Archive for the ‘1989’ Category



I don’t think I ever actually bought a copy of Metal Hammer, but I used to stand and read it in WH Smith’s.

I’d done the same with home computer magazines six years earlier.

Then, it was all about tips for games. The Hobbit. Valhalla.

Now it was all about picking up mythology from the written word.

We all knew Aerosmith from Run DMC’s Walk This Way (I have a 7” single of this – given to me around this time by a school friend), but I’d taken it a bit further.

In the revision period leading up to my GCSEs I’d bought both the 1980 Greatest Hits and the 1978 Live Bootleg double album.

Toys and Rocks followed in short order

I loved them both.

Still do.

And then of course there’d been Permanent Vacation.

I never owned it on vinyl, but Rag Doll, Dude and Angel were often on the radio rock shows. Dude was even on TV.

I had a tape of it, with Whitesnake’s Saints and Sinners on the flip.

I remember a lunchtime by the river with a friend’s stereo and Permanent Vacation. Smoking cigarettes.

The days out of school to smoke dope started coming about a year later.

Aerosmith will always sound like summer to me.

And then there was the release of Pump.

I bought it from the local record shop on the day of release.


It wasn’t what I’d expected.

Some great songs, but Dulcimer Stomp? Hoodoo Medicine Man?

I still think FINE is a great song. And I honestly enjoyed Elevator. Jamie’s Got a Gun once made me cry.

On the inner sleeve of the record it says that F.I.N.E stands for “Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.”

Obviously, it refers to the girl(s) in the song.

But it wasn’t obvious to me.

I thought it was something to aspire to. “One day” I thought, “one day…”

Metal Hammer was worked up about the 1989 tour dates.

Because apparently the band hadn’t toured outside America since the late 70s.

They hadn’t played the UK since Reading in 1977.

Everyone was excited.

Steve and Joe had come onstage at the end of Bon Jovi’s Milton Keynes bowl show earlier that year to play Walk This Way and announce their return.

It was one of the most exciting things I’d seen in my life.

And now Metal Hammer had published a list of all the songs they wanted Aerosmith to play for their UK dates.

It was a list of every song they had ever recorded.

In order.

Obviously we went.

The support band was the Quireboys.

In those pre-internet days I had no idea that their whole “look at us we’re boozy, it’s a bar on stage and we have piano” schtick was basically stolen from the Faces.

I remember Spike, the singer, working the crowd.

“Who wants to come to a party?


“A really good party!”




It’s nearly 30 years later and I’ve still never knowingly been to what you could call a sex party.

At 16 I’d maybe awkwardly kissed three or four girls. All while drunk, though maybe not as drunk as them.

When they finally came on, Aerosmith weren’t the band from Live Bootleg.

But they came on to Rats in the Cellar which was thrilling, and both Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way were played.

I walked home from the station to my parents late, the main road was empty.

I walked in the road. Ears ringing.

I felt FINE.

High: Sweet Emotion

Drinking: Someone may have tried to get a pint. And they may have managed to get served. It wasn’t me.

Thinking: what *exactly* goes on at a sex party anyway? 

Setlist on


Skid Row


So, it was Skid Row’s first London show.

Three of us had seen them play their first UK gig with Bon Jovi a couple of months beforehand.

And after much nagging, my mate Steve’s mum had bought us tickets for Hammersmith.

Skid Row were a really big deal for me.

I remember hearing Midnight/Tornado on the Radio One Rock Show and getting a buzz from the bass line.

I still play the album, and when I went to see Sebastian Bach play a solo show a couple of years ago I loved that he still did this material.

I loved that he could still do the scream on 18 And Life. I still love I Remember You.

My wife tells me that in the US, these bands were so popular that they were the mainstream – that cool kids would never have listened to them.

I’ll swear it wasn’t like that in London. We felt like outsiders.

And through the radio we knew that Vain would be supporting at Hammersmith so we tried to get into them as well, to make the most of the event.

Their name was written in red on the album cover just like Skid Row’s was, and Beat the Bullet was a great song.

This was the first time I’d ever been to Hammersmith.

We were under the front of the balcony, and I remember lit cigarette ends being dropped off and falling around us.

It added to that sense of being grown up and outsider.

It was 1989. The Berlin wall was coming down, Skid Row played Holidays in the Sun, I was 16 years old.

High: so, as I write this I’ve never seen Iron Maiden.

And I never saw Motorhead. A friend had booked us tickets for the Hammersmith show that was cancelled after Lemmy died.

But I still saw Lemmy and Steve Harris of Maiden play Hammersmith.

I saw them come on for an encore with Skid Row and Vain, and they did Wrathchild and Train Kept a Rollin’.

I’m still not sure I’ve ever heard anything louder. Ever.

Drinking: maybe one teenage beer to take some of the self-consciousness out of the constant fist pumping and shouting of “Youth Gone Wild”

Thinking: as I walked home from the local station, “so this is what people mean when they talk about ringing in your ears. “

This is why: