||SOUTHERN ROCK AND IRON MAIDEN
As I enter in my forties, the most important thing that I am very proud of is that I am on the verge of finishing school and getting my BA which is in communications/journalism along with a minor in political science.
I will admit, when I first took the plunge in doing this, very few people thought that I could this, and I will admit, I didn't think so either. This was a hard fought victory and it was not fucking easy. What gave me the strength was the support of my mother and my sister Sonya, but also my faith in Southern Rock and Iron Maiden.
Rock music has played a very important in my life. It is the DNA that holds me together as a person and as a human being. It is the glue that holds me together. Take that important piece out of my life, and I might as well not fucking exist.
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The most important band that influenced me growing up and continue to influence me is Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden have always been my band since 1985. I have seen them eight times, going back to 1985 on the World Slavery Tour with Twisted Sister and then again in 87, 88, 91, 2000, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Lead singer Bruce Dickinson and bassist Steve Harris are very intelligent men along with the band as a whole. Harris is the band's chief songwriter.
According to the band's manager Rod Smallwood, everything in Iron Maiden gets Steveized. Harris frequently writes about mythology, history or topics inspired from books and films for which Iron Maiden has a notable in sharp contrast to most other rock bands where the themes are typically about sex and drugs.
A example is their classic tune 'Run To The Hills'. In the classic albums program Harris stated that 'Run To The Hills' is mainly a political song. Instead of taking a controversial subject, he took the subject of the cowboy and the Indian and told the story.
"White man came across the sea, he brought us pain and misery. He killed our tribes, he killed our creed, he took our game for his own need. We fought him hard we fought him well out on the plains we gave him hell..."
Harris' first line was about the survival of the Indian while the fifth line was about the cowboy and protecting his survival and his turf. 'Run To The Hills' is not only a damm good song, but one of those important pieces of literature of our time.
A lot of bands in the Millenium have either rested on their laurels or have released a lot of shit. Not Iron Maiden - since 2000 the band have made some of their best work. Four albums in twelve years and world tours that have packed arenas and football stadiums around the globe is nothing to sneeze at.
In 2008, they embarked on a very ambitious tour where they had their own their own private plane. But what was different was that they could put all their own gear in it. The lighting, PA sound system and instruments etc and room for their road crew. The band and crew would get into a major city a day or two before a gig.
Maiden tours have always done well, but for whatever reason this tour generated a lot of media coverage. Fox News as well as ABC News had coverage on the tour and there was massive public hysteria on the tour as well.
Southern Rock has always played an important role in my musical life as well as my quest for answers in life. As a teenager growing up in a traditional Catholic family in Brooklyn, New York, I identified tremendously with hippie long hairs in the American Deep South than with the kids on my own block, as well as places such as Macon, Ga and Jacksonville, Fla.
There were two record collections in my family, my parents' records, which was Doo-Wop and ethnic Italian and Polish music and my music which was certain British Metal bands like Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and southern bands like The Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker Band, and Molly Hatchet. My two favorite bands were the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. The early period from with the late Duane Allman and Berry Oakley and the 1989 'Seven Turns' album are my favourite periods.
The guys in the band are smart and educated men. Duane Allman is the father, sun, and the holy ghost of rock guitar. Behind Ritchie Blackmore and Dave Murray, he is the greatest.
I saw the Allman Brothers back in September of 1989 at the Beacon Theatre. They did four nights at the Beacon. The lineup consisted of Greg Allman, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe Johnson, Dickey Betts, Allen Woody, Warren Haynes, and Johnny Neel. That was when they were promoting the 'Seven Turns' album. I saw them on a Saturday night and if my memory serves me well it was the final night of a four night run.
I plan to go down to Macon, Ga on a future trip to pay my respects to Duane's and Berry Oakley's grave as well as visit to the Big House - the Allman Brothers crash pad from from 1969 to 1973 which is now a museum.
And last but not least, I will visit Grant's Lounge which is the home of Southern rock. Many bands like the Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, and the Outlaws played there when they were starting out. What makes the Marshall Tucker band very special is their improvisation of the way the made their music in the 2005 documentary that appeared on TNT guitarist, George McCorkle is quoted as saying that "we were on the emphasis of jazz".
Say what you want about the MTB, but in my opinion there were a lot of progressive rock leanings especially in songs like 'Take The Highway' and 'Can't You See'. They used a mellotron in a lot of their songs.
A lot of people have called them the southern version of the Grateful Dead because of their long jam sessions on stage. For a taste of their jam sessions go to YouTube and check out their 1975 performance at the volunteer jam '24 Hours At A Time'.
Doug Gray, Jerry Eubanks, Paul Riddle, The Caldwell brothers, Tommy and Toy Caldwell and George McCorkle are the original classic line-up.
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