Here is the usual prologue.
My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.
Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.
Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.
So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.
Roxus already had a reputation for getting kicked off stages at venues around Sydney for saying the word “fuck” too many times and for female audience members exposing themselves.
It’s pretty tame compared to today’s standards but back then, bands played at venues that didn’t really accommodate their sound and crowd.
Formed in 1987, they got the attention of Aussie rock commentator, Ian (Molly) Meldrum, who signed them to his Melodian Records label.
The version of the band that I know as Roxus is Dragan Stanic on guitars, Darren Danielson on drums, John Nixon on bass, Juno Roxas on lead vocals and Andy Shanahan on keyboards.
Timing is everything.
In 1989, they released two 7 inch singles. The excellent “Stand Back” with “Spaghetti Wire” as the B-side and “Body Heat” with “Don’t Stop” as the B-side.
The two A side tracks quickly became melodic rock anthems, being played on music television stations around Australia.
They toured hard and supported Poison, Bon Jovi and Warrant.
All that experience accumulated in an EP release called “Live” in 1990, which raised questions as to how much of it was actually live. Then again, my favorite live albums all had studio overdubs.
Apart from “Body Heat” and “Stand Back”, two new songs appeared on “Live”. “That Girl” and another anthem called “Morning Light”
And they toured again and went to LA to write and record new songs for an album release.
Their first full length album “Nightstreet” came out in 1991. Produced by Mark Opitz who at the time was Australia’s version of Tom Werman. Opitz had hit albums with INXS, Cold Chisel, Angels and Noiseworks, just to name a few.
My favorite is “Rock N’ Roll Nights”. It’s a De Arrow cut, which guitarist Dragan Stanic brought to the band, along with “First Break Of My Heart” which is another favorite of mine. These two tracks have keys and riffs and are dripping in melodic rock cliches.
“Midnight Love” is another classic melodic rock song along with “My Way” which has a very Van Halen like vibe and of course “Stand Back” with that brilliant keys intro and the distortion that crashes in after.
While they loved their melodic rock, tracks like “Bad Boys” and “Night Street” would not be out of place on a Warrant or Skid Row album. More aggressive.
And then the ballads in “Jimi G” which is more Bad Company like and better than the overplayed big hit “Where Are You Now” which is typical of the power ballad genre. And it doesn’t leave much room for the very underrated ballad “This Time”.
Basically, if you like melodic rock then Roxus was/is one of the best acts from Australia who did it.
And happy Boxing Day.