Re-branding old bands and holograms!?

 

 

So in one week the world of classic rock has seen [or heard] 2 new directions, both of which I think are misleading, in bad taste and showing a grim and desperate road for bands and managers from an era that has already lost a number of aging rockers earlier in the year.

The first being a new album by Blackfoot… or in reality a band named Blackfoot, who’ve been handed the name and back catalogue to start from. The southern rock band that began in the early ‘70s after Rickey Medlocke left Lynyrd Skynyrd [as their drummer] and moved up to guitar, lead vocals, and major songwriter. The original [and only line up for most fans] included Greg T. Walker [also ex of LS, bass], Jakson Spires on drums [RIP], and Charlie Hargrett [guitar]. From 1975 to 81 the band released 5 albums, most notably Strikes in 1979 [their most successful] – which featured the classics “Train Train”, “Road Fever” and their best known song “Highway Song”.

Strikes was followed up by the underrated “Tomcattin”, which was a bit heavier, and featured such classics as “Warped” and “On The Run”, and then 1981’s Maurauder with faves “Fly Away”, “Dry County” and “Rattlesnake Rock n Roller”.

Blackfoot 1

The band added Ken Hensley on keyboards for 1983’s Siogo and the follow up Vertical Smiles. The latter didn’t feature Hargrett, as he’d left before it was done. The new commercial 80s sound didn’t stick with longtime fans and following Hensley’s departure, and Bobby Barth’s joining the band band soon broke up. Medlocke would reform a new band as Rick Medlocke & Blackfoot for a contractual album, and carry on a few years with changing line ups and a few more albums, before he joined Lynyrd Skynyrd. Hargrett, Walker, and Spires reformed Blackfoot with Bobby Barth soon after [leasing the name from Medlocke, presumably], but after numerous changes, and the loss of Spires, Medlocke stepped in, took back the name and branded a new group as Blackfoot in 2012. So, that is my Blackfoot history in a nutshell…

Fast forward to current days… And this ‘new’ younger band that’s been given the name has released a new album as Blackfoot. And I will say – before ANYTHING else – regardless if Rickey manages, or contributes to the writing or production [I’m not totally sure, nor do I totally care!] because this is NOT Blackfoot! Regardless if the album is decent or has any similarities to the original band [I’ve heard the single, watched the video – it’s ok, somewhat generic], or if these guys are great players and writers – it is a band branded and being sold as something that no longer exists. It may be a great Blackfoot tribute band live – but that’s all it can be. Imagine if Paul McCartney did something similar with the Beatles name and catalogue or Jimmy Page with Zeppelin, etc… ? there’d be global fucking outrage! This may be a good band, but I won’t be duped into buying it as a Blackfoot album – to compare and sit alongside the rest of the BF collection I have. And I am a huge fan of Rickey Medlocke, and would love to hear him doing new material outside of Skynyrd! But, frankly I am cynical enough about bands still out there calling themselves Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, and Foreigner! [And this is a whole other debate]. Tribute bands may be the best way to experience bands no longer able to perform, but call them what they are – and record under a different name. [Even Scott Gorham realized the backlash he’d likely get if his incarnation of Thin Lizzy used the name on a new album].

The other disturbing occurrence this week was the use of a hologram of Ronnie James Dio at Germany’s Wacken Festival. Dio’s former wife and manager, who supports the tribute Dio’s Discpiles also came up with and supported this hologram idea. Dio’s Disciples were put together less than a year after the guy passed away, and consists of players that replaced his original band – that band [Vivian Campbell, Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice] reassembled 2 years back, called themselves Last In Line, and issued an album of new material earlier this year. Sadly, things went south when Jimmy Bain passed away suddenly on the Def Leppard cruise. And for me [and many others] – THAT original line up was the Dio band, and I’d be far more interested in seeing them [if they come around with a sub bass player], playing the classics they wrote and recorded, as well as new material.

So, back to this gimmick of a lazer / light show and vocal of Dio, which was played along to by his former bandmates for the finale [“We Rock”], and there’s talk about taking this kind of creepy circus act on the road next year!? Yeesh!

Sorry, but why bother – aside from former colleagues cashing in and creating a fake experience for everyone, mostly fans. If these guys are out there doing their regular act as a tribute to RJD – fair enough, but resurrecting him on stage is in poor taste, IMO. It would also wind up being predictable and uninspired with the band playing the same thing note for note – no room to change, and no between song banter from a dead guy fronting the show!  Frankly, this is something one would think Sharon Osbourne would try [she’s likely pissed someone’s beat her to it]. Imagine going to see a full show of this by your favorite band, with a hologram of their long deceased frontman? Where would it end? Imagine worse if this sort of thing got put on to a recording with band playing along to the same vocal performance from years before? and geez – who would be on the t-shirt?? and what dying rock star would say “sure, make me into a hologram when i’m gone to keep the band going and employed!” [?]

The golden era of rock is long gone – there won’t be any more Led Zeppelins, Beatles, Thin Lizzys, or the classic line ups of Uriah Heep, Queen, Rainbow, etc… but you can get out there and try to enjoy those still performing, while we can. Forget the gimmicks and the tricky branding and packaging of once great rock acts. I saw a band called Thin Lizzy 5 years ago, and being a huge fan, and having never seen the real deal – I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I understood that it was a tribute to the band – there’s no Phil Lynott, just the same as there’s no Ronnie VanZant – so the latter day Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn’t fool me either, but I can enjoy it for the fact that it’s the closest thing to the real thing we’ll ever see nowadays, and that can’t be replaced by a new group using the name or a hologram!

KJJ

a Few New Releases and old ramblings…

Well, it’s been a while. Life happens, you get stalled, but new music [and old] always gets one going again [even briefly]. I’ve said before I am not a fan of writing reviews, but some releases are either exciting, historical, or fun to comment on, so…

I’ve found as I’ve gotten older and as life changes I’ve been going back to discover or even re-discover classic rock from the late ‘60s and 70s I’d either missed or passed by throughout the years. Maybe I’m just getting older, but over the last several months I’ve picked up most of the Beatles catalogue, a few Steve Miller Band LPs, some early Chicago, Bad Company, … incidentally I’ve picked up plenty of metal too [Helloween, Jorn Lande..]. There is so much amazing and unique music in that period from the mid 60s to mid 70s – there is no other era like it! It’s interesting to go through Beatles albums and appreciate the productions, and the band’s changes. And who makes big band rock, like those early Chicago albums? Or those simply cool Steve Miller Band albums from the mid ‘70s? Nobody!

Anyway, over time I’ve been cleaning out my collections [anyone collect cassettes or VHS tapes, btw?], and filling in many gaps of great music from the past. Incidentally, am pretty much back to buying almost all vinyl, for a few reasons. One being the jacked up prices of used albums! Just because something’s old – doesn’t mean it’s worth $20 and up! I see very few Beatles used LPs under that price, and even then they’re beaten to crap – so why not just start fresh and buy the re-issued vinyl, roughly in the same price range!? And really, some bands were either just not that great or their albums over saturated the used LP market so much, that who the hell would pay much for them!? Albums that were worth $3 ten years ago – haven’t become so much better or too hard to find with age. Seeing run o’ the mill 80s LPs like Poison, Warrant, a few Dokken for over $10! Really!?? Were Motley Crue albums worth anything prior to their farewell tour announcement? Don’t think so! Not that they were bad albums [well…] but hugely collectable!? And as much as I enjoy my Styx and Foreigner LPs, why would anyone pay $12 for “Foreigner 4” or Styx “Paradise Theatre”? These albums could be [and still can be in some places] found in any dollar bin for years! Having said all that, I’m all for buying new vinyl and re-issues. I’ve just had to be more selective in what I spend on. I like my new re-issued 2LP set of “Band On The Run” – but will I buy the entire McCartney catalogue at that price? Hell no!

Well, that’s it… I’ve said enough….

Here’s a few new releases from the past few months…..

 

Joe Lynn Turner – Street of Dreams, Boston 1985

After all the press Joe has stirred the last year or so with his plans for a Rainbow reunion, and then his comments when Ritchie Blackmore announces Rainbow without him, and Deep Purple’s Hall of Fame mess – a new release is a great plan! Especially since it’s titled after a Rainbow song! Hmm… Seriously tho, this was recorded live by Joe’s solo band after Rainbow broke up [w/ Blackmore reuniting with Purple], and Joe’s debut solo album “Rescue You”. That was a fairly decent AOR album, not too far from the direction Rainbow had gone in during the JLT era. Rescue You featured original Foreigner keyboard player Alan Greenwood, who also co-wrote most of the songs. “Street of Dreams – Boston 1985” includes the same band Joe used on his album, and the set is comprised of most of the tracks from Rescue You, plus a few others, including Rainbow hits “Stone Cold” and the title song. It’s a really good recording, and I much prefer the energy to this live set of Rescue You songs to the studio ones. Probably could’ve used another Rainbow track or 2 in the set, but well give credit to Joe for moving forward with his new stuff at the time. Joe’s recorded so much stuff over the years, either in a band, solo, with someone else – it’s hard to keep up! But this is a welcome addition for fans of JLT [and those that liked the Rainbow-wanna-be-Foreigner period]. A cool revisit to the ‘80s.

www.joelynnturner.com

Rainbow – Boston (Live), ’81

Geez, I don’t know where to start….i like Joe Lynn Turner on his era of Rainbow songs, but when it comes to him doing the Dio stuff [“Man on the Silver Mountain” is fairly average all ‘round]or the obligatory “Smoke On The Water” – I’ll pass! This comes from an era where Blackmore pushing what was once a mighty powerful band into a mainstream ‘80s pop-rock American sounding band – like a pile of others. Turner, as good all round as he is, fit that Americanized direction. Anyway, this is actually a great sounding recording from that era, post Graham Bonnet. The band itself sounds killer on “Catch The Rainbow”, classic epic Rainbow…. But this period just seems to be a bridge from 2 very different bands…. If ya know what I mean….

Lords of Black 2

Very heavy power metal from Spain, perhaps notable for featuring singer Ronnie Romero – who is the new singer in Blackmore’s Rainbow! Lords of Black features ex Saratoga members Tony Hernando and Andy C, and their 2nd album is co-produced and mixed by Roland Grapow [ex Helloween, Masterplan]. Not far off from the Helloween approach, minus the harmonies and slight commercial / anthem approach, and Romero has a huge voice that will definitely suit Rainbow. ‘II’ blazes off early with “Merciless”, along with “Only One Life Away”, and “Cry No More” is damn cool. Also features slightly more melodic rockers in “New World’s Comin” [w/ piano], “Insane” and 9 minute epic piece “Ghost of You”, nice acoustic intro and dramatic build up. Interestingly, ‘bonus’ CD includes a number of covers, including Rainbow’s “Lady of the Lake” to really check out how Romero will sound in that role.

http://www.frontiers.it

Wonderworld – 2

Classic rock power trio consisting of Ken Ingwersen [g], Roberto Tiranti [b/v], and Tom Fossheim [d]. All 3 were part of Ken Hensley’s [Uriah Heep] Live Fire band [tho Tiranti left after just one album].

