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Metal Musicians Reflect on Beatlemania!
To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Beatlemania stateside, Maximum Metal has asked a very important question for some of our metal heroes and peers. How did The Beatles influence hard rock and heavy metal and what personal impact they might have had. Our thanks to all of our wonderful and gracious colleagues for taking part in our questionnaire. It was a "hard day's night".
CURTIS VON DITO - Vocalist of Hollywood hard rock act SNEW
"The Beatles learned Rock n Roll from the original rock movement happening in the USA. To that they added British sophistication. The melodic content, the lyrics and how it interacts with the beat, the tight rhythms. The early Rock n Roll coming from Americans was still being informed by the Big Band Swing that came before it and therefore an extension of jazz (listen to "Rock Around the Clock" and you can hear how they just stripped away the big band, the lead instrument is still a saxophone). Once the Beatles got a hold of it they gave it a new structure one that created the foundation necessary for the evolution of Hard Rock and Metal. There is a precision to Beatles music and especially in the case of Metal precision is a cornerstone."
"Another major point would be the Beatles themselves creating such an overwhelming sensation when they arrived here in the States. The screaming girls wanting to rip their clothes off and all the outrageous excitement at their concerts. It set the world on its ear and we had the very first Rockstars. Oh and the "long hair" (not very long by todays standards) but it started a trend and the hair just kept getting longer. Every guy wanted to have girls all over them like the Beatles and in an attempt to outdo them the hair got longer and longer and that look was from then on indelibly linked to Rock n Roll."
"Thirdly, when the movie "A Hard Day's Night" came out everyone got to see who they were and how they acted and what it meant to be a Rockstar. They were funny, made smart remarks, rebelled against authority and always found a way to stick it to the older generation. A light when on in the heads of every would-be rock musician, to be in a rock band means being a rebel, having fun and not taking any shit from the establishment. The parents didn't get it but the girls did. Nothing else matters."
"Pandora's Box was unlocked. Hard Rock and Heavy Metal owes its very existence to the fact that the Beatles opened it."
"Also, how does the Beatles influence the SNEW sound? The gold standard for songwriting in Rock music is the Beatles, love em or not it's just true. When we write our songs it's somewhere in the back of our minds "how does this stack up against any Beatles track?" Doesn't matter what style of music it is there's melody, hooks, beats, lyrics. A great song is a great song and the Beatles were masters at it. If we strip our songs down, take away the big loud guitars and screaming vocals is it still a great song? If it were performed by the Beatles would it still rock? If the answer is anywhere close to a yes then we got something worthy of putting on a SNEW record."
"Since we are on the subject it was one of our biggest thrills and honors to record our 2012 album "What's It To Ya" with Ken Scott who was one of the recording engineers on the bulk of the Beatles catalog. He was head engineer on "Magical Mystery Tour" and "The White Album" which is one of the most influential albums in rock history particularly when it comes to Hard Rock and Metal. Not every metalhead likes the Beatles but when asked to select one Beatles album they always pick The White Album (a double album, yeah the started that trend too)."
RON KEEL - Hard Rock ICON (Iron Horse, Keel)
"Here in Las Vegas at Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, we still play rock out to Beatles tunes - me, Rudy Sarzo, Kip Winger, we all get together and jam stuff like 'Helter Skelter,' 'Come Together,' 'Don't Let Me Down.' The Beatles are the well from which all rockers drink, whether they even realize it or not."
An excerpt from Ron Keel's official autobiography "Even Keel: Life On The Streets Of Rock & Roll", released in Feb of 2014.
"It was February 19th, 1964. My sister was super keyed up, as were most teenage girls in America on that evening. Just before 8:00 PM we took our places on the living room floor in front of the old black and white TV. I?m not sure if my sisterforced me to watch or if I was just caught up in her excitement. A few moments later, everything changed, the course of my life altered, my destiny determined as if molten steel had been poured into a forge and then hardened. The host of the TV show ? some guy named Ed Sullivan ? said ?Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles,? and the whole world erupted into deafening applause and then I heard rock & roll coming from the tiny 2-inch television speaker. Four guys playing and singing and rocking out. I was only two years old, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I stared wide-eyed at that screen and decided right then and there what I was going to do with my life: I was going to play and sing rock & roll music on TV."
RON TAYLOR - Current vocalist for LOWSIDE, former vocalist of LILLIAN AXE
"Heck yeah, how could The Beatles not have influenced Hard Rock and Metal? They changed most of our grandparents and parents with the classic riffs from the likes of Chuck Berry and then did it over and again with our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and now us and our kids with decades of music that would branch off every which way in melody, sounds, groove and vibe. Although I respect the heck out of their extensive catalog of great music and creativity, I was never a big Beatles fan. I still cant help but think that theyve surely influenced me directly and also influenced the music that has influenced me over my life. I probably owe it to myself to purchase a few of their old albums and dig into their greatness."
