Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life

Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life

Feature Photo by Andy Benton

Since the ‘80s, New York native Tommy Bolan has been rocking and rolling. Though he’s appeared on dozens of records, he’s best known for shredding his way through albums and sets alongside German metal icon Doro Pesch.

If you’ve heard Warlock’s classic 1987 metal barnburner, Triumph and Agony, you’ll be familiar with Bolan’s shred-heavy yet bluesy approach, leading to songs like “All We Are,” among others becoming staples. And that checks out, given Bolan’s roots, which include influences like Ace Frehley, Edward Van Halen, and Ritchie Blackmore.

And so, when tasked to pick the records that shaped his life for, Bolan really had to put his thinking cap on. “It’s tough to pick only 15,” Bolan laughs. “I listened to so many varieties of music, and I drew inspiration and feel from so many different styles.”

He adds: Each style and album took me to a different place, depending on my mood and where I wanted to go. But here are 15 that definitely had an influence and made the cute for me, personally.”

Alive! by Kiss (1975)

This album inspired me to be a performer; the songs are great. This got under my skin and made me want to get onstage—and listening to the song “Parasite” then as the band would kick in after the intro was always a magic moment for me.

Powerage by AC/DC (1978)

This is such a great rockin’ album with powerful riffs and songs. I first heard this when I spent a summer at my aunt’s house in Kentucky; as a local kid I knew there played it all the time. When I got home, my mom bought it for me for Christmas. The song “Riff Raff” is a big favorite of mine.

The Cars by The Cars (1978)

This album has excellent songwriting and structure. When I first learned to play guitar, I used to play a lot of these songs in bars in cover bands. Elliot Easton is an underrated guitarist. He added a lot of color to his fills and riffs on these songs, and you can basically sing all his solos.

Live by Mahogany Rush (1978)

My older brother bought this album home one day, and it completely blew my mind and pushed my energy level through the roof. I was a Jimmy Page fan for blues and Ritchie Blackmore fan for the exotic stuff, but Frank Marino took that for me, put it in a blender, and hit puree. Listen to his version of “Johnny B. Goode;” the first note in his main solo of that song always makes the hair on my arms stand up. It’s pure energy.

Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest (1982)

This is such an amazing album, top to bottom. I wore the grooves out of it, and it was pure metal for me. I used to play these songs in bars. They have great energy, and I still blow my car speakers out when “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” comes on the radio.

Hell Bent for Leather, aka Killing Machine by Judas Priest (1978)

This was the first album I heard from Judas Priest, and the intensity blew me away. This was the album I essentially cut my metal teeth on as I moved into listening to heavier music and guitars. “Hell Bent for Leather” and “Running Wild” were staples in my high school bands’ set.

Rock and Roll Over by Kiss (1976)

This was the second record I ever bought, and it was before I was even playing guitar. This album also tied in with the first videos I ever saw of Kiss, which were “Love ‘Em Leave ‘Em,” “I Want You,” and “Hard Luck Woman.” And “Makin’ Love” was another great song; I wore the grooves out on this one.

Destroyer by Kiss (1976)

This was the first album I ever bought, and it was an amazing visual influence on me. Hearing “Detroit Rock City” for the first time when the guitars came in was awesome, meaning the way they came in after the news report at the beginning of the song. I still remember playing this on my cheap stereo record player in my basement in New York, which I would place on top of the dryer in our basement. This album inspired me to want to learn guitar, which, at this time, I wasn’t playing yet.

One More from the Road by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1976)

This album introduced me to the song “Freebird,” a staple in all the early bands I was in. along with “Sweet Home Alabama.” But it was “Freebird” that I would just jam on live forever. Both live and in rehearsal, as I worked on improvising beyond the set solo, helped me develop my own style as I just jammed on and on.

Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin (1969)

My brother owned the good stereo and blasted Zeppelin all the time! Jimmy Page was a big influence on me, and this is a great blues-rock record. The opening riff to “Heartbreaker” makes you crank the radio every time, and the solo was pure inspiration to learn with its phrasing and feel. And “Whole Lotta Love” was a great song to jam and extend live. It inspired many extended jam sessions. I also have to say that Led Zeppelin, and Led Zeppelin IV were also huge influences on me.

Moving Pictures by Rush (1981)

I was, and still am, a big Rush fan. I always dug Alex Lifeson’s use of effects and the way he layered his guitar in the songs for texture and feel. I remember playing many songs from this album in the bars and how happy I was when I figured out the “Limelight” solo. But unfortunately, I left a dent in my tape where the solo started from rewinding it so much. [laughs]

Machine Head by Deep Purple (1972)

This is a fantastic album. I always liked Ritchie Blackmore’s style, and “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin’” are all-time favorites of mine. I played these in my high school cover band and gained a lot from learning them. Also, I was a big fan of Blackmore’s work with Rainbow.

Van Halen by Van Halen (1978) 

I remember my brother coming home one night talking about a band he saw. He went on and on about how the singer and guitarist had this onstage energy like Robert Page and Jimmy Plant. He then went and bought the album, and the rest is history. “You Really Got Me” was the staple jam song everywhere you went, and Eddie Van Halen’s use of effects, along with his technique and sonics, was great.

Blizzard of Ozz by Ozzy Osbourne (1980)

I have always been a fan of Ozzy, and I have played a lot of classic Black Sabbath songs in bands before. This was a great Solo album of his, and learning these songs taught me a lot about solo structure, technique, and tone. It’s filled with great riffs, and song structure, and the second album, Diary of a Madman, was also rockin’!

Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life article published on Classic© 2024 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either supplied by the artists, public domain Creative Commons photos, or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with Protection Status


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