Crazy Bass

This is Stig Pederson from D-A-D showing off his extremely cool 2 string bass. Best. Guitar. Design. Ever.


Van Halen Fan

This is acoustic guitarist Steven Dillon during his heavy metal days. He taught himself to play all of Eddie Van Halen’s guitar parts using a two-speed tape deck.

Steven, you’re a legend.

The Devil’s Interval And Black Sabbath

Devil's guitarHeavy metal has long been the bane of rabid Christian groups who fear that metal music leads kids into satanism and suicide. How could they not? The genre has been built on the idea of the devil since Black Sabbath decided to play “horror music” as a change from jazz.

It turns out that a lot of metal music has made use of what’s known as the Devil’s Interval or the Devil’s Tritone. This is a combination of two notes that give a “spooky” effect. If you want to know what it sounds like, think of the first bit of the Simpsons theme tune (the “Simp” part of “The Simp..sons”). According to the BBC:

On the surface there might appear to be no link between Black Sabbath, Wagner’s Gotterdammerung, West Side Story and the theme tune to the Simpsons.

But all of them rely heavily on tritones, a musical interval that spans three whole tones, like the diminished fifth or augmented fourth. This interval, the gap between two notes played in succession or simultaneously, was branded Diabolus in Musica or the Devil’s Interval by medieval musicians.

A rich mythology has grown up around it. Many believe that the Church wanted to eradicate the sounds from its music because it invoked sexual feelings, or that it was genuinely the work of the Devil.

The tritone is used extensively in Black Sabbath’s eponymous song:

Guitarist Tommy Iommi says: “When I started writing Sabbath stuff it was just something that sounded right. I didn’t think I was going to make it Devil music.”

Other examples of the Devil’s Interval include Purple Haze and Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix and Maria from West Side Story.

The Prisoner (Live) – Iron Maiden

“We want information…”

Look at that studded vambrance on Bruce Dickinson. Just look at it. It’s so lethal, so completely badass, so pure heavy metal that it’s mesmerising. And look at all that spandex, worn in an exceptionally manly way by Bruce and Steve, legs up on the speakers and all. The lights are bright, the music’s loud and the hair is… getting longer. Bruce has only just joined the band but he already owns the stage.

The Prisoner is from Iron Maiden’s classic third album The Number of the Beast which went to # 1 in the UK in 1982. The song title and lyrics are based on the TV series of the same name and the opening voiceover is taken from the show. According to Wikipedia:

Rod Smallwood had to telephone Patrick McGoohan to ask permission to use the dialogue for the song. According to witnesses the usually calm Smallwood was completely star struck during the conversation. McGoohan was reported to have said “What did you say the name was? Iron Maiden? Do it.”

Unfortunately EMI music is not allowing embedding of official Iron Maiden videos which is a shame as I’d love to feature more of Maiden on this blog.

Official Iron Maiden site
The Number of the Beast Enhanced CD at Amazon. Also on vinyl.
Classic Albums: The Number of the Beast DVD
Live After Death DVD
Flight 666 Documentary DVD

Sleeping My Day Away – D.A.D

This is a great song that’s made even better by the video featuring Stig Pedersen’s exploding fireworks helmet and, of course, his 2-string bass guitar. In the 80s Stig realised he only played the A and E strings on his bass and thus decided to create his own guitars, all of which have only one or two strings.

The video also features some fantastic cartoon versions of the band members.

D-A-D are from Denmark and formed in the early 80s. Their original name was Disneyland After Dark but a lawsuit from the Disney Corporation meant they opted for an abbreviation. They’ve also changed their punctuation over time, going from D.A.D. to D:A:D to the current D-A-D. The band have long been known for not taking things too seriously and their humour is a trademark on this song.

They signed with Warner in 1989 and released No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims but their success in the US wasn’t as big as expected. They’re still huge in Europe and have released 10 albums in all. If you’ve never heard of them I suggest you give them a try; the album rocks and there isn’t a single bad song on it.

The official D-A-D site.
No Fuel Left For The Pilgrims CD from Amazon

Sweet Child O Mine – Guns N Roses

O, sweet, sweet riff. Still gives me the chills.

Classic Guns ‘n’ Roses, classic lineup. This is the band doing their thing for the cameras, leather-clad, bandanna wearing and full of rock n roll attitude. Slash’s legs are pretty wide here but it gives just an inkling of the continent-spanning stance on show in their later videos, particularly November Rain. All the girlfriends of the band members appear in this video.

Sweet Child O Mine was the third single from Appetite for Destruction and the band’s one and only #1 single. It was written in about 5 minutes after Slash jokingly played what he called a “circus riff” during a jam session. Axl Rose wrote the lyrics about his then-girlfriend Erin Everly.

Official Guns N Roses site
Appetite For Destruction CD from Amazon
Greatest Hits CD
Guns N Roses: Welcome To The Videos DVD

Unskinny Bop

Poison were believers in hairspray. They really went that extra mile with their hair, making it as big and as blonde as possible and, naturally, we teenage girls loved it, which was the whole point. This video starts with Bret Michaels rising to the microphone in a Dracula-esque move that never ceases to look cool. Then we’re treated to plenty of crotch thrusting, much enhanced by those leather chaps. Yes folks, this is another one for the ladies. And Bret WAS so very pretty. CC is the complimentary madman in his mega jacket and one can only wonder how he didn’t trip over, given that he usually couldn’t see through his fringe.

Apparently the phrase “Unskinny bop” has no real meaning. It was just a good combination of lyrics that fitted the music. The song peaked at #3 on the US charts in 1990.

This video is fairly low quality and I don’t know how long it will be on Youtube before it’s pulled. EMI has a better version here but they won’t allow it to be embedded.

Official Poison website
Open Up and Say Ahh remastered, extra tracks at Amazon.
The Best Of Poison – 20 Years Of Rock CD