My name is Toine van Poorten, I am 48 years old (born March 18, 1963) and married to my lovely wife Rita. I live in Leerdam, but I was raised in Breda, which is the Southern part of The Netherlands. I was born a metal head. When I was really young, I already prefered bands like THE SWEET, SLADE, MUD, GARY GLITTER and SUZI QUATRO above ABBA and other pop bands. When I was only eleven years old, I discovered bands like LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE and JIMI HENDRIX. Music started to fascinate me and without noticing it, I started collecting albums (those were the days). Right now, we have a huge album collection, including some very, very rare stuff. In the late seventies, I also started going to concerts. I've seen uncountable gigs, and many of them will never leave my memory, simply because they are legendary now. Small gigs, many festivals (in and outside our country), big names, and also bands that should be ashamed of themselves to climb on stage, because they were bloody awful. The amount of gigs I've seen in the past twenty-eight years is too much to mention here. And I still love to go to live concerts. There are many musicians that I admire, like Lemmy, Rob Halford, Rory Gallagher, Ozzy Osbourne, Phil Lynnot, Kevin Heybourne, Brian Thomas and Ted Nugent. But my all-time favorite hero will always be Randy Rhoads (with OZZY OSBOURNE). He died in a plane crash. I still remember the pain, I felt after hearing about this terrible accident. It was the day after my nineteenth birthday. He is - and always will be - the best guitarplayer and ultimate rock hero to me. That's the reason, why I'd like to dedicate this website to him.
The nineties were dominated by the love for my wife Rita. Grunge killed music and the metal went down on a low fire. Not in my heart, but for the eyes of the average metal fan, it certainly did. Rita and I met each other in 1992 and I soon found out that she also liked her music very loud! Her personal faves are WHITESNAKE, VANDENBERG, OZZY, DIO, ROCK GODDESS and of course THE RUNAWAYS/JOAN JETT & LITA FORD. When I moved in with her, we kept going to concerts a lot. Two things changed, however. We discovered record fairs - the place to go and find the CD or album that you are looking for so long. We started visiting the bigger fairs and our collection expanded enormously and our 'wants lists' got shorter and shorter. And we also became journalists. We went to a gig of WHISTLER, COURBOIS, WHISTLER - a now defuncted Dutch band, that sounds a bit like SATRIANI or VAI. There we met Hanny en Flip van Schagen, who published a metal magazine, called Heavy Metal Explosion. Rita wanted to contribute to this magazine very much and after some talking, she got hired. I also liked the idea and wrote Hanny a letter afterwards. It was only a matter of days before I got hired, too. Unfortunately, the magazine doesn't exist anymore. Hanny got seriously ill and had to quit all her activities. Both Hanny and Flip are deceased now, but we still have very warm memories about them both, because they are responsible for our first steps on a long path in the metal scene. We decided to start our own metal magazine in 1995. In fact, an initiation of Rita, which she called Metal Maidens. We created a magazine dedicated to the women in (Heavy) Metal and (Hard) Rock and also hired some volunteers to help us. I still contribute to the mag (we have published our 40th (final) print issue in the summer of 2005!!). Right now, we only work on the online version of our magazine, but we still are interviewing and reviewing bands with a female musician in their line up, and I must say that I simply can't get enough of it. Check out our work at www.metalmaidens.com. We really jumped in a long existing black hole. Nobody did what we are doing now, and after many years of hard work, we have become an institute that can not be missed, if you're a female musician in the world of hard rock and heavy metal.
But there is more. In 1998, I bought a magazine called Snakepit, which was originally established by Frank Stover from Germany. It featured all my fave bands and many others!!! I wrote to Frank and I was hired at once. The magazine was taken over by a French guy, named Laurent Ramadier, in 2000 and shortly afterwards I quit working for the magazine. He is the main man behind the magazine now and is working with a few volunteers today. No hard feelings and I wish them all the luck! We also worked for an English magazine, called Powerplay and a Brasilian magazine, called Rock Brigade, which was really fun to do. I did my first interviews with Lips of ANVIL and Hank Shermann of MERCYFUL FATE for Heavy Metal Explosion in 1992 and I did some nice indepth interviews for Snakepit with PEGAZUS (Hi, my brothers-in-metal!!), HALLOWEEN, VORTEX, PICTURE, WILD DOGS, KILLER, SAVAGE, WITCHFYNDE, Z-LOT-Z, OSTROGOTH, VANDALE, GILGAMESJ, MYTHRA, BITCHES SIN, etc.etc.
