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Fun Cards: 1974 Topps Judas Priest “Rookie Rockers”

1974 Topps Judas Priest

The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced, and heavy metal icons Judas Priest appear for the second time. They were previously nominated in 2018.

The other nominees are Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T.Rex, and Thin Lizzy. Fans can vote via Google…just type in “Rock Hall” or one of the nominees, and the ballot appears. You can select up to five nominees.

I expect NIN and B.I.G. to get in, and probably Soundgarden. Past that, it’s a toss-up. I would love to see Priest and Motörhead make it in, but the Hall is notoriously anti-metal.

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Goodbye, Ric Ocasek

(March 23, 1949 – September 15, 2019)

Ric Ocasek

The Cars frontman and producer extraordinaire Ric Ocasek was found unresponsive in his Manhatten townhouse today. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death has not been released.

Goodbye, Eddie Money

(March 21, 1949 – September 13, 2019)

Eddie Money 1977 Topps

Eddie Money passed away this morning from complications from a recent heart valve replacement. He was 70 years old. Born Edward Joseph Mahoney, the singer’s double platinum debut album in 1977 contained one of his most enduring hits, “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Other hits include “Baby Hold On,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” and “I Wanna Go Back.”

Fun Cards: 1983 Topps Phil Collen & 1993 Topps Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard)

Phil Collen

Guitarist Pete Willis was fired by Def Leppard during the recording of Pyromania. He was replaced by Phil Collen, whose band Girl with Phil Lewis (who later joined L.A. Guns) never quite caught on in the United States.

Vivian Campbell

Following Steve Clark’s death in 1991, the band forged on with only Collen playing guitar on 1992’s Adrenalize. Vivian Campbell, formerly of Dio, was soon hired to fill the missing guitar seat. His recording debut with Def Leppard came on 1993’s RetroActive.

Fun Cards: 1980 Topps Def Leppard (Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, Rick Allen, Rick Savage, Pete Willis)

Joe Elliott

Def Leppard‘s first full-length album, On Through The Night, was released in 1980, and featured one of my favorite Lep songs, “Rock Brigade.” The album reached No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 51 on the Billboard 200.

Pete Willis

Def Leppard was one of the first bands to break through the resistance against “hair metal” on classic rock radio stations. “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and “Foolin'” were just too good to ignore, despite the amount of Aqua Net used by the band.

Rick Allen

Def Leppard still tours frequently and will be hitting the road with arena rock legends Journey next week.

Rick Savage

Their catalog is deep, but I’m not much of a fan of their work past 1987’s Hysteria, the last album recorded with the late Steve Clark.

Steve Clark

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Marq Torien and Mick Sweda (BulletBoys)

Continuing the hair metal love…

I just found out the BulletBoys will be playing in Cincinnati this weekend, so I thought I would whip up a couple of music “fun cards”…

Marq Torien

Marq Torien is the original vocalist and only remaining original member in the current lineup. The band has changed its sound on several occasions, but the hair metal heritage is strong on the 1988 debut album. The big songs are “Smooth Up In Ya” (US Hot 100 #71, US Mainstream Rock #23) and the cover “For the Love of Money” (US Hot 100 #78, US Mainstream Rock #38).

Mick Sweda

Mick Sweda is no longer with the band, but his guitar skills played a major role in the band’s early success. The BulletBoys’ cover of Tom Waits‘ “Hang On St. Christopher” on the second album, Freakshow, is out of this world.

The band’s third album, Za-Za, was their last for Warner Bros. Records, and the last appearance of Mick Sweda with the group.

The current lineup of the BulletBoys (Torien, Nick Rozz, Chad MacDonald, and Anthony “Tiny” Biuso), along with openers Enuff Z’nuff and a ton of local groups, will be performing at The Venue Saturday night. Click here to buy tickets!

