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Confessions of a teenage metal-head

PUBLISHED: 14:33 27 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:51 27 June 2011

Aerosmith

Aerosmith

Archant

If you rewind about 20 years then I'd probably swear to you there isn't a better album in the whole of musicdom than Aerosmith's Pump.

Or maybe Motley Crue’s Dr Feelgood. No sorry, scratch that, it was Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. To be fair to my teenage self, I still think that album’s just about unsurpassable.

This might be shaping up to be the column entry entitled I Was A Teenage Metalhead – and I was, for a bit. There aren’t any embarrassing pictures to prove it, I should add, and I never did manage to grow my hair long. But that noisy racket coming out of my elder sister’s bedroom sounded much more interesting than the “techno-techno-techno-techno” that my schoolmates listened to so that’s what I invested in.

As well as some big, bawdy anthems, roaring guitars and thunderous drums, I loved the drama of it all. The hard rock scene – particularly the US bands in the late 80s and early 90s – was like a big soap opera with people that partied hard and whose screw-ups were just as spectacular as their successes.

I didn’t stay with that world. I’m not sure I’d still have my hearing left. I stepped on a few stones – the Manic Street Preachers, The Wonder Stuff – to explore more pop-based rock and indie and by the time Britpop arrived I was on board with that. Soon after that the penny dropped that being part of a scene wasn’t particularly essential and you could just enjoy what agreed with your ears.

Nowadays, I find myself mining deeper into the past – The Beatles, of course, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen. The sort of music that makes me wonder why I spent so much time and money in the early 1990s on terrible groups like Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Pop Will Eat Itself.

Through all of that, though, it’s hard rock and heavy which still entertains me the most. I’m reading a book at the moment – The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow – which retells some fine tales from the era when rock ruled MTV. It brings back some glorious memories.

If ever I’m exploring YouTube, it’s always those hard rock videos that are the best value – always overblown, often outrageous, regularly ridiculous. And packed with amazing looking women. The music? Well, some of it has aged well. The rest makes Spinal Tap, the fictional metal band, seem like Radiohead.

While we’re talking about going full circle, I should point out that this is the last On The B-Side. I’m bowing out after nearly two and half years of filling one quarter of page 30-something.

I could bore you with the reasons why but the main cause is that I spend so much time listening to old music that I’m only telling you what you already know.

What’s more, I’ve broken a pledge that I made in this very column, dusted down the old bass guitar and started playing in a band again.

It’s not going to help my grasp of new music that it’s backing an Elvis tribute act. In fact, I’ve just bought a 75-track CD of The King. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a listen. I may be some time.

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