Wonderworld’s debut album was a great surprise, full of heavy rock, kinda funky in a Glenn Hughes vein, with enough pop elements to give it a wide appeal and a pretty different sound and style of their own. ‘II’ follows that up nicely with the same sort of solid set of guitar rock that flows so well from track to track. Lead off track “Forever Is A Lie” is a standout rocker, as is “Elements” that features a classic riff opening, and “Return To Life”. Wonderworld changes things up more on this album with a few more slower moody ballads and epic pieces like “Echo Of My Thoughts” – with the addition of the Hammond organ (would be cool to hear more of that on here), “It’s Not Over Yet”, and “Memories”.

Interesting cover art! Looking forward to more from these guys; they are actually something new and different to anything else out there I’ve heard!

[now, just waiting for my vinyl copies to arrive!]

www.wonderworld.no

Joe Bouchard – The Power of Music

The latest full album [4th] from the original Blue Oyster Cult bass player! This has a theme of music running through it – nods to the history and different styles. “Walk With The Devil” features a heavier intro and cool hook; this would’ve been a classic BOC number. “36 Strings” settles back in to Joe’s upbeat acoustic [Americana] feel, while “Dusty Old Piano” is a ballad lead with the instrument; it builds up nicely, and I can also easily see this as a classic BOC cut. Lots of cool stuff here – the upbeat “Is He The Wolfman” [love the Hammond intro], the lone John Elwood Cook tune “Photographic Evidence”, and the haunting, mainly keyboard instrumental “Touring Age”. Ends neatly with an updated and rocky version of BOC’s “Career of Evil” [a nod also to the book of the same name – inspired by the song title!].

Quite a journey and mix of tunes that flow well, especially if you ‘get’ the theme. Well played.

www.joebouchard.com

BOB EGO : Interview From The Archives with Canadian drummer bOB eGO

ego - 2

So, going through old interviews and exchanges with people I had over the years that I discovered on old discs [and floppy discs!], I came across these replies I received from legendary Canadian drummer Bob [Herb] Ego, who had played in numerous bands, most notably Witness [pre Streetheart], Painter, Hammersmith, and Streetheart! Bob never replied with the questions I’d originally sent – so I don’t have ‘em! And in reading this, I see there was a 2nd part, which I never got from him. But a good bit of Canadian rock history and info from the man.

*Check out Bob’s discography at >

The Official Website of Bob Ego

PAINTER  / WITNESS 

When I played in, “Painter,” it was after I had left Witness (which would have been from 1971-1974). Granfalloon would be 1976–check out the live recording on my Granfalloon link on my web site– That was a fun band! Bob Duetscher (Guitar player) played in quite a few bands in western Canada and has his own web site.

Painter was originally the, “49th parallel” — who had a hit record called, “Labor,” great song. I’m not sure who wrote it but I will never forget it. Danny Lowe, also the main guy in 49th Parallel, started Painter with a drummer named Barry (can’t remember last name — sorry) I met him once — nice guy.

After I left Witness (this can be confusing ‘cause there was more than one Witness – this is why my discography is so important to understanding how things happened) anyway, after I left Witness, I moved to Calgary and joined Painter. Danny Lowe, Doran Beattie, Wayne Morice (who I just heard from a few days ago), and me — This was Painter! Barry Allen came on board after we were signed to Elektra. Painter got signed to Elektra after we decided to go with Bob Zimmerman as our manager. Before Painter, Zimmerman managed the Chamber Bros. He knew a lot of people in the music biz and was able to make people stop and listen to our demos.

Goin’ Home To Rock N Roll – YouTube

The first single, “West Coast Woman,” was written in the basement in, I would say, less than 15 min. One thing about Painter–there was a magical chemistry. We never spent much time writing. We just sat down and played music. Whatever came out was on the most part pretty damn good to the point where we kept it and recorded it! 

Hammersmith – Hello, It’s For You – YouTube

We were based out of Seattle at the time when West Coast Woman was released as our first single. The radio response was very good. I believe it hit #1 in Atlanta, Seattle, and Las Vegas – in general. it did very well throughout the States. I know the record company folks were pleased. The second single from the Painter album was, “Song for Sunshine,” it didn’t do much but that one was the record Co. idea to release. We had other suggestions that didn’t happen. I had a lot of input in the arrangements with Painter, however, I was not credited in this way for any royalties. I was (on paper) just the drummer. We were a lot heavier live than on record – with extended solos, intros, etc. And at the time our influences varied from Elton John, to Led Zep, to Jimi Hendrix. I was very influenced by both Mitch Mitchell and Joe Morello. I don’t think we were aiming for anything other than just creating Painter music (we never analyzed anything we just played!). I like all the songs from the Painter album. When we played Atlanta Georgia at a club called, “Richard’s,” (with Charlie Daniel’s band and Soft Machine) Frank Zappa was supposed to sit in with Charlie but when he heard us earlier in the week he told his manager that he wanted to play with us instead. Come Saturday night, Zimmerman comes in the dressing room and tells us he has been talking to Frank Zappa’s manager and that he asked if Frank could sit in with us – we said, “I guess it would be OK.” Laughing and answering, “Get out of here” etc . . .. we didn’t believe it was true until Zappa showed up and wrote a song live on the spot called, “That’s Why I Knew That it Was Love.” We went out and performed it live on the air. People were blown away because of the fact he was there and so were we. There’s a lot more but to move on to your other questions . . . we toured with Steely Dan, Paul Butterfield Blues band, Canned Heat, Five man Electrical Band, Red Bone, Black Oak Arkansas and many more. Painter did not open for April Wine. I did, however, when I was with Streetheart. Jerry Mercer (drummer from April Wine and I shared a practice room during the tour– great guy and great drummer). There are lots of unreleased painter songs however you must see my discography. 

HAMMERSMITH 

Hammersmith – Late Night Lovin’ Man – YouTube

Three of the guys did move on from Painter to form Hammersmith. I had left the band to get off the road for a while. I wanted to teach, perform, and continue to record for Tommy Bands studio in Edmonton with Les Bateman for Witness incorporated. “Jezebel,” “Harlem Lady,” great songs and great band. Anyways, I think Painter changed the name to Hammersmith, to get out of legal bindings with Zimmerman. I’m not sure who they had on drums before they were ready to record Hammersmith – however it wasn’t working out so they asked me to perform on the album – I did all of the drumming on the album but was not credited for it–due to the fact that they were trying to market a band (and their faces) not “studio guys.” We are still very good friends and keep in touch from time to time.

Updates: 

A lot has happened since those days.

Danny Lowe went on to invent Q sound and made his mark big time.

Wayne and Doran are in the movie biz making the hit X-files–and others.

I’m still doing studio work, seminars; drum clinics, and occasionally filling in for old friends. I’m also working at a music store where I’ve met some guys with very impressive backgrounds – the main thing, however, is that they’re really good people. I will try to get to more of your questions about Streetheart soon. I’m doing a clinic/performance concert here that is taking all my time for preparation. I’ll get back to you in a couple weeks or so. Thank you for the interest in these great Canadian bands! 

What Kind Of Love Is This – Streetheart – YouTube 

http://www.drumlessonslasvegas.com/about-bob-ego.html

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Bob-Ego/73611335

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeeAW9BPkuI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbEFsc5QbFU

KJJ, 03/’16 

Some new rock and latest ramblings….

 

Got a number of new things, some of it is stuff I had or could’ve had mid last year, but am glad I’ve got it and given it a listen. Aside from my newer favorites – like the Magnum’s latest or Swedish band Black Trip’s second album [both of these I dug so much, I immediately ordered the vinyl!], I’ve picked up a few other things not mentioned here like a fantastic 2LP set of The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Atlanta Pop Festival, 1970 [“Freedom”] – great performance, sound, and packaging. Also recently picked up Moxy’s “40 Years And Still Riding”, which is one disc of re-recorded Moxy classics and one live disc from the band’s 2013 show in Toronto – with founding guitarist Earl Johnson and former Slik Toxic singer Nick Walsh. A great up to date sound, with Walsh adding a bit more ‘metal’ to the Moxy classics, originally sang by Buzz Shearman [RIP]. From last year, I’m still big on Iron Maiden’s latest massive set [3 LPs!] – “Book Of Souls”, enjoying every side of it; as well as the latest from David Gilmour “Rattle That Lock”, such different and  classy stuff.   Anyway, here’s some ramblings of some new and newer stuff I’ve been listening to.

 

Anvil – Anvil Is Anvil [SPV]

I haven’t heard a lot from this Canadian metal trio, that’s been going for a few decades. But, an interesting title and a curiosity to sit through this album, and glad I have! Sounds like a fun, fast paced, guitar rock album, that’ll sound great in the car! The title Anvil Is Anvil is based on the band recognizing what they are best known for and not going out of the lines. Anvil consists of guitarist/vocalist Steve “Lips” Kudlow, drummer Robb Reiner, and new bass player Chris Robertson. Anvil Is Anvil only serves up old school metal, lots of riffs, thundering drums, without any added frills [no keys or excessive intros or passages], lyrically taking on everything from the metal anthem types like “Run Like Hell” and “Up, Down and Sideways”, as well as more serious topics as “Gun Control” and [religion’s influence] on “Die For A Lie”. Faves include the fast paced “Runaway Train” and “It’s Your Move”, both have a Motorhead vibe going on [the latter referencing Ace of Spades]. Some cool Canuck metal for ya!

feb - anvil

*available in CD, digi-pack, and vinyl!

https://www.facebook.com/anvilmetal

http://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil/

 

Magnum – Sacred Blood “Devine” Lies [SPV]

You cannot really go wrong with a Magnum album. First off – you got the outstanding Rodney Matthews artwork that makes this package stand out to begin with! These guys know what their fans want and consistently deliver it each time out. A few rockers cool guitar rockers, a few upbeat pop-rock arena favorites, those mini-epic tracks featuring classy piano and keyboards, that build up in to heavy choruses, and those simple sweet, quiet ballads. You really can’t get bored. The band’s latest “Sacred Blood, ‘Devine’ Lies” is another superb album. No big keyboard intro here as the guitar chords to the title track fade in and kick off this album with a solid rocker. The single “Crazy Old Mothers” features that tasteful piano from Mark Stanway and leaps into a great chorus, and goes back and forth – classic Magnum! “Gypsy Queen” starts out soft with light sweeping keyboards and Bob Catley’s vocals, and then the band kicks in giving this an almost heavy dance and rock chorus, and again settles back down. Just love how these guys can go from a ballad to a storming rocker – all in the same song! I’ve enjoyed every album since I got in to them with the ‘Moon King’ album 9 years ago, and this is possibly my favorite since then! Just one classic Magnum track after another – “Princess In Rags”, the ballad “Your Dreams Won’t Die”, the dramatic “A Forgotten Conversation”, epic piece in “Twelve Men Wise and Just”, “Afraid Of The Night” – love Tony Clarkin’s writing and playing, and solos. Bob Catley being one of England’s most under heard of lead singers. A damn shame these guys never play in North America, hence remain somewhat of a mystery, except for those of us fortunate enough to discover them.

feb - magnum

*available in CD/DVD deluxe w/ 3 extra tracks, as well as vinyl!

www.magnumonline.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/magnumbandpage/

 

Last In Line – Heavy Crown [Frontiers]

Those early Dio albums with Vivian Campbell were a classic era for me, and I never really dug the albums that came later, with substitute players as much. That original ‘Dio’ line-up had a distinctive sound and the songs! Years following Ronnie James Dio’s passing here is the original line-up back, with singer Andrew Freeman. Obviously not exactly a Dio album, but close in many ways. Freeman does an admirable job, though he sounds to be pushing it at times to come off as heavy as the music. The songs are good, and a few favorites have the potential to be in the same class as some of those early Dio faves; one could easily imagine Dio taking on such standouts as “Devil in Me”, “I Am Revolution”, and the more melodic “Starmaker”. Overall I really like this album; it’s a grower too, as it just gets better each time on.

