I can remember the moment like it was yesterday. The moment in time of buying my first Michael Schenker Group album, at Caldor department store, back in 1982. It was the second studio album from Michael Schenker Group, it is often referred to as MSG ll, yet no where on my original album that I bought does it have the marking of “ll” on it. I guess the mystery of “ll” shall stay in my Metal mystery files for now. You can see, as proof, on the image below this post, that the front cover does not have “ll” on it. This image depicts the original album cover, the copy that I still own to this day. I have kept this Michael Schenker Group album in pristine condition for 28 years, this is an album that I extremely admire and highly recommend. The eight songs on this album are best described as Hard Rock, I find it difficult to label this album as straight forward Heavy Metal. There is one exception, Attack of the Mad Axeman is the one song from this album that I would label as an early 1980′s Heavy Metal song, in my Metal opinion.
Over the years, I acquired a cassette tape version of this album too, never upgrading to CD. Don’t ask why, I just never came up with the necessary loot to upgrade everything I ever owned on album and/or cassette, on a consistent basis. Factor in that I have to stay current and buy new CD’s of my favorite bands and deep pockets I do not have! Over this past Halloween weekend I was perusing the archive of songs that can be purchased on itunes and one Michael Schenker Group song caught my eye… Never Trust A Stranger. I bought this amazing Rock ballad from this second Michael Schenker Group album, without a micro second of hesitation. Goodbye 99 cents… hello MSG Rock Ballad I have revered for the better part of my entire Metal life.
You may ask: dude, why didn’t you just throw danger to the Metal wind and buy the entire Michael Schenker Group album from itunes if you don’t have it on CD? The answer is simple… I am holding out to buy this CD at retail or used, (eventually), due to my being old school and wanting the darn liner notes. (I can be a stubborn old Metalhead). Owning a digital copy of Never Trust A Stranger was a necessity that I needed to make good on for myself – finally. I always blab that I am not the biggest ballad fan the world has ever known, this will always hold true. However, there are those ballads, that just carry me off into those la la land moments of self gratifying, mental journeys of glee. On Never Trust A Stranger, the vocal harmony of Gary Barden is incredible stuff for me, with Michael Schenker playing some of the most emotionally inspired guitar licks you could ever imagine. The lyrics of this song are semi-sappy, still in 2009 they do that resonating thing to my mind and I have been a sucker for this song, since being a sophomore in high school in 1982. Gee Metal whiz.
Steven Stills lends his backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger. Yes, that Steven Stills… from Crosby, Stills and Nash, (and sometimes Young). Once again, don’t ask: dude, how did Michael Schenker get Steven Stills to do backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger? Hey, I simply do not have the answer. (I think years ago I did know the answer… yet it got erased from all the Thrash and Death Metal stuff I have listened to for decades). If anyone does have any info in regards to Steven Stills being on this song, feel free to comment about it please. So, in a Metal nutshell, Never Trust A Stranger is my second most favorite (Rock) ballad ever. I posted in the past that Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue is my favorite Heavy Metal ballad ever, I can’t go back on my word on that one.
Well, here is the original album cover of Michael Schenker Group, (notice there is NO “ll” anywhere on the cover). I was so enthralled by the guitar play of Michael Schenker and everything else about this album back in high school in 1982, that I made a silk screen copy of the album cover. Metalheads galore had mini posters and t-shirts with MSG and his flying V guitar on it, courtesy of me and my graphic arts class. I recruited lots of MSG fans back then, hopefully this blabbing will recruit more today.