Tales from a Metalhead: Chapter 2: “Here I Go Again”

Tales from a Metalhead logo

This chapter is part of a book called Stories from a Tales written by Metal Express Radio’s President Stig G. Nordahl. The chapters will be posted one at the time and you can find them all here.

Most Rock biographies start off with chapters about the childhood years. I usually I flip through the pages until I find the spot where the childhood connects with music; the point where it all really started. As I mentioned in the introduction this is not a biography, and you won’t find any baby pictures of me here. I guess the rest of these chapters make more sense to you if you know a bit about my background and how I got into the music I learned to worship and adore.

It has always annoyed me a little bit that I got into Hard Rock a couple of years “too late”. The very first album (a cassette tape) I bought with my own money was

My first cassette, Elvis’ last performance

Elvis In Concert. I was a huge Elvis fan before I got into the heavier stuff. In 1982, a friend of my mom brought a mixtape to our house. This mixtape changed my life forever. There were all sorts of different genres on it, but there was one track that grabbed my attention right away; Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”, taken off their brand new album Saints & Sinners. The intro with Hammond B3 organ and Coverdale’s voice still gives me goosebumps. This was, of course, the original version of the track and not the re-recording that became a huge hit single 5 years later. In the late 70s and early 80s Whitesnake was more of a bluesy Hard Rock band and not the arena Hard Rock act they became later. Though I like both eras, to me they are two different bands.

Saints & Sinners

Obviously I wanted to explore more of Whitesnake’s music, so I had a tape with two of their previous albums, Ready and Willing and Live… in the Heart of the City, recorded on each side of a 60 minute tape. I guess that was the file sharing of the 80s. I don’t feel too bad about doing that because I bought the albums later. Several times actually. These albums are longer than 30 minutes so the cassette tape would end in the middle of a song. To this day I can tell you exactly where the tape used to end when listening to the whole album.

I finally got the money to buy the Saints & Sinners album and I loved it right off the bat. It’s an underrated album in my opinion. For reasons I can recall I also bought Irene Cara’s album What a Feeling at the same time. That was definitely the last non-Hard Rock album I bought in many years.

My first Whitesnake t-shirt 1984

Back then, as a youngster you had to save up if you wanted to buy a new record. It was always hard to choose which one to buy if your favorite bands released albums at the same time. You could rarely afford more than one record at a time. Coming back from the record store with a record you’d wanted to buy for a long time always felt like Christmas. When I finally got the album I wanted, I almost played it to pieces. I learned all the tracks, the lyrics and studied the cover and inner sleeve. I think we appreciated it more back then because it was about the whole package. These days the new albums are just one click away and it seems to be more about adding the songs you like to a playlist than listening through entire albums. One can argue we did the same with our mixtapes but the feeling of getting your hands on a new record was something that you don’t get with streaming and downloads.

Kiss fans even got pics in the candy bags

Whitesnake was my main focus in the beginning. Most of my friends were into Kiss. They wore Kiss buttons, t-shirts and patches. I wore Whitesnake exclusively. We always argued about which band was the best. I will confess to saying “Kiss is piss” without having actually heard much of their music, but my friends didn’t know Whitesnake either. Obviously the Kiss fans had a huge advantage in the visual department. They could show off cool pictures and album sleeves of the masks and the giant stage productions Kiss was well-known for. Whitesnake looked more like a pub band back then, to quote David Coverdale. Of course it’s silly to compare bands like that. They were a far cry from sounding or looking the same. But that’s what kids do. Who hasn’t had an argument as a child about who’s dad was the strongest? These arguments were no different. 

While dog sitting for a neighbor in 1982 I noticed Iron Maiden’s new record The Number of the Beast on his turntable. I played the album for hours and when my neighbor came home I asked him if he could copy it onto a cassette for me. He just gave me the record as payment for watching his dog instead. Dog sitting opened the door to the world of Heavy Metal.

Pentagram. Scary shit!

I remember coming home from the record store in 1983 with Mötley Crüe’s second album Shout at the Devil. It had a black gatefold sleeve with a pentagram on it. I hadn’t dared to show my parents the cover of the Iron Maiden album, but this time I was wondering if I had taken it a bit too far. The Number of the Beast was evil but Shout at the Devil was straight up satanic. It felt like a step towards the dark side. I had the same feeling when I ordered W.A.S.P.‘s debut single “Animal (F**k Like a Beast)” via mail order from Sweden. That was definitely not a track you would play for your parents.

CovermixOther albums I bought when I had the money for it back then included TNT – Knights of the New Thunder, W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P., Accept – Metal Heart, Van Halen – 1984, Dio – Holy Diver, Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind, Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry, Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers.  There were definitely a few classics there! I will bring these classic releases up later, along with the interviews I did with the same bands of course.

The way to keep track back then

I was always starving for information about my favorite bands and new albums so I started buying music magazines. I frequently bought a Swedish magazine called “Okej!” It was not a Rock magazine, but the chief editor, well-known Rock journalist Anders Tegner, was a Metal head and he made sure to lace every edition with the stuff I cared about. A bit later when my English improved (and my wallet allowed it) I bought all kinds of foreign Rock magazines like Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Hit Parader and Circus. I still like to pick up an old magazine and read interviews with bands that were about release albums that later became huge classics.

In the 80s music channels like SKY Channel, Super Channel and MTV had their own weekly Hard Rock shows. I was always envious of my friends who had cable and could watch the shows, the new music videos and artist interviews. I gave some friends video tapes for them to record the shows for me, but they mostly forgot.

Radio was also a source of Hard Rock music. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), which is the equivalent of the BBC in the UK, had a weekly top 10 show that aired every Saturday. Whenever a Hard Rock band had a hit you could usually hear it on that show. I was always ready with a cassette recorder to get my favorite songs on tape. The downside to this was that they rarely played the entire track. When it came to Hard Rock they usually faded the track in the middle of the guitar solo. There should be a law banning that!

In the mid 80s the number of local radio stations in Norway grew rapidly. By pure coincidence I tuned in to a channel called Radio 1 late one Sunday night, only to find that they had a Metal show on air. This became one of my major sources to new Metal music until I started my own radio show.

From mid 80s the number of international Hard Rock bands playing shows in Norway increased a lot and I went to as many gigs as I possibly could. In 1985 I started doing my first Hard Rock show on FM radio. This was the first seed that eventually sprouted into what you now know as Metal Express Radio.

The Whitesnake buttons collection

It costs a lot to keep Metal Express Radio running. Let’s face it, we’re a grassroots web radio and we do this because we love Metal. Any contributions that helps keeping us afloat are highly welcomed. We gladly accept donations on our donate page.


  • Stig G. Nordahl

    Stig is the founder and the president of Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway. He has been around doing Metal radio since the mid-eighties. In fact, running Metal Express Radio takes almost all of his time. Is it worth it...? "Most times, yes," Stig says. "My philosophy is to try to give all Metal releases a fair chance to get promoted in one way or another. As you can imagine, it can be an arduous task to listen through about 20 albums every week! Still, I know we have the best METAL dedicated radio on this planet, and that is a reward in and of itself. I hope one day the whole Metal community can and will make listening to Metal Express Radio part of their daily rituals! Yeah, right..."

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