Thursday 24 May 2018

ELEVEN IS ONE LOUDER: Rob Hoey (Limb) picks 5 artists & bands he loves that had a great impact on heavy music... Without using mountains of distortion (and in lots of cases, none)

By: Rob Hoey

As we (Limb) get ready to release our third album “Saboteurs of the Sun...” (available here) ...I thought I'd chat about some of our influences who didn't need modern distortion to get heavy. 

A lot of people who read this will already be very aware of these artists and in writing it I thought 'if I were to read this would I find this kind of thing patronising'? Then I realised that if I hadn't heard of some of these people I wouldn't be able to appreciate the music we have today, so here's to them... The scoundrels, cads, olden day punks who said 'fuck you, I won't do what you tell me' and started something that we can still see / feel today in the roots of all that is sonically heavy. 

So even if you've heard all these before, click the links and refresh your memory while we look back and take our hats off to the men and women who carved out the path we now tread! 

Screamin' Jay Hawkins (1929 - 2000)

If you like Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Ghost, Kiss or any other shock rockers then you have this man to thank! Before heading to tinkle the ivories, he would emerge from a coffin onstage and wore gold and leopard skin costumes and had voodoo stage props, such as his smoking skull on a stick (called Henry). Alongside all his stage antics he had scream (hence the nickname) that would give Noddy Holder a run for his money. 

Check Out – “I Put A Spell On You”

2 Jerry Lee Lewis (1935 - Present) 

The 'killer' as he is known (and nearly for very good reason, he tried to kill Elvis, look it up) is a controversial figure and no mistake. He is a wild and unbridled force of nature and pushed rock and roll to its limits at a time that America just wasn't ready for it. He once shot a gun to wake up tired party goers who couldn't keep up with him. Any live performance of his will give you a good indication of how energised he was. Also, he played piano like he'd made a deal with Lucifer himself. (you can still catch him live if you're in the states) 

Check Out – “Wild One” 

3 Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)

Way before the metal zone pedal (or the DOD grunge for that matter) there were people who were determined to get tone henge blasting so had to be inventive. How I hear you cry? Load the bottom end of your orchestra with things like the 'octobass' a giant version of the double bass played with a bow that would make even SunnO))) smile (ok maybe not, too doom!). Richard Wagner was the king of heavy back in the day, those days being the middle of the 1800's. He was rattling the rafters way before Boris came along and showed us how to get a bass tone that would rattle your teeth straight down your neck! 

Check out – “Entrance Of The Gods Into Valhalla”

4 Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915 - 1973)

So... A white Gibson LesPaul SG with three humbuckers sounds like something Zep or The Darkness might bust out on stage but long before all that came a gospel rock whirlwind in the shape of
Sister Rosetta Tharpe and man could she play. She cemented her place in rock and roll history when she embarked upon a European tour with Muddy Waters in 1963 (her UK debut was in Manchester) she noted as an influence by prominent British guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Keith Richards

Check Out – “Up Above My Head”

5 Lead Belly (1888 - 1949)

Here we have Lead Belly a ne'er do well, moonshine swilling multi instrumentalist who saw his fair share of hardship which lead him to sing about women, liquor, prison life, and racism. He was also known to write songs about people in the news, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler and Howard Hughes. You might know him best from Nirvana's cover of “My Girl (where did you sleep last night)”. They don't come much rougher round the edges than Lead Belly and if you scratch the surface of his prolific song library you'll find it paints a picture of man who lived hard and played harder. 

Check Out – “Black Girl (in the pines)”

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