Fireworks

Dave Crompton

Fireworks & Rocktopia Assistant Editor
Dave Crompton
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I suppose my first foray into the world of adult music came when I first heard the unmistakeable tones of Marc Bolan and Tyrannosaurus Rex back in the very early 1970’s – I was 12 at the time, an only son with two elder sisters, living in Bolton, Lancashire. Whilst my parents listened to Burt Bacharach and big band music, and my sisters were spinning 45’s of the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, The Searchers, The Hollies et al, I was up in my bedroom trying to get a decent signal in order to receive Radio Luxembourg. Hearing Marc’s vocals and especially his poetic, mystical lyrics filled me with wonderment – It also gave me an unbelievable sense of escapism, which allowed me to abscond from the humdrum of family life. Late at night, every night, as I pressed my ear to the transistor radio my sense of escapism increased with each rise and fall of Luxembourg’s spasmodic signals.

Of course, Tyrannosaurus Rex became T Rex, and Glam Rock was born!! For several, happy years I lived and breathed: T Rex, Bowie, Slade, Sweet, Suzi Quatro, Cockney Rebel, Roxy Music ... and any other artist that emerged under the Glam Rock banner. It wasn’t long though before I found myself wanting more ... something a little different, and heavier. Roxy Music’s self-titled debut album had already shown me that music could be taken in many different directions whilst still maintaining the melody that I now loved. I was now on a mission!! Every Saturday morning, myself and a schoolmate used to go down town and marvel at all the weird and wonderful album covers – We rarely asked the shop assistant if we could listen to a song or an album; but we did eventually buy an album every week based on the cover alone. I will always remember being drawn to Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, Hawkwind’s ‘In Search Of Space’ and Kiss’s ‘Destroyer’ (an album which was to change my musical landscape forever).

In 1974 I really did escape family life. Don’t ask me the reasons why, because I still don’t know to this day, but on the 5th September I joined the Army, where I spent the next 18 years of my life. My love of Rock music remained, and became an indispensable companion through both the good and the bad times. By now I had also become drawn to several Prog bands of the day; Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd mesmerised me with their lengthy songs and off-the-wall lyrics. I was still stationed in the UK in 1977, and therefore still able to visit record stores on my weekends off. It was on one of those weekends off that I spotted The Stranglers’ ‘Rattus Norvegicus’ album; the name of the band and album title gave me no alternative but to buy it; its aggressive riffs and dark, daring lyrics not only surprised me, but hooked me – Punk Rock quickly became another genre to my bow, so to speak. However, it wasn’t long until the inevitable posting to Germany arrived. A combination of military life abroad (including countless exercises) and a fledgling married life meant that music began to take a backseat. It wasn’t helped either by living and working in Germany, as my weekly trips to the record stores were replaced by Saturday morning shopping trips to our local NAAFI. Of course, my first port of call was the CD section, but all that the NAAFI had to offer were mainstream albums by: Madonna, Wet Wet Wet, Paul McCartney, The Bangles etc etc. The 80’s had well and truly arrived, and apart from a couple of Heart albums that the NAAFI dared to sell I was deprived of that golden age of Melodic Rock/AOR that folks back home were relishing. My knowledge of what was hot and what was not deserted me.

I left the Army as a Sergeant in 1992, shortly after the first Gulf War, but the change back to civilian life proved more dramatic than I could have ever imagined ... and for the following four years I suffered and fought chronic alcoholism. It wasn’t until August 1996 that I finally broke free of the clutches of the demon drink!!! As you can appreciate, or maybe you can’t, during those 4 years I lost all sense of purpose; I also lost my home, my family, my job …… and my music!! Within a week or two of sobriety I began to slowly get my life back. I was in contact again with my children; I was doing a Counselling course at College; I had a council house to live in, and, after a tentative visit to my local record store in Bolton ( X Records ) I was about to listen to my beloved music again !! But what to listen to ? I had been ill for so long I just didn’t know which bands were still alive and kicking!! I said to the guy in X Records in Bolton, ‘ I love my Rock music with melody, interesting lyrics, power and great vocals.’ ‘Here, try this,‘ the guy said, passing me a CD. I trusted his judgement and bought it, despite never having heard of the band !! Who was the band ? What was the album ? I hear you asking – Well, the band was TEN, and the album was ‘Name Of The Rose’.

From the moment I pressed play I was totally blown away!!! The album was, and still is unbelievable to my ears – the vocals, power, melody and lyrics were everything I could wish for. Within a few months I had bought everything that Ten had to offer, including solo albums from Gary Hughes. In addition, and thanks initially to Now & Then Records and attending The Gods’ Festival and subsequently Firefest, I began catching up on all the music I had missed out on: Gotthard, Pink Cream 69, Danger Danger, Theshold, Kamelot ..... the list is endless!! However, even though I listen to (and buy) hundreds of albums/artists, I can honestly say there have only ever been 3 Artists/bands that have significantly shaped my life: Marc Bolan, Kiss …. and Ten – The three of them have, between them, fed me poetry, theatrics and melody of the highest order, and I am forever grateful to them!!!