Credit to Vivian Campbell for returning to his roots and playing something real again, and for handling Jimmy Bain’s passing with dignity in dealing with the fans, class act; and here’s wishing Campbell the best with his own health. And here’s hoping these guys find a way to keep it going in honor of Ronnie and Jimmy.

https://www.facebook.com/lastinlinerocks

Axel Rudi Pell – Game Of Sins [SPV]

Another act that sort of sticks to a winning formula. German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell always plays it heavy, coming from that Ritchie Blackmore school of guitar and mystique. You get the cool scary cover art, the slow eerie intro, then the opening riff of one of many cool rockers here in “Fire”. Johny Gioeli [Hardline] suits this stuff fine. Plenty of cool chugging and thundering rockers here – “Falling Star”, “Sons In The Night”, “The King of Fools” – big riffs and solos throughout. But there’s nothing really new here, which is fine by me, ‘cause I like this. There’s the slower paced epics in “Forever Free” and the title track [classic ARP!], as well as the token ballad “Lost In Love”, which delivers a heavy chorus, and then there’s the token cover tune with “All Along The Watchtower”, which is quite a different arrangement [Axel shreds on this; killer]. All so predictable really, but really damn good heavy rock from Axel and band! One of his best!

www.axel-rudi-pell.de

https://www.facebook.com/axelrudipellofficial/?fref=ts

 

Black Trip  – Shadow Line [SPV]

The Swedish band consisting of former members of bands such as Necophobic, Nifelheim, Entombed, and [still] Enforcer. These guys clearly celebrate the New Wave of British Metal, and classic metal influences, much of this sounding heavily along the lines of Thin Lizzy and very early Iron Maiden, while the band also sites the likes of The Scorpions and Blue Oyster Cult as major influences. This is great stuff, 2 guitar, vocals at times reminiscent of Phil Lynott, other times of Paul D’ianno. End to end powerful early metal sounding songs! Kicks off a-blazing with the Thin Lizzy type rocker “Die With Me”, and doesn’t let up much. Killer cuts in “Danger”, “Berlin Model 32” and ‘Over The Worldly Walls”. “Clockworks” sounding like a long lost early Maiden classic, while “Subvisual Sleep”, musically, sounds like it would’ve sat comfortably on Judas Priest’s Point Of Entry album. Every song rocks here – “Sceneries”, “Coming Home”, and mini epic “The Storm”. This album really has to be heard.

www.blacktrip.se

https://www.facebook.com/Black-Trip-184303701663532/

The Treatment – Generation Us [Frontiers]

Goofy cover, really. But this album starts out promising with the AC/DC riff rock of “Let It Begin”. Like the guitars and tune, but not crazy about the vocals or the chorus. “The Devil” is a slower track, but it’s got that AC/DC guitar rock feel as well. Plenty of cool riffs and rockers here with “Cry Tough”, “Light The Light”, and fast paced “Tell Us The Truth”. Standouts for me include the near ballad “Backseat Heartbeat”, and mid-tempo “Bloodsucker”, which, again – has a bit of an AC/DC feel to it, and the vocal really suits this one. This one’s a grower, and I’ll be looking to hear more from these guys.

https://www.facebook.com/TheTreatmentOfficial/

 

Wasp – Golgotha [Napalm]

Well, I rediscovered Wasp when the last album came out in 2009 – Babylon. I loved the newer sound and line-up that Blackie Lawless had put together with bassist Mike Duda, guitar player Doug Blair, and drummer Mike Dupke. It lead me to go back and pick up a number of Wasp albums I’d missed in the years after 2 albums in ‘Kill F**k Die!’ and ‘Helldorado’. Blackie’s now writing about his Christian faith, but not so much in a preaching way, and more in a scary way. Musically very heavy, but with the 2 most commercial type rockers leading off with “Scream” – which bares some similarities to Babylon’s lead off track “Crazy”, and then the single “Last Runaway” stands out as well. But things get darker and heavier on Golgotha with the epic ballad “Miss You”, a song about dealing with a loss of a loved one, and from there on this album is just fantastic song after song. “Fallen Under”, “Slaves of the New World Order”, and “Eyes of My Maker”… all have slow light intros and build up in to heavy Wasp rockers – these are easily my favorites on this album. Love the production. “Hero Of The World” is another cool rocker that follows suit, but it seems to borrow intro and feel from The Neon God albums. The title track closes out here, and whether you follow Blackie’s faith or not – you have to appreciate how much passion this guy puts in to it all. One will also notice that the title track bares a striking resemblance in melody to the Queen classic “The Show Must Go On”. But, oh well. Love this album! I really loved ‘Babylon’, but IMO Golgotha is a step up, delivering 9 great tracks, without any covers to dilute things. Blackie’s come a long way from his meat tossing days; a guy long overdue his credit as a serious writer and singer.

https://www.facebook.com/W.A.S.P.Nation/?fref=ts

http://www.waspnation.com/

feb - wasp

TEAZE : Interview from the Archives, [Chuck Price 2000]

 I did some fun interviews way back, but many are either in print only [pre internet] or the links to these have long since ceased to work. so, i’ll be posting some of my favorites here from time to time. 🙂 My first one that I want to share is this interview i did with Teaze guitarist Chuck Price. Chuck did send me some pics at the time, but they’ve long since disappeared among old emails. Enjoy

“TEAZE were a Windsor, Ontario based band in the latter half of the ’70s that released a string of 5 Hard Rock LPs. The band’s self-titled debut [on indie label] is now a collector’s item, and probably the most liked by fans. This was followed by their Aquarius Records debut “On The Loose”, which spawned the country flavored ballad hit “Sweet Misery”, which contrasted with the band’s original gutsy guitar rock approach of the likes of “Lady Killer” and the title track. [Note: Popular thing for Canuck band’s to do in the ’70s seemed to be come out blazing then throw everybody a curve ball and score a big hit]. The band then found a welcome fanbase in Japan where they toured and recorded the simply titled “Tour Of Japan” . The band then made their most commercial appealing album “One Night Stands” with Myles Goodwyn [April Wine] producing. Though including a number good songs like “Young & Reckless”, “Heartless World”, and another countrified ballad in “Loose Change”, One Night Stands failed to break the band into the big leagues, and after a follow up album – “Body Shots”, the band fell apart. For a good overview of the band’s 3 Aquarius studio Lps, check out “Over 60 Minutes With Teaze” on CD, or “Tour Of Japan” [re-issued by Aquarius], or hunt down a vinyl copy of the debut album !

teaze 3

Here I had the chance to go through the band’s history with guitarist Chuck Price.

Thanks to Chuck for the great answers. I hope this offers some good info into one of Canada’s more short-lived and great bands of an era long gone by !”

Teaze was:

Brian Danter – lead vocals, bass

Mike Kozak – drums

Marc Bradac – lead & slide guitar, backing vocals

Chuck Price – guitar, backing vocals

Q: Who were some of your musical heroes, influences, and fave guitar players in your pre-Teaze days ?

CP: I had a lot of musical influences when I was young, I listened to music from the moment my uncles showed me how to run the record player; I was about 4 and haven’t stopped. Early on I listened to all kinds of things. When I was at my father’s parents (5 Boys in the family) I listened to stuff like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino on the rock and roll side, and when I went to my mother’s parents (5 girls in the family) I listened to Elvis, Four Seasons, Paul Anka etc – the ‘teen idol’ side of things. I’d borrow a batch of records bring them home and sit and listen to them for hours. Then the 60’s came and I was hooked!

I was into everything – country, rock, pop, motown. I started playing accordian, but switched to guitar in ’62. Jeff Beck was always one of my favorite guitar players, but so were Steve Cropper, Pete Townsend, and Joe Walsh to name a few.

Q: Can you recall how Teaze actually came to be ? Were there any Pre-Teaze bands or recordings prior to then ?

CP: Brian actually started the band. He’d seen me play and asked if I’d be interested in starting something with him, and at the same time Mike was filling in for an absent drummer in Brian’s band and Brian asked him the same. Then he found a guitar player named Phil Gibson. We started rehearsing and after a short time Phil left. Then Brian got ahold of Marco. I had played with Marco in a previous band; we’d played a few high schools and got discovered by Stan Whitcher, who had done some work for the Stampeders, which got us a deal with Mel Shaw. That’s when we changed our name from Ontario to Teaze.

Q: Who were some of the influences of the other bandmembers and of the band as a whole ? You guys were right across from Detroit, so how big of a role did bands like Alice Cooper, Grand Funk, MC5, and Ted Nugent play in influencing the band’s direction & sound ?

CP: Marco was always into Johnny Winter, Allman Brothers and the blues. Mike was a Rod Stewart, Eric Carmen ,Bruce Springsteen – kind of a guy. Brian was into Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Grand Funk, Valdie. And living 5 minutes away from Detroit had a lot of influence on all of us. There were a lot of great bands through the 60’s and 70’s, not only the rock bands – Seger, Iggy, Brownsville Station and the above mentioned to name a fraction of the bands that were around, but the whole motown thing too. I don’t think that anybody who grew up here during that era wasn’t influenced one way or another by the motown thing.

Q: What do recall of making the band’s first LP ? Any stories ? How was it released and how did it sell ?

CP: The first LP was recorded at a farm-house converted into a studio just outside of Toronto called ‘The Grange’. Our understanding was that we were cutting a demo, but before we knew it they (Mel and Stan) wanted to release it. We weren’t too thrilled about it, but after about a dozen or so mixes we finally agreed. Then we all hated the picture they decided on for the cover, but we were young and really in no position to argue. Mel created Force One Records to release it on. It didn’t sell too well, only around 10 000 copies, but all in all it got us a foot in the door.

Q: How did Teaze come to the attention of Aquarius Records ? How did that deal work out ?

