Archive for the ‘Classic Album From The Rockbrat Collection:’ Category

menlove_avenue1986It’s that day again – it rolls around once a year – and is the day the music died – well, for millions of us who still care. That bleak day – back in early December of 1980, when that cowardly, chubby little troll – gunned down John Lennon. But as I’ve stated in previous similar posts – it isn’t a time to mourn, but a time to celebrate – a time to embrace and enjoy the mind-blowing music which Lennon left us.  And today – dear readers – we have Dr O’Boogie’s posthumous 1986 album ‘Menlove Avenue’ on the Rockbrat Stereo – and man, it’s gear ! Apparently the record was released ‘under the supervision of Yoko Ono’, but let’s not let that overshadow things, cos overall, there’s some top class tunage here. Recorded from sessions back in 73/74 (‘Walls and Bridges’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ albums – recording sessions which from memory Yoko was not actually at as she’d split from John at that time – yet she ‘oversees’ the release of that very material !) – this is the stuff I love – and if you too, dig the music John made with Spector – and the creations which he and his one-time booze-buddy Nilsson made – then this LP is an absolute must have. What are Mr Rockbrat’s choice cuts ? Good questions, but without a doubt ‘Steel And Glass’ comes in first. I have always loved this powerful song (cutting and to the point – ala ‘How Do You Sleep ?’)  and for mine – this tune has that ‘definitive-signature Lennon’ sound all-through it. Long rumored to be penned about his former business manager Allen Klein – this 40 year old track sounds better than anything I will hear on modern radio today. Fact. ‘Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)’ , which shows Lennon baring his soul for all to see, is another standout. The man was a fucking amazing songwriter – and some of his tunes give me chills. ‘Rock And Roll People’ is another amazing cut, which sounds great played loud – and I advise you to do so or don’t play at all. I once heard a rumor that Lennon gave this tune to Johnny Winter, who in turn recorded it for his ‘John Dawson Winter III’ album. Some claimed that the recently departed Winter even played the blazing guitar on this track – but that’s incorrect Beatle-brains –  the fretwork is actually by the amazing David Spinozza (who also worked with Macca and Ringo). Incidentally, the striking cover-art featured illustrations of John by Andy Warhol. If you are reading this today – call your local radio station and request a Lennon song – better yet, give the gift of John Lennon’s music to a young relative for Christmas. We need to educate the youngsters.

Again, today is not a day for sadness – it’s a day to reflect – a day to rejoice in the music of John Lennon – and ‘Menlove Avenue’ is as good a choice as any. His loss is still felt – but his spirit will live forever. Gonna live forever.


Now in today’s day and age it may be more convenient to log on to the net and download the album you want, or to buy it on eBay, and sure, agreed, purchasing music has never been easier – BUT, buying records was much more fun and way cooler twenty five to thirty years ago. Let me tell you why. Here is an album called ‘Time To Rock’. It is a sampler album from WEA/Atco Music and was released in 1987 and it showcases 12 of their biggest and most prolific metal bands signed to them at that time. I purchased this in the sale bins at Utopia Records (when they were located in Martin Place), in 1987 for the bargain price of $8.99. What’s cool is that it comes with a sew on cloth patch as well. What did I say about digital downloads being more convenient – but boring. Anyway, I certainly discovered a couple of cool bands from this sampler album and this is one album I’ll never part with. Not just because all the tracks are great – but because the whole album, from the packaging to the inserts to the free patch – represent a time when it was cool to discover new bands – and we didnt live in such an age like we do today where everybody has to own every bloody bands discography and have 10 000 albums on their Ipod! People may be time poor – but they own 10 000 albums. Whatever. Anyway, this album includes tracks by Motley (live), Faster Pussycat, Metal Church, Manowar, Ace Frehley, Guns N Roses and Testament too. After hearing the track of these bands, I went out and bought the bands albums – all from listening to this comp. I became hipped to Raven, and their great ‘Life’s A Bitch’ album, but also the Japanese band EZO, as well as Metal Church, whose ‘The Dark’ album I wore out the grroves on. Side 2, track 1 – Manowar’s ‘Fighting The World’ – Does it get any better ? Anyway, maybe you have a favourite compilation album that you’d like to share ?


