Christmas has arrived early! October 2014 and a new Kevin K album. That’s cause for celebration folks, for the man with the best voice in rock ‘n’ roll has yet again delivered the goods with his new album, ‘Hurt You’. I’ve always loved Kevin’s acoustic tunes. He has an earnest voice suited to the stripped back style, with an infectious appeal that’s hard not to like. Kevin K released a bunch of acoustic tunes back in 2001 with the excellent ‘From The Delta To The Bowery’ CD, and ‘Hurt You’ takes more from the top shelf. As a concept, ‘Hurt You’ is in many ways a tip of the hat to Johnny Thunders’ 1983 solo album ‘Hurt Me’, both in look (cover art) and sound (stripped back acoustic), with many of Kevin’s best known rockers given the acoustic treatment. The album opens up with the pondering ‘Intrusive’, awash with reflection and a catchy chorus, before a pared back version of ‘Joey and Me’ follows. Kevin’s heartfelt tribute to his pet of 15 years, this song continues to move me, and anyone who has ever lost a lifelong pet or someone close will relate. I was listening to this tune a lot in May this year when I had to put our dog of 14 years to sleep. A powerful and evocative song.  Up next is a peeled back version of the now classic tribute tune to Jennifer Love Hewitt,  ‘Jennifer Love’, with the acoustic guitars right up front. Catchy, sing-along classic. Kevin K is a guy who has always worn his heart (and influences) on his sleeve, with nods to Thunders, the Ramones and Stiv Bators evident here. If there’s been a better tribute to the Ramones than KK’s ‘Joey and Dee Dee’, I am yet to hear it.  No Ramones indeed. The take of Thunders’ ‘It’s Not Enough’ is as expected, spot on, whilst his cover of the Lords ‘Russian Roulette’ also hits the bullseye.  There’s an extremely likable renewed version of the Road Vultures ‘Call’ that sounds great to my ears, melodic sensibilities in overdrive. Hot summer days, ice cold beer and the two Road Vultures albums blasting from my speakers. A practice I subscribe to often, and so should you. A pleasant surprise to hear long time KK bass man Ritchie Buzz sing lead vocals on a couple of tunes, with ‘Waitin For You’ a particular highlight. With right hand man Ricky Rat sounding as rock solid as ever on guitar, ‘Hurt You’ is the one album you need in 2014. The CD comes with a remastered bonus – Kevin’s ‘Story Of My Life’ CD , which was originally released back in 2002 on Freddy Lynxx’s Sucksex label. This album still sounds as vital and relevant as it did back then, and kicks major ass. Effectively, you are getting two Kevin K albums for the price of one. Kevin K has a back catalogue of musical riches that is an Aladdin’s cave – so if you ain’t done so already, go forth and discover the enriching music of Kevin K, the one and only rock ‘n’ roller who consistently delivers. Kevin has a DVD out that is a visual bio of his life in rock ‘n’ roll, and a book about his life too called ‘How To Become A Successful Loser‘.  ‘Hurt You’ is another in a long line of great Kevin K albums, and is out now on Realkat Records. Get it today! 10 out of 10.

jvalduriezWe live and breath rock n roll. We know good music when we hear it – and like so many others, are major fans of YouTube guitar-star…Juliette Valduriez.
Consider this: in the space of two short years, Juliette has uploaded fifteen home-made videos. Blazing takes on rock monsters like ‘Bark At The Moon’, ‘Voodoo Chile’, ‘Gimme Shelter’, ‘Comfortably Numb’ among others. In these few, short video clips – this amazingly gifted musician has managed to shred her way into the rock n roll hearts of many – currently 78’000 YouTube subscribers, with over 10 million views in total !

Seemingly out of nowhere – Juliette has managed to etch her Melody Maker- Les Paul-sound over songs we all knew so well – playing with a natural flair, feel and emotion which is breathtaking. Don’t believe me ? Check out her original composition ‘Lost Paradise’ with your ears only – I mean, close your eyes and let the music do the talking via earphones – like in the old pre-video days – because THAT is how you can tell.  You can hear ‘it’ !

Then do the same thing with the Pink Floyd cover ‘Comfortably Numb’. Oh man, her playing gives me goose-bumps !

