Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Rare “Glam Metal” Bands

I was looking for a quick and short podcast episode today and I came across an episode titled “Rare Glam and Hair Metal Bands” that was less than 10 minutes on the 80’s Glam Metalcast. Now the podcast itself is not a big production, it’s unpolished and garage like, but that’s why I like it.

So I’m thinking. A cool short and sweet episode on rare glam metal bands. Wham bam, Amsterdam.

And then I started to write down all the bands mentioned and suddenly a short podcast ended up as a long blog post.

Cold Sweat

From Ex-Keel guitarist, Marc Ferrari.

They only released one album, “Break Out” in 1990 on MCA Records, otherwise known as “No Idea Records” when it came to promoting rock and metal bands.

Produced by Kevin Beamish.

Oni Logan was the original singer and he left the band to join Lynch Mob, just as they were about to record the album.

Singer Rory Cathey was found from a lot of demo tapes to replace Logan. The band was rounded out by Erik Gamans on guitars, Chris McLernon on bass and Anthony White on drums.

The album didn’t get any traction and if you couldn’t find it in stores it’s because the label had already dropped the band.

Check out the 12/8 Blues groove of “Cryin’ Shame” and the great guitar playing or the power ballad, “Waiting In Vain” or the melodic rockers “Take This Heart of Mine” and “Let’s Make Love Tonight”.

“Killing Floor” is the usual “run of the mill” hard rock tunes. Then there is “Riviera/Long Way Down” which is an acoustic instrumental merging into a massive rock groove for “Long Way Down”.

Sweet F.A

They had Howard Benson producing them. For those who don’t know Benson, towards the late 90’s and onwards, Benson became like the new Tom Werman for me. I would gravitate to the records he produced.

Sweet F.A is another band signed to “No Idea Records” otherwise known as MCA Records.

The band is made up of Steven David DeLong (really, how long) on vocals, Jon “Lightning” Huffman and James Thunder (really, Lightning and Thunder) on guitar, Jim Quick (really, please stop with these names) on bass and Tricky Lane (they saved the best for last) on drums and percussion.

So what do ya get when The Long, Lightning, Thunder, Quick And Lane get together?

The debut album “Stick To Your Guns” came out in 1989.

And it did nothing commercially and of course, they got dropped by their label and then released another album “Temptation” on another label a few years later and that also did nothing commercially and the band was done.

The title track is very Led Zepplenish with a bit of Bad Company and “Shooting Star”. And I like it. The hair metal tag doesn’t really suit a cut like this, but then again, these terms weren’t meant to be complimentary.

“Whiskey River” is worthy and “Breaking The Law” is sort of like a Badlands tune. Maybe with a bit of “Hot For Teacher” chucked in for good measure.

But the rest is the usual “this track bleeds into this track and this track bleeds into this track”.

Silent Rage

I’m surprised this one didn’t do greater based on its cover. You know the one, a buffed bod, six pack showing, wearing tight leathers with the album title “Don’t Touch Me There” just over the crotch.

I guess Silent Rage and their label RCA forgot that males made up the majority of the record purchases in 1989 when it came to rock and metal releases.

And I was thinking why would a band who formed in 1976 and who finally got a chance to release an album 13 years later go with that cover. Because the stupid cover hindered the chances of the album doing anything.

Because I didn’t but it because of the cover.

But I should judge an album by its cover.

As soon as I pressed play I was a fan of the music.

“Runnin On Love”, “I Wanna Feel It”, “Tonight You’re Mine” and “Rebel With A Cause” is a four punch knockout combo.

I guess whatever Gene Simmons touched, turned to black. There’s a story there as well. Paul Sabu started producing the album and then Gene took over. I guess when you’re a band on Simmons Records, the boss takes precedence.

Most of the songs are written by E.J. Curse on bass, Mark Hawkins on guitar and Jesse Damon on vocals.

