Tuesday, November 30

My roll is rock: a tour of peripheral Madrid that was heavy in the eighties


Not long ago a friend said to me, pointing to some kids, “Look, two heavy kids; what good vibes, I think it’s been years since I saw such young boys with those looks ”. The truth is that the image of everyday heavy is more similar to the incombustible father of a family with sparse, but dignified hair and faded t-shirts than that of the children and babies with elastic pants from when our hair was also more vigorous. Although there is more relief than one might think, today we are going to look back: towards the best times of heavy metal in Madrid, during the eighties and early nineties, taking advantage of the current events of the Madrid Metal exhibition, which can be seen at CentroCentro (Cibeles) until next April, where illustrations based on the memories of the protagonists of that time are collected.

Although there was always a syncretism of scenes and a certain aesthetic promiscuity, different branches of rock coexisting in festivals and gambling dens (from very Madrid urban rock to punk-rock), at some point you have to place the starting line of the heavy homeland. Javier Suarez Pajares, author of the doctoral thesis Heavy Metal in Spain, 1978-1985: phases of formation, crystallization and growth, places him mature in 1980:

“… We have to look again towards Madrid, where the moment of cultural upheaval that we are experiencing causes the whole movement of rock, hard rock, urban rock and, imminently, heavy metal to be centralized there. Despite the difficulty that can be involved in establishing the line that begins the crystallization of heavy metal in Spain, it is possible, paradoxically, to cite not just a year, but a specific date that solves the problem: August 16, 1980, time in which the Coz split, made up of the brothers Armando and Carlos de Castro, José Luis Campuzano Sherpa and Hermes Calabria, gives their first concert, in the town of Leganés, under the name of Barón Rojo. ”.

Los Obús, however, show off being the first to include the denomination on a Spanish album. In any case, it is in the early eighties when we can think of the emergence of new Madrid groups (such as Panzer or Mazo) and heavys begin to be seen everywhere in the streets of Madrid.

Years that were animated by pioneering radio programs such as Mariano García’s Disco Cross, Mariscal Romero Show or Pirate Emission; in addition to the fleeting waves of free radios, launched from the Cadena del Water, Onda Verde or Radio Luna, among others. The kiosk and the paper also played an important role. In 1983, the Heavy Rock magazine was born in Madrid, in the image and likeness of the English Kerrang !, coexisting with a handful of fanzines on the genre, such as the carabanchelero La Bestia.


The gambling dens of the moment were scattered throughout the Madrid geography: in Argüelles, Vicálvaro, Vallecas, Quintana or San Blas. The Arguelles area and the Aurrerá lowlands were a heavy area. Lemmy, TNT, El Pipas, Osiris and, at the end of the night, Studio Rock. And the great rock neighborhood, of course, Angeles (the Rock Grandmother). In Vallecas there were the recently closed Hebe (almost a founding space of the neighborhood), the Killer, La Urbe del Kas or, a little later, the mythical Excallibur.

One of the most traditional and successful gambling dens was the Barrabás de Vicálvaro, which closed in the 1990s. The Barras It was a place of pilgrimage for rockers from all over Madrid but Vicálvaro was all heavy territory, with other smaller bars (today La Mazmorra survives).

But surely the most mythical of the locals was Chancellor, The Canci, which was opened on Calle Alcalde López Casero (Quintana), on the ground floor of the cinema of the same name. Large international and national bands passed through that room, where about two thousand people could fit. The first part of its history ended around 93, when it had to close in the days of the fearsome councilor Matanzo, but it knew a time of extension in the also mythical Canci of San Blas. Chancellor II opened, by the way, in the premises of another mythical space for rock and heavy, the Sala Argentina –the Argent– which had been open since 1971.

As with the gambling dens, many of the great heavy metal stages, where the multitudinous concerts took place, no longer exist. For example, the Real Madrid Sports Pavilion (AC DC, Iron Maiden, Red Baron, Ozzy Osbourne or Def Leppard played), the pre-fire Sports Palace or the Rockodromo of the Casa de Campo.

The same happens with large events, such as the PCE Festival or the San Isidro festivities … which, without having disappeared, are already others. In June 1984, the Red Party of the PCE was held in the Casa de Campo, a much remembered festival that lasted from 7 in the afternoon to 5 in the morning, with Barón Rojo, Banzai, Asfalto and Topo. And a year later, for the San Isidro festivities, what is usually considered the most popular heavy concert in our history took place in the Paseo de Camoens: Barón Rojo, Santa, Goliath and Tritón they performed before 200,000 people.

Álvarez del Manzano, who was in the opposition at the time, said, demonstrating his class spirit:

“It is an absolute irresponsibility more on the part of the municipal government to organize a free musical concentration, which due to its content will undoubtedly attract criminals, drug addicts and outcasts of bad living who can cause violent incidents and tarnish the good name of the festivities of our patron Saint Isidro ”.

However, an event with an institutional brand was of great importance for the popularization of heavy: the Rock Villa de Madrid Trophy. Created in 1978 by the City Council, it took an important leap in 1981, when it was held in Las Ventas coinciding with the San Isidro festivities. Obús won the first prize and the following years the presence of hard rock groups will be a constant.

But not everything was periphery. Some of the heavy spaces, as well as other musical scenes, were lived in the center of Madrid, the port of arrival on weekends. Among all of them, El Rastro stands out with its stalls for buying and selling pirated records and tapes, where you could get concert recordings and news brought from London. Stalls in which the music was playing at full volume that congregated the nascent youth culture around them. Also there were the Marijuana T-shirts and patches or the manufactured badges from Mario Scasso’s stand. Another of the central places that many metal fans remember fondly is the old Dicoplay on the lower floors of Gran Vía, although there were also many record stores in the neighborhoods at the time.

In this review of places with leather jackets and J’hayber boots, there would also have to be a lot of neighborhood gambling dens, which are the best memory of many readers despite not appearing in the chronicles. Also parks, benches with liters at the foot, billiards, recreational or old tinaja cellars with very cold jugs. If you remember any more, tell us in the comments please.





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