In 2002, I started writing for Headache magazine (NL), established by Martjo Brongers of VORTEX ("Open The Gate") in that same year. Unfortunately, when we quit with the printed version of Metal Maidens, Headache also pulled the plug. Another black day in metal history. I did some very interesting interviews for this magazine like FLASHPOINT, STONE VENGEANCE, RIPPER, TWILIGHT ODYSSEY, HALLOWEEN, ATTACKER and ELIXIR. But I'm sure you people will hear a lot more from me in the future, as I plan on doing interviews/reviews for many more years to come!! So watch this space carefully!
The latest interviews can be found here already. I talked to John Gallagher of RAVEN for example, and right now I am working out something with Jeff Ulmer of SACRED BLADE. Who's next?
The latest thing, that has gained my interest must be the world wide web. I am a 'nerd' when it comes to PCs, but Rita knows all the 'ins and outs'. She designed and hosts the site of Metal Maidens [http://www.metalmaidens.com] and right now, you are looking at my own website, which is also designed by Rita. It's my tribute to the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. Music that will always be there. In good times and bad times, I can rely on my memories and my records, tapes, CDs, magazines, photos, DVDs and videos. Which other friend can guarantee you that? To me, there will always be a special place in my heart for Hardrock and Heavy Metal. Read the interviews, that I did with some very interesting bands and I'm sure you'll get the picture that I'm always searching for nice challenges to interview interesting bands.
Last but not least, I'd like to give you my vision on hard rock and heavy metal music. You may not totally agree, or maybe disagree with me, but I'd like to share with you my vision about my passion in life. There are a few music styles, that will become main topics on this website, that are very important to me. First of all there is the NWOBHM. A style, that had so much variety ranging from mellow sounding bands, you would hardly reckon as metal bands, to the wonderful sound of the maestros of the scene. Each band with their own recognisable sound. This scene was so rich, that it's hardly impossible to explore all the bands that existed in these days. This was a very interesting scene, which I like a lot, and in which I discovered an awful lot of talent over the years. I am not only interested in the old scene, so to speak, but I can get real excited by new releases of bands like JAGUAR, HANDSOME BEASTS or FLASHPOINT. And sometimes I even get more curious hearing their new album, rather than the new album of bigger names like IRON MAIDEN or SAXON. Another good thing that is happening right now is the release of stuff that was eating dust for many years. People are cleaning their attic or basement and many exciting material is being released because of that. So the NWOBHM is still very much alive and kicking these days.
Same goes for US Metal. High pinching vocals, ultrafast guitar solos, lots of leather, spikes and chains. It can't get any better than in the old days, you may think. But when I see, that the underground is growing and growing, the same things are happening in this scene as in the NWOBHM scene. Many old bands are reforming, cleaning up their attics and some of the old bands are still alive and kicking in this new millennium. Many rough diamonds are still to be discovered by me, but this is also such a rich scene, that it can keep you digging for many more years. Best part of the US Metal scene will always be the Texas Metal scene. There must be something in the water, that makes them sound much more innovative than any other band. Just think about great names like WATCHTOWER, RIPPER, S.A. SLAYER, MILITIA, HEATHER LEATHER, HELSTAR, PHANTOM-X and IGNITOR, it simply can't get any better. So I took a spade and made this to another territory, that I wanted to turn into a style of special interest to me. Oh, and for those, who are being brainwashed by magazines like Aardschok and Rock Hard, listen very carefully. A band like MANOWAR is not for pussies and wimps. Just listen to "Dark Avenger" and "Battle Hymns" and see for yourself who is right and who is wrong. Bragging magazines, to hell with them!