CP: Mel had us play at the RPM convention in ’76 in Toronto; that’s when we met Donald Tarlton (Donald K Donald), Terry Flood (the ‘Winos manager) and Skippy Snair ( A&R Aquarius), and I think they acquired us the next week. Donald and Terry, along with Bob Raggs and Bob Lemm were co-owners of Aquarius. Bob Raggs was our personal manager from that point on.

Q: How did the country flavored “Sweet Misery” become the band’s big hit ? Was this a real surprise , and what influenced the song’s sound ?

CP: Sweet Misery was the first song I’d written by myself and it was kind of a last minute one. We needed another song for the album, so I was sitting at home watching “Charlies Angels” and there was a play on the show called Sweet Misery, it clicked and I wrote down some lyrics and went to bed, got back up wrote down the chords. The next day I gave the lyrics to Mike, he always had a way with words and he came up with the final set of lyrics. So the country flavor is probably my doing since I always listened to it; the same thing with “Loose Change”, but everyone in the band had a great deal of input on the final outcome. Brian did an excellent job on the vocals along with Nanette Workman.

Skippy gave Robert Wood a tape of the album, he heard it and said he wanted to start playing Sweet Misery on the CHUM chain. Yea, that was a real suprise! We weren’t too happy; we felt it didn’t represent what Teaze was, and we only played it live a couple of times.

Q: How did the band get “discovered” in Japan and hooked up to tour there ? Any stories or memories from that tour ? How well were you received over there, and did you ever have the chance to go back ?

CP: Terry Flood got that all together. He still had ties from his Mashmakan days there. We had a great time over there, the people were so polite. There was a group of about 20 girls that followed us everywhere – if we got on a plane they were there; if we got on a train they were there … Not to mention the groups of fans waiting for us at hotels, airports and train stations! We’d walk into a hotel lobby and be mobbed by fans; they gave us all kinds of gifts. It was quite different to what we were used to in North America.

Q: How / Why was Myles Goodwyn brought in to produce “One Night Stands” ? What can you tell me about these sessions with Myles as producer ? How was he to work with ?

CP: Since we were managed by the same company we played quite a few times with April Wine and we got to know them pretty good. I’m not sure who came up with the initial idea to have Myles produce but we all agreed it was a good thing. We had a lot of fun with Myles working on that project, and being a guitar player he had Marco and myself doing a lot more tracks than we had done previously. Everyone would agree that if Myles would have been available to produce the next album the outcome of Teaze would have been different.

Q: One Night Stands is an extremely strong album with perhaps my 2 favorite Teaze tunes > “Heartless World”, “Young & Reckless”, and also the countrified “Loose Change”. How were the critics [reviewers] responses to this album? And was this a low point for the band [how low?], being that it wasn’t a huge commercial success that many may have felt it could’ve / should’ve ??

CP: We were happy with the outcome of One Night Stands, but it didn’t have that one song that got a lot of airplay even though more songs got airplay for a shorter period of time. I think the critics for the most part liked it, but it didn’t sell too well. That didn’t really bother us nor bring us down. Aquarius used it to get us a deal with Capital/EMI for the US and worldwide distribution.

Q: What was the atmosphere or mood while recording the band’s last album – “Body Shots” ? What do you recall of these sessions and period ?

CP: Body Shots was probably a mistake all the way around. We wanted Myles to produce but he was unavailable. The producer was fighting with Capital Records in LA – who wanted us to scrub the session and wait for one of their producers; we wanted to continue and did, but we weren’t happy at all with the final product – which was way over budget. We thought the demo we did at a little basement studio sounded a lot better and had a lot more feeling. Then because we pissed off Capital Records they put us under suspension because we were late delivering the album, which also meant they shelved One Night Stands – which they had been working for a few months, basically cutting off our distribution in the US and the rest of the world since they had rights to everything except Canada and Japan. Now we were starting to feel low.

Q: The band split soon after Body Shots. How was this LP received by fans and critics? What lead to the band splitting up at this time ?

CP: The album didn’t do well at all. A few songs did get airplay in certain markets but all in all it did poorly. By this point we were all pretty low; the management company wasn’t as enthusiastic as they had been, and Brian was having problems with his throat which made him feel even lower and he’d decided that he’d had enough and left.

Q: Were there any attempts to work or re-group in later years ?

CP: Mike, Marco and myself got together with a girl named Lynn Wilson (now Marco’s wife) – who sang and played bass for a while but nothing really came of it.

Q: How come Aquarius has only released the Live album and the compilation on CD ? Is there any plans to get more of the band’s catalogue issued on CD ? Are there any recordings in the ‘vault’ that have never been released, but possibly could ?

CP: I don’t know why Aquarius didn’t release the other stuff on CD, they’ve been very evasive every time we contacted them since the band broke up and as far as I know they don’t handle our catalog anymore.

I think a company called Unidisc in Montreal handles it now and I think they do have On The Loose, One Night Stands and Body Shots on CD, and I think they did release a couple of songs from the ‘vault’ on one of them. We’re still investigating this whole thing ourselves.

Q: What are your favorite tracks from the Teaze repertoire ?

CP: “Baby Won’t You Stay The Night” off On The Loose is probably my favorite track.

Q: What were some of the biggest gigs you guys ever played ? crowd-size, and sharing bills with huger acts ? [Who did you guys tour with? ]

CP: Places like the Montreal Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, PNE Stadium were about the largest size gigs that we’ve played. We’ve worked with April Wine, Streetheart, Triumph, Toronto, a few with Goddo, Meatloaf, Blue Oyster Cult, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Toto… to name a few.

Q: Did you guys do any tours outside of Canada, besides Japan?

CP: We did one gig in Flint, Michigan with April Wine and that was it. The management and record company didn’t want us to go there for some reason which we always thought was a mistake.

Q: What are the other guys up to now ? anyone still recording or playing ?

CP: Marco still plays once in a while with his wife Lynn in a country band called ‘Lynn and The Rebles’, which did a bit of recording, but most days he runs a hock shop that his father left him and takes care of all his farm animals. Mike is working at Chryslers and raising his son and new daughter with wife Janice; Brian has seven children, married to another Lynn and is a minister at a local church. He recently released a Christian CD along with his wife. I’m an industrial electrician, and a soundman with I.A.T.S.E., married to Sue with two grown girls; and I still play every day but have no plans to get back into the buisness.

Q: There was a decent scene of HR bands on southern Ontario in the early 80s with bands like Santers, Coney Hatch, Saga, … – did you ever feel like you guys just missed out timing-wise or ever regret splitting up when you did ?

CP: Yea, I think our timing was all off. I think if we would have been around for another year things would have ended up differently. And if we would have been around when the video thing started things may have been different. But Oh WELL!

Q: Can you list me some of your favorite Canadian bands and Canuck albums ?

CP: I like a lot of our homegrown acts, and being a union soundman I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of them so it’s really hard for me to start picking favorites.

Q: What sort of stuff do you listen to nowadays? What do you think of the Canadian music scene 20 years after Teaze ?

CP: The Canadian music scene seems to be doing great. We have a wide variety of artists in various music fields that are all doing well on the international scene. And I still listen to all kinds of stuff; it depends on what kinda mood I’m in.

Q: What are you currently up to [music, hobbies, etc…] ?

CP: Doing the day job thing, play a little guitar, cruise the net, do sound at the Chrysler Theatre once in a while. I take care of my dog and rabbits. And now that we have no kids living at home anymore, we’re taking advantage of that situation (‘wink,wink’).

Q: Familiar with Uriah Heep ? Ever cross paths with them or listen to them much in your younger years ? )

CP: Sure I listened to Heep when I was younger; we used to cover a couple of their songs when we first started playing. I can’t really remember what ones we played; I know I used to play “Stealin”, but it might have been in a previous band.

Q: BTW, are you familiar with Joe Konas ?

CP: Yea, I’ve known Joe since Brian played with him before Teaze.

Q: What band was this ?

CP: Joe’s band was called ‘Crystal Palace’, and I’m pretty sure they did a single on a private label. Then his next band was simply call ‘Joe’. He is quite a good guitarist and I’m sure he still teaches and/or runs the conservatory in town.

Interview written by Kevin J; December 2000

to check out a great interview with Mike Kozak – http://www.nerdyframes.org/teaze-the-interview/ with Chuck – http://www.angelfire.com/rock2/rockinterviews/teaze.html

http://teaze.ca/

 

http://www.jltrecords.com/artists/danter/

http://www.markpawnmanbradac.com/

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1946&dat=19800717&id=pDkyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=o6QFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4952,2659028&hl=en

 

Classic Live Releases (Part Two)

Well, finally got around to a part 2 of this…. So here’s a few favorite Live sets – old and a few newer.… to be continued….drop a note – leave some recommendations and thoughts!

Humble Pie – Rockin’ The Fillmore [1971]

One of those essential early ’70s double live releases, that captures the energy of the band in their heyday. Interesting that among the 7 tracks on this set – on 2 are band composed, with Humble Pie [like Three Dog Night & Vanilla Fudge] making more out of other artists’ material, done heavier, longer, and with their own sound. Humble Pie rocked the blues, with lengthy jams and so much feel. Recorded at the legendary Fillmore East, in New York [look up the list of acts that played here in it’s brief 3 year run]. Worth it alone for their version of “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, a huge radio favorite at the time and arguably their finest moment. But, there is a pile of great 70s blues and rock here, with covers of Doctor John’s slow paced “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” [clocking in at over 24 minutes, and featuring Marriott on harmonica], Ray Charles’ “Hallelujah”, and Willie Dixon’s “Rolling Stone”. Steve Marriott’s soulful vocals and Peter Frampton’s lead guitar making this Humble Pie’s greatest release [even more so than the hits]. A 4 CD set of all the Fillmore shows was released a few years ago, would be interested to check it out. Definitely an album for headphones or just sit back and take in beginning to end.

RIP – Steve Marriott, Greg Ridley.

Uriah Heep – Live In Armenia [2011]

Since the release of 2000’s classic live set Future Echoes Of The Past [why do band’s feel the need to add some witty title to live albums?], Heep has recorded and released a pile of live shows [albeit many during the early 2000s had different ideas – acoustic show, reunion shows, etc…. none of which are on vinyl!]. After the release of Wake The Sleeper in ’08 the band went on to release a pile of live “bootleg” shows and a series of shows featuring cover art from Ioannis [who did WTS as well as 2011’s Into The Wild]. Of the bunch I really love this 2011 release – on 2LP. First I must add these releases can tend to be a bit repetitive with songs included, especially since they come from the lengthy tour promoting the band’s latest album, and also the sound quality can differ from one live release to the next. But Live In Armenia is given the full treatment as a Heep live release — the sound is great and it comes in a fantastic looking gatefold cover [inside and out] courtesy of Ioannis. And I really like the set list here. Tho I wasn’t initially over the moon about Wake The Sleeper, this live performance [featuring 7 tracks from that album] really brought the songs to life for me in a whole new light. The performance is just outstanding and WTS songs are heavy and so enjoyable here, side 2 being my favorite with “Book Of Lies” followed by oldies “Gypsy” and “Look At Yourself” and ended with the classic standout track from WTS – “What Kind Of God”, in which Bernie Shaw’s vocals and [the late] Trevor Bolder’s bass playing really jump out. It’s also evident on this recording just how much of a shot of energy drummer Russell Gilbrook adds to the band – after blazing through the title track to the band’s latest album, and on to other WTS tracks “Overload”, and later “Shadow”, and “Angels Walk With You” [written by Bolder and highlighted by Phil Lanzon’s Hammond organ solo here]. This is a pretty cool set tho, besides adding 7 [then] new songs, the band includes classy renditions of “Sunrise” and John Lawton era classic “Sympathy” alongside the usual handful of fan favorites.

