From his time fronting The Breakers, to Cheetah, Boss, and onto Rags ‘n’ Riches – Scott Ginn has long been on our rock n roll radar. His 1986 solo album ‘One Man Army’ is one of the best hard rock albums to come out of Australia during that time. Listen in to episode 89 of The Australian Rock Show as Scott talks us through the new Rags ‘n’ Riches album, ‘Heaven Is Only A Moment Away’, and much more. Rag ‘n’ roll ! Play loud !
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28167902_1527025150680585_7032983006911154360_nA couple of years ago, Sydney’s Scott Ginn re-emerged after 20 odd years out of the rock ‘n’ roll game. As fans of 1980s Sydney and Australian heavy rock, we here at Rockbrat were very familiar with Scott’s work , prominently with bands such as BOSS, The Breakers, Cheetah and Rags N Riches (Scott’s 1986 solo album ‘One Man Army’ comes highly recommended too). Sound wise, Rags N Riches combined the sass of Aerosmith, the flamboyance and licks of Lee Roth-era Van Halen, with the melody and hooks of Def Leppard. As great a live band they were, Rags N Riches never released a debut album, although they did record a lot of material during their four year existence from 89-93. This material sat on the shelves for years until Scott finally issued the band’s debut album, ‘Shipwrecked Out On The Streets’ in 2016. (Read about that here).

‘Shipwrecked Out On The Streets’ was a strong debut, yet this, the sophomore release for Rags N Riches is even better. Much like the debut album, ‘Heaven Is Only A Moment Away’ consists of material the band recorded from 89-93. Unlike the debut though, which reflected the band’s ‘big band meets hard rock’ sound, the new album is 100% melodic hard rock, more in the classic 1980’s Def Leppard style. All these years later and these songs still sound relevant, which is testament to the song writing, and Ginn’s knack of being able to pen catchy, melodic rock with hooks. Combine that with the scorching heavy rock guitar of Phil Bowley (Candy Harlots/Shy Thunder) and you start to wonder whether the fortunes of Rags N Riches may have been different had these tunes been released back in 1990, when hair metal (an apt but derogatory idiom in my opinion) was king.

‘Heaven Is Only A Moment Away’ contains 11 songs with four bonus cuts. Plenty of highlights too. The album opens with the monstrous, riff heavy title track, which reminds me a lot of classic Dio (particularly the addition of the Claude Schnell-like keyboards) and even Priest’s ‘Metal Gods’ at times. Reference points aside, this is an epic tune with a rippin’ Phil Bowley solo.  ‘Is This Really Love’ is a power ballad par excellence with a big sing-a-long chorus, tasty solo and harmonies aplenty. A great song then is still a great song now – radio friendly then, radio friendly now. Radio programmers pay attention. Absolutely love ‘We Stand On The Edge’ and ‘Last Days Of The World’, both penned during the writing of Scott’s ‘One Man Army’ album from ’86. Both lyrically evocative and super catchy melodic hard rock.  Scott Ginn has a great rock voice and a great range –and compliments Bowley’s tasteful lead guitar perfectly.  Fans of Aiz Lynch–era Candy Harlots will love the sleaze of ‘Cindy’s Working On The Streets’, resplendent with Bowley’s distinctive riffing – musical muscle that he brought to the Candy Harlots table when he replaced Marc Lee De Hugar way back when. Ripper tune, ultra-catchy and lyrically, one can assume that Cindy is a sister of ‘Maxine’. Possibly my favourite tune on the album, however that gong goes to ‘Chains Of Love’ – a super melodic AOR, Journey-like tune. HUGE sing-along chorus, catchy riff, great song. If you threw this into the playlist of any classic rock radio station, it would not be out of place amongst the more esteemed company , and listeners would be scrambling to find out who it is! There’s two versions of ‘Catch Me If You Can’, including the original demo. This was the first tune the band wrote and was always a live favourite. It still kick ass, as does ‘Take It To The Top’, another infectious rifforama with hooks aplenty.

Sonically, these songs sound full and loud, with the guitars up front – the way we like it. Not only has Ginn done a great job with production, the eye catching artwork is also an appealing visual accompaniment to the music.

