CfMRF... is sleeping...

Champignons for My Real Friends... has ended.

Please find the sequel at Ringo Stalin's Curios (and other oddities).

Much obliged.

- Ringo Stalin

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Iron Maiden Special!!!

Earlier this year, I went to see my all-time favourite band of ever, Iron Maiden. I've loved them since I was 11 years old, and pencil-cases dating back to then will attest to this, being covered with very bad renderings of Eddie, the band's mascot.

Here's a truncated version of the evening I had:
- I probably should've stayed with the 3 guys from Newcastle I'd met at Redfern Station. They seemed to have the most fun out of everyone there.
- Sydney audiences are weird: screaming their heads off for one song, dead silent the next. For the record, I sang along, as loud as I could, to every song. I'm one of those people, and I'm not ashamed.
- Seeing Iron Maiden without any friends there to sing along with was kinda disappointing.
- The chorus of Aces High is actually quite hard to sing along to, if you're not a professional singer.
- As much as I wanted to watch the dynamics of the whole band, Bruce Dickinson is a commanding and captivating frontman and had my attention from beginning to end.
- The Iron Maiden plane is AWESOME.
- Was it a robotic Eddie, or a guy in a gigantic hydraulic suit?
- Eddie played bass. That made me smile.
- Janick Gers does amazing guitar acrobatics.
- I'm really glad Adrian Smith came back into the band.
- Steve Harris is my HERO.
- Bruce said that Maiden will be back real soon. I will be there.
- I should've bought the Medium t-shirt, and not the Small. What was I thinking? I still wear it though.

It's Xmas Day today, and for Xmas and birthdays, my brother and I always make each other awesome mixtapes. His one complaint, though, was that I never put any Maiden on my mixes. The reason for this was that one day I knew I would be able to make him a truly incredible epic mix. And this year I did; a three-disc extravaganza full of Maiden goodness. (In keeping with my namesake, I have revised the Maiden history to never have included the 'Blaze Bayley' chapter. I refuse to acknowledge its existence in the canon.)

Also, for his birthday this year, I bought him an Iron Maiden 'Somewhere In Time' coffee mug* and he felt bad drinking out of such a mind-blowing mug without actually owning the album. So that's another part of his Xmas present this year. I would've liked to've picked up a vinyl copy, for the full effect of the artwork but he'll just have to squint to make out the details on the CD version.

And for the rest of you, I've compiled a few of my favourite Maiden moments:

Iron Maiden - From the legendary Soundhouse Tapes, the first Maiden recording, with Paul Dianno on vocals, Doug Sampson on drums, Dave Murray on guitar and Steve Harris on bass. A piece of real history.

Running Free - From the Running Free single, another Paul Dianno-fronted track. When I was being introduced to Maiden, and heard some of Paul's work, I thought it was awful. But I've grown up now and realise that Paul was a seriously brilliant singer. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

Murders In The Rue Morgue - Despite not being a big fan of Paul initially, I always had a soft spot for this track. It also inspired me to read more of Edgar Allan Poe's work. I also found out what the word 'gendarme' meant.

King of Twilight - A B-side from the Aces High single. This is a Nektar cover. I know nothing about Nektar but I like this track. For some reason, it makes me think of King Crimson.

Stranger In A Strange Land - From Somewhere In Time, I'm sure this is the first song I heard where I realised what a bass guitar was and what it sounded like, and inspired me to learn the bass myself. I love this track.

Reach Out - A B-side of Wasted Years. I'd never heard this until quite recently, and I'm glad I found it! This one was penned by Adrian Smith, and the recording is Adrian and drummer Nicko, playing all parts, and then Bruce came in and added some backing vocals.

The Wicker Man - The first single released after Bruce came back into the Maiden family, and proof that, despite the extra wrinkles, this band could rock harder, more intensely than any other. Check out the video, too.

Blood Brothers (Orchestral Mix) - From the Wildest Dreams single. For my brother. Not particularly subtle, I know.

Can I Play With Madness - My favourite Maiden track and my favourite song of all time. For my very last show after 3 years of hosting a show on a local radio station, I signed off with this song, and stated my love of it, all time favourite, and all that. Later that week, I was sitting in a pub, and a young guy asked me if I was Ringo Stalin, who hosted 'Down With The Kids' on Three D Radio. I'm not sure how he recognised me, radio being a non-visual medium and all, but I wasn't going to pass up a little rockstar moment! He thanked me for the show, said he listened all the time, but was that song really my all time favourite??? He seemed disappointed that I genuinely love that song, with no trace of irony at all. Ah well, you can't please everyone.

Hallowed Be Thy Name - Totally Radd!! - Maiden in a Nintendo style! Totally Radd is not just the band name, but it also sums up this 'cover' perfectly.

BTW, I got most of the B-sides, and the Soundhouse Tapes from: Lagrima Psicodelica. I also urge you to go out and get the albums for yourselves. A Maiden collection cannot be truly considered a collection without the artwork.

However you choose to spend today, I hope you enjoy yourselves and keep safe. Thanks for reading!

- Ringo

* Iron Maiden mugs and other awesome merch can be bought from Eddie's Megastore! I already have the Seventh Son mug, but I'd love some more. Maybe The Trooper, if you're thinking of getting me an Xmas present. Or the Mexican tour t-shirt, with a Mexican version of the Stranger In A Strange Land cover. That'd be cool, thanks! And I'm a Medium.