Posts Tagged ‘Guns n Roses’

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surely Lita is deserving of larger venues than these !

Tell you what, you could blow some serious money at the moment on the live rock circuit here in Australia. I cannot recall a time when there are so many bands announcing tours – a far cry from those days in the mid-8o’s when we had only the likes of Purple, or Queen, or Dio etc to cater for the rock hordes…..not that I mean ‘only’, I mean sheesh, I would give my right arm to see Queen or Dio nowadays, but the touring rock and metal acts who visited the Oceania region, were few and far between. It seemed like there was only one big show every few months…that’s my point….. But now ? Is the super-strong Australian dollar the reason behind so much touring activity ? I mean, I cannot remember a year where so many acts are touring downunder……here are some of the names locked in:

Deep Purple, Journey, Status Quo, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, The Darkness, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Deniz Tek, Motley Crue, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Slayer, Anthrax, Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, Flamin Groovies, Buzzcocks, Steve Miller, Neil Young, Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Rose Tattoo, Angels, Bryan Adams, Steve Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the great Wilco.

If money is no object – you could see some great shows…..

Is there really an audience still out there for GnR ? You be the judge, but having the bearded Texans on the bill, along with the might Rosie Tatts could make me think not….me thinks Axl and his cut-outs are in danger of being wiped off the stage. Another visit from Iggy ? Sheesh, go see Deniz Tek instead….better yet, just have Tek in the Stooges !  Surely this must be the last time Kiss will be here…please – make it the last time. Take your unsold ice-blocks back with you and leave us with our 70’s memories.

Damn shame that Aerosmith are playing a large venue in Sydney like the Olympic Stadium….oh and shit like Grinspoon should bless their lucky stars they are opening the bill for legends.  My only advice is to arrive after the opening acts have done their ahem ‘thing’ and just see Boston’s finest. Joe Perry back in Australia – it will be great to have him back…..

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‘Sometime in the night when you’re feeling the cold etc’ great days great rock n roll.

The Japanese word ‘natsukashii’ essentially means ‘nostalgic’ – eg something you remember fondly..and readers – the song ‘Stars’ by Hear n Aid sends me back in time with a big wide grin – as I crank the volume and play my invisible BC Rich. Just over 25 years back, the world was putting their hands in their pockets – digging deep to help feed the starving folks in Africa…..the mainstream music world all joined hands to help the cause…USA for Africa and Band Aid were the two notables….yet there was nothing about those two recordings to hold my interest back then. Seemingly ignored, the hard rock and metal fraternity – essentially under the leadership of Ronnie James Dio, gathered in L.A under the name Hear n Aid and recorded the tune ‘Stars’. What a song. Make no mistake, this is undiluted – hard rock of the highest caliber. If you are 20 years old and reading this – you’d have no idea what I am raving on about – bless your dumb ass. Read and learn…it’s why we do this blog. I can remember reading about this recording in 1986 in the local Sydney street press and being as keen as hell to hear it. It was essentially a who’s who of the hard rock and metal world (from that era) – all gathered in the one location to do their bit for famine relief. What they came away with, was a bonafide heavy metal classic. It was written by the sorely missed Dio, Viv Campbell (who let’s face it – has been a side-man in Whitesnake and Leppard since leaving Dio not long after this single) and Jimmy Bain who were all hitting a creative peak – though Ronnie seemed to be on a peak for most of his career, penning memorable tunes with effortless ease. I walked into a record store in suburban Sydney – after punching out from my mundane factory job and began scouring the racks. I quickly found the 7″ single and I recall the ever-helpful store owner saying to me “the 12″ version has all the guitar solo’s on it” and then played it over the store’s speakers nice and loud (anyone remember when record store owners actually dug music ? Go find someone in your large K-Mart styled music super stores in 2012 like that guy!)…and it blew me away.

Looking back, this song possibly defines who I was as a heavy metal kid of the early-mid 1980’s – and to this day, I believe it was only released on vinyl and cassette. Fine by me. The tune has a heavy – infectious riff which hammers away until song’s end and a memorable chorus. I am fortunate to say that I saw Dio encore with this in Sydney in September of 86. All vocalists on this tune do a fine job – but it’s Dave Meniketti and Geoff Tate who were my stand-outs.Thankfully Ronnie did not let Vince Neil near the mike – his scalded cat-like vocals were not required on this offering. The blazing guitar solo’s are all lightning quick and were laid down by some of rock and metal’s hardest hitters like Neil Schon, George Lynch, Buck Dharma and Craig Goldy. Former Ozzy and Night Ranger axe man Brad Gillis’ whammy bar antics had me spellbound back then, and the signature Yngwie sound stands out from the rest. Maiden’s Smithy and Murray broke away from the World Slavery tour to lend their talents as well. The tune is an anthem. It is as catch as all hell. It also represents an era in loud rock n roll which no longer exists. Guns n Roses were still playing to no one at the nearby Troubador. Metallica were still underground, long-haired lager louts and pushing their Ride Tthe Lightning album. Bon Jovi meanwhile were busy recording Slippery When Wet. These three bands would – in three or four short years – be the new rock heavyweights.