If ever an album deserved to be included in a column dedicated to neglected music, then it’s definitely this one. The mighty Kings Of The Sun have been around for over ten years now, and for mine, this release ranks as their best. The Kings play hard driving, southern rock n roll with an Australian flavour, and deserve more success than they’ve had. ‘Resurrection’ opens with ‘Road To Nowhere’. Strap yourself in and hang on, cause this fast and furious rocker hurtles you towards a magical place, a place where heavy duty bass, sweet sounding Les Paul’s, and crashing drums all come together and unite in one almighty blaze of rock n roll fury ! ‘Gates Of Mercy’ follows in a similar vein to the opener, whilst ‘Flaunt It’ could easily become the sleaziest strip club theme of all time. Highlights on this album are many and every track is a gem. The Hoad brothers (Jeff and Cliff) have perfected their own unique songwriting style over the years, and this album reflects that high quality. Jeff Hoad is a natural front man. A pin-up boy who has the showmanship of classic-era David Lee Roth. Visually exciting and pulsating, this man has rock n roll in his veins. Forget about your Axl Rose’s, Jon Bon Jovi’s or any other pretentious ponces- Jeff Hoad puts the ‘c’ in cool ! Like levi’s or coca cola, the genuine article. Clifford drums spider-like, all arms and legs, reminiscent of Neal Smith from the Alice Cooper band. “Get on your high horse baby and ride, ride, ride !” screams Mr Hoad on ‘High Horse’, a bitchin’ little tune which brings the girls to their knees. All up a fine collection of songs which makes me wonder why this album did nothing locally ? Like so many other premier oz bands, Kings Of The Sun have their strongest fan base overseas, specifically in the U.S where they’ve toured a couple of times (they also supported Kiss on their European tour in 1988). My mind still boggles when I think that Axl Rose booted this band off The Sydney Entertainment Centre stage back in 88 (read about that incident elsewhere in this blog). Of minor note, the bass duties on this album are handled by Phil Soussan, who had previously served time with Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford. It matters not what your taste for rock is. Take a listen – this album will blow your mind !  Go to for more great rock n roll from Kings of The Sun.

This article originally appeared in issue 1 of Vicious Kitten Fanzine

Picked up this killer comp in the UK twenty odd years back and I’m always amazed at the assembled line-up. It’s a Carrere Records pressing so that means only one things. It’s gonna be loud my friends. From memory they were chiefly a HM label outta France and tended to put out only the good stuff – as indicated here. Saxon, Demon, Rage, Dokken and the mighty Rose Tattoo. Woulda made for a great album showcase I reckon. Don’t for one instant think that Dokken are out if place here cos they ain’t, with their earlier material a purer style of metal than the melodic hard rock which would give them MTV rotation and cover shots on Hit Parader Magazine some time later (which Mr Rockbrat very much digs). Saxon unleash Motorcycle Man, Denim and Leather and Heavy Metal Thunder. If you ain’t heard these timeless heavy rock tracks then come out of your cave and do so. This was the stuff I grew up on from one of the leaders of the NWOBHM movement. Demon released the very rockin’ Night Of The Demon album which is a long-time favourite of mine. Well written, catchy rock songs with loud guitars – enough said ? Liar is incuded here off that album, along with the song Total Possession. The two Tatts songs are One Of The Boys and Assault and Battery. Dokken and Rage round off this compilation which is being played at maximum volume as this post is being composed. When it’s this good, there’s not really much to add is there. Let me say this though and it is stating the bleeding obvious – (and I couldn’t give a shit what this says about Mr Rockbrat) – but I’d rather listen to this nearly 30-year-old HM compilation to most of the utter, utter rubbish which the kids listen to nowadays or what I hear on radio as well. If it wasn’t for great bands like Saxon, Demon and the Rosie Tatts there’d be no Metallica or Guns n Roses, which in turn means there’d be nothing to jam to as you ‘play’ your Guitar Hero toy thingy. Maybe Ulrich and Hetfield should re-listen to this type of material to remember where their roots are as I think they sometimes need reminding. Lesson over kids, ensure you do your homework with this one.


