onsdag 3 mars 2010

Bokrecension och Q&A med författaren.

"Full Metal Jackie certified - The 50 most influential heavy metal songs of the 80´s and the true stories behind their lyrics"

Jackie Kajzer och Robert Lotring

Jackie Kajzer är en relativt stor radioprofil i USA, där hon har sin egen metalshow vid namn ”Full Metal Jackie”. Tillsammans med Roger Lotring har hon nu skrivit boken om de 50 mest inflytelserika metalsångerna under 80-talet.
Det är en mycket intressant bok, även om titeln, som är längre än längst, kan ses som något missvisande. Kanske hade en titel i stil med ”50 betydelsefulla sånger...” passat bättre, då jag tvekar till att alla dessa låtar egentligen varit speciellt omvälvande på något sätt. Kajzer nämner detta i bokens inledning och påpekar att hon istället siktat in sig på låtar som på något sätt kommenterat samhället för tiden. Frågan är ju också hur pass påverkad man blir som lyssnare? Må så vara att Judas Priests ”Electric eye” handlar om det övervakade samhället, storebror ser dig och Orwells ”1984”, det har ändå hela tiden varit riffen och melodin som gjort mig knäsvag, inte texten.
Boken är skriven i kronologisk ordning och börjar med Judas Priests ”Breaking the law” 1980 och avslutas med Megadeths ”Holy wars... the punishment due” 1990. Dave Mustaine har även skrivit förordet till boken.
Låtarna analyseras och för varje låt har även själva låtskrivaren/skrivarna fått berätta om sina texter och ge en förklaring till innehållet. Det gäller dock inte Metallica som är representerade med flera låtar. James Hetfield kontaktades, men avböjde att kommentera då han menade att allt ligger i lyssnarens fantasi och associationer. Lite trist, men ändå förståeligt. Dock ger andra artisters syn på och influenser av bandets låtar, mindre intressanta berättelser.
En mycket kul liten notis är att Ozzys "Suicide solution" inte skrevs med Bon Scott i åtanke, vilket Ozzy själv hävdat genom åren. Bob Daisley berättar att texten mer var en indirekt varning till Ozzy själv eller faran med alkohol överlag.
Något underligt är det att ett band som Mötley Crüe inte finns med. Säg vad man vill om hårspray och glitter, men nog skulle man ha kunnat klämma in ”Knock ém dead kid”, ”Wild side” eller ”Dr. Feelgood”. Minst lika relevanta som Dokkens ”Kiss of death”, men å andra sidan är kanske HIV/Aids mer politiskt korrekt i sammanhanget.
Sammanfattningsvis är det här en väldigt givande och intressant läsning, även om man kan ha sina synpunkter på låtvalen/banden ibland. Utan tvekan är det låtskrivarnas berättelser som väger tyngst, men även bildmaterialet, signerat Mark Weiss, ger extra krydda till denna över 300 sidor tjocka bok.

Jag passade på att ta tillfället i akt och mailade lite frågor till författaren.

First of all, who's Jackie Kajzer?

Jackie Kajzer is me, a metal fan for life! I'm a DJ who programs and hosts a syndicated metal radio show that broadcasts in 27 markets across the United States.

How did you end up doing radio?

I was a DJ on my college radio station, WSOU at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. That's where my love for radio was born. After graduating, I spent several years broadcasting from different commercial rock stations around the country before moving to Los Angeles. It was there that I started my own metal show on Indie 103.1. Other stations began requesting the right to broadcast my show, which led to a full syndication situation.

Did you come up with the name Full Metal Jackie or was it someone else?

Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols also had a show on Indie 103.1, and he came up with it. The name stuck, and I've been using it ever since.

Do you remember the first interview you did with a major act and what was it like?
Oh yeah, absolutely! I've been really fortunate to have had opportunities to interview most of my metal heroes, and none of them have let me down by being anything but extremely cool. One of the first “big” interviews I did was with Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. I can laugh about it now, but at the time it seemed pretty scary—in fact, I was shaking while we talked. But it was amazing, and very surreal. These days, Dave is very much a friend, and it's kind of funny to remember how intimidated I felt back then.

What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

Mostly metal from the New York and New Jersey scene, where I lived. I was about 9-years-old when I started listening to this music, and my love for it hasn't really changed. I actually had a fake ID when I was 13, so I've been going to the clubs and supporting metal for a long time.

As I understand it, you've done a lot of work with the band Five Finger Death Punch. How did you come across that band and what was it that made you want to work with them?

