Archive for the ‘Rockbrat News Flash:’ Category

Episode 68 – Dan Baird Interview

Posted: April 21, 2017 by rockbrat in Rockbrat News Flash:

Dan Baird and Homemade Sin are currently in the middle of an Australian tour and on episode 68 of The Australian Rock Show, we sit down with Dan for a detailed interview. We look over their current album ‘Rollercoaster’, Dan’s recent record ‘SoLow’ and much more. Dan Baird and Homemade Sin are indeed the genuine article ? the real rock n roll deal and quite possibly – the best band alive today. This is an interview you don’t wanna miss. Play loud !

Music by:

Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, Dan Baird, The Church

Check out this episode!

12734114_1060998633943869_6597136730120748825_nI am posting this blog to raise awareness of Spencer Jones’ illness, and his need for financial assistance. I have seen Spencer Jones many times over the years, with the Johnnys (at Gladesville), with the Beasts of Bourbon on many occasions, with Hell To Pay and also as a solo artist. I adore his 1994 sold album ‘Rumour Of Death’, and my Hell To Pay album is signed by him (see post at bottom of page).

News that Jones has become seriously ill and unable to work has sparked numerous benefit shows around the country, headlined by The Drones, Paul Kelly, Dave Faulkner and more, and a GoFundMe campaign. As the news blurb says,”Spencer P Jones, guitarist, singer and prolific songwriter is seriously ill. He has performed live consistently for more than 30 years, but has not been able to work for several months due to his illness. Author of catchy and poignant tales capturing Australia’s underbelly, driven by his signature guitar sound (Australian Guitar magazine rated Jones as one of Australia’s Top 40 best guitarists), and delivered in his melodic but menacing snarl, his impact on the Australian and international rock scene is unsurpassed in this country. Spencer came to prominence as guitarist, singer and songwriter with The Johnnys (a band so loved by Neil Young he said he wished he could bottle their sound and spirit) and as one part of inner-city swamp rock supergroup the Beasts of Bourbon. Moving out on his own with his 1994 debut Rumour of Death, Jones has gone on to release ten impeccably crafted albums in his own right .

Along his journey, Jones has also been a gun for hire with Paul Kelly, Chris Bailey and The General Dog, Maurice Frawley and The Working Class Ringos, The Sacred Cowboys, Ian Rilen’s Hell To Pay, These Immortal Souls and Shotgun Wedding. And then there’s the international connections – he has played with everyone from the Gun Club to Evan Dando, the Violent Femmes, Shotgun Rationale and Andre Williams as well as touring with members of Television and The Damned.

To support Spencer with the costs of his medical treatment, some of Australia’s finest rock musicians are coming together to celebrate the career of the axeman and master songwriter with benefit shows in Victoria and Western Australia. A great gig is being held on Sunday 20th March at Mojos Bar Freemantle and on Friday 15th April there is a once in a lifetime show at the Prince Bandroom in St Kilda.

If you are unable to attend one of the shows, but would like to contribute to help Spencer with his medical costs you can do so by donating to this fund. Head here and put in a few bucks. Please support one of Australia’s musical treasures.

The Rockbrat Blog

Hell To Pay were a Melbourne band who existed from around 1991 to 1993. They were, to coin an often over used phrase, ‘the real deal’. Any band that included both Ian Rilen and Spencer Jones in their ranks was always gonna be top shelf, and so they were. If you wanna talk inner city supergroup, then look no further than this lot. Rilen was on guitar and vocals. Spencer Jones was on lead guitar and vocals. Jon Schofield (ex Grooveyard, Paul Kelly) was on bass, and former JJJ DJ Tony Biggs was on drums. Cathy Green of X also played bass on the album. The band were signed to Red Eye Records in Sydney and released a CD single called ‘Saints & King’ in 1991, and an album, ‘Steal It’ in 1992. Both are long out of print, but are essential if you are fan of either Jones or…

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arslogo….From the rockin and rollin Gray brothers – the guys who brought you the Hard Rock Show in 1987 through to Vicious Kitten fanzine/records – and most recently, the Rockbrat Blog – comes the Australian Rock Show – Oz Rock’s Loudest and Proudest music podcast !

