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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Latest Message: 1 week, 1 day ago
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
  • Rocktopia Te : @Johns Band: Can you please contact us here: «email»
  • Johns Band : Fireworks Magazine 88 did not arrive by post. paid by PayPal. Any Suggestion.
  • Berny : @bpomper: Can you pls. contact the Rocktopia team here: «email»
  • bpomper : i found the problem..old email i can not access.i have tried to change it by editing my info but it wont allow. any suggestions
  • Berny : @bpomper: A reply was sent yesterday, We recommend checking your spam/junk mail to see if our message was filtered there. The magazine was already sent to your shipping address. Please let me know if you do not receive it within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!
  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
  • Rocktopia Te : @bpomper: For security reasons, we removed your previous message. Please do not post your private e - mail address. Many thanks for your understanding.
  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
  • bpomper : hello i purchased fireworks #88 through paypal on9/23 and have not recieved an email from rocktopia. purchase is for a hard copy of the mag. should i have cd download instructions.when should i expect it
  • Berny : @Johns Band: I've just sent you an e - mail. Best regards, B.
  • Johns Band : I have ordered FM Live video and £1.99 taken from my PayPal account. How do I download video. Something gone wrong at processing with Fireworks. The links to report it do not work.
  • Berny : @kevinw01: Have you received the mail containing the donwload instructions? It seems as if you are downloading the bonus CDs from the "Fireworks" menu, those are meant for our readers in the USA and Canada whose copies do not come with the CD. I will send you a mail now. Thanks, B.
  • kevinw01 : I have ordered several issues of Fireworks but when I press the download button I only get a copy of the MP3 but not the PDF files. I have an iPad. Am I doing something wrong? Kevin
  • Berny : @ARONITY: Thanks for your order. As stated in the item's description, it can take up to three hours for your purchase to be processed. You should have received a mail containing the download instructions by now. Thanks for your patience!
  • ARONTY : Hi, Just ordered #88 pdf, Paypal show the payment, but no d/l link, please help..
  • Berny : @John: Pls. check your mail, this should have been sorted by now. Apologies for the delay!
  • johnmason : Hi. I paid for #88 and it doesn't show up in the licenses/Downloads and I never received any email telling me how to download it.
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks Magazine #88 is out now!
  • SeaDog57 : Thanks Berny got it
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: Not sure why the password disappeared, but it's back. Pls. download your copy from the usual place (i.e. Fireworks - > Bonus CD 87 on the TOP menu). Have fun! :)
  • SeaDog57 : Berny looking for the link and password to Issue 87 free music
  • Berny : @yvesrock: Apologies for the troubles. I've just sent you an email.
  • yvesrock : Hi,I ordered the 11th june the new Fireworks' magazine (issue 87) and I didn't receive it. Can you see if you sent it ? Best wishes Yves
  • yvesrock : Hi,
  • Berny : @Gazza2005: Please accept my apologies for the delay in processing your order. You should have received a confirmation mail by now. We are really trying our best to fix the payment issue as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience! PS: It seems as if you sent the payment twice, we sent you a refund.

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"An album without a hit single is like a girl with a real short mini-skirt, [but] wearing underwear." (Gregg Giuffia, House Of Lords) - Quotes collected by Dave Ling (www.daveling.co.uk)

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