Producer Paul Sabu assisted on “Tonight You’re Mine”, Joe Lynn Turner assisted on “I Wanna Feel It” and Bruce Kulick assisted with “All Night Long”. There is a cover song from ELO called, “Can’t Get Her Out Of My Head”. Then there is “Don’t Touch Me There” written by Bob Kulick with Adam Mitchell. Album closer “I’m On Fire” is one of those fast paced hard rock songs that rhymes fire and desire.

It’s an arena rock album. But they never got to em.

Kik Tracee

It’s 1991, the third wave of L.A Metal (now known as Glam Metal or Hair Metal) is in full force and “No Rules” comes out, produced by Dana Strum from Slaughter on BMG Records.

Kik Tracee’s metal and hard rock sound is mixed with some alternative. Even the Hugh Syme cover is different.

An old steam train has arrived in a cityscape environment, and there is the same person walking out of it multiple times, dressed in old clothing and a hat, with a badge on his chest that states “No Rules”. It’s like the train is a time machine, entering our current lives to bring about a little chaos and anarchy.

Rolling Stone even had this album at 46 of the 50 Best Hair Metal Albums, which was a surprise. Even the great Martin Popoff who is normally tough on bands known as hair metal gave it some nice words on his “Collectors Guide” book.

“Big Western Sky” was called “the centrepiece” in the same Rolling Stone review. It’s one of those tunes that moves between acoustic and distortion.

It’s hard to escape the comparison to Guns N Roses. Tracks like “Soul Shaker” even starts off with that “Mr Brownstone” feel. “Tangerine Man” has an intro that could have come from Zakk Wylde’s fingertips. “Lost” feels like a Neil Young cut with a bit of The Beatles chucked in. “Velvet Crush” reminds me of Van Halen with an Axl Rose style vocal.

And by the end of the album, I didn’t feel like I listened to a “glam metal” album. Just a solid rock album. One review described it as Gunners meets The Cure meets The Beatles meets Paul Simon meets Neil Young meets Van Halen. I think that sums it up.

But being part of the third wave of acts, they were part of the first wave of acts to be dropped by the labels.

Singer Stephen Shareaux auditioned for the lead singer job in Motley Crue, losing out to John Corabi and in the late 90’s he also auditioned for Velvet Revolver, losing out to Scott Weiland.

Sleeze Beez

I didn’t like the band name at all.

“Screwed Blued And Tattooed” came out in 1990 on Atlantic Records. They are from the Netherlands formed in 1987.

“Stranger Than Paradise” was a hit on U.S MTV because of its melodic rock chrorus and a riff influenced by “Kashmir” but it’s the hard rocking tracks that get me interested.

Opener “Rock In The Western World” is a mixture of ZZ Top (Eliminator/Afterburner era), Van Halen and AC/DC. It’s perfect and one of the most underrated tracks from 1990. “House Is On Fire” is basically a rewrite of an AC/DC song called “This House Is On Fire”.

The title track “Screwed Blued N Tattooed” is a Van Halen like cut, similar to the hard rocking tracks from “5150”. Lyrically by know I had heard all of the “kids in a candy store” and “dog without a bone” references.

“When The Brains Go Down To The Balls” is pretty self-explanatory and it’s the most AC/DC sounding track on the album.

Guitarists Chriz Van Jaarsveld and Don Van Spall are excellent and they are virtually unknown. And the band is rounded out by Andrew Elt on vocals, Ed Jongsma on bass guitar and Jan Koster on drums.

They released one more album in 1992 on Atlantic called “Powertool” and that was the last I heard of em.

Salty Dog

This band deserved better as their blues rock still sounds fresh today as it did back then.

“Every Dog Has Its Day” came out in 1990, on Geffen Records.

Tom Werman mentioned in his interview on Lefsetz, that he produced the band and he liked their blues, funk, rock vibe, which was different and removed from the glam hair metal they got marketed with. So sonically, the album is great.