Big things planned folks – the aim is to spread the word about cool Australian rock n roll

10460512_10152503534982311_5105631701497624378_nAs we all know, rock n roll is a hard life – with no certainties or superannuation payment at the end of your playing days. 99% of musicians don’t make much money at all – and as the years go by, many artists suddenly find themselves no longer in demand as they may have been in previous years. I don’t know any musicians nowadays who don’t have to work, (at least part time) to make ends meet – let alone support their chosen profession. Which brings me in a roundabout way to Mick Blood. Times have been tough for the Lime Spiders front man – and in recent weeks got a whole lot worse.  Needing to leave Queensland for a fresh start in March, Mick set off looking for a new home. After a torrid time of several months, Mick finally found a new pad in Newcastle NSW and set about getting back into work and getting on with his life. But within a few days of moving in, Mick was bashed unconscious one June night in Stockton, leaving him with serious head injuries. He is now in hospital and requires a long period of treatment, recuperation and life re-building. Mick faces an uphill battle in retaining his accommodation and is quickly coming to the end of his life-savings after all that he has been through this year. A benefit gig is being held in a few days in WA to raise some money for Mick, but a web site has also been set up where you can donate a few dollars to help him out. As Mr Rockbrat and I have attested before on many occasions, the contribution Mick has made to Australian rock n roll over a long period of time is beyond significant and deserves way more recognition. The Lime Spiders gave us some absolutely incredible tunes, garage rock that was world class  – ‘Out of Control’, the classic ’Slave Girl’, ‘25th’ Hour’,Wierdo Libido and ‘Volatile’ to name a few.  Their 1990 album ‘Beethoven’s Fist’ is one of my favourite Australian rock albums ever, littered with rock classics and a WAY underrated album. (read a review of that album below). Mick’s shrieking vocal delivery was distinct – no one sounds like him, before or after. If, like me, you enjoyed the music of the Lime Spiders either live or on record, now maybe the time to return the favour and throw a few bucks Mick’s way when he’s not doing so great. For more information on the Mick Blood Benefit, head here. Get well soon Mick.

Review of Beethoven’s Fist LP by Cowboy Col (this originally appeared in Vicious Kitten Fanzine #3) in 1995

The Lime Spiders bit back hard in 1990, with what proved to be their final Long Player. They released an EP in 1992 which turned out to be their last hurrah, and in that year secured the opening slot for The Black Crowes on their first Australian tour. It was only through vigourous networking by Virgin head honcho Dicky Branson that scored them that gig – not. Black Crowes – Chris and Rich Robinson had hand picked them, after witnessing the rock n roll monster that the Lime spiders were, on a previous U.S tour. This record stands as one of the most complete rock n roll albums to come out of Australia in recent times. From go to whoa, every track is huge. ‘Cherry Red’. Hit single. Top ten. Should have been. Three minutes of high energy rock bliss, complete with sing-along chorus. The other standouts on this record include ‘Real Thing’, ‘I Get Off At The Next Stop’, the sonic relentlessness of ‘9 Miles High’ and ‘Silent Partner’. The opener – ‘Scene Of The Crime’ is another standout track, high quality, harmonized garage rock at it’s best. For mine, this album ranks as vocalist Mick Blood’s finest moment, in a long and inspired rock n roll career. Richard Lawson and Phil Hall provide the thunderous rhythm section, while Gerard Corben’s razer sharp guitar work is nothing short of amazing. ‘Beethoven’s Fist’ was produced by Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley and also features the talents of Mark Wilkinson (Girlies, Kcrunch, Brother Brick) guesting on additional guitar. Five years on, this album serves as a testament to The Lime Spiders. This ten song platter is chock full of loud, melody laced, uncompromising rock n roll, and no real fan of rock n roll should be without it.

 

 

