#914: Name the band and song from this 1987 video clip!

Q #1,910: Identify the band and song from this 1987 video clip below!

A.

‘Indians’ appears on the legendary Anthrax album, ‘Among the Living.’ Released in 1987, ‘Among’ is the third Anthrax full-length, and is considered by many fans and critics alike to be their best effort of their early catalog, if not to date. This album undeniably serves as the launching point for Anthrax’s popularity, as it is the first of four straight certified Gold releases for the band. Not too shabby for a band that could be described as the lesser and overlooked of the “Big Four.”

The second studio album to feature vocalist Joey Belladonna, ‘Among the Living’ capitalized on the band’s rising popularity, and brought in the talents of a producer by the name of Eddie Kramer. Kramer is a South African producer and engineer, who has been a part of collaborative efforts with artists including the Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. It’s no mistake that when you mix a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer with Anthrax, that you get some of their best and most accomplished work. Still, ‘Among the Living’ wouldn’t be certified Gold until 1990, three years after its release, and a year after their next album, ‘State of Euphoria.’

‘Among the Living’ features a number of lyrical pop culture references, and is accompanied by an album cover that some believe to be directly tied to the lyrical subject matter.

  • The album’s title track focuses on the Stephen King novel ‘The Stand,’ and many believe the character of Randall Flagg to be the character depicted on the album cover. The character also bears a resemblance to the character of Rev. Henry Kane from the film ‘Poltergeist II: The Other Side,’ but there are no known direct lyrical connections to the story in the lyrical content.
  • The track ‘A Skeleton in the Closet’ is also inspired by Stephen King, this time taking its cues from the novella ‘Apt Pupil.’
  • ‘I Am the Law’ is a tribute to the comic book character Judge Dredd, something that guitarist Scott Ian holds very near and dear to his heart. In his liner notes of the greatest hits release, ‘Return of the Killer B’s,’ Ian says, ‘Fuck that lame movie that was made (Judge Dredd). Go back and check out the early Dredd stories from ’86 & ’87 and you’ll feel the true essence of the character.’ If my math on this checks out, then Dredd in ’87 should be on par with Stephen King.

Anthrax dedicated this album to the late Cliff Burton, who was killed while they were on tour with Metallica. Scott Ian talks about that dark moment in metal history on Chris Jericho’s podcast:

“I remember getting off the bus and walking into the lobby and I saw our tour manager and he was talking to some guy … and he said, ‘This is so-and-so, the promoter of the show tonight’ and then he told me. He was like, ‘There was an accident last night. Metallica’s bus crashed and Cliff Burton was killed in the accident. Lars was hurt and everyone else is kind of on their way here now. But Cliff died.'”
Scott Ian, ‘Talk is Jericho’ Podcast Episode #13 (2014, via Loudwire)

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#909: Which Big Four band went on hiatus in 2002 due to injury?

Q #1,905: Which Big Four band went on hiatus in 2002 due to injury?

A.

It was April 3rd, 2002, when business was no longer good for Megadeth. Dave Mustaine announced that he had suffered an injury rendering him unable to play guitar, resulting in his officially dissolving the band. Earlier in the year, Mustaine was hospitalized for the treatment and removal of a kidney stone, which lead to a relapse of this drug addiction due to his receiving pain medication. Because of this, he checked himself into a rehab center. While at rehab, Mustaine fell asleep with his arm over the back of a chair. The result? Radial neuropathy. While that sounds like a b-side to a Carcass album, its colloquial terminology is far less endearing; “Saturday night palsy,” brought Megadeth to its knees, and nearly brought an end to a thrash metal icon.

The particular “Saturday night” brand of Mustaine’s radial neuropathy involves compressing the radial nerve at the spiral groove. The radial nerve extends the length of the arm, and damage can include but is not limited to numbness, and the inability to voluntarily straighten or extend the fingers or thumb. Again, this all sounds like a list of great song titles, but it’s fairly easy to develop this particular brand of guitarists’ nightmare fuel. While it is stated that heavy medication or intoxication can lend itself to the trauma, simply sleeping with your head on your arm can also inflict radial nerve palsy. This is why you don’t go on WebMD while expecting to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Feeling that his career might be over, Mustaine decided that it was better to not leave fans hoping for the best by leaving them with the worst. The most recent album at the time was ‘The World Needs a Hero’ which many outlets described as a Megadeth return to form, and it was also what I consider to be the best Mega line-up next to the classic ‘Rust in Peace’ line-up (with drummer Jimmy DeGrasso and Al Pitrelli, above).

Prior to Mustaine’s injury, Megadeth had seen the departure of drummer Nick Menza, followed shortly by the legendary lead guitarist Marty Friedman. This alone could’ve been seen as a justifiable end to Megadeth by a great many die hard fans. In fact, this lineup is always the go-to suggestion every time Megadeth cycles a member or two. If this had been the end of Megadeth, they would’ve still been going out on a relatively high note. Watch the live DVD ‘Rude Awakening‘ and hopefully you’ll understand.

