”
  7. Anthrax – “Only”
  8. Corrosion of Conformity – “Heaven’s Not Overflowing”
  9. Pantera – “Fucking Hostile”
  10. The Cult – “Rise”
  11. Probot – “Shake Your Blood”
  12. Suicidal Tendencies – “War Inside My Head”
  13. Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”

There you go: 47 minutes of energetic, in your face music to psyche you up and get you in the mood to destroy. GO!!!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #9

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 4th November 2016

It was great to be back in Mold for another Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  It’s been a long time since the last evening in the Queen’s Head, with summer holidays and whatnot getting in the way – so it was good to see the familiar faces and crank out some tunes.

The usual rules applied: each person got 15 minutes on the decks to play whatever they liked, genre free – vinyl only!

Adam went for it first, here’s an over view of his varied and very enjoyable set:

  • Voice of the Beehive – I Think I Love You
  • Grandmaster Flash – Whitelines
  • Queen – One Vision
  • Willie Nelson – On the Road Again

I am so jealous of that Willie Nelson single!

Halloween had just been and gone a few days earlier, so I was still in a spooky mood.  This time, my set went like this:

Monster Magnet – See You in Hell

One of the many stand out tracks from Monster Magnet’s classic “Powertrip” album, this is acid drenched stoner rock at its finest.  The retro sound is augmented by a churning organ that whirls around as the bass chugs.  Psychedelic wonderment from Monster Magnet that sounds like a forgotten late 60’s gem.  I’ve owned the “Powertrip” album for many years on CD, but recently acquired the new vinyl re-issue.  Money well spent.  A truly great, under appreciated band.

Donovan – Season of the Witch

This fantastic song was featured in the Tim Burton movie Dark Shadows, a film I’m a huge fan of (though it appears not many other people are).  Whilst the previous song sounds like something from the sixties, this one is.  It’s a mellow groover that manages to wander out of hippy territory and sound somewhat sinister… Love this track, I felt it was a suitable jam for a Halloween inspired set.

The Damned – Plan 9 Channel 7

Ah, the Damned!  Where would a Halloween themed set be, without a tune from these punk rock proto-Goths?  One of my favourite bands, one of my favourite songs – from the indispensable “Machine Gun Etiquette” album.  Every home should own this!  The song is, of course, written about a viewing of Ed Wood‘s infamous “worst film ever made” – Plan 9 From Outer Space – on American horror channel 9.  Vampira, James Dean, Hollywood after dark – it’s all here in a perfect slice of rampaging pop punk.

The Misfits – American Nightmare

Finally, more horror punk from the masters themselves – the one and only Misfits.  On this track, Danzig and pals abandon the usual Ramones inspired turbo punk and offer up a ridiculously catchy rockabilly number.  Complete with handclaps and Danzig crooning more like Elvis than ever, this track sounds like a lost piece of 50’s nostalgia.  Classic stuff.

There we have it ladies and gentlemen – another great night in Mold!  Thanks to the guys from Halcyon Dreams and VOD music – and Dylan who helped out with an extra turntable!  More soon…

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #4

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 2nd October 2015

For this month’s Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, I decided to have a theme for my set.  Although it was only early in the month of October, I decided to opt for a Halloween theme.  My music choices would have a horror element, or something dark and macabre.

If you’re not familiar with vinyl night, here’s the basic outline:

  • Hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, turn up and play a fifteen minute set of songs – vinyl only, no CD’s, mp3s, tapes or anything else.
  • Put your name on the list and wait your turn, have a few drinks, listen to the collection of tunes played by other vinyl fans.
  • There are two turntables plus mixing equipment to play your set, plus assistance if you need technical help.

Adam was first up tonight, his set list went as follows:

  • Amen Corner – (If Paradise is) Half As Nice
  • Los Lobos – C’mon Let’s Go
  • Jim Steinman – Surf’s Up
  • Guns’n’Roses – You Could Be Mine

Then it was my turn…

Bobby “Boris” PIckett and the Crypt-Kickers – Monster Mash

What better way to start than with this ghoulish classic?  I found this album a few months ago in a charity shop, and couldn’t believe my luck.  It was only a couple of quid, and worth the investment even though I don’t usually spend more than a pound!  This is of course the sixties gem that sound checks various monsters, with Pickett impersonating Karloff (and Lugosi too).  It’s great fun and essential for any Halloween party!