I found out about them when I started getting radio requests from my Los Angeles audience for this new, unknown band. Once I heard their music, I was hooked! I saw them live, and when I found out they were unsigned and had no management, I immediately arranged a meeting and a showcase for some people at my company. We signed Five Finger Death Punch to our management and label, put them on the road with the Family Values Tour, and the rest is history. I'm incredibly proud of them and their success.

When did you first start working on your book?

The idea came to me at the beginning of last year. Preparing my weekly radio show, a lot of the classic metal tracks were never meant for commercial broadcast. In many cases, radio edit versions were just never made. So, because of profanity, I research the lyrics to every song, making edited versions whenever necessary. When you start paying such close attention to a lot of these songs, you really recognize how much these songs, especially the lyrics, were a cultural and social snapshot of the time.

How did you select these 50 songs?

My co-author, Roger Lotring, and I each prepared long lists of potential songs that we felt should be considered. It was a pretty involved process, with conversations almost daily about which songs should be included and why. There was a lot of discussion about each song, and whether or not it met the specifics of our criteria. Ultimately, we came up with what we believe are 50 great metal songs that were not only lyrically influential then, but continue to be just as relevant today.

I guess you never got hold of any of the Metallica guys, since they're not in the book. How come?
We did get ahold of Metallica. I was scheduled to interview James Hetfield, but he ultimately decided it best to leave listeners to their own interpretation of the lyrics, rather than influence them with his own. Unfortunate, yeah, but you've got to respect that level of artistic integrity. Roger agreed with me that Metallica had to be in the book, so what was initially a huge disappointment became a great opportunity to incorporate prominent contemporary metal lyricists who were greatly influenced by Hetfield's lyrics. In terms of the creative process of songwriting, the Metallica chapters ultimately provide a great link between past and present.

How come the song “One” by Metallica didn't make the book? It's about war and it was also a major breakthrough for the band.

We considered it. But metal fans usually take ownership of their favorite bands, and mainstream success sometimes pushes them away, ultimately diminishing the importance of a song or an album to them. Keeping that in mind, we didn't always choose the obvious songs. It wasn't always about the most popular, but rather the ones we felt were extremely influential, in a lyrical sense. We also tried to be conscious of not having multiple songs that addressed similar social concerns. Another criteria was getting different stories that most metal fans hadn't heard before. We had already decided on including “Mandatory Suicide” by Slayer. It also deals with the violent atrocity of war, but unlike “One,” most people are unaware of the inspiration behind it.

What was it like getting Dave Mustaine to pen the foreword?

Like I mentioned before, Dave is a close friend. He's always been recognized as a smart, clever lyricist, so we knew Megadeth would be part of the book. Since Megadeth are such an important part of the development of metal as a genre, I thought he would be the perfect person to write the foreword. Dave and I spoke at great length about what this book would be about, and I'm honored that he agreed to be part of the project!

How did you hook up with Mark Weiss and did he let you use whatever you wanted?

Mark's photos are iconic. A lot of us grew up with posters of his photos on our bedroom walls. Roger had worked with Mark before and was pretty sure he had period shots of every band that would correspond with the timeframe of each song. Mark confirmed that when we first started talking about the possibility of his involvement. Basically, he provided a gallery of photos of each artist that he felt best reflected his work, from which we chose the ones used in the book. Like Dave Mustaine, I'm honored that Mark agreed to be involved.

The cover of the book, was that picture your first choice or did it go through a number of changes?

That photo actually was the first choice, but originally it was cropped to Rob Halford's face. We went through several design changes before deciding on the final layout, but it was always that photo.

Can we expect more books from you, perhaps one with all your favorite interviews in?

Perhaps there might be another book on the horizon, who knows? But right now I'm very excited about this book, and it's very rewarding that it's being received so well.

What would be the easiest way for us over here in Sweden to listen to your show?

My show airs on radio stations all over the United States, most of which also stream online. A full list of stations, and where you can hear them, is listed at FULLMETALJACKIERADIO.com. While you're online, you can also check out Roger's Facebook page at Facebook.com/Roger.Lotring and rogerlotring.blogspot.com.

Any messages for old and new fans of yours?

Yes, a huge thank you! I'm very thankful for my supporters worldwide. I really am just a very passionate fan who is lucky enough to do this as my job. Thanks to everyone who makes it so much fun!

Jackies hemsida för radioshowen

/Niclas Müller-Hansen

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