Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Dave Mclean -Traitors Gate Print
Written by Dave Mclean   
Sunday, 14 August 2016 04:00



Dave Mclean of Welsh NWOBHM legends Traitors Gate digs deep for Uber Rock’s Midnite Mixtape Massacre to share 13 songs that have either influenced him or simply entertained him. Word on the grapevine is that Traitors Gate will once again be ‘taking the high road’ and will be playing selected classic rock festivals across the globe in the very near future.


1.) 'Touch Too Much' - AC/DC (from the album ‘Highway To Hell’)


If a song can be menacingly but not threateningly sexy, this is it. Until Axl's current stint with the band, few people will have heard this song played live in the 36 years since it was released, and that has helped give this 1980 single an almost mythical status. But what makes this song stand aside from other AC/DC tracks is the production and the big harmony vocals in the chorus that beg the question “on which path would AC/DC have found themselves if Bon hadn’t died?” Possibly their greatest single from easily their greatest album.


2.) ‘I Want You to Want Me’ - Cheap Trick (from the album ‘At Budokan’)


Many of my all-time favourite rock tracks are the ones that crept up and sucker-punched me when I were a lad. These are the songs that informed my love of rock music and they still get that shiver going. Cheap Trick’s live version of ‘I Want You to Want Me’ is one of those songs. Pop-rock-tastic!


3.) ‘Xanadu’ - Rush (from the album ‘A Farewell To Kings’)


If you grew up a valley boy in the 1970s you were obliged to be into rock, and to listen to Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1. My one and only request was the epic ‘Xanadu’ and I can still remember the thrill of Tommy mentioning my name and playing my request. For a teenager obsessed with sci-fi and fantasy, ‘Xanadu’ is the perfect track to get lost in and let the imagination fly. Majestic, magnificent, and magical.


4.) ‘You’re In Love’ - Ratt (from the album ‘Invasion of Your Privacy’)


This is the song Traitors Gate memories are made of. This was the default album we listened to in the ‘GateMobile’ (a blue Mk.II Ford Transit) as we pounded the highways of the UK taking the metal to the people. Ratt was one of those bands that marked a slight (as opposed to a major) sea change in rock with their commercial riffery. The first time Andy Turner (ex-Traitors Gate and Monro guitarist) played me ‘Lack of Communication’ in his car it blew me away.


5.) ‘Dance The Night Away’ - Van Halen (from the album ‘Van Halen II’)


No personal list of rock faves would be complete without a Van Halen track. But which one? Accepting that Van Halen ceased to exist at ‘1984’ that gives just six albums to choose from. I bought the second VH album on cassette from a rack in a furniture shop in the Welsh valley village of Risca, not knowing who the hell they were, but just because the logo grabbed me. One of the luckiest random purchases I ever made. Listening to the 31 minutes and 36 seconds of the ten tracks was an almost religious experience, and ‘Dance The Night Away’ was the real spine-tingler. Awesome!




6.) ‘Dog And Butterfly’ - Heart (from the album of the same name)


For me, the furniture shop in Risca was a bit like the fancy-dress costume shop in Mr. Benn, because whatever I bought turned out to be a gem and an adventure. Like my previous purchase of ‘Van Halen II’, I was attracted to Heart’s ‘Dog and Butterfly’ album purely on the album sleeve, and with no knowledge of the band or music contained within. Lucking out once is great; lucking out twice starts to feel like greater powers are at work. This album is truly immense. The bands later multi-platinum 80s stuff doesn’t come anywhere near this. Still one of my favourite albums of all time.


7.) ‘Speed King’ - Deep Purple (from the album ‘In Rock’)


My final ‘lucking out’ anecdote (when the truth finally dawns). I bought ‘In Rock’ on cassette in a corner shop in Cwmcarn in the early 70s. Again, because I was attracted to the sleeve artwork. It finally becomes obvious that it wasn’t luck or a higher power at work drawing me to great albums, it was great album sleeves that worked even on the smaller cassette format. ‘In Rock’ is quite simply the heaviest album ever recorded in my opinion. Brutal in-your-face production and ridiculous amounts of testosterone/adrenalin on display. Released in 1970, it’s way ahead of the curve.


8.) ‘In the Light’ - Led Zeppelin (from the album ‘Physical Graffiti’)


I’ll admit to being late to the Led Zeppelin party and didn’t get into them until after the party was over. I found their ‘gateway’ songs ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Rock And Roll’ dumb, and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ too po-faced. It took many a stoner night at a mate’s house before I discovered what I’d been missing. ‘Physical Graffiti’ is an immense and varied album and ‘In The Light’, with its swirling keyboards, ghostly vocals and dodgy fuzzbox-straight-into-the-desk guitar sound, the song compresses several contrasting feels into 8:47 minutes of majesty. Only Jimmy Page could get away with making that guitar sound work. Definitely one for the headphones.


9.) ‘Dogs’ - Pink Floyd (from the album ‘Animals’)


Yes there are better Pink Floyd albums, but as this is the stoner section of my Midnite Mixtape Massacre, it has to be this guiltlessly indulgent 17 minutes. Spark one up, turn out the lights and it all becomes obvious.


10.) ‘Spirit Of Radio’ - Rush (from the album ‘Permanent Waves’)


Does anyone not like or at least appreciate this song? From Alex Lifeson’s iconic guitar intro, through the part when Neil Peart’s staccato drums join in (go on, admit it, we’ve all done an Alan Partridge and air drummed to this bit), and the unexpected reggae section, as a song without an obvious chorus, ‘Spirit Of Radio’ just works. It’s accessible techno-rock, and only Rush could bring that off.




11.) ‘Hear About It Later’ – Van Halen (from the album ‘Fair Warning’)


OK, so if I’m having two Rush tracks I’m also going to have two Van Halen tracks, and there’s nothing you can do about it. ‘Fair Warning’ sounds like a 9-track demo that’s been accidentally released as an album. Check out the intro to ‘So This Is Love’ where the level of Michael Anthony’s bass is clearly dragged down on the sliders at 5 seconds in. This is organic recording and minimal “don’t give a fuck” production at its best and proof that you don’t have to be anal to be classic. But I digress. I’ve chosen ‘Hear About It Later’ because the swirling intro guitar sound is possibly my fave ever guitar sound. It’s pure sunshine California.


12.) ‘Girl Can’t Help It’ - Journey (from the album ‘Raised On Radio’)


When it comes to the godfathers of AOR it’s hard to pick a standout track, but this album opener from their 1986 ‘Raised On Radio’ album is like the whole Journey experience rolled into one 3:51 scorcher. It’s got it all.


13.) ‘She Knows’ - Thin Lizzy (from the album ‘Nightlife’)


I thought long and hard about whether or not to include Thin Lizzy. They were my band from the first time I picked up a bass guitar in my first band. I even modelled myself on the great man as bassist/singer in Wildsmith Street and my poor attempt at growing a moustache. But I dunno. I find it hard to listen to a lot of classic Lizzy today. I accept that even saying that is probably a crime, but the only Lizzy I can really enjoy now is their earlier stuff, and specifically the ‘Nightlife’ album, which was the first album to feature the twin guitars of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. The later albums rocked, but they weren’t as unfettered and eclectic as this. Perhaps rock success restricted them.