Formed in L.A in 1986 by guitarist Scott Lane, bassist Michael Hannon, and drummer Kurt Maier. Later, they were joined by lead singer Jimmi Bleacher. Founding guitarist Scott Lane was replaced by Pete Reeven in 1987 and with this version of the band they got their Geffen deal.

The cover for a generic “Every Dog Has It’s Day” title, is pretty cool with the great Biblical flood consuming great empires and cities, as they are the “dogs” having their “day”. It’s a pretty cool piece of early Photoshop art.

According to Wikipedia, the record was recorded in Wales, and the band was reportedly not told by the label they had to pay back the recording costs. Artists are naïve when they get their first deal and find out the hard way when the label starts to claim it back from money they’ve earned in sales or on the road.

Check out tracks like the bluesy AC/DC “Cat’s Got Nine”, the swinging blues of “Ring My Bell”, the alternative bluesy sounds of “Where The Sun Don’t Shine”.

“Spoonful” has this blues riff that sounds like something James Hetflied used on “Load” and “Reload” or Zakk Wylde on his Black Label Society band.

“Just Like A Woman” is like a southern rock ballad. “Keep Me Down” has this Led Zeppelin and Peter Frampton style groove. “Heave Hard” is an excellent Cinderella cut.

And the album doesn’t really have a bad tune if you are into blues rock.

Other bands mentioned are Beau Nasty, London (the same London that had Nikki Sixx and Blackie Lawless in it), Shotgun Messiah and my favourite, Hericane Alice which I have already posted about in the past.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Bulletboys

They had the album covers down, especially the “Freakshow” one. I said to myself if the songs are crap at least the cover is worth keeping.

The debut dropped in 1988 and “Hard As A Rock” kicked it off. Which was okay.

“Smooth Up In Ya” is pretty cool musically and melodically. But the lyrics and title certainly got a lot of attention. And at almost 5 million streams on Spotify, it’s their hit.

The best song is “F#9” And it’s buried deep in the album. This one sounds a lot like something Jake E Lee wrote for Ozzy. Crank it and listen to the riff.

And I wasn’t sure what to make of the first album. It had some nice riffage scattered throughout like “Crank Me Up” and “Hell On My Heels”. But overall, there wasn’t enough.

But I gave em one more chance because of the cover.

So“Freakshow” was released in 1991. And I listened and I moved onto the next song and I listened and I kept moving onto the next song.

Then “Say Your Prayers” started and I was tapping my foot at the riff, but the vocal melody just didn’t capture me. So I listened.

And when I was done listening I knew that I wouldn’t be going back to Bulletboys.

And I heard that Motley Crue were auditioning Marq Torien on vocals and I was curious to hear how that would sound because with a bit of assistance in the lyrical department and the melody department, well, anything is possible.

But it didn’t eventuate. And that was that.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Black Roses Soundtrack

“Trick Or Treat” and “Black Roses” played on the fears of the bible belters. This fear, that rock and roll music and now heavy metal music was causing kids to commit suicide and live disobedient and decadent lives led to fertile story telling in film.

I didn’t see “Black Roses” or know about it or purchase the soundtrack until sometime between 94 and 96 even though it came out in 1988.

I purchased the LP first and then many years later, I didn’t know that I had the LP, so I purchased the CD for it.

So in the movie, a heavy metal band named “Black Roses” turns a sleepy towns kids into rockers first and secretly into demonic monsters.

Wikipedia mentions how the soundtrack features many prominent bands at the time such as King Kobra, Tempest, Hallow’s Eve, Lizzy Borden among others. I wouldn’t say prominent but hey the past is always rewritten to suit a narrative.

But the reason why I wanted to hear the album is because of guitarist Alex Masi who had a lot of advertisements running in the guitar magazines when his “Attack Of The Neon Shark” album came out in 1989, plus he got a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Rock Album.

But then again, I’m not sure if getting a Grammy is a good thing when it comes to metal and rock music, because, Jethro Tull did get an award over Metallica and then recently, the Grammy sound people played “Master Of Puppets” when Megadeth got the award. Ouch.

