This is without a doubt the hardest Classic Albums and THE hardest thing I have had to write since Amps and Green Screens started. Six days ago, on Monday March 23 I got the call…the one we all dread. I found out that my very good friend Win Patton passed away sometime during the night. To say I was devastated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt and am still feeling. I only knew the man for a year and change, but he was such a great person, and a Brother in Metal who had the ability after five minutes to make you feel like you’d been lifelong friends, so this one really hurt. This is why it took me till now to write something. I wanted to make sure I paid proper tribute to my fallen friend.
I first met Win at a MANOWAR show on Feb 16, 2014. He and Chan, who I also met that night, complimented me on my “DIO R.I.P.” shirt while we were waiting in line to get into the House of Blues Dallas. We wound up hanging together on the floor during what was my first, and their millionth MANOWAR gig, and we had quite a few laughs. Facebook friendings, and many, MANY online conversations/jokes/debates/musical arguments took place for many months after that, but one thing the three of us could always agree on was the power and fury of MANOWAR. So with that in mind, this week’s Classic Albums is their 1987 album Fighting the World, and we dedicate this one to Win.
“Radio playing this nationwide…”
In September of 1987 my best friend Joe came over with the album and truly introduced me to the group. I was enthralled from the very start of “Fighting the World”, an asskicking opener if ever there was one, the lethal combination of Eric Adams (vocals), Joey DeMaio( bass), the late Scott Columbus (drums), and Ross the Boss (guitar) making my head explode. I had heard “Blow Your Speakers” in passing on MTV but never paid it much mind until it was right there on my turntable. From that moment on I realized what an anthem it was. But the biggest anthem on this record for me back then, and now is/are/was “Carry On”. A song that embodies my friend Win and his motto of “KOKO (Keep On Keepin’ On)” perfectly, I have played it several times a day since I got that fateful call. It’s safe to say that this song will always make me think of my brother, and I can think of no better song with which to honor him.
“Violence and Bloodshed” is a vicious piece of work that has Adams wailing away like his life depended on it, while “Defender’ is an epic, grandiose piece featuring narration by the late Orson Welles and a burning guitar solo you could fry an egg on. A brief interlude “Drums of Doom” sounds the horn for battle that’s coming in next number “Holy War”. With a bass-heavy intro, and demonesque spirit sounds the song then clicks the switch on the Claymore, laying waste to any and all false metal in its path. Another interlude comes in with “Master of Revenge” before we get to the absolute hardest-hitting sledgehammer track found on this record. I’m talking about “Black Wind, Fire and Steel”, motherfucker. The whole band switches from “semi” to “auto” and just mows down everything in their path, much like MANOWAR did at the show I witnessed in Dallas last year.
“Turn it up louder till we all get fried!”
I can still remember everything I was feeling as I rode my bike to the orthodontist for one of my last post-braces check-ups with this album blaring through my headphones on an old TEAC tape: excitement, exhilaration, and the ability to take on the world. That’s how MANOWAR made us feel back then, and even now. But the thing that makes this band really special is having the privilege to share them in a live setting with my brothers Win and Chan, guys who are just as different as we are the same…kindred spirits. And that just goes to show you the true power of metal. It unites us, and brings us allies, sometimes when we least expect it or weren’t even looking for it. But knowing that person is right there next to you, and will pick up sword and shield and say, “Let’s do this!” is the greatest feeling in the world. And it’s what our Metal Brotherhood is all about.
People can say whatever the fuck they want about MANOWAR, or Fighting the World, I don’t give a fuck. All I care about is the great memories I have of these songs with my friends old and new. And I am truly honored and grateful that Win and Chan accepted me as one of their own within minutes. And that alone makes this a Classic Album. But when all is said and done, I miss my friend, and my brother. You rest easy now, Win. It was an honor and a privilege to be in your company, and I know we’ll be together again, going nuts in Rock and Roll Heaven one day. You just save me a front row seat! ~dc
In Loving Memory of Win Patton (January 29, 1967 – March 23, 2015)
Carry on my sons forever
Carry on when I am gone
Carry on for when the day is long
Forever carry on
For as long as we’re together
Then forever carry on