If you dig original and catchy, melodic hard rock of the late 80s/early 90s – Rags N Riches are for you. If you dig classic rock – look no further. Significantly, the songs on ‘Heaven Is Only A Moment Away’ have stood the test of time and reaffirm that Australian hard rock bands of the 80s were as good as anything coming from the US or the UK at that time. Highly recommended. Note that Rags N Riches returned to the stage last year (including a support of BB Steal), and will be heading out again later this year to support the album’s release.

For more details on where to buy the album, head to Mazz-XT Music. You can also pick up the first Rags N Riches album ‘Shipwrecked Out On the Streets’ and Scott’s ‘One Man Army’ album on either CD ($10) or digital ($5).

To read a through interview Rockbrat conducted with Scott where he talks about his full rock ‘n’ roll history, click here.



On episode 87 of The Australian Rock Show we blast new tunage from the mighty Hitmen DTK, Cosmic Psychos and The Mis-Made ! Classy Sydney outfit Love Child get some air time, as do powerhouse Central Coast act Defiant Few. Add in some Gwyn Ashton, former Screaming Tribemen vocalist Mick Medew, and some raunchy blues via Christina Crofts – and this is one show you won’t wanna miss. Rock news, gig dates, reviews, rants and more. Play loud ! Listen here

The Rockbrat Blog

6307208 Halcyon days for rock: Sydney, 1979

I was reading a recent communiqué by Dennis Val, guitar player with one of Sydney’s better rock bands, Love Child, in which he was talking about the lack of Australian artists on radio, and how hard it is to get original Australian guitar rock heard on the airwaves nowadays. It got me thinking not just about that issue, but about the state of the music industry in general – and I’ve come to the conclusion that there needs to be a significant shift, otherwise there exists the very real possibility that there could be no ‘next’ generation of rock fans in this country, and ours could be the last. There was an article in the Daily Review last year that identified the decline of live music in Australia as an art form, and its also a valid read.

For today’s younger generation – music…

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R-1127520-1439560433-2587.jpegQuite possibly the most contrived record to ever be released in Oz rock history. Rank with artificiality, this lot couldn’t pull the wool over my eyes when they first burst on to the scene back in the late 80’s with their try-hard antics and wanna-be rock star shenanigans – and all these years later this smells as fetid as it did back then. Except worse. The songs have not aged well. Forgettable, bland, AOR, keyboard heavy, middle of the road babble that paradoxically, sounds sonically superb. Yet a first rate production, with Mark Opitz twiddling the knobs, still couldn’t save it. Put lipstick on a pig… it’s still a pig. Songs with zero-originality that are a direct carbon copy of all the worst of the LA Sunset Strip poseurs.  They even had a tune called “Bad Boys” (need loving too). Cringe. Puke.

In spite of having paid no dues, yet with Molly in their corner, Roxus were gifted with opening slot supports to international visitors Bon Jovi, Warrant and Poison in 89 and 90. Yet Australian audiences could smell a rat, and didn’t take to them – instead warming to the legitimate international sounds of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Guns n Roses – denying this country of its own late 80’s hair metal home grown hard rock heroes.  If Roxus was the best Australia could come up with – that speaks volumes.

Roxus had a nauseatingly insipid power ballad called ‘Where Are You Now”, which Molly must have thought was destined to go to the top of the charts – both here and in North America – yet you can’t sell ice to eskimos – they already had enough Mr Bigs, Bad Englishes, Damn Yankees, Bon Jovis etc in the charts and didn’t need any D grade deceivers from the antipodes.

As the old saying goes, one swallow does not a summer make – and by 1993, with the Seattle bands having restored a sense of much needed order to things by killing off the bloated hair metal genre, bands like Roxus were rowing a boat with one oar.

The long hair, volume, cowboy boots and bandanas couldn’t hide the fact that Roxus were spurious with a capital S, and every bit as manufactured as New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys or any in the Stock Aitken Waterman camp. They should be gratified they had their Warhol moment –as brief as it was. Backstreet Boys, Nightstreet Boys. Yep.

