Tales from the Jugular
Metal Musicians Reflect on Beatlemania!
By: Eric Compton | Published: May 09, 2014
On February 7th, 1964, Beatlemania stormed the shores of North America. The band's
success in Europe, notably the UK and Germany, began a year earlier in 1962 with a rock
and roll philosophy consisting of longer hair, eating and drinking on stage, and public
smoking. The rebellious nature of the group was rather taboo in that current environment.
Fans were eating up the group's "no cares" attitude and craving more and more
guitar-oriented rock music that skirted bubble-gum pop. In many ways, The Beatles may have
been the most important band in terms of creating the building blocks for edgier music.
[Other Maximum Metal Columns]
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
"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
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
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
"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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