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Our Food and Beer Writer, Ted Snyder’s Desert Island Album: (Pho King) SAVATAGE, Hall of the Mountain King

It was 1987, I was a goofy 15-year-old with a bad mullet(like there’s such thing as a good mullet) and I was majorly getting into playing my new bass guitar. I had delusions of being onstage in front of thousands of screaming fans who were ignoring me as they concentrated on the singer. No matter. Music was becoming a big part of my life.

I was, am and always will be an 80’s hard rock/metal guy. I grew up in that era and at the age of 11, my very first concert was KISS. I had gotten heavily into so many bands, including Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Judas Priest; all of the biggies. They were everything I needed or so I thought and then it happened.

Headbangers Ball (A show on MTV when the M stood for Music and not Mediocre). That show opened my eyes to so many great artists, but none greater, in my opinion, than SAVATAGE. They were a metal band from Florida who took no prisoners. It was around 1:30 a.m. and “The Ball” was getting ready to play some obscure shit, which was always exciting! A video with a dwarf stealing treasure from a giant came on and that was my cue to go to bed… until I heard THE guitar riff. Hall of the Mountain King was the song, Savatage was the band. I had never heard anything like it. It was heavy but melodic. Catchy, but progressive. Powerful, but technical and so loud. The latter, I know, because my father explained how he didn’t have a lot of money to give me a proper funeral, so I should probably not turn up the tv at 1:30 a.m. again.

The next day, I got out my Columbia House Record Club membership booklet and ordered the album.

When it arrived, my entire life changed. I spent hours, playing the entire album front to back. I had never heard a guitar sound like that and the riffs were completely smooth, whether they were fast or slow. The drums were like cannons and the vocals were gritty and mean. All of that was backed by a thunderous bass, which I love. SAVATAGE had become and still is my favorite band. I was lucky enough to see them live before the guitar player was tragically killed in a car accident. Their live show was even more aggressive than their records. Hall Of The Mountain King put them on the 80’s metal map and I thank god everyday that I didn’t go to bed at 1:25.

To this day, the Hall Of The Mountain King album is on my playlist. I can’t help but think that it influenced not only my musical tastes, but how I played my own music. That album was integral in making me stick with playing the bass. The lyrics, were cryptic and lent themselves to witches, demons and many of my other favorite things. It wasn’t just the sound, but the guitar player(the late, great Chris Oliva) was so good, I didn’t dare try my hand at guitar.

Six strings are for guys with small dicks, anyway.

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