Posts Tagged ‘John Brewster’


What: Angels – Promotional Press Photo
Winning Bid: $  AUS
Starting Bids: $15 AUS
Sale Date: 5 May 2013

This is a great find – and a photo taken very early in the Angels career. Is this around 76 ? Already, Doc’s front-man stance oozes tons of attitude – whilst Rick – (who looks like he coulda been sending Captain Sensible a fashion idea) has his well-known head-tilt/guitar pose on display. Cool shot of the recently departed Chris Bailey too. Nice item. The early band logo looks a little too close to the Aerosmith’s – dontcha reckon ? In case you are interested – The Sphere Organization still operate from outta Sydney – and although they’ve gone with the current musical climate and look after mostly tribute bands – they also have Kev Borich, the Rads, Swanee and the Mentals on their books.


Laurie Marlow caught in the Rockbrat lens

Who: Angels/Black Label
Where: Vikings, Erindale A.C.T
When: Fri 8 March 2013

What’s that lyric in the Crue’s Kick Start My Heart ? ‘Some Years Gone By I’d Say We’ve Kicked Some Ass’ ?…. uh-huh. I was reminded of that when I recently spent an evening at the feet of the no-nonsense Angel – Rick Brewster – who shredded his way through hit after Angels hit – with a bunch of killer new tunes thrown in to the set as well. You see I was tempted to go see the once mighty Crue, in town supporting Kiss – but chose the Dave Gleeson-fronted Angels instead. Smart move Mr Rockbrat – smart move. You see whilst Motley continue to ply the ‘bad-ass-junkie’ card to remain vital – they have in fact – not kicked any ‘ass’ in donkey’s years – ahem. Unlike the mighty Angel City –  led by the black-clad Brewster brothers who are every inch – the real rock n roll deal. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Tonight’s gig sees western Sydney hard rock warriors Black Label open up proceedings. No posing. No pouting. Just loud, authentic no bullshit rock n roll – performed by guys who always deliver the goods. Formed 25 years back – Black Label have big, loud riffs, mean hooks and killer tunes to boot. Heavily influenced by Angus and Malcolm, the Rosie Tatts (and this evening’s headliners) their set is well received by the early arriving punters. Bassist Laurie Marlow and singer Steve Mulry have been playing the sweaty pub rock circuit for years – are held in high regard with the Rockbrat staff…and it was a pleasure to chat with them after the show. Bands like this are the real deal – and are in essence the very life blood of true Australian rock n roll. Black Label make current day Guns n Roses look like the Osmonds…..and you can quote me on that !


Rick Brewster: black- clad and ice cool as always

The headline act are a part of me – I mean, who doesn’t dig the Angels – right ? I was, at first, skeptical about Dave Gleeson stepping into Doc’s shoes – but you know what ? The live-wire Screaming Jet looks right at home in this iconic Australian outfit – a band whom I consider just as important as AC/DC in the history of Australian music. Replacing a singer is often doomed to fail (INXS with Jon Stevens, Suze DeMarchi, Terence Trent D’Arby (insert random name here), Queen with Paul Rogers, The Faces with that fat idiot from Simply Red (Noel Gallagher’s description not mine!) etc etc. Where these outfits have failed – the Angels have succeeded. One song in and the evidence is there for all to see.

Gleeson has always had a great rock voice and in my opinion – has earned the right to sing these iconic tunes. His zany-ocker stage presence blends in well with the no-nonsense Brewsters and he is the perfect guy to take this band forward. My brain is still buzzing from the volume of Rick Brewster’s amp, but I can recall tunes like Shadow Boxer, Take A Long Line, Marseilles, No Exit, Face The Day, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, Devil’s Gate, Straight Jacket, Mr Damage and I Aint The One being belted out. This was indeed a night to cherish and I will be taking in more Angels gigs soon. Closing thoughts ? Wth Gleeson on board, a new album ‘Take It to the Streets’ in tow – and a set comprised of an astounding back-catalogue (with some new tunes thrown in too) there is plenty of life in the mighty Angels yet… Be sure to make an effort to see them when they play your town ! With no apologies to Nikki Sixx – if anyone has kicked ass in years gone by – it is this lot – yet they still can – and then some ! [Official Angels SiteBlack Label Australia]


photos: courtesy Bob King

Not too many photos of Tyrone (or The Bombers in fact) exist. Shame really, cos back in the day they were a phenomenal live unit, with a rock solid line up of Alan Lancaster (Status Quo) and John Brewster (The Angels), and Tyrone on vocals out front. This photo was taken by Bob King. The date was May 11, 1990 and the were supporting Skid Row at Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion at Moore Park.