Anyway, the Black Roses band is Carmine Appice on drums, Mick Sweda on guitars, Chuck Wright on bass and Mark Free on vocals with Alex Masi assisting on some guitar tracks.

And because we didn’t have the internet to research stuff, I found out that Masi only played the Rhythm’s after purchasing the album.

Damn, No Leads. That was Mick Sweda.

But when I heard the songs, Sweda was never known for having sweep picking in his repertoire of licks, and when you go deep into the credits of each song, you see that Masi is the shredder on the songs from the band titled Black Roses/Masi.

Anyway, lets unpack this soundtrack (which is not on Spotify), but hey YouTube has it. By the way, there is a user called DannyWaysted who has a lot of 80’s album on the account. Some very obscure favourites of mine. Check it out. Just search for the user name.

“Dance on Fire” kicks off the album and it is from the Black Roses band. The riff is derivative, basic and nothing original. But it’s still a good listen.

The next track “Soldiers of the Night” is mentioned as Black Roses/Masi. This song could have appeared on a Manowar album. The difference that production makes to a song is huge. In a Manowar environment, it would have sounded metal, cranked to a Spinal Tap’ish’ 11. In the hands of lesser mortals, it sounds like a pop rock song with keyboards with a catchcry of raising our fists forever high.

Then we get a song “I’m No Stranger” from an underrated hard rock group in Bang Tango. This song rocks.

There was something about Bang Tango that I liked. I once said to a friend that the band takes something from Motley Crue, Y&T, Guns N Roses, Ratt, Scorpions, Judas Priest and Poison and puts them in a blender. That’s Bang Tango to me.

The Black Roses/Masi version is back with “Rock Invasion”. Of course the song is going to kick off with a lot of shred from Masi. And the chorus is derivative, but hey, rock did really invade the masses in the 80’s.

There is this cool bass and drum groove from Carmine Appice and Chuck Wright in the middle when Masi gets a chance to play with his whammy and force out a million notes in 20 seconds.

And Black Roses closes off Side 1 with the ballad “Paradise (We’re on Our Way)”.

And it reminds me of those Stan Bush ballads he did for various movies.

Now Stan Bush was an 80’s movies voice. Who can forget “The Touch” which basically is another derivative version of “Jump”?

The lead break from Mick Sweda is emotional and perfect, but the star on this song is Mark Free, known since 1993 as Marcie Free, who delivers a vocal hero performance. And if you want to know which band does music like this today, look no further than Revolution Saints.

Lizzy Borden’s, “Me Against the World” kicks off side 2 and it’s basically “Rock N Roll’s Gonna Save The World” from Y&T done in Lizzy’s way. I never got into Lizzy Borden and I don’t why, because I do like this song. Especially the harmony solo section. If you haven’t heard it, find the song on YouTube and crank it. It rivals the harmony solo from “Round and Round” by Ratt.

“Take It Off” from King Kobra is okay. I always gave King Kobra a chance because Johnny Edwards is one hell of a vocalist.

The only time I’ve seen and heard of David Michael-Phillips is via this soundtrack. “King of Kool” is the song. And it’s AC/DC in the verses with a melodic rock style chorus attached. But in the end, I kept thinking of Britny Fox and I couldn’t bite.

Tempest with “Streetlife Warrior” is up next and it was the first time I heard the band. That 10 second intro had me interested, the verses lost me, and the chorus really lost me, then that brief melodic lead after the chorus had me interested again. So I listened through the verses and chorus again to see what else they could do instrumentally. But I didn’t commit any further than this song on the soundtrack.

The NWOBHM was alive and well with Hallow’s Eve and their song “D.I.E.”.

Even early Metallica was alive and well in Hallow’s Eve.

I really liked this song and I have no idea why I didn’t go deeper into their catalogue in the mid 90’s when I got this soundtrack. There are lyrical themes like don’t live your life worrying about things you can’t stop (in this instance it’s about death) because if you give into your fears, you became a slave to them.

