NOTE: None of the information below should be taken as actual singing advice!
RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
#337: Oh Say Can You Scream
In the 1980’s, screamers were king. Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Brian Johnson, Udo Dirkschneider…all of them were able to scream the high notes, sending chills up and down your spine. We all wanted to be screamers back then! None of my friends were able to croon like Coverdale, so screaming seemed like a viable option. We worked on our screaming voices with practice, practice, practice.
My buddy Bob came up with two ways to practice our scream techniques:
- At home: Go to your bedroom and close the door. Put on AC/DC’s Who Made Who cassette, and grab a pillow. Then, scream along with Johnson directly IN to your pillow. Nobody should be able to hear you! The pillow should muffle your wailing Johnson imitation. You can belt it at top lung power without disturbing mom and dad’s TV shows. Just remember to lift your head from the pillow for breathing! (That part is really important.)
- If out at dusk: Go to your local park. Make sure the coast is clear. Then, just sing and let it out! Bob and I did this one frequently, walking through our local Stanley Park. We serenaded the neighbors with a selection of AC/DC and Iron Maiden.
There were a couple specific Maiden songs that Bob and I really enjoyed screaming along to. One was a classic from Powerslave: “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Such an excellent, challenging choice. We would focus on the line, “Then down in falls comes the raaaaaaaaaaain!” We’d scream that section over and over again until we were satisfied that we had it right.
After a few years, I became quite good at hitting the high notes. I moved on from my screaming by the time I was in University, and focused on the Bee Gees. I knew that screaming Maiden tunes wasn’t a good way to attract female attention. Singing “Stayin’ Alive” note for note though? That may have had potential! (Note: it didn’t.)
Although I can no longer perform the song as I used to, I am proud to say that I used to be able to hit every note in “Stayin’ Alive”. Something to be proud of at Karaoke.