Of course you must have a good underground to build your knowledge on. So I build the foundation on all the generals in the scene, starting with ZEPPELIN, PURPLE, SABBATH, HEEP, FLOYD, QUEEN and HENDRIX. From there on I started to get interested in the many bands that ruled the scene like WHITESNAKE, MOTORHEAD, THIN LIZZY, UFO, OZZY OSBOURNE, PRIEST and a zillion or so more. But I was also very much interested in what happened outside the borders of England and America. There are so many countries, each with their own metal scene. And in each country I discovered great metal bands like ACID, SORTILEGE, MURO, BARON ROJO, PEGAZUS, ROSE TATTOO, HEAVY LOAD, TRANCE, POKOLGEP, DEATH SS, KROKUS, KRUIZ, CETI, MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND, countless Japanese bands, and thousands of others. I always learned to be open-minded and especially broad-minded. I also picked up the best from the Bay Area and thrash metal scene like METALLICA, EXODUS, HEATHEN, DEATH ANGEL, LAAZ ROCKIT, SACRED REICHE, MEGADETH, SLAYER and TESTAMENT, but because of the fact, that I loved the aforementioned styles much more, I only picked out the best. I am still discovering great names from that scene, every now and then, but I am not focussed on discovering all. Same goes for styles like Southern Rock (MOLLY HATCHET, BLACKFOOT, ZZ TOP, LYNYRD SKYNYRD), Symfo Rock, Progressive Rock or A.O. R. (BOSTON, JOURNEY, STYX, KANSAS, PINK FLOYD, YES, DREAM THEATER), guitar heroes (STEVE VAI, JOE SATRIANI, TONY MACALPINE, MARTY FRIEDMAN, JENNIFER BATTEN, THE GREAT KAT), Blues Rock (GARY MOORE, FRANK MARINO, PAT TRAVERS, BARRELHOUSE, FLAVIUM, JOHNNY WINTER) or Doom Metal (CANDLEMASS, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, CATHEDRAL, PENTAGRAM, ST. VITUS, TROUBLE), Hair Metal (MOTLEY CRUE, POISON, CINDERELLA, NIGHT RANGER, DOKKEN, GUNS 'N' ROSES). I pick out the best, and leave out the rest. It's as simple as that.
When I joined the Heavy Metal Maniacs, I also re-discovered the rich scene of our own country. Today ruled by bands like WITHIN TEMPTATION, AYREON, EPICA, THE GATHERING and AFTER FOREVER, but in the eighties the scene was ruled by great bands like PICTURE, VANDENBERG, VENGEANCE, BODINE, MARTYR, LADY, SWORD, DARK WIZARD, FRANKIE WOODHOUSE, SAVAGE, GILGAMESJ, EMERALD, FUTURE TENSE, HAMMERHAWK, SAD IRON, VORTEX, HIGHWAY CHILE, HELLOISE, ALLIED FORCES and VANDALE. And together with the generals, the NWOBHM scene and the US metal scene, these styles have become the main topic of this website. Which is full with great links, news, interviews, reviews and information.
Most of it is exclusive information gathered from my own personal vision and interviews that were exclusively done for this website. I am always searching for the little gems in the hardrock and heavy metal scene. I don't want to read the 345th interview with TYPE O NEGATIVE, SLIPKNOT or KORN. I leave this up to the short-sighted and so-called populair metal mags out there. I'm sure you can read all the crap in there. Each interview with these bands is in there several times and over and over again, these magazines provide you with exactly the same information. Each new album is the very best they've made so far and more of this nonsense can be read in there. They don't have a vision of their own, because all the information is put down their throat by the huge record companies. Each magazine always has the same band on the front cover, why would that be? This band, or better their record company, simply paid the best price to have their faces on the pront page. And the contributors of the magazines are being paid to stick another feather in the arse of the bands from these record companies. The people don't have a mind of their own, they run after every hype and forget about the bands that are really interesting for true metal fans. To me 99% of the people, who write for these magazines are headless chicken, people who write stuff to fill their wallets. They must earn a living as well, and they would even write a complimentary article about a rocking piece of shit if they were paid enough for it. So, if you search for indepth information on bands that never get to say what's on their mind in the metal magazines out there, then you've come to the right spot. Most of the time, the bands who are never in the average metal magazines have a lot more interesting tales to tell you, and they are much more willing to give you a good story, because almost nobody asks them to do an indepth interview. Once they're asked for a good interview, there is a waterfall of great and interesting information falling down on you, which will open your eyes. Don't forget though that there are also some very good metal magazines out there, that share the same vision like me, such as Snakepit, Den Of Iniquity, Singing Swords, Steel Conjurning, Unbroken Metal, United Forces, That's Metal and Heavy, who are also broad-minded and open for the great music of the bands we talked about in this intro. In general, I am not really interested in the music of today. You've read about the exceptions to this golden rule already in this foreword. So please don't come knocking at my door about nu-metal, grunge, black metal, death metal or hardcore. It's up to somebody else to write about that. If you have any comments, questions, remarks or whatever, just go to my guestbook and sign it. Heavy metal ain't dead yet. Prove is given on this site! So don't hesitate and enter the world of hardrock and heavy metal. Cheers!