Yet it is now over two years – August of 2012 – since Juliette’s last video offering – a blazing, Rhoads-like take of Ozzy’s ‘Mr Crowley’ – and then, nothing. (Osbourne could do worse than ask Valduriez to be his touring axe-slinger – dontcha think folks ? Much in the same way that the super-talented Orianthi has energized the Alice Cooper line-up).

A blog post we wrote last year on Juliette gains a lot of traffic, so that has inspired us to attempt to chase down Juliette. A recent comment on her page says it
all “You are amazing. The world is waiting to hear more. It has been so long since your last post. Where are you?” (Ou etes-vous ?).

Although I took French in high school (je m’appelle rockbrat) – I don’t speak it, but recently tried via social media to gain an interview with Juliette nonetheless !
Am disappointed to say that we have heard nothing back. Sure hope she is okay.

Like countless other Juliette Valduriez fans – I really hope that she releases an album. Surely she has gained enough attention for a major or semi-major label to
offer her a deal ! It would be a shame to hear such amazing potential – on a few YouTube clips, never fully realized.

If we hear news from Juliette, Rockbrat subscribers will be the first to know….
Until then, I suggest you subscribe to her channel at JulietteVmusic, and like the rest of us – wait for news !


Just checking in to let you know about a couple of albums that may have slipped unto your radar and are well worthy of your attention. The first is the ‘Metal Cowboy’ album by Ron Keel. Hands down, this is my favourite album of the year. Soaked in southern rockisms, this is outlaw country with heavy rock leanings and many memorable tunes. Ron Keel has found a niche for himself in this field, and in a word, this smokes. ‘Metal Cowboy’ features Frankie from Tesla on guitar, and Paul Shortino of Rough Cutt on a duet. Heavy on the slide guitar, with lotsa down ‘n’ dirty tunes that will stick in your head for days including ‘Wild Forever’, ‘What Would Skynyrd Do’ and ‘My Bad’. On a side note, you should also check out Ron Keel’s radio show. Like thousands of others I  tune in to his weekly radio show and it is one of the best podcasts out there. He spins the metal classics as well as the best of the up and coming hard rock / metal acts. And if you are yet to read it, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up a copy of Ron’s book, ‘Even Keel – Life On The Streets Of Rock n Roll’. I bought Keel’s classic album, ‘The Right To Rock’ back in 1986, followed by ‘Final Frontier’ and then ‘Keel’, so I know a thing or two about his music, yet in my opinion ‘Metal Cowboy’ is far and away the best thing he has ever done. Go to RonKeel.com and check it all out. Along with Ian Hunter, Dave Edmunds is the other artist I regret to say I have not seen live yet would dearly love to.  I LOVE Dave Edmunds. I love his stuff with Rockpile. I love ‘Get It’. Who doesn’t love ‘Repeat When Necessary’? ‘After suffering poor health in recent years and moving into semi-retirement and keeping a low profile, Edmunds surprised all the pundits with the quality of his new album, ‘Again’.  What’s more, this is his first album of newly recorded material for two decades. ‘Again’ contains new and self-penned tracks, and some rarely heard Edmunds’ recordings, together presenting a personal collection which is truly consistent. Five brand new tracks, including ‘People Wanna Get High’ and the title track ‘Again’. Two covers ‘Georgia On My Mind’ and ‘Your Song’ which Edmunds lays down in his own fashion,  boasting his Beach Boys harmonies and his Jerry Reed style picking. The best thing I can say about this album is that it sounds like a ‘classic’ Edmunds album from the late 70s, and you could stack it up against any of em, with ‘Chutes and Ladders’, and ‘I Got The Will’ both being personal faves. The Welsh Wizard is back – to show all the youngun’s just how it’s done. There’s life in the old dog yet!