The Damned – Nasty

The first time I ever heard the Damned was when “Eloise” got to number 3 in the charts.  The second time was this fast paced, tongue in cheek ode to horror movies, on the brilliant Young Ones horror spoof episode “Nasty”.  The Damned appear and play this song in the Young Ones’ kitchen.  I was hooked straight away, saved up some money and bought an album with both tracks on it.  Given the exposure this song had, it constantly amazes me that “Nasty” was relegated to a B-side and hardly ever shows up on Damned compilation albums.  I’ve seen the band live more times than any other, but only saw this song performed for the first time a few weeks ago!  Anyway, the Damned are another essential for a Halloween theme.  Still a great song.

Danzig – Sistinas

Although not a horror related song as such, I couldn’t resist the chance to play something by the Dark Lord of rock himself, Danzig.  Instead of a more obvious bone rattling heavy rock number, I chose this incredible ballad that was hidden away on Danzig III: How the Gods Kill.  Glenn shows off his great vocal abilities here on a song that is more Roy Orbison than Black Sabbath.  Appropriately dark and wind swept, this is a morose beauty of a song.

The Misfits – Vampira

To be honest, I was spoiled for choices for a horror theme, there are tons of songs I could’ve played.  Despite risking a Glenn Danzig overdose, I just had to spin a Misfits song.  This band took the horror punk template established by the Damned, the Ramones and the Cramps and ran with it, off into a creepy cemetery populated by every 1950’s B-movie monster ever.  “Walk Among Us” is one of my favourite albums ever, and this short sharp song dedicated to proto Goth babe Vampira is one of their best.

So there you have it – another triumphant evening for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  There were old songs, new songs, obscure and obvious songs.  There’s always something to make you go away and research another band, that’s the beauty of these nights.  My personal favourite was hearing “Gut Feeling” by Devo!  Already looking forward to the next one.  A theme?  We’ll see…

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all of the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The Misfits – Gig Review

The Misfits

Thursday 26th July 2014

The Live Rooms, Chester

Way back in 1988, as a young skateboarding rapscallion, I bought a vinyl copy of The Misfits album “Walk Among Us“.  I’d heard Metallica’s cover of “Last Caress” and decided to invest in some tunes by the group.  It was a gamble – I had no idea what the rest of their music sounded like.  Neither “Last Caress” nor “Green Hell” were featured on that particular platter.  Nevertheless, I decided to hand over my saved up dinner money to try it out, after some deliberation.

That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  “Walk Among Us” is, quite simply, one of the best records ever, of any genre.  Any initial trepidation I had was annihilated as soon as the furious pace and sing along vocals were heard.  My ears were opened.  It didn’t hurt that all the songs were about cheesy old B-movies, either.

So imagine my delight when I heard that The Misfits would be playing in Chester, only a few miles from home.  One of my favourite bands ever, so close – there was no way this gig was going to be missed.  I bought tickets immediately.

OK, so Jerry Only is the only (see what I did there?) original member performing under The Misfits name.  No Glenn Danzig, no Doyle.  Even though I’m a huge Danzig fan, I wasn’t going to be precious.  This was a momentous opportunity. images

Besides, there’s Dez Cadena on guitar, who has a fine punk rock pedigree from his time in Black Flag.

So disbelievers be damned, The Misfits gig was on!

I missed the support band though.  Sorry.

The Live Rooms was previously a comedy venue, now it’s showing bands.  It’s a cool venue and worth keeping an eye on to see who to expect.  On this night, the place was absolutely packed out with all manner of black clad loons, anticipating the arrival of the legendary Misfits.  I certainly felt excitement in the air.  Everyone seemed to be hyped up for this gig, me included.  After all, a band like The Misfits playing in these parts is pretty much unheard of.

So the band arrive on stage and are welcomed like all conquering heroes.  As I was stood there, I couldn’t really believe I was experiencing this in person.  The Misfits – here and now, churning out monster hit after hit.  I’m sure others felt the same.