Anyway, great release, as is the band’s latest Live At Koko, recorded in 2014. Hopefully [and presumably] they’re still recording shows for more such releases in the future, preferably with Ioannis’ covers [makes for a nice set!].

RIP – Trevor Bolder

http://www.uriah-heep.com

Black Sabbath – Live Evil / Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil [1982]

These 2 double live sets came out a month apart back in late ’82. I was already an Ozzy fan at the time and a Sabbath fan – with Ozzy. Live Evil was my intro to Dio and that era of Sabbath. At the time both bands would feud in the rock press, usually with some profane bold claims and statements made by Ozzy [during a heavy drinking era]. I loved Speak Of The Devil when it came out [or Talk Of The Devil as it’s called as well]. Sadly Randy Rhoads had been killed earlier that year, but Ozzy’s band carried on as quick as they could. These shows rehearsed and recorded specifically for this release of Sabbath classics, featuring Brad Gillis [of Night Ranger] on guitar, as well as the replacement rhythm section. Ozzy sounds good on this live set and i thought Gillis, far from Tony Iommi – added a fresh sound to the songs here. It’s a solid run through of something from almost all the Sabbath albums [something from Technical Ecstasy not included], and Ozzy back then could remember and belt out all the words, and didn’t fill between song crowd banter with “F**k this” and “F**k that!”. This was Ozzy at his peak after the original Blizzard of Ozz albums, because for me after a couple of decent studio albums with Jake E Lee it was all downhill, and I can frankly live without anything beyond The Ultimate Sin [save for the odd track here and there…and some of Ozzmosis!] . Though the lettering and design on the album jacket looked cool, pretty gross pic of Ozzy on front with a bat drawn over top of him; not much else to the packaging. Ozzy would eventually release a double live set featuring Randy Rhoads years later, but I also really liked the Live EP  that featured the original band with Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake performing “Mr Crowley” and “Suicide Solution” [as well as the non-LP track “You Said It All} – a shame there was no full set release from where those tracks were recorded.

Black Sabbath’s live set at the time featured a pretty cool cover featuring characters from various Sabbath songs and topics [presumably] coming ashore in the dark and plenty of band pics of Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice. I must confess early on that this album was a grower for me at the time, as i didn’t actually get a permanent copy til i borrowed it from a friend nearby – who had a pretty cool record collection at the time, and i eventually borrowed his copy and never returned it! The band’s set consisted of half old Ozzy era Sabbath [so we have half a dozen songs the same on both releases] and half stuff from the band’s 2 albums with Dio at the time. Not sure how comfortable Dio was singing the Ozzy era stuff, but i thought he added a heavier and darker feel to “NIB”, at least. It is the tracks from Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules that make this such a great release – “Neon Knights”, “Children Of The Sea”, “Sign Of The Southern Cross” and an extended “Heaven And Hell” – with Dio’s crowd boosting . These guys were brutally heavy at the time, and so more professional sounding than the Ozzy era of Sabbath [hear any late 70s live Sabbath w/ Ozzy and note the difference]. Sadly after this release the band had split, with feuding in the press — Dio and Appice leaving to form ‘Dio’ and Sabbath carrying on a downward spiral of albums and line-up changes [tho some great singers came through the band – Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes and Tony Martin]; and despite some decent albums to come Live Evil marked the end of a magical period for the band. Was glad to see that this line-up reformed in the future, I liked  The Devil You Know and the last live recording  Neon Nights : Live In Europe,  from 2010. RIP RJ Dio.

April Wine – One For The Road [1985]

The first time I saw Canada’s own April Wine was in 1984, at The Kingswood Music Theater, at Canada’s Wonderland, just north of Toronto. Back then the Kingswood had regular big name band concerts. Didn’t realize it at the time, until we saw the concert shirts – but this was to be the band’s farewell tour, as they were breaking up. The 5 piece line up of Myles Goodwyn, Brian Greenway, Gary Moffet, Steve Lang, and Jerry Mercer had released a string of big selling albums since Greenway joined for First Glance.  The band peaked with 1981’s Nature Of The Beast, but subsequent albums Powerplay [a bit soft] and  Animal Grace lost some momentum. It was the end of one of the country’s biggest bands [for a few years], but they went out with a huge stage show, and a lengthy classic set. However, I recall being confused [and later annoyed] that when this Live album came out a year later, to commemorate that farewell tour – the release had been chopped down to 1 LP! Hmm. Anyway – One For The Road was a great live album, showing the band with 3 guitarists in full force. This release focused on the band’s material from late ’70s onward – with the classic intro song “Anything You Want” leading in to “I Like To Rock” and hits “All Over Town”, “Just Between You And Me” and “Enough Is Enough” [sounding better than the clean cut studio version] closing out side one. Oddly, only 1 song from the band’s then-latest album featured on the tour and on the LP – the hit “This Could Be The Right One” [and I liked Animal Grace – a shame a few more weren’t performed], before the band strikes with their 2 biggest live rockers – “Sign Of The Gypsy Queen”, followed by a medley of ballads [!] and their first US hit “Roller”.  A blistering live set, but sadly not the whole show. The album cover was colorful, but merely a live band pic on front and individual live shots on the back, and lyrics on the inner sleeve … really [lyrics accompanying a live album!?] The 1993 CD release added 4 rockers [and in order] – with “Before The Dawn” and “21st Century Schizoid Man” [both featuring Greenway on vocals], and “Oowatanite” [clocking in at over 12 minutes w/ Jerry Mercer drum solo!]. A bit confusing as I see the song titles are listed at different lengths of time on the LP to CD; tho [thankfully] the CD version of “Sign Of the Gypsy Queen” adds a couple of minutes. Would be cool if someone got ahold of the whole show and released a full unedited version of this show, and added some photos and words to the packaging! This LP marked the end the band’s ‘classic’ 3 guitar hard-rock line-up. The band returned in ’92 w/ Goodwyn, Greenway, Mercer, Jim Clench [RIP] and Steve Segal and released 2 albums, most notably Attitude in ’93. A  Live Greatest Hits release [including Carl Dixon adding guitar and keyboards] was released a decade later – a good set, but it does lack a good bit of the power and energy that the band had during the early ’80s, captured on One For The Road.

http://www.aprilwine.ca

Europe – Live At Sweden Rock Fest [30th Anniversary Show] – (2013 EarMusic)

Often the live album is seen as a point in a band’s career to celebrate longevity, a big catalogue of hits, some sense of making it so far, and this is a perfect example of a band with something to celebrate and a big catalogue of latter day classic rock to put together. Might I add – there’s nothing more lame than a “best of live +1” or “hits live + new recordings!” – bad idea, (see Kiss Alive 2!) but for anyone who either wrote this band off for their poodle hair-metal days of the ’80s and who hasn’t given them a new listen since reconvening in the mid 2000s, this is about the best place to start! [Though I’d also highly recommend the band’s latest studio album War Of Kings, as well as 2011’s Live at Shepard’s Bush, London]. 3 LPs — 28 songs! This show was done while on their Bag Of Bones Tour, so it pulls the first 3 songs from it right off. Bummed that the epic title track is not included in the set, but oh well. It’s a vast amount of newer and old songs from the band’s catalogue, going back to include 3 tracks from each of the band’s first 3 albums and a few from every one since! [tho 2004 comeback album Start From The Dark only sees the title track here]. Regardless, this is a great live set — 6 sides of vinyl — the 80s stuff sounding heavier, less “80s” and more classic rock, and everything just comes off as one huge magical performance. These guys sound like they’re having a blast – all the original guys – John Norum, John Leven, Mic Michaeli, Ian Haugland and Joey Tempest. Gotta love their up to date delivery of old rockers like “Superstitious”, “Girl From Lebanon” – with a cool bluesy intro from Norum and “Wings Of Tomorrow”, as well as keyboardist Mic Michaeli’s intro that leads into the latter day classic anthem “No Stone Unturned”; a fave group of songs that also includes “Firebox”, “Always The Pretenders”, and “Last Look At Eden”. Cool lighter moments include “New Love In Town” and the Zep influenced “Drink And A Smile”.

Being a special occasion show, the band pulls off 2 covers by perhaps 2 of their biggest influences [and certainly bands their newer material sits comfortably alongside] – with Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” [Scott Gorham guests on guitar!] and UFO’s “Lights Out” [w/ Michael Schenker joining them on stage].

Great packaging – with full color sleeves, tho the LP set could use another fold….or some inserts 🙂

*Also have Live At Shepard’s Bush from 2011. A great [shorter] set well worth hearing. Only miffed that this release isn’t on vinyl and the DVD includes more songs than the CD.

http://www.europetheband.com

KJJ , 02/16

ALDO NOVA – INTERVIEW, 1996: from the Archives

While searching for a few interviews I did way back in the ‘90s, which either aren’t on the www or the links no longer work, I re-discovered a box of old floppy discs! Took out the discs, connected my floppy drive via USB, and starting going through stuff. Sadly, there’s a few interviews on discs that are no longer useable, but I did find plenty that were included way back in a print fan-magazine I used to do. Many of these were before the internet, and I have a pile that only exist in type form – not even on floppy disc…not sure how I’ll get those together.

Anyway, this is an interview I did with Canada’s Aldo Nova in May of 1996. At the time I didn’t have the internet yet, and questions and answers were sent via fax!

Enjoy…

From May , ’96 – “A few issues back I featured ALDO NOVA. Months later I got in touch with Aldo (thanks Yves Monast!), and he was kind enough (and quick enough) in answering my questions. AIdo was something of a phenomenon when he broke onto the scene in 1982, but by the mid-80s had virtually disappeared from the music scene. He since returned in ’92 with the album “Blood On The Bricks” (with the help of longtime friend – Jon Bon Jovi), and more recently has completed a new album titled “Nova’s Dream”. “

Q: What were your earliest musical influences? Any favorite musicians while growing up?

AN: Jimi Hendrix, Alvin Lee, Woodstock, and The Who.

Q: What lead you to take up music as a profession? What instruments do you play?

AN: I started playing guitar when my mother died to beat the blues. I never thought I was going to make a career out of it, but I sort of fell into it by accident. I play just about anything given a short time to assimilate the instrument – something which never ceases to amaze Jon Bon Jovi.

Q: What was your early association with Jon Bon Jovi?