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Sixx at the Marquee 1991 – pic: Ross Halfin

Just finished re-reading ‘The Dirt’ – the Mötley Crüe bio from some years back – so sharing a road tale involving Vince, his buddy Sixx, Mick and Tom seems appropriate. I was living in a tiny bedsit in South London back in 1991 – working was obviously not a priority – but rock n roll sure as hell was. Part of the weekly schedule was perusing Kerrang! Magazine – which from memory hit the streets each Wednesday. So as per usual, in early August, I headed to the Noizeagant and purchased the Big K, scanning the gig guide over a pint or two. In one of the news columns there was a blurb which stated something like ‘Livewire rockers The Foreskins play a one-off show at the Marquee August 14’.
Duh – I really shoulda put two and two together – cos I knew that in previous years – around the time of the Monsters Of Rock show, bands on the bill had done undercover Marquee gigs – Kiss in 1988, Poison and also Aerosmith (with a guest appearance from Jimmy Page) the year before. There was also the ‘livewire’ reference. Oh well, this was the pre-internet era so information was where you read it – or in my case, if you mis-read it ! Anyway – I think that the following Wednesday’s issue of Kerrang! – in the week leading up to Donington – they broke the newz and announced the ‘unannounced’ secret gig. Oh shit ! It was that very night ! I downed my pint, screamed ‘take me to the heights tonight’ – then jumped a train which would take me to the top – well, Tottenham Court Road station at least. The legendary Marquee was at that time situated at 105 Charing Cross Road, and I quickly made my way to the venue. Thinking back, I saw a slew of bands there during that summer – and although Cobain and his flannelette were about to sit hard rock and metal on it’s ass – there was still some great rock to be had at that time (the fact that Kerrang! ran a two page article on Nirvana in the aforementioned issue – was telling – and a sign of things to come – eg, the death of 80′s metal).

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Motley ‘Four Skins’ Crue play a rare club date -

Obviously, with the show sold-out I had to scalp a ticket – and when I got to the venue at around lunchtime there was already a queue to get inside. Motley never played clubs anymore so to see them in a dive with a few hundred capacity was a thrill. Ticket or no ticket, I joined the queue and started chatting to a couple of young kids who’d travelled by bus the night before to get to this secret Crue show. Think they hailed from Nottingham way. I looked through my cash and remember thinking that 50 quid was my absolute top bargaining price – and haggled with a few scalpers over the next couple of hours – before begrudgingly shelling out a whopping 70 pounds for a ticket in. What’s that worth in today’s money ? $300 or $400 maybe ? For some time later, one of my pommie mates would give me shit about it, so it must’ve been a lot of money ! Whatever – life is short, and it was the Crue in a club for f**k sake – their second club gig in ten years -  and now I had a ticket ! Rock n roll mission accomplished.

There was an Oi! punk outfit who hailed from London’s East End called The 4-Skins – working class punkers who were around in the early 80′s, and recall hearing a press rumour of legal action against the Crue for using their name. The spelling was obviously different – and the Crue had so many lawsuits against them, I doubt they cared. Many old punks would’ve bought tickets for this mid-August gig, thinking there was a 4-Skins re-union occurring. They of course were unaware they were nabbing tickets to the hottest gig in town – and some no doubt made a hefty profit from hungry Crue-heads. Well, on with the show, going on with the show.

Mr Rockbrat at the Marquee 1991

Mr Rockbrat at the Marquee 1991

The wait for the doors to open was made easier by swilling warm Tennent’s and chatting with other rock disciples. At some stage I recall a camera crew filed past – interviewing fans as they walked along. The accents were American so I presume they were Crue crew – and someone told me they were filming for a documentary. I think that some of this Charing Cross Road fan footage – along with the Marquee gig itself – was including in the ‘Anarchy In The UK’ video. Once the doors swung open, a horde of punters headed for the stage area, yet I headed upstairs and got a front row view from up there on the balcony – directly in line with Sixx. This was a memorable gig – one which stands out in a lifetime of loud, sweaty rock shows. There was no opening band – and from memory, after a short intro tape, the band just sauntered on stage and belted into their set – a set which was to be savoured: Wild Side, Shout at the Devil, a thumping Primal Scream, Looks That Kill, Red Hot,…. and to hear early Crue cuts like Live Wire and the encore Piece Of Your Action churned out in a small club was very very cool. A take on the Pistols Anarchy in the U.K.was also aired to maximum response. Personally, apart from Motorhead and The Runaways, I am yet to hear anyone do true justice to a Sex Pistols song – though the Crue’s effort on this night was sizzling. At one point in the show, Sixx, sporting black overalls, stage dived into the crowd – and later I recall he gave me the thumbs up during the set. Say what you want about Tommy Lee, the guy is an incredible drummer – the engine room behind this legendary outfit, and he is always great to watch. Every punter in the club that night was drenched in sweat – and it was pure rock n roll energy. This was a warm-up show but the Crue gave their all, and the evening was one of my rock highlights. I did the bus ride to Donington Park three days later and although the Crue rocked – they were not as potent as they were at the mid-week Marquee gig. The smaller stage of a small, sweaty club was where the Motley magic lay for me. With my ears ringing from Mick Mars’ Marshalls, I walked towards the Tube – ending the motley_crue_marquee_ticketevening a short while later with a Doner and chips. A decade earlier, Motley Crue had reigned supreme on the Sunset Strip club scene – and it was mind-blowing to see them back in a club after conquering the rock world !