Someone once told me that if the mighty Runaways were around today, they’d sound something like Phantom Blue. Well I don’t know about that, but I know that this scorching release has (apart from parts of Europe) gone unnoticed by the record buying public. Phantom Blue have progressed leaps and bounds from their first self titled release back in 1989, and I know many people have hastily judged these gals on the basis of that first album cover as ‘fluffy, glammy, busty broads with little talent’. WRONG ! ‘Built To Perform’ is one of those very special albums where every song is filled with catchy hooks and time changes, leaving you numb upon your first listen. Released in late 1993, this brutal five pronged blitz really showcases the talent of this classy Californian outfit. The album explodes into action with ‘Nothing Good’, a track littered with great hooks and time changes, and some of the heaviest riffs I’ve ever heard. ‘Time To Run’ quickly follows, and  punches you hard in the face. The heavy artillery is wheeled out for a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Bad Reputation’, and I’m confident Phil Lynott would’ve given it his nod of approval. There’s a nice change of pace as the brooding ‘My Misery’ (the first single) slows thing down a little. Vocalist Gigi Hangach fills this track full of emotion, and it’s radio friendly enough to be a hit. ‘Little Man’ is yet another tune full of those superb hooks and changes. This song kicks (literally – listen out for drummer Linda McDonald’s double kick. She’s up there with the best of ’em and with Kim Nielsen, provides a sturdy rhythm unit). Michelle Meldrum’s wailing guitar weaves it’s way throughout ‘Better Off Dead’, and she provides a blistering solo on this track also. The big, mean, fat riffs continue with ‘Loved Ya To Pieces (I do love them lyrics) and the tasteful (!) ‘Anti Love Crunch’. An album of this calibre only comes along once in a while, and I was also fortunate enough to see ’em live in London twice last year. The last I last heard, bassist Kim Nielsen had departed and they were seeking a replacement (please write if you know what they’re doing now). If you appreciate rockin’ musicians churning out songs littered with fat, mean riffs and catchy time changes, ‘Built To Perform’ is for you. Maybe Phantom Blue are the Runaways of the 90’s ?


For all you kids too young enough to know, Cherie Currie was the teasing blonde who back in the mid-70’s fronted the Runaways – the most rockin’ all-girl band ever. Upon quitting the group Cherie cut ‘Beauty’s Only Skin Deep’, before teaming up with her identical twin sister Marie. ‘Messin’ With The Boys’ originally hit the racks back in 1980, and recently saw re-release via this label outta Tennessee. The first ten tracks are what you’ll find on the original LP, and there’s another seven songs included here. There are indeed many fine moments – notably the title track which was lifted as a single. The two Russ Ballard tunes ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and ‘I Surrender’ are incredibly catchy and make Rainbow’s attempts sound feeble. I’ve always loved Cherie’s powerful vocals – definitely suited to rock, yet at other times dulcet and warm – a vocalist who really shines on the slower stuff (listen to the Runaways doing ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Strawberry Fields’ or ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and you’ll see how underrated she really is). ‘Secrets’ is another treat, honest and beautiful, this ballad displays ‘the voice’ so well and puts radio puppets like Mariah Carey and Jewel to shame. The cover of the Raspberries number ‘Overnight Sensation’ has an AOR raunch flavour and sees Marie in fine form. Should’ve indeed been a ‘hit record’. Toto axe whiz (and Marie’s ex-husband) Steve Lukather plays guitars on some tracks and gives the album some kick. The re-working of Cherie’s signature tune ‘Cherry Bomb’ is a worthy inclusion and sounds hotter than ever. Very appealing and not just for Runaways nuts.


Strong yet reflective, smooth around the edges and definitely durable. This effectively sums up the classic rock n roll songs on Kevin K’s first solo outing from 1995 – ‘Nightlife’. A very solid collection of melodic, mid tempo rock n roll tunes with enormous appeal to any cat who digs the Stones or Thunders. Ex-Road Vulture’s guitar slinger Kevin K offers some very tempting razor edged riffs whilst the solos are very Thundersesque in parts, yet that’s always music to these ears. Kevin K however, is no clone. He writes, sings, plays and produces ’em, and these tunes invariably stand on there own merits with Kevin’s smooth and charismatic vocals really the key to making each song happen. The charm of the voice has an almost alluring appeal. This is one of those exceptional records where every number is a stand out, yet I’ll have my two cents worth and suggest some highlights. ‘Lost Girl’ is a sonic punk rocker featuring some substantial  riffing, and telling the all too familiar tale of a runaway lost on the heartless streets of New York. The big riffing title track ‘Nightlife’ is venturing into raw hard rock territory and features some solid axe work. The rapid fire riffs continue on the melodious ‘First Time Last Time’, with lotsa hook and some complimentary harmonica. The hard rockin’ boogie action of ‘See You Soon’ is sheer delight. R n B with a punk edge, and a hard, buzzsaw boogie riff. The solo cuts to the bone and would no doubt draw a smile to the face of Mr. Johnny Volume. An absolute monster !! ‘Dance’ is another well written rock tune with enormous radio appeal and bears more than a faint resemblance to mid 80’s era Screaming Tribesmen. Perhaps the most likeable record to emerge in the 90’s and definitely deserving of more exposure. Kevin K’s latest effort ‘Party Down’ was released last year and also comes highly recommended. Kevin K  is one of the best kept secrets in rock n roll today, and I urge you to check him out. You won’t be disappointed.