AN: I was mixing my album “Fantasy” at The Power Station and Jon was an assistant there. We would meet in the halls, and we sort of connected right away. I would invite him into the sessions and we became friends. He would come to my place and hang out, and then when came the time to do a demo of “Runaway” (ed: Bon Jovi’s first hit single), he asked if I would play guitar, and I did. I ended up playing keys and singing backing vocals on the first album. We’ve been friends for 15 years now and get along better than ever.

Q: How did you come about to sign with Portrait (CBS)? Do you feel they did a good job in promoting your albums?

AN: I came to Portrait through a publishing firm called ATV Music. The album was already finished, but they suggested that I remix with Tony Bongiovi. I think that they did a great job on the first album. And the failure of the following albums was my fault. The writing wasn’t up to par. I was a complete asshole at the time – which didn’t help my relationship with the record company. Mea Culpe!!!

Q: What inspired the lyrics to “Fantasy”??

AN: My first trip to New York City. I basically described what I saw. Don’t forget that I had never left Montreal ’til I was 21 years old.

Q: Where did the concept idea for the “Subject” album come from?

AN: Too many B-Movies, and drugs, and booze, and…….what a maroon!!

Q: What lead you to cover Coney Hatch’s “Hey Operator”?

AN: I wanted to produce their album, so I did one of their songs to show them what I could do. It didn’t work to say the least.

Q: What inspired the ‘anti-drug’ lyrics to “Monkey On Your Back”? Are you an advocate against drugs?

AN: The lyrics to “Monkey…” were basically aimed at myself. It was a form of rejecting what I was doing to myself at the time. Everything I write comes from somewhere else, or very deep down inside. The lyrics were very factual, and ahead of their time. People got turned off because they sounded preachy. Luckily I managed to beat all my demons. Yes I believe in God, but it is something that I keep to myself. I wouldn’t have survived this long if not for the guiding hand of someone to lead me around.

Q: Why was “Twitch” so ‘pop’ oriented, and less rock’n’roll than your previous 2 albums?

AN: It was a decision of the record company to have a more adult sound. At this point I really was not into being an artist anymore, so I just wanted to get over it. My sights were on being a producer, which is what I do now and am very happy.

Q: How did you come about to play on Blue Oyster Cult’s “Take Me Away” (ed: from 1983’s “The Revolution By Night” album)”? Did you record anything else with them? Do you keep in touch with any members of BOC?

AN: I wrote the song and had already done a version of it myself. I thought Bruce Fairbairn’s production was good, but he forgot some key elements. I booked a studio in San Fransisco, and did a ton of overdubs on my own. I still talk to Buck Dharma, but not very often.

Q: What did you do following the Twitch album and before you returned with 1992’s “Blood On The Bricks”? Any recordings?

AN: I went home to Montreal and started to produce albums for Quebec artists. It gave me a lot of experience and started my relationship with Celine Dion since I produced her album “Incognito”. A relationship which blooms to this day, since I wrote 3 songs on her new album “Falling Into You”, and produced 2.

Q: What lead you back into rock’n’roll with Blood On The Bricks? What role/influence did Jon Bon Jovi play?

AN: I had done all the demos, and arranging on the “Young Guns” soundtrack (ed: Jon Bon Jovi solo album), and I had this plethora of songs that I played for Jon. He offered me a deal on his own label, and off we went.

Q: What have you been doing since Blood On The Bricks?

AN: Producing a ton of records in Quebec. Lately I have done Celine Dion, in English, a new artist called “Jetsam” on Sony – also in English, and am presently working on the Jon Bon Jovi solo album. I have a new album, “Nova’s Dream”, which is world music, and is on BMG.

Interview written by Kevin J, May 1996.

*here’s a link to a more recent interview with Aldo > http://rockshowcritique.com/2012/09/int-nova/

 

Some Favorite Canadian Rock Albums of Long Ago

 

 

From that period of the mid ‘70s to mid ‘80s there was a growing hard-rock scene and a ton of great albums in Canada. A handful of Canadian bands would make it big in the US and various parts of the world [see Rush, Loverboy, Triumph..], while others had hits, and breaks on major tours, but either fizzled out after a handful of albums, or they simply stayed active in Canada [and a few select regions], never really having a huge international impact, though few of these had their moments outside of our country, but for the most part remained largely ‘big’ at home. And I’m sure someone will debate or take exception to a few of my choices, there are a number of Great albums and bands not here, and that could lead to a much longer list, including such names as Helix, Kick Axe, Trooper, Prism, Toronto, and numerous others I’m sure. Feel free to leave me some feedback, corrections, general info, recommendations, etc….

Thanks

CB - foot 2

A Foot In Coldwater – All Around Us (1974)

if you do not know this band – you are missing out. This 5-piece band should’ve been huge after a string of hit singles here, most notably the ballads “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” and “Isn’t Love Unkind (In My Life) in 1972. Band members had previously been in numerous Toronto area bands, and all members of the band Nucleus. Featured the vocals of Alex Machin, as well as wide ranging guitar talents of Paul Naumann, [keyboardist] Bob Horne, [bassist] Hughie Leggat, and [drummer] Danny Taylor. This, their 3rd album saw the band include 4 previously released tracks, including the 3 ballads that were all hit singles – the above 2 mentioned, as well as “Love Is Coming” (the lone track to feature Hughie Leggat’s vocals), and their best known and hardest rocker “Yalla Yae”. These guys could mix up heavy guitar rockers with Hammond organ and various other keyboards with songs like “It’s Only Love”, “He’s Always There”, “How Much Can You Take”, and cool instrumental “Para-Dice”. A shame these guys didn’t catch on and have more good fortune with record labels, could’ve been Canada’s answer to a number of the heavy British bands. After this album, the band’s label Daffodil went under, and Bob Horne left before the band’s final album in 1977 on Anthem. Reunion tour in ’88, and the odd reunion show over more recent years. Machin formed ‘Champion’ [w/ Brian Allen of Toronto and Mike Gingrich of Amish], and later fronted fellow Canuck rockers Moxy for a few years [no recordings], Hughie Leggat and his brother Gord would form Private Eye, then ‘Leggat’ [w/ Taylor] and pen the single “White Flags”, which became a hit for Blue Oyster Cult years later. Paul Naumann released a solo album “Feets Don’t Fail Me” in 2002.

RIP – Paul Naumann, Rick Lamb

http://www.afootincoldwater.com

Moxy – Moxy, 1975

Another of Canada’s greatest bands. Killer 2 guitar blues based rock, heavy, lots ofclassic songs,riffs, and the vocals of the late Buzz Shearman. Once dubbed as Canada’s answer to Led Zeppelin by a famous British rock journalist. The original line up also included Terry Juric [bass], Bill Wade [drums], Buddy Caine [guitar], and Earl Johnson [guitar]. “Can’t You See I’m A Star” was the band’s first single, even before the album was recorded and it’s heavy radio play in Toronto lead to a contract. It was during the making of this album that Caine was added as a second guitarist, and the legendary Tommy Bolin was brought in to play on a number of tracks, when [for whatever reason] the producer Mark Smith [see BTO] and Johnson had a falling out. Either way, this is a killer album and being a big Bolin fan – it’s an added bonus. Moxy, ‘the Black Album’ opens with the heavy ballad “Fantasy”; love the guitars as this one drifts off. “Sail On Sail Away” changes between acoustic verses and a powerful heavy build up and chorus, just classic late night rock stuff! This album caught on immediately in Texas where Sail On Sail Away, as well as Can’t You See I’m A Star, and another heavy rock track “Moon Rider”, would become FM radio favorites. This album contains 8 stellar cuts, with side 2 being the heavier side, with rockers “Time To Move On”, “Still I Wonder”, slower blues cut “Train” shows Buzz Shearman at his best, he just kills this one. Closing track “Out Of The Darkness” is another favorite here, love the heavy rhythm section, guitar exchanges, and frequent drum breaks. Nobody makes albums simply this strong any more. Jack Douglas and Ed Leonetti were hired to produce follow ups “Moxy 2” and “Ridin’ High”, and these are highly recommended though I’m less crazy about “2”. Shearman left after the 3rd album, and Mike Rynoski [aka Reno, pre Loverboy] was brought in for the more commercial approached “Under The Lights”. Personnel changes got silly for years, and tragically Shearman died in ’83 from a motorcycle accident. *a few members would appear on Lee Aaron’s debut album. Earl Johnson still carries on with Moxy today, with Nick Walsh of Slick Toxic singing, and released the 40th anniversary live show on CD & DVD last year.

RIP – Buzz Shearman, Bill Wade, Brian Maxim

http://www.moxy.rocks/

http://www.angelfire.com/ny/bolinfan/interviews/earlmoxy.html

 

Streetheart – Meanwhile Back In Paris, 1978

Formed in Winnipeg and based in Regina, Streetheart was one of Canada’s longest running and consistently successful hard working bands. Formed by [bassist] Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve, [keyboardist] Daryl Gutheil, and [singer] Kenny Shields, who were joined by [drummer] Matt Frenette and [guitarist] Paul Dean [ex Scrubbaloe Cane]. Co-produced by the band and producer George Semkiw, who’s credits would include everyone from Duke Ellington to Bachman Turner Overdrive to Funkadelic to Trooper, Triumph, Pagliaro and dozens of others. The band’s debut was preceded by a 3 track ep, and the album was a hit right off the bat with the single “Look At Me”, and other radio favorites and classics like “Pressure”, “Can You Feel it”, “Street Walker”, “People”, and perhaps the band’s finest track – “Action” [a line in this song taken for the album title]. Love the closing number “Just For You”! A good mix of bar room rock n roll, hard rockin, a bit funky at times [Sinnaeve’s bass play a major part of the band’s sound and style], harmonies, . Streetheart’s debut being pretty different to anything else out that the time. Dean would leave after this album to form Loverboy and Frenette would join him after the 2nd Streetheart album “Under Heaven Over Hell”, which was a strong follow up. That album was produced by Manny Charlton of Nazareth and engineered by the legendary Nick Blagona. In 1993 the original line-up reunited to play most of the debut again, along with a few other classics. This was released in 2014.

www.kennyshields.com

 