When granted with such big name touring supports, it’s easy to see how the boys thought they were hot patoots –with the front man Juno Roxas in particular having a way over inflated opinion of himself and his singing abilities. So much so that Juno had another roll of the dice in 94 with the release of his ‘long awaited’ solo album called ‘Far From Here’, which came and went like a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck – and sunk faster than the Lusitania. Roxus did make an appearance at the Mushroom Records 25th anniversary concert in 1998 and in 2006, Juno Roxas performed with the Pat Cash All Star Band at the Australian Tennis Open. And here I was thinking his music career had faltered after the demise of Roxus. Where Are You Now ? Far From Here? Words never so prophetic.  Next!

denim5When you cast the magnifying class on 70s punk – the focus tends to be placed on the UK and the US.  Today I wanna hip you to a band from Turku, Finland who released one of THE long lost punk/hard rock albums of the mid 70s. This long lest gem sat long forgotten – certainly for those outside of Finland, yet it was given a re release on CD in 2014. If you dig Cream, ZZ Top, Mountain, Joplin,  Blue Cheer or the Ramones – Dead End 5 may be for you. The album opens with a blitzing cover of BOC’s ‘ME262’, and KISS’ – Let Me Go Rock N Roll’. The singer,  Annika Salminen went onto a successful solo career in Finland, and released a couple of solo albums under the name of Annika Andersson. The video below of a tune from the album, ‘Liekinheitin’ is a great example of the Dead End 5 sound. The album is recommended. And you thought Hanoi Rocks were the only hard rock band to come out of Finland ?


Dave Evans: the real rock n roll deal

There is a lot to like about Dave Evans’ brand of rock n roll. It’s loud, it’s fiery and it’s in-your-face. And when Evans is on form – like this evening, there’s no other place I’d rather be. As their original frontman, Dave Evans will forever be tied to AC/DC. Yet if it was nostalgia which you’d come for tonight, you were in the wrong venue. Because what is in fact dealt out, is a set list bursting with vital, tough sounding rock n roll – laced with energy and raw power.  

Tonight, Evans is backed by local Brisbane outfit Dirty Dice and they’re a great fit. This act are tight, polished and are a band you need to make a note of – it’s just the kinda stuff we dig. They hit the stage with a one-two punch of ‘Can I Sit Next To You Girl’, and then a raunchy ‘Rockin In the Parlour’. 1974 never sounded so damn good ! A re-worked ‘Sunset Strip’ – taken from last year’s ‘Wild’ EP cooks – and is followed by a kick arse take of ‘Rock n Roll Singer’. Yeah, you’ll find it on AC/DC’s ‘High Voltage’, however the tune dates back to the band’s earliest days with Dave out front. Tonight Evans indeed has the devil in his blood and sounds amazing. It’s an important point worth noting that after all this time, his powerhouse vocals are as strong as ever. He’s always had a strong vocal range and it can be felt tonight from only a few metres away. Amazing.

The ‘Sinner’ album is widely regarded as one his strongest releases and it’s a delight to hear some of that material cop an airing….’Rock n Roll Or Bust’, ‘Take Me Down Again’ and ‘Turn It Up’ sound loud and fresh but it’s ‘Sold My Soul To Rock n Roll’ which brings the house down. Could be my choice cut of the night. Evans is giving his all tonight and you’d better believe he means every lyric in that song. Guitarist Aaron has himself been playing for three decades and it shows, he has a great guitar tone and adds much muscle to the Evans catalogue. ‘Go Wild’, from the aforementioned 2017 EP ‘Wild’ is a great example of this. I had my fingers crossed for a take of ‘Revenge’ – the killer title track from an album Dave cut with John Nitzinger, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, Dave Evans and Dirty Dice close out a smoking set with a four-pronged AC/DC assault comprising TNT, Highway To Hell, a crunching Let There Be Rock and Whole Lotta Rosie.

The ringing ears will subside, as will the heat of this sweaty summer show. But tonight’s set is one which will live on in my rock n roll memory. I’ve long been of the belief that Dave Evans is the real rock n roll deal and it’s always satisfying to have that confirmed in the live environment. 10/10

Hear our 2015 i/v with Dave here