Tagged: Eminem

 

One of the things I have noticed while still interviewing artists during this Covid-19 lockdown is that they seem to have very wide reactions to the lockdown. Either they have found themselves to be in a very creative space or have found that creativity has completely dried up and they have concentrated on re-charging their batteries so they can hit the road running when the lockdown is finally over.

One of the bands that have been most creative during this time though have been Italian heavy metal band Secret Rule who fuelled by requests from fans have delivered an album of covers during the lockdown. With the band covering the likes of Ozzy Osbourne through to Placebo I decided to sit down and have a chat with front woman Angela Di Vincenzo.

“We just wanted to challenge ourselves,” says Di Vencenzo laughing when I ask her where the idea for Quarantine: The Other Side of Us came from. “Everything really started from requests. During the pandemic we thought about releasing something new and we thought about covering the Ozzy Osbourne song “Get Me Through.” That was a song that we had already played live three years ago when we were touring in the UK, so it was more or less ready.”

“After the release of that we thought about doing another cover,” she goes onto explain. “We thought about doing the Placebo song “Bitter End” which had already been on my mind for a long, long time. We had a very positive response to those with some of the comments on the music videos. Some people said it would be great if we recorded a whole album with cover songs so we decided to think about what songs could work for us and in only two weeks the album was ready.”

With such a wide variety of artists covered on the album I ask Di Vencenzo how the band decided on which tracks would be covered. “It was actually quite simple,” she says. “Everyone has a very different background so during the choosing stage we had a very long list of songs then we tried to keep those that we thought were morning interesting and ones that we could record in our style of course. In any case we would never have done cover songs similar to the originals, we hate that way of approaching songs. We think if a listener wants to listen to a cover song they will expect to listen to something different and new otherwise it is better to just listen to the original version.”

Of course the secret to creating a great cover song is to make it sound like it is your own so I asked Di Vencenzo how Secret Rule went about making sure that is what happened. “We started with the melodies,” she explains. “Then we worked on the arrangements without even considering the original songs – that was very important. In that way we were not influenced by the original songs, but at the same time the songs didn’t lose their essence.

“We set out to record the album in just two weeks,” she says laughing loudly. “We did that because we didn’t know when the quarantine would end. But it was very important for us to do it before the quarantine ended otherwise the title would not have made sense. No doubt the biggest challenge was to work on so many different songs that all required very different approaches. But working with Andy is always full of so many surprises because you will never know what he is going to create in a song.”

“For example it was crazy for me to sing an Eminem song,” she explains again laughing. “It was a real tongue-twister especially when it wasn’t in my native language. I remember when Andy sent through the arrangements I said ‘and who is going to sing this song?’ then with some help from some dirty words I succeeded in singing it. It was a great challenge for me that song.”

 

Quarantine: The Other Side Of Us is out now.

 

 

I almost feel that I need to preface this article before I continue. I am not some kind of music snob, nor am I somebody that believes that hard rock or metal is the only kind of music worth listening to. A quick look at my album collection and yes you will find things as extreme as Cannibal Corpse and you will find things as commercial as Green Day or Bon Jovi. Likewise when you come to genres nestled snugly away with albums by KISS and Metallica you’ll also find music from ABBA, Eminem right through to pop by Kylie Minogue and Pet Shop Boys. My Dad instilled one message into me when he started me on my musical journey and that was “There is good music in every genre, you just need to find it.”

So why the need for such a preface? Well basically because while I’m angry about some of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame snubs I may say some things that might put some readers on the defensive about the kind of music that they listen to. It is a divisive topic so know now that I mean no offence.

Over the past twenty-four hours social media has blown up about this year’s Hall Of Fame inductees. Somehow the Dave Matthews Band managed to win the popular vote with millions of votes from the public but never actually made the final cut while the likes of Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy were all given a royal snubbing. In fact the entire public voting system was treated as a joke this year with four out of the Top Five voted artists all missing out on actually being inducted.

When you consider that Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy now join a list that includes the likes of Pat Benatar, Jane’s Addiction, New York Dolls, War, Rage Against The Machine, Todd Rundgren, Steve Winwood and Sting who have all been nominated but missed out on induction you begin to realise that the list of those who have missed out is almost as impressive as those who have made it.

Those artists not being in the Hall Of Fame while the likes of The Notorious B.I.G., Madonna and Whitney Houston are seems a little bit strange. After all this is supposed to be a rock ‘n’ roll Hall Of Fame while to me those artists firmly fall on the hip-hop, R&B and pop side of things. No disrespect meant to those artists but surely genre has to weigh into the decision at some point.

There is little doubt that the biggest travesty though has to be some of the bands that missed out this year. If Judas Priest, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy don’t deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame then who does? Those bands are not just some of the greatest and influential to ever exist in the rock world, they also changed the world of music forever. Let’s take a look at each band on their merits.

There is little doubt that Judas Priest are one of the greats. Since their inception in 1969 the Brits have sold over fifty million albums worldwide and, as Wacken found out a couple of years ago, are still as strong today as ever. The Grammy award winning Brits are currently completing their nineteenth studio album. Who knows maybe it takes twenty albums to land in a spot in the Hall Of Fame.

Then comes fellow Brits Motorhead. Lead by the legendary Lemmy Motorhead are considered the forefathers of British heavy metal. If there was ever a time for Motorhead to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame it is now – the band officially disbanded in 2015 after the tragic death of Lemmy. That same year saw the death of original drummer Phil Taylor while Eddie Clarke passed away in 2018 and Larry Wallis in 2019. With all founding members of Motorhead now sadly passed away this was the right time for them to rightfully find their way into the Hall Of Fame.

Last, but not least, comes Irish rockers Thin Lizzy. To many they are the band that penned the classic The Boys Are Back In Town but Thin Lizzy’s history goes a lot deeper than that.  Bands such as Alice In Chains, Mastodon and Metallica have all declared that Thin Lizzy were a huge influence on them and their sound. The band also recorded twelve albums and have promised music fans that they are looking to re-form for some gigs in the future.

It might sound harsh but is it time to take another look at how artists are selected for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame? The clear observations to come out of this year’s inductions are that it seems like the public vote counts for nothing and that artists who haven’t quite bided their time or fit the rock genre have somehow been inducted ahead of some of the true legends of the genre. The system seems broken and needs to be fixed as these snubs seem to as disrespectful as they unfair.

 

By Dave Griffiths