This year, the New York-based thrash metal band Anthrax turns 40.
Over the last two months on their YouTube channel they’ve been releasing a retrospective on their career with interviews with band members, producers, friends and metalheads across the globe. As I understand it they have 40 of these in the pipeline. So far we’ve reached episode 22 which has taken us to 2003 and probably my favourite Anthrax albums, We’ve Come For You All. I saw them live twice on that tour.
This evening (morning UK-time), they celebrated the event with a live stream event with a nearly 2 hours 15 minutes concert spanning most of their entire 40-year, 12-studio album career. (Typically, their John Bush era material was disappointingly missing.)
Over the years there have been only a few guitar designs that I have found quite beautiful and made me stop in my tracks and simply say, “Wow!”
Brian May Red Special
The first is, obviously, Brian May’s handmade Red Special. The original was built by Brian and his father from various materials including a hundred-year-old mantelpiece and a knitting needle. The model below is the Super, made by Brian May Guitars, available for £2,950.
This is the perfect electric guitar, as far as I am concerned.
First produced in 1993, I first saw the Parker Fly in the pages of Guitar World magazine. Designed by Ken Parker and Larry Fishman and sold by Parker Guitars, the Parker Fly is made from various tone woods with a carbon fibre exoskeleton and a combination of both traditional magnetic and piezoelectric pickups.
There is still something that I find quite beautiful about this instrument.
Fender Acoustamatic Jazzmaster
And then this week, I first saw the new Fender Acoustamatic Jazzmaster. Versatile, combining rich acoustic tones and overdriven electric sounds, and quite beautiful.
Well, you wait years for a decent Queen podcast and two come along at once.
On Re-covering Queen, each week, life-long Queen fans Jai, Matt and Ian talk about, rate and challenge each other to take it in turns to record a version of a favourite, or not so favourite track, by the greatest band in the world, Queen.
I’ve loved listening to their conversations, learning new things about the band and their recordings, and especially enjoyed their reinterpretations of familiar songs.
If you are a Queen fan, do check out Re-covering Queen on your favourite podcast application; mine is Pocket Casts for Android and Apple iOS.
One of the beautifully creative things that this global pandemic has offered the world are the number of truly astonishing musical collaborations that simply would not have happened otherwise.
This is amongst my favourite. Masterminded by metal producer-songwriter Libra, he brings together nine artists to create this epic, orchestral-sounding version of the Depeche Mode song “It Doesn’t Matter Two”.
Featured (in order) are Shaun MacGowan (My Dying Bride) on violin, Eicca Toppinen (Apocalyptica) on cello, Libra on vocals and drums, vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen (Devin Townsend, Vuur, The Gathering), Aaron Aedy (Paradise Lost) on guitar, Caleb Bingham (Five Finger Death Punch, Athanasia), Don Aires Pereira (Moonspell) on bass guitar, Kenny Hickey (Type O Negative, Silvertomb) on guitar, Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) on vocals, and Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation, For All We Know) on guitar.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if all these lockdown collaborations could be released as a musical record for 2020 and 2021. Hmmm… there’s an idea. I should create my own compilation album of my favourite lockdown collaborations.
I’ve not been sleeping particularly well recently. Something to do with being in the middle of a global pandemic plus some other personal stuff going around and around in my head at night. I’d run out of my usual podcasts so went searching for something new and interesting.
Why did nobody tell me about The Queen Podcast? Hosted by Rohan Acharya and Queen archivist and documentarian Simon Lupton, the podcast is joined by Queen superfans (and comedians) John Robins and Sooz Kempner and tracks the Queen discography album by album, side by side, track by track.