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It’s the 33rd Anniversary of The US Festival ‘Heavy Metal Day’ – I was there…a recap

by on May.29, 2016, under INTERVIEWS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES, VIDEO

It’s the 33rd Anniversary of The US Festival ‘Heavy Metal Day’ – I was there…a recap

Today is the 32nd Anniversary of the 1983 US Festival. The US Festivals (US pronounced like the pronoun, not as initials) were two early 1980s music and culture festivals sponsored by Steve Wozniak, formerly of Apple Computer. The first was held Labor Day weekend in September 1982 and the second was Memorial Day weekend in May 1983. The 1982 US Festival was the first major festival since Cal Jam II that was not a charity concert—it was intended to be celebration of evolving technologies; a marriage of music, computers, television and people. That continued in 1983, even though Wozniak had lost millions on the first US Festival. The festival also had large air-conditioned tents featuring the US Festival Technology Exposition— a dazzling display of then-cutting edge computers, software, and electronic music devices. Also making a debut were installations of "out-door rain" - perforated pvc nozzles that sprayed water to fight the fierce hundred degree heat.

I attended Heavy Metal Day in 1983 with my friend Robert and arrived on Saturday May 28 during New Wave Day. There was a sea of cars, miles of them, and thousands of people milling around everywhere. School buses would take you back and forth to the entrance to this new make-shift venue. I do remember shortly after finding a spot to park some guys in a panel truck backed in asking if the spot was taken opposite of us. We said "no", they parked and then opened up the back of the truck, loaded with two kegs and the party was on.

There was small creek within walking distance near by, and we walked over there to cool off since it was close to 100 degrees that day. There was a hillside with a sharp incline on the other side of the creek, and many people scaled (or tried to scale) it during the day and in the time we were there. There was plenty of poison ivy around so you weren't going to catch me scaling anything. I saw a few people walk right through or fall onto poison ivy, I could imagine that probably made the concert the next day really fun. I also remember hearing Oingo Boingo, English Beat and Flock Of Seagulls during the day when we were within the vicinity of the venue.

Steve Wozniak paid for the bulldozing and construction of this new open-air field venue as well as the construction of an enormous state-of-the-art temporary stage at Glen Helen Regional Park near Devore, San Bernardino, California. This site was later to become home to Blockbuster Pavilion—now San Manuel Amphitheater. Apparently the festival stage has resided at the Disneyland theme park in California since 1985 and had operated under various names and functions as the Videopolis dance club, the Videopolis Theatre, and the Fantasyland Theatre. On that day it was soon to have some of the best rockers of the era on it.

As darkness fell and more and more people arrived for Heavy Metal Day, one big night-time Rock Festival within itself started. KMET and KLOS blared from car stereos, as well as music from the cassette decks and boom boxes of the bands we would be hearing the next day. The smell of BBQ's and marijuana billowed into the air. We walked around in this small city of rockers that seemingly extended forever. It definitely was one huge party, with bonfires everywhere and virtually no supervision. We partied that night, and went to sleep in the car eagerly anticipating what was to come the next morning.

We woke up, stretched out from sleeping in odd positions in the car, and made our way the few miles to the entrance to the venue. It was early in the morning, probably 8am or so, and there was already thousands of people waiting to get inside, looking to get as close to the stage as possible. Once we got inside concert goers had layed blankets down, taking claim to their spots. Somehow a few got in, considering there was no coolers, outside food, chairs or towels being allowed. Those with blankets, etc., lasted for awhile, but slowly but surely, as the day progressed, so did the intensity of the crowd. Needless to say, no one was sitting down or laying on a blanket and all of that was swallowed up in this mass of people.