J BOMB - Drummer for SEX SLAVES
"The Beatles have had a big influence on the SEX SLAVES sound although it's not apparent at first glance. While we write songs in a hard rock and sometimes punky style, we have always maintained a sense of melody and vocal harmonies. Eric13, who sings and plays guitar in SEX SLAVES, is a huge Beatles fan and we have even played their tune "Help" at live shows for fun. If you've ever seen one of Eric13's solo acoustic gigs you'll know he performs a great original song titled "Miss You Like The Beatles". And as a drummer I have to agree with Ringo's advice "If you have to think of a drum-fill to play, you probably shouldn't play one".
"As far as The Beatles influence on hard rock and metal...it's everywhere in the songs. From the songs, riffs and topics to the studio gear musicians record with. The Beatles influence is still felt half a century later!"
MAGNUS LARSSON - Swedish hard rock band DAYS OF JUPITER
"We think that The Beatles were the first band that really made the rock ´n roll spirit what it is today with the fans, chaos, history and the fact that they became a worldwide phenomenon. For us that defines their legacy for hard rock and heavy metal. The sound of Days Of Jupiter is not influenced by The Beatles but if they had not made their journey some fifty years ago then maybe there wouldn´t be a band called Days Of Jupiter today"
JOHNNY STRONG - Actor, Musician and Badass
"IMO The Beatles influenced hard rock, and music in general, when they freed themselves from the conventional song structure. Back when they were doing their thing, the music world was in a real cookie cutter kind of song writing, much like it is today. Their early stuff sounded like it could have been right out of Buddy Holy's notebook. But when they branched off into new territory, right around Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers, The White Album. That unconventional approach really changed the landscape of what was happening, and what others in that period thought was "Acceptable" as Album/song recording. Right around that period you had bands like Cream, the Who, Hendrix, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc. now anything was possible, lets crank up the amps and see how far we can take it. These were true explorers of the time in the music era. They were carving the path, that The Beatles discovered."
"I look at influences like a single chain in the DNA of artistry. Everything you hear or see is going to influence you wether you like it or not. The Beatles was the link that started, the "fuck it, it sounds cool, just record it and lets see where it goes" mentality, that really pushed me to reconsider song structure and "Proper recording". Which is why I've had brutal experiences in the music "Business", because my "anything goes" attitude really was not embraced by the folks in the cubicles and offices. And therefore the factor in my ultimate decision not to work with the major labels."
KING FOWLEY - Vocalist for Virgina bands OCTOBER 31 and DECEASED
Beatles were a great band full of great ideas. from simple covers of rock n roll classics to their originals set in the same ideals. to more mind 'produced' music to joyous big world anthems as well. Fantastic band. they taught me about the great need for memorable catchy melody in music
JASON MYERS - Bassist for ICARUS WITCH
"I can sum this reply up in two words: Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy's gone on the record several times stating that after hearing the Beatles' "She Loves You" in 1963 he was inspired to be a musician. If there were no Ozzy, there likely would have been no Black Sabbath and since Black Sabbath invented heavy metal, all metal heads owe a great debt to John, Paul, Ringo & George. KISS's Gene Simmons had a similar epiphany after seeing the infamous Ed Sullivan show intro of the Beatles, so whether you follow the American or the UK lineage of metal and hard rock, it all stems back to the Fab Four."
"I'd say the three elements The Beatles perfected which carry over into Icarus Witch song writing are:
1) The hook - nearly every song they wrote was based around a solid, catchy hook and that's also the point we usually begin with in our songwriting.
2) Vocal harmonies - The Beatles were the masters of this technique in a rock setting and we try to create interesting harmonies in all of our songs.
3) Guitar lines that compliment the song - Harrison was especially adept at this. While they were never a band to show off much musically, they used melodic guitar lines to compliment the vocals and create additional hooks. Take the song "Something," the guitar line is as integral as the verse and chorus. This is a technique that we strive to incorporate into our sound to this day."
GEORGE NEAL - Bassist for HALLOWEEN
"I think they have influenced many styles of music. As far as metal, when they first became known to everyone they were different, "out of the box" with a rougher edge than anyone else was doing at that time. The look of the band with long hair back then was something that shocked people. They were very aggressive and different and were not afraid to make something that was not normally accepted."
"How does the Beatles influence our sound? Our sound comes from everything that we have listened to in the past. The thing that stands out most as being influenced by the Beatles is that all of the songs on each album are different from one another. The Beatles would put different styles of songs on the same album. Each album is very different from one another but when you hear it you know it's the Beatles."
ANTHONY NICHOLS - Guitarist for MELIAH RAGE and MEXICAN APE-LORD
"Well first off the Beatles changed everything...fact! As I was watching the 50th anniversary of the their "Ed Sullivan" appearance I was texting back and forth between a good friend about how amazing it was. Just how much they did and evolved in such a short time. The range of style that they produced basically openend all the doors including hard rock and heavy metal. Needless to say the openning riff of 'Revolution' was as hard as it got back then. I can't say I listenend to all their records and that they had a huge influence on me personally. Since they openend the doors for hard rock and metal bands to follow who I did worship makes me respect them as much as anyone."
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