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I have a bit of a soft spot for the US outfit Cobra, and there albums (particularly First Strike) are excellent slices of commercial heavy rock. Some years back, whilst rifling through one of those great Japanese ‘heavy metal album covers’ books, I was checking out Cobra, and got into the Cobra albums. Front man Jimi Jamison rose to prominence though post Cobra, in Survivor, joining in 84, a couple of years after their massive hit’ Eye Of The Eye Tiger’.  Jamison’s voice is strong and distinctive, well suited to commercial hard rock. His most recent solo album is excellent. Sadly, Jamison passed away a few days ago, 31 August, aged 63 from a massive heart attack. A couple of weeks back I was only listening to an old interview Jamison did with Ron Keel. Two weeks later he’s gone. If you are not familiar with the man or his music, I suggest you go to Ron Keel’s excellent radio show and listen to this week’s episode, which pays tribute to the late great Jimi Jamison.  
 

 

dizzy dollzEarlier this year – we blogged about some footage from Sydney’s long-lost Dizzy Dollz – which had surfaced on YouTube. Some months later we learn that another gig has been upped – and it’s just as good. When I say I’m in love you best believe I’m in love, L U V – and Mr Rockbrat is diggin’ this time travel – to the seedy Kardomah Cafe big time ! Tonight we have another dose of glam/punk/rock n roll circa 1992. It’s a short set, but a great one. Does vocalist Bella still perform ? She must’ve intimidated the hell out of many a young cherry-boy from that stage. Her voice suits these tunes so well. Did this band ever demo the track ‘Bitch On Heat’ ? Loud and to-the-point – it’s as catchy as all hell. Same with ‘Can’t Stop Shakin’ ? Was that ever put to tape ? Guitarist Glenn Read’s solo is hot – so too, the one in ‘Good Morning Headache’ – he was someone we saw a lot over the years on the Sydney scene (Shy Thunder/White Widow/Starlet) – and he always played with a great tone and feel. Looking back – Dizzy Dollz were more than just T and A rock n roll. As mentioned in my previous post – fun and entertainment were the main focus points. How can you not dig an outfit who rip through cool Runaways and Dolls tunage ?! Their take on Eddie Cochrane’s Summertime Blues is the best you’ll hear this side of Joan Jett’s 1981 run-through. Love it. The Australian underground scene had some great – authentic rock n roll bands in the late 80′s and Dizzy Dollz were just one of em. Spend 40 minutes watching this set and you’ll be in agreeance. OK kids, the sun is now up so I should stumble down Bayswater Road and vanish like a vampire…