Here was the lineup and times:
Sunday May 29th:
Quiet Riot [12:10 - 12:50 pm]
Motley Crue [1:20 - 2:20]
Ozzy Osbourne [2:50 - 4:00]
Judas Priest [4:30 - 5:40]
Triumph [6:10 - 7:20]
Scorpions [7:55 - 9:10]
Van Halen [10:00 - midnight]

Finally the time had arrived with the first rock act hitting the stage: Quiet Riot. Randy Rhoads (who left to play with Ozzy in 1979) had passed away by now, and Quiet Riot had long since found Carlos Cavazo to play guitar. The Los Angeles metal scene was taking over, and Quiet Riot as well as Motley Crue were the two biggest new bands to come out of L.A. at this time. Quiet Riot was raring up the charts with the "Metal Health" album, which ultimately became the first metal album to go #1 on the Billboard charts. The late Kevin DuBrow instantly got the crowd fired up, and it didn't stop for hours! Heat exhaustion to go around!


"It was the day new wave died and rock n' roll took over" - Vince Neil, in a famous quote regarding the overwhelming attendance on Sunday, "Heavy Metal Day", at the '83 US Festival. It set the single-day concert attendance record for the US with an estimated 375,000 people. Showtime recorded the event and aired a 90-minute special for each day of
the festival, which is where most of this footage comes from. Motley Crue had not yet released "Shout At The Devil", but it was due out soon, and the band performed songs from the album. Motley really was coming into their own at this point and their following was growing and growing nation and worldwide.

Ozzy Osbourne rocked the US Festival with the first live performance with guitarist Jake E. Lee, who shined in this huge first gig. The head dress Ozzy wore during the show was well publicized and photographed, even though it only lasted for a few seconds before he tore it off. Ozzy's band at this time included Jake E. Lee, Bob Daisley on Bass, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Don Airey on keyboards. Ozzy released "Bark At The Moon" later that year.
It was blazing hot during his set, with the crowd looking for the "out-door rain" stations to cool off, before heading back into the madness! The concert organizers actually gave away water to the crowd, something that we would be charged $5 bucks for these days.



Judas Priest hit the stage next and thankfully near the end of it, the temperature started to cool down a bit. The Metal God and the rest of the band were at their peak in 1983, a fully confident unit, effortlessly rocking everyone and everywhere they played. The "Screaming For Vengeance" album was just huge, and when the band played "You've Got Another Thing Coming" the crowd went absolutely fucking nuts!

As Canadian trio Triumph got ready to hit the stage next, the crowd got a second wind, as the temperatures dropped and the rock kept on coming. Rik Emmett, Gil Moore and Mike Levine were ready to put on the show of their life, and they didn't disappoint. The band had a great core of material to work with at this point, and had released the album "Never Surrender" earlier in 1983. Great set as the sun set! The band released a live DVD of the US Festival set back in 2003, so there is all of their full set here. They were smart to retain the rights to the video for their set. Awesome footage:








The Scorpions were up next and just fucking blew doors! They were another band who I really felt were at or close to their peak of impact. Sure, they still released "Love At First Sting" a year later, but played the US Festival with a full arsenal of rock from the "Blackout" album and their past catalog. Just an awesome set!!


Before Van Halen hit the stage, there was a fake UFO flying around. It looked so fake, it just seemed stupid and I didn't really see the point in it, somebody was trying to be creative I guess?

Van Halen received an upfront sum of $1 million to headline the 1983 US Festival. It was then upped to $1.5 million after it was discovered that David Bowie was to be paid $1 million. Van Halen had a clause in their contract that they would be paid more than any other act performing at the festival. In contrast, on New Wave Day, The Clash refused to play unless some donations were made to charities or other such noble causes by Wozniak and some of the other major bands. Before the Clash began their set they made angry comments about the barrio conditions in Los Angeles. After The Clash performed, the DJ began speaking right away and Clash guitarist Mick Jones attacked the DJ, believing he was trying to prevent an encore.

This and The Clash's ironic criticism of the festival in the press conferences and in interviews prior to the event caused an argument backstage between Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth and The Clash singer Joe Strummer. This may have also been started by a comment guitarist Eddie Van Halen made in Rolling Stone magazine one month prior regarding the punk movement ("...that's like what I played in my garage when I was a kid, man."). A clearly intoxicated Roth compounded this rivalry by insulting The Clash on stage early during Van Halen's headlining set with his comment, "I wanna take this time to say that this is real whiskey here... the only people who put iced tea in Jack Daniel's bottles is The Clash, baby!" This was Roth's only mention of The Clash on stage that night. Many people in the audience thought Roth was way too drunk and the show suffered because of it. I stayed longer than most however, as it had been a long, long day. We heard "Happy Trails" as we were heading out. Looking back on the video, I wouldn't really change anything about their performance though, because it was Van Halen history!

