Music exploding off the vinyl
Needle bouncing in a track
Thrash metal loud and mean
Listen to the vocal screams
Heavy Metal M.S. 1990
I walked out of Metal For Metal Hearts with two large, black, plastic bags with the store’s logo emblazoned on the sides and they were both laden with vinyl LP’s. I hadn’t ever walked out of a single shop with such a large purchase in my life. They were weighty and because of that the plastic cut into my fingers because of that weight but the excitement of owning such records outweighed anything that was in the bags.
There was bands with names such as Iron Maiden, Armoured Saint, Megadeth, Overkill, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Dark Angel and Helloween, all with wildly drawn and stunning logos that announced their names. There was albums with such wild, bordering on ludicrous titles as, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good, Hell Awaits, Infernal Overkill, Possessed, Speak English Or Die and even Live After Death. And according to their genre labels from where I selected each album there was everything from something called the NWOBHM, (which stood for the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal), to thrash metal, to death metal to hardcore thrash metal. Honestly if I hadn’t seen it for myself I’d have never thought there was such diversity in heavy metal, and back in 1986 when I was getting into it the main genre was only in its infancy.
“So, are you happy with all your purchases?” Steve asked me as we walked up Flinders Street towards the tram stop we needed in order to get our butts back to the St Kilda.
We had to step around people, most were caught up in their own hustle and bustle of getting to work, some were a bit rude in the way they barged themselves to where they wanted to be and others seemed to be robots in the way they moved.
“Yes.” I replied as I felt someone’s arm slam into me, twisting me slightly and slowing me down but not stopping me. “I haven’t even heard of some of these bands, but I’m sure I’ll like them!”
“How did you decided what was worth buying?” Steve said as he dropped his shoulder and let someone coming in the opposite direction, and in more of a hurry than we were, thud into it.
His action of dropping the shoulder was a move often practised by footballers, a sport I didn’t follow, it was a way of strengthening your own base and giving the other person something harder to ram into. With your own bit of force delivered at just the right time it was also a manoeuvre that could often see the unsuspecting person silly enough to ram into you, shunted further and harder than they intended to happen to you. It’s an effective move well used in crowded areas and something that would come in handy in my later life.
“Some of the songs I heard last night, others I just bought because I thought the covers looked cool.” I said to Steve as we crossed the road, at the order of the little green man, and headed to the tram stop located in the middle of the road.
On the tram ride back to the St Kilda I asked Steve how he knew the guy from the record shop. He happily told me that they’d known each other for years and that Sam had actually grown up in Adelaide for the majority of his teenage years before moving to Melbourne. His move to Melbourne had been because he’d heard the music scene was so much stronger and had more to offer him a budding musician. They’d never lost touch and as Sam found he needed a job, rather that just playing his guitar, he saw the emerging heavy metal scene and decided to open the store and make the most of it.
When we got back to the truck there was no ticket from the grey ghosts, although we knew they were in the area, and no one was awake. Steve fixed the sleeping issue by banging loudly on the tin panels of the truck doors, we were then greeted with several angry crew, two of which I’m sure were not sure where they were waking up. They were just as angry when Steve told them it was time for them to get moving so that we could be on the road home. Given Steve was going to be driving the first stint and I don’t think any of the men had strenuous beauty regimes to start each morning with I couldn’t understand their grumpiness, but then I’d been up all night so what did I know.
I slept on and off for the fourteen hour trip back to Adelaide, it was a trip slowed down by having to make regular stops and the slower speed of the truck. My sleep wasn’t the most comfortable sleep but since I was too young to drive it wasn’t like I could do much else. There was the occasional chatter about the albums I’d bought as I showed them around but most of it was negative chatter because unlike Steve who could accept someone liking something he didn’t, Frank and Lenny were incapable of not making derogatory comments.
After multiple stops and more than half a day on the road we arrived at home just after 2am, actually earlier than we’d be arriving home if we’d been working locally. But if I reckoned the reception we’d gotten earlier in the day as we woke the crew in the truck was frosty I was sadly mistaken because it was nothing even close to the frosty reception I received when I walked in the bedroom back at Steve’s place.
Was I naive? Was it because at sixteen and despite how much growing up I’d done in the months since leaving home I was still not educated enough to understand women? Was it because I’d done something wrong? Or was it nothing to do with me?