After a year of physical therapy, electroshock treatment, and a bit of luck, Dave Mustaine strapped on his guitar playing boots and got back in the game. He even took guitar lessons, something that he had never done prior, to speed along recovery. Mustaine began working on a solo record with a phenomenal group of session musicians including former Zappa drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and country music session extraordinaire Jimmie Lee Sloas. Word would eventually make its way back to Megadeth’s European record label EMI, and the solo album became a Megadeth album via contractual fulfillment. Imagine if Megadeth went out without owing anyone any albums, would ‘The System Has Failed’ have been a Dave Mustaine release? Would people have treated it more or less harshly as a result? At the very least, this contractual obligation helped to launch the beginning of a revolving door of Mega members, and another pile of albums.

Would this later set of chapters in the Megadeth story have been better omitted? Could the “Big Four” shows have still happened if Mustaine had never rebooted Megadeth? What if Dave never regained the use of his arm, but continued to sing while bringing in a second guitarist? At least Dave isn’t fronting AC/DC’s remaining rescheduled tour dates, right?

For me, ‘Rude Awakening’ is the last time Megadeth had, “the vibe.” Tweet-fight me (@JohanssonShreds) about it!

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#907: What two band members have been on all 10 Testament studio albums?

Q #1,903: What two band members have been on all 10 Testament studio albums?

A.

The two members of Testament that have appeared on all 10 studio albums are founding guitarist Eric Peterson, and vocalist Chuck Billy. Prior to the debut album ‘The Legacy,’ the band was called Legacy and featured Steve “Zetro” Souza on vocals. When Souza would depart to replace Paul Baloff in Exodus, Chuck Billy would enter the fold and become the biggest lineup staple along with Peterson.

Coming in second place, and appearing on eight Testament albums is bassist Greg Christian. Greg would appear on the band’s first six releases, sit out the next two, and appear on the latest two. Testament’s current bassist Steve DiGiorgio had been in the band once before and appeared ‘The Gathering,’ so he will be doubling his Testament discography with their upcoming release.

In third place, is the criminally underrated guitarist Alex Skolnick. Alex appeared on the first five Testament records, with his last studio appearance being 1992’s “The Ritual.” The only single to chart off of this release was the shred filled ballad ‘Return to Serenity.’ The track reached #22 on the Mainstream Rock charts, and the album was sitting 15k copies short of Gold status as of 2007.

‘Return to Serenity’ seems like one of those songs that most of the band resents for being included on the album, let alone for being the biggest “hit.” Skolnick has said that he is done “lobbying” for the song’s inclusion in the band’s set, which is a shame, if not solely because it contains some of Alex’s best work.

The next most notable Testa-member appearing on the band’s first five albums is drummer Louie Clemente. Since his departure no drummer would record more than one album with the band until Gene Hoglan returned to the band in 2011, to follow up his 1997 release, ‘Demonic.’

Other individuals may have appeared on one album, and may have been in the band multiple times, but the only other Testament alum to have appeared on multiple studio albums is guitarist James Murphy (Obituary, Death), who appeared on two, non-consecutive albums.

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#903: MOMENT OF METAL #176 (w/ VIDEO)

Q #1,899: MOMENT OF METAL #176

watch the video that Seth Werkheiser and Jonathan made here

A.

Chevelle’s ‘Send the Pain Below’ appears on the band’s second studio album, ‘Wonder What’s Next.’ This would be a fitting title for the original trio of brothers that formed in the family garage in the northern Chicago suburb of Grayslake, Illinois.

Self-taught musicians, the band originally put together a demo called, ‘The Blue Album’ in 1998, and would spend their formative years playing small gigs until they became signed to Squint Entertainment. The label was an imprint owned by a Christian record label, so the band has been repeatedly mislabeled a Christian Rock for most of their career. Insisting that they keep their religion separate yet close to their hearts, they’ve described themselves as “recovering Catholics,” which sounds like something out of a George Carlin standup.

Chevelle released their first official album in 1999 on Squint Entertainment. Titled ‘Point #1,’ it was recorded with producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Zao, The Stooges, Neurosis) for just over a two week period, reportedly 17 days. Two weeks and a record label later, the band would begin to embark on their RIAA Certified 4,000,000 album selling career.

Though the debut would not break any sales records, it was enough to get them onto tours with the likes of Sevendust, Filter, Powerman 5000, and more. In fact, I saw them open up for Anthrax in Chicago at the House of Blues in 1999. I remember watching them and thinking, “they sound like they’re building up to something that never happens.”

But, something did happen.

Their Christian rock label shut down, and Epic Records signed the band. Backed by the major label machine, Chevelle took everything they ingested on their inaugural run of tours and turned it into ‘Wonder What’s Next’ in 2002. ‘Send the Pain Below’ would hit #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and the album peaked at #14 on the Billboard Top 200, which is how old bassist Joe Loeffler was when he joined the band with his brothers Pete and Sam.

The album was produced by GGGarth, whom I’ve written about previously for his work on Testament’s ‘Low.’ It’s safe to say that time would make good on the youthful optimism of the title of the band’s first major label release.

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