Here's the band's full set and some better quality clips of some of the individual song performances:




We after we made our way back to our vehicle, partied a bit and mellowed out while recollecting about what an amazing day it had been we crashed and got ready for the trek back home. My one last memory of US Festival '83 goes like this: I became separted from my friend Rob after hopping out of his vehicle to retrieve something from someone while in line to exit. I then couldn't find his car in the sea of vehicles. Don't ask me why I got out of the car..anyway, I was lucky enough to find a couple of guys who I had met before that lived in Pismo Beach, near my hometown. Yeah, I had to ride in the back seat for hours in a Trans Am with virtually no leg room (my knees were up in my face), and couldn't walk when I got out, but these guys gave me a ride to my front door. Looking back, I can't believe my parents let me go to this show, since I was a sophmore in high school, but I am glad they did. My daughter would certainly not be going away to a music festival as decadent as this one, although they don't do festivals like this in the U.S. anymore. It was insane fun and it was my Woodstock and I'll never forget it!

Here's an Artisan News Report from June of 2010 about that years Ozzfest, where Ozzy, Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Motley Crue reflected on the last time they had all played together...it was at the US Festival:


Fast Tube



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Judas Priest bring the ‘Battle Cry’ CD/DVD/Blu-Ray on March 25

by on Feb.20, 2016, under CD/DVD RELEASES, NEWS, ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

Judas Priest bring the ‘Battle Cry’ CD/DVD/Blu-Ray on March 25

Judas Priest's tour in support of their 17th studio album overall, Redeemer of Souls, was one of the most extensive of the group's entire career - consisting of 130 shows in 33 countries, and offering a setlist that touched upon selections from nearly all of their classic albums. And now, fans can relive the live Priest experience once more, with the release of the new CD/DVD/Blu-ray, Battle Cry, on March 25th via Epic Records.

Recorded live on August 1st, 2015 at Germany's Wacken Festival in front of an audience of 85,000, Battle Cry is available on a 15-track CD, with the entire show on Blu-ray and DVD (running over 94 minutes), as well as digital audio and video formats. The DVD and Blu-ray also contains 3 bonus tracks shot in Poland on December 10th, 2015 at The Ergo Arena, Gdansk, Poland.

What makes the show's track listing so appealing is it balances new classics ("Dragonaut," "Halls of Valhalla," "Redeemer of Souls") along with headbanging classics ("Metal Gods," "Electric Eye," "You've Got Another Thing Coming"), as well as key album tracks from yesteryear ("Devil's Child," "Beyond the Realms of Death," "Jawbreaker").

Originally formed during the early '70s in Birmingham, England, Priest is responsible for offering metal fans worldwide some of the genre's most influential and landmark albums (1980's 'British Steel,' 1982's 'Screaming for Vengeance,' 1990's 'Painkiller,' etc.), while helping spread metal music to audiences not normally associated with the genre (Live Aid in 1985, and a surprise appearance on American Idol in 2011), and helping popularize the now instantly recognizable "denim and leather" look.

For decades, Judas Priest has been one of the greatest live bands in the entire heavy metal genre. And as evidenced by Battle Cry, Priest rock harder and more ferociously than ever.