Teaze – One Night Stands, 1979

From Windsor, Ontario – Teaze formed in 1975 and released 2 no-nonsense hard rocking albums to minimal success, but a tour of Japan made the band’s stars their immediately, and the resulting album “Tour Of Japan” is a great intro to this band – with guitarists Mark Bradac and Chuck Price, drummer Mike Kozak, and bassist/singer Brian Danter. Tour of Japan was issued on Aquarius, with outstanding packaging. Big things were expected, as Aquarius called in Myles Goodwyn of April Wine to produce the band’s 3rd studio album – “One Night Stands”. The album, in retrospect is their finest, with improved writing and well produced, not to lose the band’s direct hard rock approach on tracks like “Back In Action”, “Young And Reckless”, and “Reach Out”, and including a number of absolute classic different tracks in the country feeling ballad of “Loose Change”, the closing epic “Touch The Wind” – a bit progressive, haunting, and with a guitar break sounding not unlike Ritchie Blackmore, and perhaps the band’s best loved classic “Heartless World”, which starts out acoustically and builds in to a powerful moving track, with Danter’s vocals being the highlight here. Loose Change was chosen as the single, instead of a rocker, and the album and subsequent tour did little to further the band’s status. There would be one more album in 1980, “Body Shots”, and despite featuring 2 singles, Canadian radio didn’t pick up on the band much and sadly Teaze folded in ’81. Despite still having a following of old fans, and a few CD releases, the band never returned. Bradac went on to become the Pawn shop guy on reality tv [tho releasing a solo single over a year ago] and Danter went on to become a minister and release Christian music. I did interview Chuck Price years ago, but it has since disappeared from the www, and I am hoping to find it somewhere in piles of old floppy discs!

http://www.angelfire.com/rock2/rockinterviews/teaze.html

 

Harlequin – Love Crimes, 1980

Winnipeg based aor rockers Harlequin, featuring the vocals of George Belanger (who still fronts a version of the band). These guys had a string of hit singles here, right from their debut in 1979. Much in that Canadian radio friendly guitar-keyboard rock style of fellow Canucks like Loverboy and (later) Honeymoon Suite, but heavier on the first few albums. “Love Crimes” was their 2nd album, produced by Jack Douglas (largely known for his work with Aerosmith, and Douglas produced Harlequin’s first 3), and featured the band’s biggest hit “Innocence”, as well “Thinking Of You”. The first 2 were the hardest rocking, and guitar heavy, as this album featured a number of classics in “Its All Over Now”, “Sayin Goodbye To The Boys” and personal fave “Love On The Rocks” – Glen Willows guitar making this the closest thing to metal these guys did, almost reminds me of early Def Leppard (both band’s may as well have packed it in by ’83!). Such a great album! A few more hits, and a lighter sound and then poof.

http://www.harlequintheband.com/

 

Aldo Nova – Aldo Nova, 1982

Montreal rocker Aldo Nova made a huge impact in Canada and charted in the US with his debut album, and the single “Fantasy”. And I know his inclusion here is borderline, due to his commercial success outside of Canada, but I’ve included him for the sad fact that he disappeared so quickly. Nova wrote, produced, and, as well as did all the vocals and instruments, aside from drums and bass on half the songs. “Foolin Yourself” was also a hit, but the album contained so many great pop driven rockers in “Heart to Heart”, “Under The Gun”, “It’s Too Late”, as well as the ballad (and 3rd single) “Ball And Chain”. His 2nd album [“Subject”] was less successful, tho it featured the anti drug storied “Monkey on Your Back”, as well as a cover of Coney Hatch’s hit “Hey Operator” (Nova had intentions of producing the band at one point, but that didn’t quite work out), and stand-out rocker “Hold Back The Night”. His 3rd album was a pop album, largely forgettable. Went on to have more success as a writer (Celine Dion among the many), and he co-wrote and played guitar on Blue Oyster Cult’s 1983 hit “Take Me Away”, and worked with Cyndi Lauper. Such a shame. I interviewed Aldo way back, pre internet. Gotta post that one soon too…

 

Santers – Racing Time, 1982

Toronto based trio Santers, were based around the songwriting, guitar work and vocals of Rick Santers. “Racing Time” was the band’s 2nd full album (there was an EP in there somewhere), and produced by Jack Richardson (The Guess Who, Alice Cooper) . Melodic hard-rock, guitar heavy, but not exactly metal, IMO. I loved the first 2 Santers albums! This one featured the hit “Mistreatin Heart”, as well as faves and heavy rockers “Road To Morocco”, “Winter Freeze”, “Two Against The World”, as well as semi-ballad “Still I Am”. The band opened shows for Ozzy Osbourne, but after a 3rd album split up. The first 2 are highly recommended, but Rick Emmett (Triumph) produced the band’s “Guitar Alley” album, which featured stand out hit “Can’t Shake You”, as well as a cover of Free’s “All Right Now”, and it’s a softened for radio play. Rick Santers apparently turned down the to audition for Kiss early on, and post-Santers went on to tour with Triumph and release an acoustic based solo album years later. The guy is one of Canada’s most overlooked players and writers, sad there seems to be little new from him over the years. A posthumous 4th album was released years later. *These guys also helped on Lee Aaron’s “Metal Queen” project. A few Santers reunion shows have occurred, most notably 2012’s Firefest in the UK. Brother (drummer) Mark Santers would go on to back Carl Dixon (post Coney Hatch), and (bassist) Rick Lazaroff went on to work in radio.

www.santers.com

http://www.travellersintime.com/uw/santers.htm

http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/santers02.html

 

Coney Hatch – Coney Hatch, 1982

Well, this is an easy choice for me. Had this album on cassette, in like grade 5 or 6! It featured the 2 big hits (and band’s best known songs) – “Monkey Bars” and “Hey Operator”, as well as a pile of favorites like “Devil’s Deck”, “Stand Up”, “You Ain’t Got Me”, “We Got The Night”. I think pretty much all of these tracks have been in the band’s live show over the years. Produced by Kim Mitchell (Max Webster), a very in your face hard rock approach, 2 guitars, 2 singers… with bassist Andy Curran providing a more ‘punk-ish’ approach, while guitarist Carl Dixon would add a more melodic commercial appeal, but wrap it up with Dave Ketchum’s heavy drum approach and Steve Shelski’s lead guitar, and the Hatch was off to a great start! Unfortunately, by the 2nd album name produced Max Norman (Ozzy) was brought in for the follow up and proceeded to take back a bit of the band’s edge, searching for more commercial appeal. “Outa Hand” still featured just as many solid and stand-out tunes, but lacked the raw energy and multi-guitar parts of the debut. Ketchum left after Outa Hand, and Friction was a bit more ‘radio’ friendly, with the band going bust soon after. A reunion of the original line-up took place following Carl Dixon’s near fatal car accident in Australia. And in 2013 with the excellent “4” album, but not much happened to plug it or tour, oh well. Since then Dixon has released more solo stuff and wrote his autobiography [highly recommended!]. Here’s hoping this wasn’t the last of the Hatch!

www.carldixon.com

http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/Hatch2014.html

Headpins – Line of Fire, 1983

Formed by Chilliwack member’s [guitarist] Brian ‘Too Loud’ McLeod and [bassist] Ab Bryant, and Matt Frenette [ex Streetheart] on drums. By the time the band recorded they were fronted by Darby Mills, with Frenette switching places with Loverboy drummer Bernie Aubin! The Headpins made an impact with their debut “Turn It Up”, with a couple of hits and plenty of radio play. Based around McLeod’s distinctive guitar sound and Darby Mills huge vocals, “Line of Fire” remains my favorite of the band’s trio of albums. No room for ballads or acoustics with this band – straight ahead big sounding rock! I got this album for Christmas, the year it came out, and still enjoy it. And tho the band’s debut may have a few heavy classics, particularly “Breakin Down” and the hit “Don’t It Make Ya Feel”, I prefer Line Of Fire for a solid listen through of great songs – “Mine All Mine”, “Feel It”, “Just One More Time”, “Celebration”, “I’ve Heard It All Before” and the heavy title track… Lots of cool rockers, outstanding vocals, and attitude! Both “Feel It” and “Just One More Time” being hits in Canada. The band released one more album, “Head Over Heals”, which featured a few standout tracks, but IMO seemed to suffer from a more radio friendly approach, still it sold well. The band would do tour dates with the likes of Whitesnake, Kiss, and ZZ Top [where they were thrown off tour for doing encores after great receptions].

Darby Mills left after the third album and released a solo album in 1991; McLeod tried to carry on with Chrissy Steel, before the band split up [the 4th album being issued as a Chrissy Steele solo album]. Sadly McLeod passed away in 1992. Mills resurrected the band in later years with Bryant and Aubin and still perform.

RIP – Brian McLeod

www.headpins.net

 

Orphan – Lonely at Night, 1983

Winnipeg based Orphan, fronted by Chris Burke-Gaffney released 2 albums in the ‘80s. After Orphan blended members with up and coming band The Pumps, the band would also include Steve McGovern [guitars], Brent Diamond [keys], and Ron Boisvenue. This album was more pop-rock, with keyboards playing a bigger part than most other albums on my list here, but it definitely included plenty of memorable melodic rock tunes, great hooks, synths, and harmonies throughout this. Featured the hit single “Miracle”, as well as cool rocker in “What Kind Of Love Is This”, and favorite pop driven tracks “Any Time At All”, “She Told Me” and the title track. A gem of an ‘80s aor-rock album. The band made one further album “Salute”, which was a bit too over-produced with keys, effects, and pop aimed, and less rock for my liking. Burke-Gaffney went on to work with new artists in writing, producing, and management.

RIP – Ron Boisvenue

 

Kim Mitchell – Akimbo Alogo, 1984

When guitarist / singer Kim Mitchell left ‘70s Canuck rockers Max Webster his first release was an EP, and a few of those songs like “Kids In Action” and “Miss Demeanor” got a good bit of radio play in Southern Ontario, and it looked promising. When “Akimbo Alogo” came out in ’82 – it was huge! A number of tracks being hits on the radio and heard regularly, with biggest hit “Go For Soda” being picked up by anti-drunk driving groups and further pushed. Lots of great guitar rockers here with “Diary For Rock n Roll Men”, “Lager & Ale”, “Feel It Burn”, and “That’s A Man”, as well as ballad “All We Are”. A killer album at the time, but I quickly lost interest with subsequent albums being less guitar heavy, and aiming for further commercial appeal. Mitchell would going on to become something of a Canadian icon, welcomed anywhere to huge crowds, and for years was afternoon DJ on Toronto’s Q107 FM radio. Recently he suffered a heart attack. Here’s hoping for a good recovery.

www.kimmitchell.ca

 

*for further info and references used here, check out >

http://www.canadianbands.com/

http://jam.canoe.com/Music/Pop_Encyclopedia/

*also, check out Sean Kelly’s book “Metal On Ice” and accompanying CD that revisited a handful of classic Canadian rock tunes! http://www.amazon.ca/Metal-Ice-Tales-Canadas-Heroes/dp/1459707095

ALICE COOPER –Muscle Of Love [revisited]

ac - mol band

The new SACD release of the last album from the one and only Alice Cooper group, in November of 1973, gives me a chance to revisit my favorite album from the greatest American rock n roll band! Part of what I see as the band’s ‘greatness’ was there originality, ground-breaking, rebellion, knack for memorable and timely anthems, grit, and a string of classic albums that remain unmatched by any other band.