Yet in the mid-80’s my friends, this record had heavy rotation on the Rockbrat stereo – a time when metal was still underground – when we really all were ‘stars’.

LA's Candy - superb power pop

In this regular blog post I cast the magnifying glass over some 1980’s LA bands who were clearly entrenched in the minor leagues, the 2nd division, (or even the 3rd) – and as a consequence, were not packing out stadiums, touring the world, or signing to major labels – despite their big star aspirations (Hello Nadir). Most of these bands were Californian bands, although not specifically from Hollywood. It just so happens that Hollywood was the heart of the mid to late 80’s scene, and that is why this is the area of focus. This blog has been inspired by the ‘Hollywood Rocks’ book. Mr Rockbrat bought me this book a couple of Christmas’ ago – and it’s pretty much the bible for any fan of the Hollywood hair metal scene. I wasn’t there during the heyday but nowadays I look back at that scene with a kind of voyeuristic curiosity. It’s like eating a cheeseburger – it tastes good but it’s full of calories. I still dig the music from this period. It was a great and fun period to be into rock ‘n’ roll. In 87- 92 I experienced a somewhat carbon copied version of the LA scene in Sydney, Australia. By the time Cowboy Col and Mr. Rockbrat got to LA in 93 the scene was pretty much dead. It didn’t stop me from getting round in my KNAC T shirt and LA Roxx baseball cap though. So let’s go back to the Sunset Strip. The Rainbow, The Troubadour, The Roxy, Gazzaris – or out to The Country Club in the Valley. When Van Halen and then Quiet Riot broke through, along came Motley, Ratt, Poison, Warrant and a zillion other cardboard cut-outs. Some good – some bad, so let’s check out some of the lesser well known acts. In this feature, I will give a brief description of the band, a little bit of history, my assessment, and a mini review of one of their albums – and then a score out of 10. Today I’m casting an ear over Candy, an LA band who existed for six years from 1981-1987. Candy featured future Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, as well as singer-songwriter Kyle Vincent. In their early days, Candy featured Vincent on lead vocals, bassist Jonathan Daniel, drummer John Schubert, and guitarist Geoff “Rexx” Siegel. Gilby Clarke replaced Siegel after 6 months. Candy signed to Polygram and released their one and only album, ‘Whatever Happened To Fun’ in 1985. When Candy played their first gig, Kim Fowley saw them and predicted, “These guys are the next matinee idols.” They lacked the requisite record company / radio push that would have made that happen, and ultimately they splintered. The one album they left though is as superb example of contemporary power pop as you could find. That’s right – power pop. Although they dressed like their LA peers, their sound was more rooted in late 60’s pop than early 80’s heavy metal.  LA weekly described the band as “Teen pop filtered through the Ramones, Bay City Rollers from hell, Johnny Thunders meets the Raspberries–that’s Candy” and I don’t think I could find a better description  than that. From top to bottom – every tune on their album is fantastic. The album opens with the big sounding ‘American Kix’, with its likeable hook and infectious chorus.  “Whatever Happened To Fun” was the single released from the album, and if anyone knows a Candy tune – it’s this one.  Catchy, melodic, and a true slice of power pop. Great vocal, reminds a lot of John Waite. Sing a long chorus. Why wasn’t this a huge hit ?  ‘Last Radio’ is another good tune, as is ‘Kids In The City’, yet as I said, every tune on this album is first rate.  In late 1986, Gilby Clarke replaced Kyle Vincent as lead vocalist, and guitarist Ryan Roxie joined the lineup. Gilby Clarke famously went on to replace Izzy Stradlin in Guns n Roses, and then his own solo career. After Gilby left, the remaining band members joined up with new lead vocalist Shane and became the Electric Angels. Since leaving Candy, Vincent has enjoyed a successful solo career, releasing over 10 albums. Jon Daniel is a manager of many top acts in the recording industry, Schubert is a teacher in Southern California. I’m pretty sure a posthumous album of unreleased material has seen the light of day called ‘Teenage Neon Jungle’. Only one last task to perform – and that is to give the album a rating. 9.5 out of 10. Go check this album out now.