Battle Cry CD sequence:
1. (Intro) Battle Cry
2. Dragonaut
3. Metal Gods
4. Devil’s Child
5. Victim of Changes
6. Halls of Valhalla
7. Redeemer of Souls
8. Beyond the Realms of Death
9. Jawbreaker
10. Breaking the Law
11. Hell Bent For Leather
12. The Hellion
13. Electric Eye
14. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
15. Painkiller

Battle Cry DVD/Blu-ray sequence:
1. (Intro) Battle Cry
2. Dragonaut
3. Metal Gods
4. Devil’s Child
5. Victim of Changes
6. Halls of Valhalla
7. Turbo Lover
8. Redeemer of Souls
9. Beyond the Realms of Death
10. Jawbreaker
11. Breaking the Law
12. Hell Bent For Leather
13. The Hellion
14. Electric Eye
15. You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
16. Painkiller
17. Living After Midnight

Recorded live on August 1st, 2015 at Wacken Festival, Germany.
BONUS TRACKS
18. Screaming for Vengeance
19. The Rage
20. Desert Plains

Judas Priest Battle Cry cover

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Judas Priest turn Wine County Metal for kick off of current leg of ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ Tour

by on Oct.20, 2015, under LINKS, PHOTOS, ROCK NEWS, ROCK TOUR DATES

Judas Priest turn Wine County Metal for kick off of current leg of ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ Tour

As I made my brief trek heading out on the highway to see the mighty Judas Priest at the picturesque Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, CA., I knew the band would kick ass as always, but little did I know that the new setlist on the opening night of this leg of their North American Redeemer Of Souls tour would include tracks that they hadn't played live in many years. Including one they hadn't played in over 30!

Opening for the Priest on this leg is the Atlanta, Georgia based Mastodon. Bassist Troy Sanders, guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor have been doing their thing for fifteen years now, and their kick ass set definitely set the tone for an evening of in your face Metal. Touring behind their Grammy nominated 2014 album 'Once More 'Round the Sun,' it is great to see the band in front of some faces that haven't seen them before or may not be that familiar with them. These guys are huge are over the world, and hopefully with this exposure it just adds another positive notch in the Mastodon story. As the set wrapped, the band expressed thanks to the Priest camp and how excited they were to be opening for them, saying they would be out in the crowd joining us to enjoy the set. I did see guitarist Brent Hinds out in the crowd, so it was a promise fulfilled.

Judas Priest Vina Robles 2015

The Priest exceeded all expectations, as stellar musicianship from Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Scott Travis and Richie Faulkner kept the energy level at Vina Robles to an all time Metal high. I will say this about Richie even if it has been said before. While saddened by the departure of guitarist K.K. Downing from the band a few years back, this was my first time seeing Richie with the band and he has certainly added an amazing presence and energy to the group. The Priest has let Richie grab the torch and his passion and dedication certainly shows in an amazing way. He is helping carry the Priest into a new generation of fans, and it is a great thing to see.

And what can you say about the Metal God, Rob Halford, other than he is just one of the finest voices in hard rock and metal history. At 64 years old, he may not get around onstage as quickly as he used to and carries that cane around either as a prop or maybe a little support, but his voice was spot on and dominant. Just an amazing performance by a group that has now been around for an amazing 45 years!!

The set included a couple of tracks from the latest 'Redeemer Of Souls' album and many of the band's greatest, but seeing three tracks performed live that hadn't been for many years added such a rush to this amazing night of Metal. The third song in the set, 'Desert Plains,' hadn't been performed by Priest in over 10 years. 'The Rage' had it's first live performance since 2009, and 'Screaming For Vengeance' amazingly kicked ass live for the first time since they last performed it on Heavy Metal Sunday at the US Festival in 1983. It was an awesome thing to come full circle to see it live again, since I was at the US Festival back in '83.

You owe it to yourself to see the Priest on this tour as it is an evening of Metal to remember.

Setist:
Dragonaut
Metal Gods
Desert Plains (First live performance since October 9, 2005)
Victim of Changes
Halls of Valhalla
The Rage (First live performance since October 17, 2009)
Redeemer of Souls
Beyond the Realms of Death
Screaming for Vengeance (first live performance since 1983 US Festival)
Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather
The Hellion
Electric Eye
You've Got Another Thing Comin'
Encore:
Painkiller
Living After Midnight

Special thanks to Jessica Puchi of Nederlander and Chipster PR & Consulting

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Rob Halford of Judas Priest to help Homer ‘Break The Law’ in an upcoming Simpsons episode

by on Oct.10, 2013, under LINKS, ROCK NEWS

Rob Halford of Judas Priest to help Homer ‘Break The Law’ in an upcoming Simpsons episode

Entertainment Weekly has reported that Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford will lend his voice to an upcoming 'The Simpsons' episode that will air sometime next year. The episode will star Will Arnett, director Judd Apatow, and his frequent costars Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen.

Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman says that in the episode, titled "Steal This Episode", Homer is taught by Bart how to illegally download films, and he starts screening them in his backyard for folks in Springfield. "Even though Homer is stealing, he's doing it for the community, he’s doing it out of the goodness of his heart," says Selman. One of the movies that Homer shows is a This is 40-esque Apatow dramedy titled 'Life is Funny' that stars Mann and Rudd, who joined forces in Knocked Up and This is 40. The FBI goes after Homer, with Halford singing a parody of the Judas Priest classic 'Breaking The Law' to help the effort.

Apatow testifies against our patriarch “with a hilarious, self-important speech about Hollywood people,” says Selman. Another Knocked Up star, Rogen, has a cameo role as himself, as does Channing Tatum. “Channing Tatum loves to do surprise twists in movies, a la This is the End,” hints Selman, “and he has a surprise twist in this one too.”

Rob Halford

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‘Who Are You: An All Star Tribute To The Who’ to be released October 2nd

by on Sep.14, 2012, under CD/DVD RELEASES, LINKS

‘Who Are You: An All Star Tribute To The Who’ to be released October 2nd

Cleopatra Records has set an October 2 release date for "Who Are You: An All Star Tribute To The Who". As THE WHO approaches a nearly 50-year career, artists in genres from classic to progressive rock, and from punk to country, collaborate on a stunning celebration of the band’s remarkable catalogue.

THE WHO has sold over 100 million records, had 27 Top 40 hits, 17 Top 10 albums, and have been certified gold (18 times), platinum (12 times) and multi-platinum (5 times). They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1990, and have been described as one of the greatest rock bands in history by Rolling Stone, the Grammy Foundation, VH1, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Artists from CHEAP TRICK and RUSH to PEARL JAM have counted THE WHO as a primary influence. With such weight put on this legendary band’s musical output, the contributors to "Who Are You" have brought every ounce of creativity, attitude, and reverence to the collection.

"Who Are You" track listing:
1. Eminence Front
- John Wetton (ASIA)
- K.K. Downing (JUDAS PRIEST)
- Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER/BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION)

2. Baba O'Riley
- Nektar
- Jerry Goodman (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA)

3. I Can See For Miles
- Mark Lindsay (PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS)
- Wayne Kramer (MC5)

4. Love Reign O'er Me
- Joe Elliot (DEF LEPPARD)
- Rick Wakeman (YES)
- Huw Lloyd-Langton (HAWKWIND)
- Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE/ROD STEWART/BLUE MURDER/OZZY OSBOURNE/KING KOBRA)

5. My Generation
- Knox (THE VIBRATORS)
- Dave Davies (THE KINKS)
- Rat Scabies (THE DAMNED)

6. The Kids Are Alright
- THE RAVEONETTES

7. Won't Get Fooled Again
- SWEET

8. Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
- Todd Rundgren
- Carmine Appice

9. I Can't Explain
- Iggy Pop

10. Behind Blue Eyes
- Pat Travers

11. Magic Bus
- Peter Noone (HERMAN'S HERMITS)
- Peter Banks (YES)
- Ginger Baker (CREAM)

12. Who Are You
- Gretchen Wilson
- Randy Bachman (BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE)

13. Pinball Wizard
- Terry Reid
- Mike Pinera (BLUES IMAGE)
- Brad Gillis (NIGHT RANGER)

14. Squeeze Box
- John Wesley (PORCUPINE TREE)
- David Cross (KING CRIMSON)

15. Bargain
- .38 SPECIAL
- Ted Turner (WISHBONE ASH)
- Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE)

16. The Seeker
- Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW)
- Leslie West (MOUNTAIN)

Check out the version of 'Eminensce Front' from the album here

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