North·Music That Matters

Yukon Indigenous leader Peter Johnston on his love of classic heavy metal

In this edition of Music That Matters, Peter Johnston, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, shares some of his favourite classic metal tunes.

Council of Yukon First Nations chief picks favourites by Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and KISS

'Music is my daily bread. It's either that or watching or playing hockey, but music is something I truly love,' said Peter Johnston, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations. (CBC)

This story is a part of a web series called Music That Matters with CBC Yukon's Airplay host Dave White. Dave sits down with Yukoners to talk about five pieces of music that inspire them.

I played hockey with Peter Johnston, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations, this past year, and Johnston was in charge of the music in the dressing room.

So I knew exactly what I was getting when I asked him if he wanted to be a guest for our Music That Matters feature.

Johnston is a huge fan of classic heavy metal, and picking just five songs was not easy.

"That was the hardest decision in my life right now," he said. "Music is my daily bread. It's either that or watching or playing hockey, but music is something I truly love."

Johnston's first pick is the first song on one of the biggest-selling records of all time: AC/DC's Back In Black.

"When Hells Bells starts, it's one of the best songs out there. To a true AC/DC fan out there, Hells Bells would be in anyone's top five."

Johnston's second choice is another classic, The Wizard by Black Sabbath.

"I struggled with this one, picking one Sabbath tune as a favourite song, but it has to be The Wizard. The harmonica is just so eerie, and it's just a great song, an evil song."

Johnston's third choice was from another English metal band, Iron Maiden.

"Iron Maiden are incredible," he said.

"Nobody does it better than them, but when it comes to the music and the songs you have to go back to [the album] The Number Of The Beast and Hallowed Be Thy Name [also a favourite of the author]."

Johnston crossed the Atlantic Ocean for his fourth choice, Shock Me by KISS, the first song guitarist Ace Frehley sang on one of the band's studio records.

"Ace Frehley is my favourite KISS member and one of my favourite guitar players," Johnston said. "He played in such a unique way, he just gave it an extra crunch, and you can really hear it when you listen on vinyl."

Finally, Johnston went back to England for his final choice, Grinder from the classic album British Steel by Judas Priest.

"This is another one of those groups I grew up with, but British Steel was their best album, I felt that right from the beginning ... but Grinder just has that crunch. It's all about living your life day after day, going through the grind."

About the Author

Dave White is the host of Airplay, CBC Yukon's afternoon radio show. He's lived in the Yukon since 1989, more or less.

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