Pink Sapphire circa 2014

Pink Sapphire circa 2014

Japan had many good hard rock bands in the mid/late 80s and into the early 90s, but very few great ones. That remark is not intended as an affront to the dozens of notable heavy rock/metal bands that Japan produced in the mid to late 80s (including EZO, Dead End, Terra Rosa, Blizzard, Rajas, Show-ya, Steffanie, Saber Tiger, Bow Wow, Princess Princess, Ann Lewis, Mari Hamada and Ziggy to name a few). Time has shown though, that whilst these bands enjoyed success in their homeland, with the exception of Loudness, few enjoyed international success of any significance. All terrific bands, yet the style plied tended to be a little derivative of everything else coming out of Hollywood, NY or London. Imitative bands were not particular to Japan however, as pretty much every country (Australia included) had their own bands who carbon copied the LA style. There was one Japanese band though who stood out from the pack. Pink Sapphire. These girls emerged in the late 80’s and released a handful of album and singles before winding up in 95. They played hard rock that was polished – with an emphasis on pop (harmonies and strong melody lines) kind of like Cheap Trick. They released a few albums on Japan’s Hummingbird Records and all are excellent. They emerged with 1990’s ‘PS I Love You’ and followed it the following year with two kick ass albums, ‘From Me To You’ and the hard rocking ‘Happy Together’. 1992 saw the release of ‘Today and Tomorrow’ before the final album 1993’s ‘Birthday’. A best of album, ‘Best For You’ was released in 1995 – and then they were gone. Great rock ‘n’ roll endures – and in Pink Sapphires case, the music still sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did 20 odd years ago. I’ve always been a sucker for a good pop tune built in a hard rock frame – and Pink Sapphire excelled at this. I think many people tended to make the mistake of painting them with the “cutesy all girl band” brush. Yes, they were attractive ( a quality that has helped to sell records since rock ‘n’ roll began), but more significantly, in musical terms they were a very accomplished outfit who were WAY underrated. For girls who were all 20 or 21 – they were making music that belied their youth – rock ‘n’ roll that was indeed, world class and as good, if not better than anything coming out of LA at the time (if that’s the benchmark). Strong melodies, catchy and infectious pop with a hard edge. Vocalist Aya had a deep, appealing, mezzo voice that gave their songs a rich, distinctive quality. Guitarist Takako played with a lot of feel and emotion – not lead guitar 101, though she could shred with the best of ‘em. Her guitar parts are memorable and melodic. Bass player (and founding member) Miki has always been rock solid on bass, and with Harumi hitting hard and keeping time on the drums – musically they were super tight, a sum of all the parts. The songs were obviously well crafted, as they still sound great today. Over the past few years, whenever I have been in Japan, I have trawled through record stores and have managed to pick up most of the bands catalogue (except for a couple of CD singles). I even have the two official VHS videos they released, and their bio book that came out many years back, ‘Stand Up’. In my humble opinion, Pink Sapphire are one of the BEST bands to come out of Japan – ever, and to this day remain my favourite Japanese band, and somewhat of an indulgence of mine (tolerated by my wife – who herself is partial to belting out a Pink Sapphire tune at karaoke 🙂 In recent years – interest in the band has increased, so much so that in 2012, a new best of CD called ‘Golden Best’ was released (You can buy that from Amazon).With renewed interest, and after years of waiting, Pink Sapphire reunited for a one off reunion show on the 26th of April, 2014 at Shibuya. For several years, information on the band and the various solo members was scant – yet with the recent reformation they now have an official blog and some other merchandise for sale. There’s plenty of photos of the recent reunion too. As I mentioned, very few Japanese bands of the 80s/90s were world class. Pink Sapphire being one of the exceptions. Time will tell whether the one off reunion will result in something more permanent – one can only hope so. Before Pᴉnk – there was Pink Sapphire – and it’s great to see them back!

Welcome to 2014. Hopefully you all had a pleasant holiday season and are a ready for a rockin’ 2014. New Years Resolutions? Well apart from aiming to watch as many Randolph Scott and Audie Murphy westerns as possible(who would have thought Cowboy Col dug western movies?), Mr Rockbrat and I want to get the Australian Rock Show off and running this year, so stay tuned for that. There’s a couple of news albums and a new podcast out and about that I want to draw your attention to. Just prior to Christmas, the fabulous Glam Bone Podcast released a long awaited new episode. If you fondly remember the Sunset Strip hard rock / metal scene of the late 80s, this is the definitive podcast of that era – its well done, and has a tongue in cheek look at many of the bands from that time. The current episode features an interview with Jimmy Thrill, formerly of Rattlesnake Shake. Check out the new episode here. The great Dan Baird and his Homemade Sin have a new album out, called ‘Circus Life’ that was released last year – and its top shelf.  The way underrated Carolyne Mas also has a new album out and about, and its worthy of your attention. Mas has paid her dues many times over, and has had a tough financial run in recent years –  so the fact that she has managed to get an album’s worth of new material out is welcome news. Her name album ‘Across The River’ is superb. Some tunes are reflective and evocative, all highlight her brilliant vocal ability. As a vocalist, she is getting better with age. Some good covers on the album including Springsteen’s ‘New York Serenade’ and Steve Forbert’s, ‘Witch Blues’. Pick up a copy here. Also, the last episode of Rockbrat Radio featured a special on Carolyne Mas, and is a decent introduction to her if you ain’t heard of her. You can check that out here.

On behalf of Mr. Rockbrat, I would like to wish all our loyal Rockbrat Readers a very happy Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2014. Its been another busy year and I have not had as much time to blog as I would have liked, and in particular Rockbrat Radio has been somewhat neglected. We do intended to right that wrong with the launch of the Australian Rock Show in 2014 – so stay tuned. I hope that you have enjoyed my opinionated ramblings, and they have made you laugh, or encouraged you to go and listen to something old once again. What better way to say Merry Christmas than with Dee and the Boys. See you next year. Cowboy Col.