Coates, Lancaster and Brewster Photo: Denis Gray

When thinking back on some of my favourite gigs, I reckon 1988 and 1989 could be the most stellar of years. There was one band in particular, The Bombers, who we’ve written much about previously, whom me and the Cowboy always loved seeing live. In 2011, with live music at a low ebb, at least in my mind, it amazes me to think back to those days in late 1988, when you could see a rock band like the Bombers for free. That’s right free ! They were at that time doing a run of warm-up dates. The rhythm section was in fact Status Quo’s; Alan Lancaster and John Coghlin who had played to millions of people and whose solid backbeat was at the very core of the Quo sound. On rhythm guitar was the great John Brewster, he of the Angels fame who’d written some of the greatest rock songs – along with his brother Rick
and Doc Neeson – that you’re ever likely to hear. Brewster and Lancaster were fresh from a succesful stint with the Party Boys, who had tasted chart success in Australia and were a popular live draw card. Local guitar whiz Angelo Salter and amazing Perth vocalist Tyrone Coates completed this line-up, which was – in my opinion, a supergroup playing the local pubs. and man they cooked. It does not get any better than a cold beer, hot Sydney night and watching Alan Lancaster growl through ‘Roadhouse Blues’ in pub that was skaking with volume. The image displayed here of Coates, Lancaster and Brewster has been used on many sites online, however it was taken by Mr Rockbrat at the Crows Nest Hotel on Sydney’s North Shore. I didn’t shoot many images of the band and wished I’d done so, but this image is one I look back on fondly. The Bombers. Now THEY were a great rock band and I doubt I’ll ever see anything of that calibre doing free warm-up shows again.

The Bombers – Sydney Australia 1988-1991

There is some info out there on 80’s Australian rock band The Bombers – much of it incorrect – written by people who were not there. Well you know what ? The Rockbrat WAS there – from the very beginning – and it is time that some accurate info on this killer outfit was made available. I’ll do my best ! These are my memories with places and dates as accurate as can be.
I was massive fan of Status Quo. Who wasn’t ? I still am, though after Lancaster left they lost the bass grunt. That’s a fact my friends. He was also a great presence on the stage. I, along with most of the rock world, watch Live Aid on TV back in 1985, unaware really just how big those shows were. Quo opened Live Aid in London, in what was to be Lancaster’s final show with them. He had already made Australia his home and now it was to be his working base. He joined a popular local Sydney live outfit called the Party Boys. This was a band which featured a revolving group of well known musicians. The line-up of 1986-88 however featured Alan on bass, ex-Divinyl Richard Harvey on drums – Paul Christie (on a 2nd drum kit), the legendary Kevin Borich and guitar and John Swan on vocals. John Brewster from the Angels shared guitar duties with KB. I saw the Party Boys live and they were great. It
was great to see Lancaster on a sweaty small stage, only having previously seen him on big stages with Quo on video. This line-up of the Party Boys cut a killer, thumping self titled album which you should hear before you die. Swannie’s take on AC/DC’s High Voltage is top quality, and you can bet his old mate Bon would’ve
loved it. Co-incidentally, The Party Boys supported AC/DC on the 1988 Aussie dates – with Borich, Brewster and Swann, no doubt happy to open the shows for some old friends. The last time I saw the Party Boys was at a free outdoor concert in a park at Kitchener Park in Mona Vale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in early 1988. Ex-Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet did guest vocals during that show…..
Later in 1988, Alan and John broke away from the Party Boys to form The Bombers – was it a play on word ? (Lancaster Bomber) – I never did ask Alan. They settled on Tyrone Coates who hailed from Western Australia on vocals, formerly of an outfit called Boys Downunder – where Alan and John had witnessed him during a Party Boys support. He was an exceptional find and a good name to file away. Lead guitarist was a guy named Angelo Salter – an axe whiz who’d studied
at the Conservatorium of Music. Who better to fill the drum stool than John Coghlan – Alan’s rhythm pal from Quo ? and that was the line-up.
The first time I saw them was in support of Cheap Trick on Fri December 1988 at Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel. Talk about being blown away – they were electric. They supported the following night as well. Then, The Bombers played two shows in Crows Nest in Sydney’s North Shore. For free ! No cover charge if you can believe it ! To see a line-up of that calibre, playing for free – I often think back and have to pinch myself ! I attended both shows and stood in awe. They were very loud, very very loud. They were tight and Alan looked damn hungry ! Well chosen covers with some sizzling original tunes, these are some of my best ever live gigs which I will cherish forever. I had an 8×10 signed and chatted with both Alan and John mid-set. Alan even asked my mate Robin ‘how was the sound ?’. I’ve always found Alan Lancaster to be very genuine and down to earth – no ego, and a question like that is proof. As my mate commented later “the man opens up Live Aid and he asks ME how the sound is ?!’
I would go on to see the band many times at different Sydney venues – (even a show where the stage overlooked Manly Beach) but the run of shows they did at Crows Nest in late 1988 and early 1989 were my best memories. The into track of AC/DC’s ‘Long Way To The Top’ would blast out – Bon’s shrilling voice cutting through the beer and smoke filled air with an abundance of genuine excitement – no one knew better than Coghlan, Lancaster and Brewster, just how hard that rock n roll road is. Second song into the set was always ‘Roll Over Lay Down’ and the place just rattled and thumped ! To hear Lancaster growl his way though Roadhouse Blues or the band take on the Angels tune Marseilles – was to hear rock n roll in it’s stripped down – purest form. Coates was a wonderful front man who was a top notch saxophonist to boot. His soaring vocals range was ear shattering – and suited the tunes perfectly. The flashy Salter would not see the distance with the band and was replaced by the no-nonsense blues-rock sounding guitarist in Steve Crofts.
There was talk of an album being recorded – with major labels expressing interest. Coghlan would also return to the UK with his drum stool filled by Peter Heckenberg, who I’d seen drum with HM outfit Boss. The first single released was popular live track ‘Running In The Shadows’ – with some live-tracks on the flip side recorded at Crows Nest ! Listen carefully and you can hear me yell during Marseilles. The album was called Aim High and whether the label did not get behind it, or whether the kids were looking elsewhere – I do not know. It’s a great rock n roll album – read my review elsewhere in this blog. It was released in Europe with a different sleeve (a purple sky). They supported Alice Cooper and New Jersey outfit Skid Row, but by 1991 it was pretty much all over.
If ever a band should’ve tasted success it was The Bombers. Go chase the album down – watch the videos on YouTube and judge for yourself. Good music remains timeless – and memories last forever. My memories of some great rock n roll night with Alan Lancaster, John Brewster and Tyrone Coates will last forever – and if they ever invent a working time machine – I am setting the thing to December 1988 and strapping myself in !
Lancaster’s set-list from 4/4/89 Crows Nest, Sydney gig (above)
Flier from In-Store appearance at HMV, Parramatta (above)
Fan Club Kit from 1990 (above)