D.I.E
Death in effect…..

And that’s it, the “Black Roses” soundtrack is a wrap….

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Hair Metal

There is no doubt that artists who played the Strip had a certain dominance on the charts until a new sound from up the Pacific coast, washed em away. And when people started to write about the 80’s, there was nothing positive said. All of these new indie writers tried to re-write history in favour of their preferred musical taste and all they wrote about was the bad hair, the bad music, the lipstick and hairspray, the bad hair again, the lifestyles, the bad hair again x2 and the bad music again.

Would “Guitar Hero” have existed if it wasn’t for the 80’s?

Van Halen is one of the first bands that I know that came from the Strip, more because they played up and down the Strip like crazy instead of living on the Strip. And even though they had long hair, it wasn’t teased and hair sprayed and glammed up. Only David Lee Roth would take that on, even though the poster boy look upset the Van Halen brothers. When the band became Van Hagar, they still had a down to earth look, with Sammy even wearing an interesting red outfit.

Motley Crue is the first prominent band to came from the Strip, living and breathing it. While “Too Fast For Love” was done independently with songs written before the Crue was formed, it wasn’t until “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets, that the sound of the strip was born.

The generic sounding “Shout At The Devil” sets up the “Shout” call and response vocal, while “Looks That Kill” pulverises you with its down tuned riff and razor sharp women ready to slice the little boys apart. Even “Helter Skelter” sounds like it came from the Strip, instead of the clubs of Liverpool, England. In “Ten Seconds To Love” Vince is telling his girl to wait a little bit more, because here he comes and how he can’t wait to tell the boys about her, while she shines his pistol a little bit more.

Glam metal then left the Sunset Strip and moved to Sheffield England and an album called “Pyromania” from Def Leppard.

From the opening notes of the AC/DC influenced “Rock Rock (Til You Drop)”, to the harmonies of “Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages”, to the grooves of “Billy’s Got A Gun” and “Die Hard The Hunter”, Def Leppard changed the game. They brought the sounds of the NWOBHM, mixed em with AC/DC, Queen, The Sweet and Mott The Hoople and suddenly, the glam hair sound is developing even further.

The glam sounds returned to the Sunset Strip and a band called RATT took over with a song called “Round and Round” from “Out Of The Cellar” released in 1984.

It’s got streets, where people meet, to cross lines and get into fights. And we loved it, even though the chorus of “love finding a way” didn’t really match the threatening verses of picking a fight. The Rat gang also got a mention in “Wanted Man” and my favourite track, “The Morning After” comes roaring out of the speaker.

WASP is another Sunset act, which was thrown in with glam, but to me, that’s like placing Motorhead as a glam act as well. Then again, with songs like “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” and “L.O.V.E Machine”, they got traction and Tipper Gore added the band to her filthy list.

At the same time, a band that played the New Jersey/New York State area for a decade broke big with big hair and a glam rock look from the 70’s and film clips about standing up for your rights, like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”.

And the term hair band and glam metal got even messier.

Poison moved to the Sunset Strip, dragged the cat in, played dirty and screamed for action with their 1986 debut album, and their 1988 follow up “Open Up And Say Ahh” cemented big hair.

Bon Jovi showed how slippery it really gets when things get wet and “New Jersey” in 1988 further cemented the big hair look.

Suddenly, we had Skid Row going wild with their big guns, looking for a piece of everyone. Def Leppard poured even more sugar on their sound with “Hysteria” and finally, a bunch of highly strung musicians got it together to write and record an album called “Appetite For Destruction”.

You know where you are, you’re in the jungle baby, and that jungle proved so easy to please, with cheap booze on the Nighttrain, while talking to Mr Brownstone on our way to the Paradise City.

Regardless of what you think of the music from these artists, or how you want to label them, this form of rock and roll was loud, in your face and it didn’t really care what you thought, sort of like how Axl said, if you think your so cool, you can just fuck off.

The journal that inspired this post.

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