Click here to buy the latest BulletBoys album, From Out of the Skies.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps Winger (Kip Winger, Reb Beach, Paul Taylor, Rod Morgenstein)

I don’t care what Mike Judge says, WINGER IS AWESOME. The musicianship in this band is top-notch, and much more complex than most of their hair metal comrades. Like several other popular ’80s bands, Winger reunited several years ago and has been releasing some stellar material.

Kip Winger

Kip Winger has a fantastic voice and is not only a proficient bassist, but also a composer of classical music. He was even nominated for a Grammy in 2017 for his Conversations with Nijinsky. Add to that his pre-Winger work with Alice Cooper, and you’ve sold me on his awesomeness.

Reb Beach

Reb Beach may not have the classical chops, but this dude can absolutely shred. In addition to Winger, he has recorded with Dokken and Whitesnake, and has appeared on Twisted Sister, Bee Gees, and Chaka Khan albums.

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor made his recording debut with Alice Cooper the year before Winger‘s debut was released.

Rod Morgentstein

Rod Morgenstein brought a progressive music slant to Winger as a former member of jazz fusion group Dixie Dregs.

Twitter linkage:
Follow Winger at @wingertheband
Vocalist/Bassist Kip Winger at @kipwinger
Guitarist Reb Beach at @RealRebBeach
Drummer Rod Morgenstein at @RodMorgenstein

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Trixter “Record Makers” & Steve Brown

Combining my love for baseball cards and hair metal music…

Trixter

Trixter is one of those oft-forgotten hair metal bands. Their debut album was not released until 1990, in the waning hours of the genre’s supremacy on MTV and FM airwaves. The group experienced moderate success with the debut single, “Give It To Me Good,” peaking at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. The next two songs, “Surrender” and “One In A Million,” did not perform quite as well.

The band recorded “One Mo’ Time” for the 1991 Richard Greco film, If Looks Could Kill. Trixter’s self-titled debut went Gold, but 1992’s Hear! stalled at around 100,000 copies and the group was dropped from MCA.

Steve Brown Trixter

Guitarist Steve Brown was your typical ’80s hard rock guitarist with some killer riffs and fancy fretwork, but he didn’t really stand out above the crowd. Even if he did, though, the musical landscape changed and nearly everyone who could shred became a pariah.

Trixter recorded one more studio album in the 1990s, Undercovers, on the independent label Backstreet Records, then went silent…until 2008. The band reunited, went on tour, and in 2012 Frontiers Records released the first new studio material from Trixter—New Audio Machine—in nearly two decades. Another album, Human Era, came in 2015.

I’m not sure if Trixter is still together; their website has no information whatsoever and the full band has not performed together since March of last year. Guitarist Steve and bassist PJ Farley are members of Eric Martin’s (the voice of Mr. Big) touring band.

You can follow Trixter on Twitter:
Trixter at @trixterrocks
Vocalist Pete Loran at @PeteLoran
Guitarist Steve Brown at @STEVEBROWNROCKS
Bass guitarist PJ Farley at @Pjfarley1
Drummer Mark Gus Scott at @MarkGusScott

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Ric Ocasek of The Cars (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Ric Ocasek the Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Growing up in the heyday of MTV videos, I always considered Ric Ocasek as the leader and most important member of The Cars. “You Might Think” was one of my favorite videos, with his goofy mug floating all over the place. I had no idea what an important part all the others played until much later. Still today, though, I can’t help but think of Ocasek more than any other member when I think of the band.

Purchase The Cars, The Elektra Years, 1978-1987.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps The Cars “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

The Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Cars’ self-titled debut album dropped in 1978 and charted the hits “Just What I Need,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Good Times Roll.” Also appearing on the album are “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” For a debut album especially, it’s pretty fantastic.

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Saturday night, an honor that was many years overdue. The surviving members reunited to perform at the ceremony and were joined by Weezer‘s Scott Shriner on bass. The group closed their set with “Just What I Needed,” originally sung by the late Benjamin Orr.

Purchase The Cars, Complete Greatest Hits.

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