Australian (pink) and European (purple) vinyl copies of ‘Aim High’.

Relevant Bombers Info:
There are some Bombers video clips on YouTube.

Angelo Salter currently works as a guitar instructor

Tyrone Coates currently lives in the UK pursuing his lifelong study of karate
John Brewster currently performs with The Angels
Alan Lancaster is apparently releasing his autobiography soon
John Coghlan is living and performing in the UK


(A & M)

Another obvious candidate for this column is ‘Aim High’ from The Bombers. Regardless of the fact that at one point they had an Angel and two Quo members in their ranks – this hard hitting band should’ve gone places. I witnessed The Bombers live experience many times and am left with everlasting memories of some very special gigs (a string of low key warm-up performances at Sydney’s Crows Nest hotel in late ’88/early ’89 (Hi Robin !) rank as some of the most awesome shows by a band I’ve ever witnessed). The original line-up was: vocalist Tyrone Coates, Alan Lancaster (bass), John Coghlin (drums) Angelo Salter on lead guitar and John Brewster on rhythm. Some big names in that pack – a pack that still had to prove itself – names can mean zilch in the music biz. And prove it they did. Early supports with Cheap Trick back in late ’88 started things rolling. Personnel changes incurred and ex-Boss skinsman Peter Heckenberg, and lead guitarist Steve Crofts joined the band. This line-up released ‘Aim High’ in April 1990. The first single ‘Running In The Shadows’ kicks things off with a bang, followed on by ‘Aim High’. Tyrone’s soaring vocals at the end of this song leave me in no doubt what at a strong vocalist he is (you don’t win WA’s best male vocalist two years running if you ain’t got the goods). Third song ‘Escape’ was great live – (written by Lancaster, Brewster and Coates), and loses none of it’s power on record. Highlights are many – The second single ‘World’s On Fire’ coulda been a smash, as could’ve their third release ‘Flash In Japan’. Those who own a copy, will know that it’s littered with uncompromising, catchy, heavy duty rock n roll. I still maintain it’s light years ahead from what Quo and The Angels are putting out (even today !) Alice Cooper loved ’em, and after a nation wide tour with him in 1990, (and a Skid Row support as well), they were supposed to tour the US with him. It never eventuated. They called it quits, but left behind a chunk of hot rock.