My road to recovery was almost complete in 2002 when I achieved a 2:1 Degree in English Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Bolton, and my job in the library there soon followed. In 2008 it was complete, as I married my childhood sweetheart, Mrs C. Since witnessing Ten’s comeback, (after a five year hiatus), on November 5th, 2011 at Fleetwoodstock my passion for music has never been as strong as it is now. I discover new bands (and old bands) on a daily basis; I have met, and continue to meet so many wonderful people, at gigs or via Facebook, that I hope I can now call ‘true friends’; and the cherry on top of the cake was being invited by Paul Jerome Smith to write for Fireworks. It is a huge honour, thank you!! I am the wrong side of 55, and I have never been so happy as I am now – Mrs C has been amazing in putting up with my musical obsession (and accompanying me to gigs), and my daughters, Gemma and Joanne, appear to tolerate my second childhood too – Never say goodbye !!

DAVE CROMPTON

Dave’s TOP 5 BANDS:

1. Ten
2. T Rex
3. Kiss
4. Black Sabbath
5. Gotthard

Dave’s TOP 5 ALBUMS:

1. T Rex – The Slider
2. Ten – Name Of The Rose
3. Kiss – Destroyer
4. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
5. Strawbs – Hero & Heroine

Dave’s TOP 5 SONGS:

1. Ten – Name Of The Rose
2. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird
3. Carpenters – Goodbye To Love
4. Hawkwind – Master Of The Universe
5. Black Sabbath – War Pigs

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Latest Message: 1 week, 1 day ago
  • Berny : @zom414: Fireworks Magazine #89 will be available at selected UK based newsagents on December 16th. The digital version can already be purchased in our Download Store.
  • zom414 : When's the next mag due for release?
  • Berny : @el nowy: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. Pls. check your mail!
  • el nowy : Hi, how long does it take for my download license to be available? I purchased it 3 days ago. Thanks!
  • Rocktopia Te : @l.thijs: Apologies for the delay, your digital copy can now be downloaded from your "My Downloads" section.
  • l.thijs : Hi Fireworks Magazine. I made a purchase on 10 nov and I paid by Paypall. I bought the #85 fireworks mag download for GBP3,50. But I didn,t receive anything. Please can you find out what's going on?
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
  • Rocktopia Te : @Johns Band: Can you please contact us here: «email»
  • Johns Band : Fireworks Magazine 88 did not arrive by post. paid by PayPal. Any Suggestion.
  • Berny : @bpomper: Can you pls. contact the Rocktopia team here: «email»
  • bpomper : i found the problem..old email i can not access.i have tried to change it by editing my info but it wont allow. any suggestions
  • Berny : @bpomper: A reply was sent yesterday, We recommend checking your spam/junk mail to see if our message was filtered there. The magazine was already sent to your shipping address. Please let me know if you do not receive it within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!
  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
  • Rocktopia Te : @bpomper: For security reasons, we removed your previous message. Please do not post your private e - mail address. Many thanks for your understanding.
  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
  • bpomper : hello i purchased fireworks #88 through paypal on9/23 and have not recieved an email from rocktopia. purchase is for a hard copy of the mag. should i have cd download instructions.when should i expect it
  • Berny : @Johns Band: I've just sent you an e - mail. Best regards, B.
  • Johns Band : I have ordered FM Live video and £1.99 taken from my PayPal account. How do I download video. Something gone wrong at processing with Fireworks. The links to report it do not work.
  • Berny : @kevinw01: Have you received the mail containing the donwload instructions? It seems as if you are downloading the bonus CDs from the "Fireworks" menu, those are meant for our readers in the USA and Canada whose copies do not come with the CD. I will send you a mail now. Thanks, B.
  • kevinw01 : I have ordered several issues of Fireworks but when I press the download button I only get a copy of the MP3 but not the PDF files. I have an iPad. Am I doing something wrong? Kevin
  • Berny : @ARONITY: Thanks for your order. As stated in the item's description, it can take up to three hours for your purchase to be processed. You should have received a mail containing the download instructions by now. Thanks for your patience!
  • ARONTY : Hi, Just ordered #88 pdf, Paypal show the payment, but no d/l link, please help..
  • Berny : @John: Pls. check your mail, this should have been sorted by now. Apologies for the delay!
  • johnmason : Hi. I paid for #88 and it doesn't show up in the licenses/Downloads and I never received any email telling me how to download it.
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks Magazine #88 is out now!
  • SeaDog57 : Thanks Berny got it

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