Wells, Cocks and Anderson showing 'em how it's done

Who: Rose Tattoo
Where: Wagga, NSW Australia  – 22 January 1993

I’ve written about the 1993 Rosie Tatts reformation elsewhere on this blog so will not repeat myself. This was one of my favorite images I shot of the Tatts over the years. I can actually re-call walking past a venue in Adelaide in December of 1992 and spotted an upcoming gig poster for Rose Tattoo. Was the Rockbrat’s eyes playing tricks ? I mean, Wellsy and Angry both had solo careers and Angry had even once told the Cowboy on national radio – that there’d never be a re-union !! But here was the proof right in front of me. Straight away I made some calls and yes, a re-union was on featuring Geordie on bass and Fred Zeppelin (Paul DeMarco) on the stool – along with Anderson, Wells and Cocks of course. First show was to be held in the country NSW town of Wagga of all places. It was at a nightclub – straight outta 1975 – called The Copacabana. The evening was baking hot and by the time the boys hit the stage the mercury only rose higher. It was a great show – a warm up to the band’s upcoming Guns n Roses outdoor shows, where Wells and the boys – put simply – showed em how it was done. The Rockbrat ears have been subjected to some loud volume over the years – eg Kiss, Maiden, Metallica, Thorpie – even Manowar – but on this particular night Rose Tattoo were ungodly loud. The boys really were back in town…

Photo: George Chin

Blog cohort Cowboy Col ain’t a fan of Skid Row – so I’d better sneak this post up without him looking. Mr Rockbrat was bunkered down in Europe in 1991 on yet another rock n roll expedition. The biggest tour to hit the UK that summer was no doubt Guns n Roses at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 31st August. Support acts that day were the then unknown Nine Inch Nails and Skid Row. No Gary Moore had not reformed his late 60’s Dublin blues rock act for the occasion – it was of course Seb Bach and his buddies from Toms River, New Jersey (did ya know that back in 1987 Gary Moore sold the band name ‘Skid Row’ to the band $35,000). Mr Rockbrat quite liked their first two albums – I admit it. I remember being determined to get as close to the front of the famous Wembley stage as possible and did quite a fair job of nudging my way up front. I thought Skid Row were pretty damn good that day and they played a rockin set compiling tunes from their first and also just released ‘Slave To The Grind’ album. Imagine my surprise when I get ahold of their ‘Wasted Time’ CD single some time later and see my mug on the inside live shot ! (see circled image) Kinda funny and it captures one moment of a great day of rock n roll (sans NIN). Anyone else out there appeared on album cover art  ?

Jeff Dahl is one of my all time favourite rock ‘n’ rollers on the planet. From Powertrip and the Angry Samoans to his own prolific solo career, Dahl oozed punk rock integrity and cut some killer albums over a 30 + year period. Mr. Dahl was even gracious enough to let The Rockbrat and Cowboy Col crash at his place in Arizona when we were travelling through south west USA in 96. Jeff was rock n roll – pure and simple and always a great guy. In the early 90’s, the slogan was “Jeff Dahl makes Guns n Roses look like the Osmonds”. Believe it. Here is a backstage pass and set list from his 1996 ‘Looking For A Kiss” European tour, where he had Freddy Lynxx on lead guitar. Great days my friends. Great memories.

What: Rose Tattoo – Guns n Roses 1993 Oz Tour Poster
Winning Bid: $50 AUS
Sale Date: 12 Oct 2010

By the time the GnR (night?) train rolled back into Australia for their second tour – the Rockbrat  was no longer on board. What with Axl and his bike shorts, cigarette holder and monogrammed basketball shoes – it was a far cry from the 86/87-era of ‘West Hollywood cool’ and I’d long since lost interest. Maybe after Izzy left they shoulda called it quits. Anyway back in December of 1988 I saw them in Sydney and they were good – though I reckon Doc and The Angels blew them away – and after seeing the re-formed Tattas at Wagga some days earlier – am in do doubt a similar fate woulda been in store for Dizzy, Duff and Co at this particular show.  Dizzy Reed  – gimme a break ! For the record, Pearls and Swine were also on the Sydney bill – fronted by former Sydney scenester Johnny Teen – d dig it ! Anway I just found this on eBay and am impressed with the price they got for it. Considering I just binned some vintage Kiss posters after failing to move them, the seller can be very content with the end result. Hey Axl – here’s a plan for ya: get the original band back as one unit – tour the world playing the ‘Lies’ EP and ‘Appetite For Destruction’.  Most fans attending your current shows just wanna hear the older tunes anyway – it ain’t that difficult is it ?