Back to the Future, with Scott Adams

Come with us now on a journey into... well, heavy metal actually. Over the coming weeks, months – shit, maybe even years – Scott Adams brings us his love for metal of days past.

“Where were you in ’79, when the dam began to burst?”

 

Thus spake Saxon’s Biff Byford on the title track of their 1981 classic, Denim and Leather.  It’s a perfectly reasonable question. I, for instance, was collecting Panini stickers, watching cricket and football (note: not soccer) but, more importantly, I was becoming aware of a greater more elemental force at work in my life.

 

Every Sunday morning my dad would do his share of the housework, and these chores would always be accompanied by music. Very loud music. Gradually I realised that I was looking forward more and more to Sunday mornings, when the strains of Status Quo, Kansas and Thin Lizzy filled the house and, indeed, most of the street.


By 1982, I was thoroughly infected, but I’d gone beyond the rather tame tastes of the olds, as all good teenaged ne'er-do-wells should. I was, to coin a phrase, ready to take on the world.

Things weren’t helped by the fact that I lived very close to heaven (in the form of London), where there seemed to be heavy metal everywhere. Finally I persuaded my parents to allow me to go to a concert. I was amongst it at last on December 17th, 1983. The venue? London’s legendary Hammersmith Odeon. The band? Well, of course there could be only one. My birthday treat for 1983 would be spent in the company of Judas Priest.

 

It’s a cliché, but that night quite literally changed my life. Going up on the train hours before the show, shopping for records (for the record my purchases that day were the 12 inch version of Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages and a Music for Nations compilation, Hell on Earth which, for the princely sum of two pounds ninety nine pence, introduced me to the likes of Metallica, Anthrax, Manowar, Battleaxe and, um, Ratt), drinking in the pub round the corner from the venue where everyone was dressed just the same as us – I’d never experienced such utter joy and feelings of contentment ... I felt like I’d found my place in the world – and the show hadn’t even started yet!

 

I returned home a changed man. Or at least a drastically altered boy. Even the threat of violence at Maidenhead station from the pissed-up beer boys on the way home was an exciting, never-before experience.  And I wanted more.

 

But enough about me. You’re here, reading a column on a website called Metal as Fuck, so you’ve probably experienced just that same charge of exhilaration yourself. It’s great isn’t it? But – and it’s a big but – you’re probably not as long in the tooth as I am, and I’m hoping that, over the coming weeks, months – shit, maybe even years - to try and communicate to you, the young people, my love for the metal of days past (Fellow old people can join in too, of course – there’s no ageism here).

 

Having said that, every band I’ve mentioned so far is still going today, so BTTF will act as a sort of connector between all the stuff going on in the exciting world of today’s heavy metal scene, and that of ‘the old days’. Bugger me, we all come from the same seed, and there’s not a metallian treading the boards today who doesn’t raise a glass and hail the old Gods on a daily basis, believe me.

 

So we’ll be speaking to a few of the new guys to see what they think of the old guys, and vice versa. I’ll also be reviewing the plethora of new releases the old guard seem to be bringing out on a weekly basis (or at least alerting you to their presence) and, if you ask nicely, I’ll be going back into the vaults and digging out a few old classics and criminally ignored gems for a fresh look that’ll hopefully have you heading, at speed, for the local record n’tape emporium to do some investigating for yourself.  

 

Next month, for starters, I’ll be chewing the fat with the eponymous Tim of Lord fame, and looking at Rock Candy Records, a British label that’s cornering the market in reissues of what will always be known here as ‘the good stuff’.

 

Till next time amigos... adios!