birch_hill_gig_adThe town of Old Bridge is located in New Jersey, not too far from Staten Island, around 40km from Manhattan. It was also home to a live venue called Birch Hill – which me and the Cowboy made tracks for back in 1996. The reason ? Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. 40km doesn’t sound far – at least not for an Australian, who thinks nothing of driving a few hundred kilometres to get to the shops and back – well, you get my meaning. This gig stands out for a couple of reasons. See, me and the Cowboy were holed up in a flea-infested hostel around Chelsea, swilling cats piss one humid afternoon – whilst listening to local rock radio.  We hear the end of an advert for a Blackhearts show at ‘Albridge’, or was it ‘Aldridge’, ‘Old Ridge’ maybe ? No mention of the gig in the Village Voice either – hmmm. Anyway, we head to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on gig day and manage to annoy the ticket lady officer big time – by not actually knowing our destination. Fucking tourists. ‘Ohhh you mean, Old Bridge’ she whines in a Queens accent. ‘Uh huh, yeah’ we nod – like Beavis and Butthead and board the Jersey-bound bus excitedly.  From memory the Old Bridge bus stop was at a nearby mall – which meant a long walk back to the venue – a venue which first reminded me of Bob’s Country Bunker – chicken wire ? Unlike many Australian or British venue’s where you can hit the venue bar pre-show, this place seemed isolated and had the doors locked until like 8.00pm. The only thing to keep us entertained were the ‘Joan Clones’ who sat in their cars – cranking Jett/Runaways tunage, whiling the hours away. One geeky fan came up to us and even texta’d a number on our hands ! WTF ? (don’t want any queue-jumping at a Blackhearts show or Mr Laguna may wanna see you after school). Odd. It was humid in New Jersey that afternoon – so when the doors finally opened we darted to the bar – a man’s not a camel. Birch Hill was apparently a ground-breaking venue which had hosted up-and-coming acts like Marilyn Manson, Korn and the Goo Goo Dolls.  Others such as Eddie Money, Anthrax, Sepultura, Scorpions, Dokken, Cheap Trick, Dio, Motorhead, Dream Theatre, UFO, Vince Neil, Yngwie, Misfits, Great White, Cinderella and even  Iron Maiden (with Blaze) also played here – amongst countless other acts. Thrashers Overkill – who appear on this gig ad – hail from Old Bridge I believe. Anyway, back to the Jett show.

Boston’s two girl-one guy ‘Chelsea on Fire’ opened many Joan Jett shows in the late 90′s and did so on this occasion. They were unoriginal and unmemorable – and I instead made better use of my time by hitting on a couple of local chicks – big-haired Stevie Nicks-clones. and the booze kept flowing. Local outfit Mars Needs Women were next up – I think they gave me a demo tape – or did they hand em out (?) – and were capital A average. At some stage I recall ligging with Blackhearts Tony Bruno and Sean Koos – the bassist was far more impressed with my 1995 Aussie tour tee than his (ex-Saraya/Danger Danger) band mate (Bruno would later find greener pastures working as guitarist, music director for Enrique Iglesias). Eventually Joanie jumps the stage with shortly-cropped bright orange hair. Not one of her better looks. As usual – Miss Larkin and band fired on all cylinders – and her set was soon over – but not, as you’d expect – was our Old Bridge adventure.

There were no taxis anywhere – and a promised lift by some local Jett-head proved to be bullshit. Anyway, me and the Cowboy start walking alongside the freeway – when we stumble upon a local cop sitting in his car. ‘Any chance of a lift’ ? I ask – and after ID’s are confirmed – we jump in the back of the squad car. ‘I heard Joan Jett now has orange hair’ the officer mumbled. Sheesh – even the local law enforcement were up on recent Jett happenings ! Some minutes later – the kindly cop drops us at a 24 hour diner and says ‘hey when you get back to Australia, you tell Aussie cops that Jersey cops are cool’ ! Absoloutely, 10-4, that’ll be the first thing I do when we land at Mascot. With a hang-over starting to kick in – I slumped wearily into a booth at the diner – ordering coffee and spying the ‘texta-girl’ from the gig sitting nearby. We rolled back into the Port Authority terminal a little under the weather – but drenched in Joan Jett rock n roll. I am attaching the advert for this show in question. Man, I love looking over past gig ads – the names of bands who vanshed – or also conquered – lay before you. This one shows Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould appearing, the afore-mentioned Overkill, and Northern Irish outfit Ash can be seen on a bill supporting Stabbing Westward – no doubt trying to sink their teeth into the vast North American market. Looking back – Merciful Fate – out on the road in support of their then released ‘Into The Unknown’ record with Voivod woulda been cool – hmm, nah, on second thought – I think I’d take the Marshall Tucker Band over the lot of em. The venue closed its doors back in 2003 – making way for some housing community. Often, just making your way to a show is half the fun – and this tale, from Old Bridge NJ in 1996, is just one of many I have tucked away. More road stories later…till then – respect the rock.