Muscle of Love was a change in many areas from the 4 previous Platinum selling albums. First and foremost, it was where management and the press really separated Alice from the band of the same name [it was a band, with 5 equal members before there was a solo act]. Even the Circus magazine cover story from January of ’73 is all about Alice, himself, and very little mention of the band. Secondly, although this album came with a ‘theme’ [sex], it was definitely a bit tamer musically, lacking that lengthy macabre highlight [ala – Dwight Fry, Killer, Blue Turk, I Love The Dead…] – that theatrical centerpiece or ending to all, that shocking track that could upset certain anti-rock crusaders or that a stage show could be built around. Thirdly [is that a word?] – It lacked Glen Buxton! Though the guitarist with whatever personal demons he had, appears in some of the writing credits, he was ‘not invited’ to play on the album, and his grit and attitude are clearly absent, as producers Jack Richardson and Jack Douglas go for a cleaner sound. Mick Mashbir and Dick Wagner [RIP] did great work filling in the guitar work on this album, but really – once you take away such a figure as GB – the outcome changes.

Even before its release Muscle of Love caused controversy and issues in various countries and with retailers – due to the title and to the packaging. In South Africa the album was intercepted and had inserts of the ‘nude wrestling’ emporium removed before they’d be sent to record shops. In North America, management had to clear the title with a number of retailers first, and even then its cardboard box and ‘water stain’ packaging presented issues in places. This Audio Fidelity release does a good job of retaining the original art via CD, with a miniature of the nude wrestling insert included and sleeve pics with the booklet [where’s the lyrics?].

Muscle of Love featured a number of great tracks that would’ve made for fine singles, but IMO lacked that monster hit, ala “Schools Out” or “I’m Eighteen”. There’s a great flow to this, although as noted above – it lacks that twisted lengthy high point. “Big Apple Dreamin” opens this album, not with a bang, but it’s a great song, about moving to New York and the adventures that await. Love the use of the organ in this track [courtesy of Bob Dolin. Where the heck is that guy?], especially the break, almost giving this a Deep Purple feel. This album is largely straight ahead rockers, with “Never Been Sold Before” and “Muscle of Love” being the 2 stand-outs, both with cool riffs and the former being heavier and more aggressive than anything on this album – IMO the band’s most overlooked rocker. Elsewhere, I enjoy all the rockers here, from “Working Up A Sweat”, to the more laid back James Bond inspired “The Man With The Golden Gun” [purposely written with the then-forthcoming movie of the same name, but never accepted for use], the single “Teenage Lament ‘74”, which revisits “I’m Eighteen” – musically and lyrically, but slightly softer [especially with all the backing vocals from Liza Minnelli, Ronnie Spector, and the Pointer Sisters..Yeesh!]. Last track is another one of my favorite AC underrated songs in “Woman Machine”; a more mid-tempo guitar heavy track, lyrically based on a futuristic computerized female partner. [I kind of like the idea!] . Lots going on here between the guitars, and the added ‘computer’ sounds and effects. The 2 non-rock tunes here being the classic ballad “Hard Hearted Alice”, a sort of more serious lyric reflecting on being Alice Cooper, and the almost 1920 cabaret sounding “Crazy Little Child”. The latter, tho I like the song, IMO sort of lets the whole album down a bit, not so much lyrically, but musically with its piano and banjo [courtesy of Paul Prestopino], this would’ve been better off as a B-side [much in the same way “Mary-Ann” could’ve been left from the previous album!]

A few things that really stand out after listening to this is just how much this Was A band – Dennis Dunaway’s bass drives most of these songs, and Neal Smith adds so much more than a simple pace these songs; and Michael Bruce – well he took on a sort of musical-director role in the writing and via rhythm guitar. It is no wonder Alice as a solo artist, despite releasing some fantastic albums, never really matched the AC band output. On Muscle of Love, there’s a more serious musical approach, with even Alice singing better than before, but with less snarling and attitude [see Teenage Lament].

Despite what this album lacks, it is still my favorite AC album. Understandably it did not do nearly as well as the “Billion Dollar Babies” album, which featured a number of hit singles, and was the only AC album to hit #1, so it also had the impossible task of coming soon after [released in the same year] such a huge album and tour. Often overlooked as the band’s “Greatest Hits” package came soon after, and then members went on to solo projects, with Alice taking the name, and the original band [in whole] never to return again. Am still waiting for the Billion Dollar Babies “Battle Axe” album to be given a proper CD [or SACD] re-mastering and release, the last gasp of the real Alice Cooper band.

For more info check out www.audiofidelity.com

And to check out AC [and related] interviews I’ve done in the past >

Neal Smith: http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/nealsmith95.html and: http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/NSmith2014.html

Dennis Dunaway (w/ Ron Mann): http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/DunawayInterview.html

Mick Mashbir (studio & touring guitarist): http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/MMashbir13.html

Mike Marconi (Billion $ Babies): http://www.travellersintime.com/UniversalWheels/MikeMarconi.html

Dave Thompson (author): http://www.travellersintime.com/thompsoninterview.html

*Drop me a note, let me know what you think of this album!

KJJ, jan ’16

 

 

Uriah Heep – Totally Driven in the 2000s

Way back in 1983, Uriah Heep released “Head First” – their 2nd album with Peter Goalby as frontman, Bob Daisley on bass, and John Sinclair on keyboards. Nearing the end of it’s recording, the band’s label – Mercury in North America, would be going through a restructure and would do a poor job promoting it and getting it out [after the initial success of “Abominog”], coupled with the band’s home label of Bronze going under, it all left the band looking for a new label. “Equator” was issued on Portrait in 1985, but it’s blatant commercial approach and uneven material wasn’t a success and the band moved on. Equator remains an album, that many life-long Heep fans care not to remember [I like a number of moments on this one though]. After extensive touring Goalby and Sinclair would leave [sadly, Goalby was never to return as a singer in any other band, effectively retiring from performing]. After a brief tour with American Stephen Fontaine on vocals and no label, the band by the end of 1986 would include Mick Box [founding member], Lee Kerslake, Trevor Bolder, Phil Lanzon [keys, ex Grand Prix], and Canadian born Bernie Shaw [ex Grand Prix, Stratus] on vocals. And thus began the band’s longest standing line-up. However, for all their 20 years together, recordings would become few and far between, and the band would become mainly a heavy touring act, playing everywhere possible [first band in Moscow in 1987]. 1989’s “Raging Silence” received great reviews, but it didn’t seem to put the band back to where they had been in ’82, and 1991’s “Different World” was almost non existent in many parts of the world. The band’s label Legacy being pretty ineffective at any promotion or getting it to the shops. From this point the band would carry on touring for years.

uh - 98

In 1995 the band released “Sea Of Light” [tho not originally released in North America], and it was so damn good – it drew back legions of old fans. The band taking inspiration from early Heep recordings, delivered an outstanding album of heavy rockers, progressive masterpieces, and a couple of memorable ballads. Heavier guitar, acoustic guitar, more Hammond organ, really bringing Heep’s trademark early sounds in to the 90s… and all covered with Roger Dean artwork! It really exceeded long time fans expectations at the time. 1998’s “Sonic Origami” though would take a lighter approach, with less rockers, more acoustics, more ballads… and as much as I like this album almost as much as it’s predecessor – it would split many fans, who thought it was too lightweight. And when the band’s single, a cover of the Survivor ballad “Across The Miles” didn’t generate the expected interest in the US, the label pulled the band’s North American tour just days before; ending the momentum they’d gained with the latest 2 albums!

Soon after the band signed on to Classic Rock productions, and although this period til 2005 saw no new studio releases, it was significant for the yearly live albums taken from special shows. And this brings us to this ‘new’ release, really a re-release, but the first on the band’s new and own label! But first … “Remasters : The Official Anthology” was originally released in December of 2001, featuring artwork by Roger Dean. It was the third release in a year and based on the band’s 2 previous live recordings “Acoustically Driven” and “Electrically Driven” [recorded just 3 months apart. Following on from the 30th Anniversary live release “Future Echoes Of The Past” [i never understood why the long title!?, Acoustically Driven was a stunning show, mixing up some rarely played classics and newer tracks, with string accompaniment, backing singers and a few guests, most notably Ian Anderson]. Both of these releases also featured Roger Dean artwork.

The original CD release [Remasters] states on the back cover – “..a stunning new set which features new re-mixes, alternate versions and re-recordings of classic Heep material from 1970 to 2001. Every single song has been recorded by this, the longest serving line-up of the band.” At the time, I admit – I passed on this release, seeing it as a sort of repackaging of the latest live sets, and rehashing of what we already had essentially. But apparently I was wrong, with these songs presented as a sorta studio release, taken from rehearsals and such from the previous 2 live albums. Now issued as “Totally Driven”, this is an outstanding set of classic Heep. The album features new cover art from Igor Morski, who did covers for ‘Outsider’ and ‘Live At Koko’, and the track running order has been altered.

Mick Box – “The ‘Totally Driven’ recordings were made while we were in preparation for the ‘Acoustically Driven’ and ‘Electrically Driven’ concerts. Previously these 2001 recordings were released under the confusing name ‘Remasters’, but that title went out of print very quickly. This re-release has had the band’s full input, including in its re-branding as ‘Totally Driven’ and will be the very first release on our own Uriah Heep Records. ‘Appy Days!”

With 27 tracks featured here, Totally Driven touches on plenty of different albums, though sadly omitting anything from 1980-85. It is however worth hearing for the band’s fresh takes and Bernie Shaw’s vocals on such classics as “Sweet Freedom”, “The Easy Road”, “Why Did You Go”, “Traveler In Time”, “Wonderworld”, and “Come Back To Me”. And songs from this line-up’s era [at the time] also come off outstanding with “Cross That Line” [a song never played before from ‘Different World’], “Only The Young” [from ‘Sonic Origami’], and the epic “Love In Silence” [from ‘Sea of Light’] – frankly, I prefer this version to the original.

Following Acoustically Driven and Electrically Driven, Uriah Heep would do what were named “The Magician’s Birthday Party” shows for a few years – these would feature guests and a few former band members [most notably a one-off reunion with Ken Hensley, and John Lawton more than once]. Hensley would join the band on stage in Russia a few months ago, once again [along with Lee Kerslake]. It would be great to see more such shows, featuring a few others, such as Peter Goalby perhaps [!?], John Wetton [?], Iain Clarke [?], Paul Newton [?], John Sloman [?] … why not!? [Goalby had mentioned that he’d been invited to a Magician’s Birthday Party, but had to decline. At the time he said he would be happy to do a Heep show that featured the band’s other singers, as well as Hensley].

The early 2000s may not have been a very productive one for Heep as far as anything really new went, but it sure was an interesting one for fans with a series of outstanding live albums, reunions, and product. Classic Rock Productions, who did such a nice job of putting on these events and promoting the band through their color magazine / catalogue would soon disappear after 2005’s “Between Two Worlds” [dvd only release]; Lee Kerslake would retire before the band’s next studio album, and thus marked the end of a long era for Uriah Heep. The newly branded “Totally Driven” is a nice celebration of that era.

 

To order Totally Driven –

Amazon CD Order Link: http://geni.us/3tfL Amazon Digital Link: http://geni.us/3j0m iTunes Link: http://geni.us/3ZRO

 

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