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Featuring Howard ‘H’ Smith and Pete Dee from Acid Reign

First gig

H: Marillion, Fugazi Tour Leeds University, Saturday 11 February, 1984. Amazing sweat box show blew me away. Immediately bought tickets for their Sheffield City Hall gig and that was totally different (full stage show) but equally brilliant for totally different reasons.  I’ve been ripping off Fish ever since.

Pete: Marillion at Hammersmith Odeon, 9 March, 1984. I was a thirteen-year-old Marillion fan and dreamed of seeing them live, but when a friend of the family said he was going and subsequently managed to clear it with my parents for me to come along, I was on Cloud Nine. An amazing experience despite having pretty much back row tickets as they were bought at the last minute. I still have the t-shirt and tour programme I bought on the night!

Most recent gig

H: The Bay Area Strikes Back [Testament, Exodus and Death Angel]. I got to meet up with very good friend Gene Hoglan and have a good old catch up for my podcast (‘Talking Bollocks’, go find it!). I even got a chance to catch up with Mark from Death Angel and Gary and Zetro too, so many ex-touring buddies on one tour. For many that will be the last gig they could get to, so it was fitting that it was fucking great!

Pete: Testament, Exodus and Death Angel at Kentish Town Forum, 6 March 2020.

Best gig

H: I can genuinely make a case for a number of shows here, there are SO MANY! Real blow-you-away moments tend to happen when you are younger and less jaded, but then again when you have those moments as an adult it’s an amazing experience too. I’m pleading the Fifth here as I cannot name them, BUT Marillion as my first two ever shows would be in there.

Pete: The best one in recent memory has to be King Crimson at the Royal Albert Hall last year. I was absolutely spellbound for three hours, as the level of musicianship was jaw-dropping. The best one from back in the day was Venom, Exodus and Chariot at Hammersmith Odeon in 1985. Honourable mentions also to Possessed, Voivod  and English Dogs in Camden, November 1986, and Cardiacs’ three-night stint at the Camden Falcon in 1999.

Loudest gig

H: Anthrax – A Night At The Madhouse, Hammersmith Odeon, the night before ‘I Am The Law’ was released. Also notable as it was my first ever guest list courtesy of my cousin who worked at Island Records. Idiotically loud.

Pete: Nitzer Ebb, Holloway Rocket, 1992. There was a gigantic PA system crammed into an unsuitable hall and maxed out to the red. Several people were getting stomach cramps and even being sick from all the stray bass, and it was getting hard to hear what song they were actually playing. The PA straps broke loose at one point and the speakers were rocking from side to side with the top cabinets slowly sliding off. It was louder than any Motörhead, Swans or My Bloody Valentine gig I’ve been to.

Favourite band

H: Marillion, Metallica, Slayer, Voivod, Descendents, Suzanne Vega, Eminem, Vio-Lence, Iron Maiden, The Beyond, Mastodon, Rammstein, Rush, Wehrmacht and many, many more.

Pete: Cardiacs. Also Voivod, Kiss, Dead Kennedys, Hawkwind, Crass, Kraftwerk, Genesis

Band you’ve seen the most times

H: Easy – Slayer by an absolute mile, from the ‘Reign In Blood’ tour through to the last tour. With their retirement thrash is missing one of the greatest of all time. Walking away from that show at Wembley felt like leaving a mass wake. A real sense of loss.

Pete: Cardiacs, 117 times.

First LP

H: Black Sabbath – ‘Greatest Hits’, bought using Strongbow cider bottle tops that you could send away and receive a record token. How metal is that!

Pete: The first proper LP that I wanted to buy was Adam And The Ants’ ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’, and I eventually got it for Xmas from my Nan in 1980. It is still one of my all-time favourite albums. The first metal album I bought was Motörhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ a couple of years later.

The gig you wish you’d been at

H: Clash Of The Titans. I set off with my best mate in his new (to him) car and we made it about five miles before the head gasket blew.

Pete: Venom, Slayer and Exodus at Studio 54, New York, April 1985 – the one that was filmed for ‘The Ultimate Revenge’ video); Yes and Gryphon at QPR in 1975, and any gig on Kiss’s first UK tour in May 1976.

The song you wish you’d written

H: Descendents – ‘Clean Sheets’. It’s perfect.

Pete: ‘Raining Blood’. What other tune in history is so recognisable from just three tom hits? Then comes THAT riff. It isn’t my favourite song, or favourite band, by a long shot, but it is absolute bloody perfection in metal songwriting.