They start with some great tracks from the most recent album, “The Devil’s Rain“.  We also get a smattering of songs from the 90’s era of the band, with “Scream!” a real stand out.  I dig these Graves era tunes, and most of them hold up really well, even against the old Danzig classics.  Only does a fine job of howling out the vocals whilst thundering along on the bass too.

Those old tracks certainly bring a smile though.  “She”, “Bullet” and “Where Eagles Dare” practically tear the roof of the place.  But when we get to gems from “Walk Among Us“, I’m as happy as Bela Lugosi on 31st October.  “Vampira” is probably my favourite Misfits song, so a treat to hear that.  We also get “Hatebreeders”, “Astro Zombies”, “20 Eyes” – the list goes on. Misfits-promo13c

In fact it’s amazing how much material the band get through.  They play a nearly two hour set, and bombard the audience with song after song.  There’s barely a breather between each track.  The Misfits play fast and intense.  All credit to drummer Eric Arce – the Devil knows how he keeps up the relentless pace.  The audience respond with slam dancing/mosh pit craziness like I’ve not witnesses for many a long year.  It will be interesting to see whether the management have second thoughts about booking similar bands in future…

Our only down side  this evening is the sound, which isn’t the best.  From Jerry’s side of the room, where I’m standing, the guitars at the opposite side are frequently lost.  Cadena’s vocals are largely inaudible.  There was a story going round that Dez was suffering with a throat infection, hence why we get a roadie singing the (very good) Black Flag cover.  When we can hear Dez, he’s great.  Still, seems to me like there was some issue sound wise here, though.

The Misfits are exactly what I expected, and that’s fine by me.  From the dry ice enveloped opening, through raucous punk rock and over the top delivery, this is what I paid my money for.  More than just delivering the goods though, The Misfits were genuinely exciting to see.  I’ve seen novelty bands before and while they were fun, they were nothing like this.  This isn’t a tribute band, it’s a well honed, obliterating machine.  It drags us through all eras of The Misfits’ revered history and leaves you grateful to have been a part of it.

Absolutely phenomenal.  Thank you Jerry, Dez and Eric.  Long live The Misfits!

Please check out the Live Rooms soon – if they’re going to support bands like this, you need to support them!

The Misfits web page is here.

The Live Rooms web page is here.

Random Bike Ride Playlist #6

This was a fun one.  Lots of uphill.  Going fast downhill.  Got chased by a dog.  13.36 miles, iPod on shuffle:

  1. The Misfits – “Crimson Ghost”
  2. Muse – “Screenager”
  3. Dio – “Straight Through the Heart (Live)”
  4. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Foxy Lady”
  5. Angel Witch – “Dr. Phibes”
  6. Johnny Cash – “Cocaine Blues”
  7. Los Olvidados – “Going Down”
  8. Soundgarden – “Somewhere”
  9. Devo – “Girl U Want”
  10. Dio – “Mystery”
  11. Matt Monro – “Hey”
  12. Dusty Springfield – “I’m Coming Home Again”
  13. The Cult – “The Witch”
  14. Howlin’ Wolf – “Sittin’ On Top of the World”
  15. Mudhoney – “In the Winner’s Circle”
  16. Melvins – “Missing”
  17. Rocket From The Crypt – “Poison Eye”
  18. Weezer – “Troublemaker”
  19. Bob Dylan – “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”
  20. Sham 69 – “They Don’t Understand (Live at the BBC)”
  21. Van Halen – “Mean Street”
  22. John Lee Hooker – “I’m Going Upstairs”
  23. Hard-Ons – “Breakfast Caramel”
  24. Stereophonics – “Check My Eyelids for Holes”
  25. Black Flag – “Annihilate This Week”
  26. Mudhoney – “Magnolia Caboose Babyshit”
  27. Lit – “Lovely Day”
  28. Rob Zombie – “Return of the Phantom Stranger (Tuesday Night at the Chop Shop Mix)”
  29. SNFU – “Bobbitt”

Double Melvins, double Mudhoney, double Dio!