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Martin Popoff Interview


What reviews have you received the most criticism for so far, both for rating something too high and too low?
The Def Leppard, I get grief. Triumph. Not much for too high. I suppose pet bands like Love/Hate and recent… Fozzy. Brilliant stuff, both.

Chad Bowar: With hundreds of reviews in the book there were bound to be a few I disagreed with. If you would, please briefly explain why you're right and I'm wrong.
Danger Danger - Danger Danger Rating: 0
Chad says: They may have been wussies, but "Bang Bang" was a damn catchy song.
Martin Popoff responds: It was a sort of temporal reaction to all things too glossy, derivative, manufactured. I loved grunge and still rate the big four as four of my favourite bands of all time. At the time I was glad to see hair metal go. Now I go back and totally appreciate the expense that went into those records. Almost like looking under the hood of a hot car.

Budgie - Deliver Us From Evil Rating: 10
Chad says: It was good, but not great, I'd give it maybe a 6.
Martin responds: Yeah, maybe I was biased on that. It was a personal sentimental fave. Great time in my life. Loved the variety, the pop, the occasional crunchy bits. I've been a new release-buying Budgie fan since ’75.

Death - Scream Bloody Gorej Rating: 4
Chad says: Hugely influential album, worth at least a 7 or 8.
Martin responds: This demonstrates a huge problem with doing a book like that, where one idiot writes them. Just never a big death metal fan, so, I screw up, although I really tried to step back and look at historical importance of a band in the ‘80s book when I was sort of on the sidelines.

Def Leppard - Hysteria Rating: 0
Chad says: There's no way this is worse than any Stryper album, which you rated 3's and 4's.
Martin responds: Just awful production, lyrics, singing, clichés of every musical and lyrical sort. Very dumb, housewifey music. It’s almost like leave this to an LA band. Perhaps guys with their pedigree can’t even do this properly.

Fastway - Fastway Rating: 10
Chad says: They were a Led Zeppelin ripoff band, this was worth maybe a 6.

Martin responds: Nah, everybody thinks this is a classic. Very lively, great songs, raucous, variety, star power stadium sound.

Joe Satriani - Surfing With The Alien Rating: 5
Chad says: One of the best instrumental albums ever. Even if you deduct points for no vocals it's at least an 8.
Martin responds: I just don’t care. Plus I’ve heard so many guitarist rock stars tell me on the sly that Satch is pretty over-rated, not much of a personal style, not even very musical. I’m starting to believe them!

This was your fourth book to be published in 2005. Give us a rundown of the other three and the response to them so far.
Well, the "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Singles" was to be shelved (a much better NWOBHM book had just come out as I was working on it), but some buddies wanted it, and they had never made a book before. So I finished the 10% left to do, made it different than Malc’s classic by adding lots of pictures, prices, catalogue numbers etc., and let ‘er rip. People seem to have liked it and I’ve sold more than I thought I would. Other two must have been the UFO and Rainbow bios and folks have totally dug these. Both are album by album analyses rather than true bios, with lots of commentary from the artists. OK, they are close to normal bios. But we look at every song, lots of trivia. Coolest comment I get is that people are re-buying all these great records and appreciating them all over again, playing them while they read that chapter etc.

When can we expect "Volume 3: The Nineties"?
I have to let the publisher known by Jan. 18th whether they are getting it in 1 month or in 15 months. Not sure. ‘80s was more work than I’ve done on a book since the original ’97 volume. ‘90s will be as much if not more. ’97 had 3700 reviews. ‘70s from ’03 had 1400, ‘80s had 2528, so already I’m over the ’97. ‘90s will have easily 2500 reviews again.

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