Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eddie Chimney

The proud gentleman on the left is Scott McGuire of Prospect, Illinois, who in December 1983 appeared in Kerrang! No. 58 after having redesigned his chimney stack to look like Iron Maiden's Eddie.

I know we're meant to shake our heads at the reckless eccentricity here (the article begins "Only in America!") but the truth is, I'm all for this sort of thing. In fact, the only downside I could see to this would be a desire to fill up your fireplace with old car tyres and other such muck so that you could get a good head of smoke coming out of the top.

(When I was growing up, if someone did manage to "put their lum up", usually by overloading their fire with coal, empty Domestos bottles and wet sticks, then half the neighbours would go out in the street to stand in the smog and watch. You took what entertainment you could get before the internet came along).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heavy Metal T-Shirt Confessions

In the comments section of the last post about Kerrang! T-Shirts we got to talking about band T-Shirts that we used to own. With that in mind, I reckon it's time to come clean about the ones I had, and I encourage you to do the same. Think of this post as a place where you can stand up among friends, say your name and then tell everyone that you used to have a Scorpions baseball shirt.

1. Rainbow and Black Sabbath
The first piece of clothing merchandise I owned actually wasn't a T-Shirt; it was a scarf similar to the one in the picture, which I bought at Rainbow's concert at the Ingliston Exhibition Centre in 1981, the first concert I attended. Unfortunately when I wore it to school everybody thought it was a Multi-Coloured Swap Shop scarf. To be fair, it doesn't look very rock & roll, does it? I also bought a bright red sweatshirt with the artwork of the Rainbow Rising album (this was before black had consolidated itself as the colour of choice for rock T-Shirts). Despite this looking even less metal than the scarf it was actually stolen from our washing line.

On the same trip I bought (from Ingliston Sunday market) a Mob Rules T-Shirt (with the tour dates on the back).

This was more like it! A real bona fide Metal shirt! Looking back with mature eyes, it's a pretty unpleasant T-Shirt for a 12 year-old boy to be wandering about it, but perhaps that was the attraction.

2. The Marillion Period
The early 80s were when bands really started to wake up to the idea of making money by selling "official" merchandise. Two bands who were at the forefront of this were Iron Maiden and Marillion. Both were signed to EMI and had album artwork that they could transfer to T-Shirts. I was going through my Marillion phase at the time and had a grey T-Shirt with the Punch & Judy single sleeve as well as the Garden Party one below.

In its own way it was even more ugly than the Sabbath T-Shirt. At the time I was discovering Prog and like many other 14 year olds I thought that The Wall was a work of staggering genius. So while others were going around with "Frankie Say Relax" T-Shirts I had the one below:

3. Alice Cooper Raise Your Fist & Yell Tour T-Shirt
As the 80s went on I lost touch with Metal. I never really got into Thrash and as for Hair Metal... Well I'd rather have worn a Frankie Say Relax T-Shirt. So the last one I bought would have been the Alice Cooper shirt I bought when I saw him at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1987 or so, when he was touring the Raise Your Fist & Yell album with a guitarist that looked like Rambo.

Pretty ugly, eh? Mind you, it's nowhere near as repulsive as Raise Your Fist & Yell.

And that concludes my relationship with Rock T-Shirts. Except that it doesn't of course, I've started buying them again in the last few years, and have a liking for faux-vintage shirts for tours that I was far too young to have seen at the time (so I have a Kiss Cobo Hall 1975 shirt, despite the fact that in 1975 I was 5 years old and hadn't traveled further than Aberdeen). In the Metal: A Headbanger's Journey film, Bruce Dickinson speculates that metal fans have managed to preserve their inner 15 year-old into their adult selves. I think he's onto something, and I'm sure my Black Sabbath Vol 4 T-Shirt would agree.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Tale of Two Kerrang! T-Shirts

It strikes me that you can illustrate how Heavy Metal evolved in the UK in the 1980s by looking at the two advertisements below for Kerrang! T-Shirts which appeared in the magazine exactly five years apart (both magazines had Alex Lifeson as the cover star, oddly enough).

1. From Kerrang! No. 26, October 7-20, 1982

We're in 1982, and the well-dressed manic is wearing jeans, a bullet belt, a Wrangler jacket and perhaps a touch of Brut 33. Oh, and a simple black T-Shirt with the Kerrang! logo in "sickening pink" which could be yours for £2.95 plus postage and packaging. Simpler times.

2. From Kerrang! No. 158, October 17, 1987

Fast forward to 1987 and things have changed. First of all, the price has gone up to £6, an impressive 100% increase in just 5 years (that's Thatcher's Britain for you), while the T-Shirt is also different, with the logo going all spiky and the addition of a cut-price Iron Maiden rip-off artwork on the chest. But with Hair Metal reaching its peak it's the models Lisa Dominique and Pepsi Tate of Tigertailz really show how things have moved on by 1987.