The Complete Priest Directory

Let this directory be your Point of Entry to the mighty Judas Priest discography!  Complete reviews below, in chronological order.


Live Stream – The Complete Judas Priest and more – Friday April 10

A one-hour look at every major official Judas Priest album.  A Facebook stunt gone awry.  A killer rare box set.  All here in a 90 minute live stream.

NOTE: I have briefly censored an accidental half moon. I apologize to those who had to witness it.

Just Listening to…all the Rush

I had already started a Rush marathon just hours before the news hit that Neil Peart had passed away from brain cancer.  Why did I choose Rush at that exact moment?  It’s not proof, but it’s certainly makes me wonder about premonitions.

I’ve been on a Rush binge ever since.  I have been listening to nothing but Rush with only two exceptions.  I listened to one album by another artist that I wanted to review, and I listened to something else (Hollywood Vampires) in the car.  I didn’t have any Rush on the car flash drive.

In that time (a week) I’ve listened to every Rush studio album, some of them more than once.  (Even the early Rush without Neil.)  When I cycled through all the studio stuff I moved onto live albums, which I am still enjoying.  The first four Rush live albums (All the World’s a Stage, Exit…Stage Left, A Show of Hands, and Different Stages) really form a cohesive story.  You can listen and hear the band grow, evolve, change, and adapt.

Most of the live albums past that point weren’t on my computer yet (something I am remedying now) but I still had plenty more live stuff to enjoy from a variety of sources.  A Farewell to Kings has two discs worth of live Rush added.  (I have the deluxe Hemispheres with another live album coming in the mail.)  There is also Grace Under Pressure Live from the Rush Replay X3 box set.  A live bootleg called Red Stars of the Solar Federation from 1981.  A couple radio broadcasts from 1974 and 1975.

What I’ve gained from all this Rush immersion is not only new appreciation, but old memories re-emerging.  Although 70s Rush is absolutely essential music, it was 80s Rush that hooked me in and still thrills me today.  Albums like Moving Pictures and Signals were played multiple times during my marathon.  Hold Your Fire and Grace Under Pressure were enjoyed more than once.  I grew up in the 80s when Rush were in constant rotation on MuchMusic.  Songs like “Subdivisions”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Distant Early Warning”, “Lock and Key”, and “Time Stand Still”.  Although not an 80s album, Counterparts is very special to me as well.  It was my first Rush studio album.  I think it’s magnificent and contains many triumphs within.  It’s the culmination of all the evolution that happened from Presto onwards.  Its followup, Test for Echo, unfortunately remains a low point in the discography.  I remember feeling the same in 1996 when it came it.  It just wouldn’t click with me and still won’t.

As brilliant Neil Peart was, my appreciation is balanced.  It’s about Rush.  The lyrics would not have the same impact without the voice.  The voice would be naked and bare without the guitar.  All three guys stand out when you listen to all the Rush like this.  There are spotlight moments for Neil, Geddy and Alex as individuals but that’s not what this marathon reinforces.  Rush is a band — an exceptionally great band, where the players can shine more than other bands because there are only three of them.

Only three dudes?  I know, even this guy can’t believe it!

“There’s no way!  There’s no way this is three dudes!”

I have plenty more live Rush albums to spin, so the marathon carries on. I’m grateful we have so much Rush. Some bands don’t deserve to release so many live albums and box sets. Rush do. They’re allowed for two reasons. One is a rich history with many nooks and crannies to explore. The other is sheer quality. They never put out something they weren’t proud of.

Thank you for the music — I ain’t finished yet!

#359: Autodidacticism


Me after my first week or two at my current job in 2007.  Iron Maiden shirt!

#359: Autodidacticism

I was very excited to begin my current job, back in 2007.  I was hired as sales coordinator for the “custom forming” department at a steel company.  I would mostly be dealing in railcar parts (weighing anywhere from 4 lbs to 3000 lbs each) and shipping them all over North America (and once even Dubai).  It wasn’t all new to me, but a lot of it was going to be.  I was replacing someone on a maternity leave, before I was hired on permanent in 2008.  She was absolutely meticulous and had a real talent with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.  I was inheriting all this and I hadn’t much experience with Excel.  I used it at home for budgets and whatnot, but upon seeing my predecessor’s work, I realized I knew relatively very little about it in reality.  I had to self educate very quickly.

What does this have to do with rock and roll? asks the bored reader.  I’m getting there!

I learn by doing, so I sat down with Excel for a few nights to get myself up to speed.  I began making some spreadsheets and familiarizing myself with the software…I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to make a spreadsheet of!  Then it hit me: let’s make it fun.  Let’s chart all the different official Kiss albums!

It actually ended up being a lot more fun than you might think!  I added an on-the-fly (but somewhat arbitrary) album rating system and then calculated the mean and median ratings.  I added up studio vs. live. vs compilation albums and made a pie chart of them.  I made it look as visually appealing as I could.  In my job I would be creating spreadsheets that went to VP’s and the president of the company, so I wanted everything to look perfect.   And it was fun to do.  This is obvious, because looking at it today, I even kept updating it into 2008, a full year after I made it!

My final observation is that when I abandoned this spreadsheet in 2008, I apparently hadn’t yet learned that the Kiss Alive! 1975-2000 box set had an iTunes bonus track, because that information is omitted here.

Yeah, I’m a nerd!  Always have been, and hopefully always will be!