Teenage Picks: Shaun Neary
In the first of several pieces from the team here at Pure Rawk, we will be looking back at ten albums each we remember from our teenage years. They’re a formative time for every aspect of a young person’s life, and none more so than in music! First in the hot seat is our photo editor, Shaun Neary. His teen years spanned from 1989-1995 (but he’ll tell you he hasn’t reached 30, despite the fact that he’ll never see 30 again!).
Pantera – “Cowboys From Hell” (1990)
It is often overlooked for it’s successor, Vulgar Display Of Power, but Cowboys From Hell got played to death on several long walks into town, and I always felt it was a better all rounder album than Vulgar was. Phil’s screech on Cowboys may get on some peoples nerves seeing as he found his growl two years later, but Rex Browns bass on this album is a thing of beauty, and it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t get heard as much on subsequent albums. I also still have visions of being battered and bruised in mosh pits whenever Heresy or The Art Of Shredding gets played.
Ministry – “Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed and The Way To Suck Eggs” (1992)
If it hadn’t been for the albums opener and subsequent riff to N.W.O, this one probably would have lost out to it’s predecessor, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. A lot of people I hung out with when I was 16 years old didn’t really get the whole industrial scene, so this was an album you either got, or you didn’t get. If N.W.O wasn’t enough, you have a stomper with Just One Fix, and then there’s Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes contribution to Jesus Built My Hotrod. Really, what’s not to love?
Guns N Roses – “Appetite For Destruction” (1987)
For a generation, this is pretty much an album fashion statement, but for the generation that came before that one, this was a huge deal. By 1988, I don’t think anyone knew someone who didn’t have their hands on a copy of this. It’s Appetite For Destruction, it’s a timeless classic, and it was the one album every teenager in the late 80s asked for Christmas just to spite their parents by blasting You’re Crazy at high volume.
It turns 30 later in the year and it still holds up as well today as it did then. I’m just thankful I don’t have kids today to wake me up with it at 8am in the morning!
Metallica – “Master Of Puppets” (1986)
Oh come on, it’s Puppets! Before 1991, this was the holy grail of Metallica. Many people still consider it to be, and rightly so. It’s title track has been sampled and covered live to death, but it also gives us Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Battery and the awesome Orion. Dream Theater have covered the entire album live, which is also well worth checking out if you haven’t already heard it. It’s one of the first albums I ever purchased, and still own a copy to this very day, and you should too.
Megadeth – “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?” (1986)
This was another one that opened the door to metal for me at 13, while I was still trying to grow my hair and seeing if I could stretch it enough to get the ends of it into my mouth (oh don’t laugh, you were guilty of that too!). The final album that featured the original line-up of Mustaine/Ellefson/Poland/Samuelson, and it’s a belter which opens up with Wake Up Dead (which still features as a live staple).
Peace Sells got another revival with an opportunity to perform drive-bys in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It also features a hilarious cover of the Willie Dixon penned, Howlin’ Wolf blues classic I Ain’t Superstitious, which sounds like it’s going to be a train wreck towards the end, but it will always leave you with a smile on your face.
Kreator – “Coma Of Souls” (1990)
A perfect link in from Peace Sells, as Randy Burns was involved with the engineering and production of Megadeth’s classic as well as Coma Of Souls. This one surprises a lot of people, when I mention it as they expect to hear me drop Extreme Aggression which came out the previous year. Coma may have been somewhat of a rushed effort, but Terror Zone by itself is much like AC/DC’s Big Balls… only it has bigger balls. And then you’ve got People Of The Lie which speaks for itself. It was very much a favourite from the folks at MTV playlisting it for Headbangers Ball.
Extreme Aggression had some very big shoes to fill, and Coma Of Souls never really got the love it really deserved. It’s worth another shot.
Fields Of The Nephilim – “Elizium” (1990)
Probably the band’s darkest album at the time (some would say it probably still is), but this one was used most often used for coming back from a night out and chilling out. Dead But Dreaming and For Her Light make for the perfect album opener, and if you can’t chill to At The Gates Of Silent Memory, there is very little else that I could possibly recommend to help your condition.
After that, the rest just falls into place. It’s 27 years old in September and it hasn’t aged a day. They played it live very recently at last years Summer Solstice show too. It’s one of those goth albums that has something for everyone and is a real crowdpleaser.
Sepultura – “Beneath The Remains” (1988)
My introduction to Sepultura when I was 13 years old and this one surprises a lot of people, but I prefer this over Arise. While Scott Burns did a phenomenal job on both albums, Beneath The Remains always felt grittier when compared to Schizophrenia, which has aged horribly. Inner Self, Slaves Of Pain and Mass Hypnosis are the obvious standout tracks, but if the likes of Sarcastic Existance and Primitive Future fall short, it isn’t by much.
Prior to Chaos A.D, Arise was considered the bands magnum opus, leaving Beneath The Remains somewhat out in the cold. It’s definitely worth revisiting to hear what the band had to offer before overcooking and overproduction got in the way. You might surprise yourself.
Bon Jovi – “Slippery When Wet” (1986)
In 2017, it’s easy to sit back and joke about the poodle perms and the spandex, but long before Muse were flying drones around (and crashing them into the crowd), and long before U2 were bringing giant silver lemons on stage, Bon Jovi were at the point of strapping on body harnesses and using wires that were barely visible to fly over their audiences. When you’re seeing that as a kid on TV between 86-89, it’s one of the coolest spectacles you’re witnessing, and back then music videos sold, and sold fast.
Slippery When Wet still has some of the best examples of Richie Sambora’s guitar work, (Raise Your Hands being a prime example) some of which he’s failed to top since. And that was over thirty years ago! Between his guitar techniques, and some of the stuff the band did on the tour, it was definitely more ahead of it’s time than it’s given credit for.
Tin Machine – “Tin Machine II” (1991)
Yes, Bowie! Seriously! I grew up listening to a lot of Bowie on the radio as a kid, but the 80s were not kind to his career, and if I had to listen to Let’s Dance or Absolute Beginners one more time, I was ready to impale my brain with one of my mother’s knitting needles. Tin Machine gets crapped on a lot, but if Bowie hadn’t done it in 1989, his career was finished and he would have been relegated to a nostalgia act. Don’t gasp, everyone knew it, even Bowie himself.
The first Tin Machine album got panned by the critics, leaving a lot of people squirming at the thought of wanting to touch the second. Baby Universal kicked off the album with a bang, and it was a sound Bowie really needed to tap into in order kick start him into the 90s where a lot of bands from previous eras were fading into obscurity. A good few overlooked gems like You Belong In Rock n’ Roll, Shopping For Girls and Goodbye Mr. Ed definitely bolster it over the original. You’ll still hear elements of this album in Bowie’s subsequent albums, Black Tie, White Noise and Outside, probably due to Bowie taking Reeves Gabrels with him after he disbanded Tin Machine.
Looking back at these albums, there were some cases that I didn’t exactly opt for classics. That’s too easy. But many of these were great overlooked records. These ten still get played on a regular basis, either on my way to a venue before a show, or in the production room working on photos afterwards. I’ll still use all of the above albums to introduce anyone to the music of those ten bands, although some of them are well known. If you haven’t checked these out in a while, give them another go. Or if you’re new to any of the bands on this list, go hunt down a copy and give them a couple of listens. It would be one of the best history lessons you could treat yourself to.