Fireworks

Gary Marshall

Fireworks & Rocktopia Staff Writer
Gary Marshall
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As I type this biography I’m looking down the barrel of my 50th Birthday, albeit I’m sure my love of music keeps me younger than those years. In my youth music was all around in the family home with my older siblings listening to the likes of The Carpenters, Simon & Garfunkel and Elton John so those were certainly my early influences. However, at school one day in 1973 or 74 the long-haired ‘weirdo’ approached me with a carrier bag full of vinyl and urged me to “have a listen to these”.
It was an eclectic mix of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes and Genesis but I was hooked, albeit the Sabbath received considerably less plays than the others. However, an obsession was born.

Initially the Progressive genre made the biggest impression but over subsequent years my tastes broadened and my collection shows a wide range of genres the encompasses everything from the aforementioned, The Carpenters through to Dream Theater and pretty much in between. I do draw the line at Death Metal and bands with vocalists who growl, grunt and/or shout. To me music can be as heavy as it likes as long as the vocalist delivers a tune.
I went through a period in the 80’s when AOR came to the forefront and I still fondly recall my lunchtime trips on the Underground to get to Shades in London’s Soho to pick up the latest releases that had just arrived from the US.

My initial introduction to writing about music came in the mid 90’s when I sent some album reviews to a young lady from Liverpool who’d started her own Fanzine (sorry, forgotten names and titles although I will have copies of the mag somewhere). Unfortunately, the costs got too much and she closed down, but by then I’d got bitten by the bug so applied to Matt Honey of Hard Roxx magazine and suddenly I was their Prog expert(?). Three of the highlights during this time were interviewing Jim Gilmour of Saga (one of my favourite bands), Neal Morse, then of Spock’s Beard and meeting and becoming friends with Balance of Power. It was a great magazine and was directly responsible for me meeting and becoming great friends with Paul Jerome Smith when we met at the Gods of AOR Festival in Wigan. The crawler told me that my reviews had always been spot on and he’d never been disappointed by any of my recommendations.

When the magazine went over the then fledgling Internet I decided not to continue but salvation was on the horizon when Jez Chell of Loud 1 Mail Order decided to produce his own publication to satisfy the needs of his customers who still wanted a magazine. Voltz was the result and I joined the team, which included several of those who would end up with Fireworks, from Issue 2. The eventual demise of Voltz saw me migrate to Fireworks, a publication I am immensely proud to represent.
Aside from my insatiable need for music, my other very serious hobby (or is it more than that?) is umpiring Cricket, where I have risen through the ranks to officiate some prestigious matches. 2009 was a big one for me as I officiated in an England Under 19 match and stood in my first County 2nd XI Championship match.
Dare I say that my day job is working for a Bank? We don’t all get huge bonuses and not all of us work for the bit that messed it all up.

I am married and have two adult offspring; the elder also works in banking (against my advice). She has joined me at Firefest on a couple of occasions and likes Jeff Scott Soto, amongst others. The younger is pursuing a career in musical theatre. Watch out for him in what will be the final Harry Potter film in the series when it comes out in 2011.
I was going to list some favourite bands, but that would take pages so I shall reiterate that I like music and the resurgence of the Prog genre over the last decade or so has pleased me no end.

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  • Siodmak : Hello guys : - ) same problem as with previous number: just purchased Fireworks Mag. 87, and this is the message: "We are sorry, but it looks like your transaction failed". I've paid it with paypol. Thanks for your help!!
  • Berny : @Raphone @colorvine: You should have received your download instructions by now, if you haven't, pls. send a mail to «email» - Sorry for the troubles!
  • colorvine : Hello! Purchased FIREWORKS #87 yeasterday and paid by my paypal, but there is still no download link on my account.Can you help? Thanks
  • Raphone : Hello! Purchased FIREWORKS #87 yeasterday and paid by my paypal, but there is still no download link on my account.Can you help? Thanks
  • Berny : Fireworks Magazine #87 is out now!
  • SeaDog57 : Thanks again Berny
  • Berny : Hi SeaDog57: Apologies!Password can be found in the forum, link was (again) added to the "Fireworks" menu.
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; need a download link for #86 and the pg number for the Code
  • Berny : @Siodmark: Pls. check your mail! Apologies for the troubles, we hope you enjoy the magazine! :)
  • Siodmak : Hello guys! Purchased FIREWORKS #86 and paid by my paypal, but there is no download link on my account. Can you please help me? tnks ; - )
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  • Berny : Fireworks #86 is out now!
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  • Berny : @Bill24: Please follow the instructions at «link» or contact me directly at «email»
  • Bill24 : I cannot unzip the mp3's asking for a password. Same one I use to login with? Please someone help. Thanks.
  • SeaDog57 : thanks Berny
  • Berny : The FREE PDF version of Fireworks #82 is still available, including 88 (!!) bonus MP3 songs Just click on the banner on top of the site. Already 800+ downloads and counting!
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: Apologies! Link was fixed, CD 84 is now available from the FIREWORKS menu on top of the page (for registered members only). Thanks & best wishes, B :)
  • SeaDog57 : Doesn't seem to be a download for bonus cd 84 just 2 identical versions of Bonus CD 83?
  • Rocktopia Te : Interviews with Lordi, Dee Snider, W.A.S.P., Myles Kennedy and many more. Check out the Fireworks & Rocktopia interview sections!
  • Berny : We are proud to premiere the new lyric video by MASS! Check out the news section.
  • Berny : Hi biggywiggymusic: Sorted out, apologies for the delay.
  • biggywiggymu : Hi I just ordered download of 84 - took my PayPal and then it said I didn't pay. Have the transaction number. Can someone help?
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks #84 is out now!!
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  • Berny : @amcc1888: Please check your mail. Many thanks, B.
  • amcc1888 : Hi There i have ordered Fireworks Issue 83 and paid by PayPal but you have charged me twice but the download has not appeared in my account...also sent you a web contact message..anyone there to help me thanks Tony
  • Berny : We proudly present the new lyric video by AMERICAN TEARS, pls. check out our newsfeed!

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“The old Van Halen, when I was in it, makes you wanna drink, dance and screw. The new Van Halen encourages you to drink milk, drive a Nissan and have a relationship.” (David Lee Roth) - Quotes collected by Dave Ling (www.daveling.co.uk)

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