Posts Tagged ‘Kings Of The Sun’

cover_smallToday we are looking at the new EP from Kings Of The Sun called ‘Built For Speed’ – and although it’s a new release per se, what it is in fact is a 6 track EP of previously unreleased demos that the band recorded in late December 1991 during the recording sessions for the ‘Resurrection’ album that was released on Mushroom Records in 1993.

In recent years both Hoad brothers, Clifford and Jeff have been out and about releasing a ton of great material under their own banners –  yet it was with the first two albums that Kings Of The Sun rose to international prominence – being 1988’s self titled album and 1990’s Full Frontal Attack. Yet what people may forget is that in 1993 the band released what I consider to be their best album, ‘Resurrection’, an album that didn’t garner anywhere near the attention it warranted – No doubt due to a musical landscape that had changed, and of course both music industry and media indifference – yet whatever the reasons – Resurrection is one standout Australian rock record that should have hit the top of the Billboard charts back then.

As I wrote back in 1995 when reviewing that album for the lost albums column in Vicious Kitten fanzine, If ever an album deserved to be included in a column dedicated to neglected music, then it’s definitely this one. Strap yourself in and hang on, cause this album is full of fast and furious rockers that  hurtle 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 ! Highlights on this album are many and every track is a gem. The Hoad brothers 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. 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.”

Which brings me back to the new EP ‘Built For Speed’ – The Resurrection Demo Sessions. There’s some great tunes on this, including the title track. Anthemic, big chorus, big riff – lot of melody – and like a lot of the other classic Kings material – it’s a song about cars and girls – and being a fan of both cars AND girls (as Andy Shernoff once wrote) it’s a rippin’ tune.

I also dig ‘Let Me Go Free’ – more of a power ballad, a plaintive lament in some ways, heavy on the minor chords with a big vocal delivery, super catchy and if given a full production – and in an ideal world – this could be a radio hit – still.  

If you dug the raunch ‘n’ roll of Kings Of The Sun hits such as Serpentine and Black Leather – Primitive Lust will also appeal to you – highlighted by some shredding guitar and funk rhythms that channel Ike Turner and a capital G for groove.  

The evocative and thought provoking Heaven And Hell is another good one – and much like the aforementioned ‘Let me Go Free’, its heavy on the minor chords which give it a contemplative, reflective feel but it leads into a catchy pre chorus and then an ever bigger chorus augmented by femme vocals. Quality song folks – and If you don’t believe you might try.

Absolutely love the big rock anthem that is ‘Madeline’ – killer riff, stack of melody, Stones raunch and a big hook – and as I’ve said a million times before, If a song aint got a hook – it aint worth a nickel. Set to a lyrical Lolita theme, it’s a tune you can dance too – that’s another litmus test of a great tune in my book. 

The Gray Brothers have been fans of the Hoad Brothers for many many years and anything they release is a buy without risk proposition, and comes wholly recommended. Built For Speed The Resurrection Demo Sessions gets two thumbs up from me and is available now for only $10 !

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the-rich-and-famous-take-us-to-your-leader-epIts 2017 – and Jeff Hoad, one of Oz’s rocks best vocalists & frontmen is back with a vengeance and releasing killer new rock ‘n’ roll – and for that we should all be thankful. ‘Take Us To Your Leader’ is a brand spanking new 5 track EP for the Rich and Famous – a Queensland 3 piece made up of Hoad, Dean Turner and Dean Reeson.

For the uninitiated, let me give you a little context. I’m on record of having stated that in the 1980’s, Jeff Hoad (with Kings Of The Sun) was one of the few Oz rock frontmen who was a genuine rock star that wiped the floor with all those late 80’s LA wannabe hair bands. He had musical chops to match the look and was cooler than Fonzie. Like most Australians though, he was, thankfully, down to earth, had a sense of humour – and a humility that the majority of sunset strip poseurs lacked.

In recent years, there has been a musical separation between the Hoad brothers with Cliff now doing his thing with Kings Of The Sun, and Jeff out with The Rich And Famous.  I dig both bands. Jeff and his brother Cliff are as Oz rock as The Angels, Chisel and Rose Tattoo and all power to both of ‘em.

The first thing that’s apparent to me when I press play on the ‘Take Us To Your Leader’ CD is just how strong and distinct Jeff’s vocal delivery is. Man it’s good to hear him back.  Track 1 is the title track, and it’s a corker. Behind a lyrical theme of reptilian alien invasion (V?) and fifth columnists – is a cleverly crafted rocker layered with subtleties ranging from an early 70s UK glam stomp on the chorus to an almost spoken word middle 8. I like this a lot. ‘Dirty Music’ is a full throttle rocker that simply kicks ass and grooves with a capital G. Ripping solo to boot.  I like ‘Have You Heard’ a lot, highlighted by some neat wah wah guitar and Jeff stretching himself vocally. In fact, all 5 songs on this EP get a green tick, yet if I need to select just one, ‘Blast Off’ is the EP’s plum for mine.  Catchy as all hell with a sing along chorus and melody galore, this screams radio hit. This is how The Darkness try to write ‘em.

This EP sees Jeff Hoad extending himself as a song writer, and going beyond the Kings Of The Sun formulae for which he is most known. Whilst anything he does will be referenced to KOTS, these songs display a diversity/growth that only add to his KOTS legacy.  That’s a good thing in my books. Jeff Hoad is back and sounding better than ever. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5. Pick up the EP and other killer albums by The Rich and Famous at

Listen to an interview with Jeff on The Australian Rock Show here


When the news broke that Cliff Hoad was going to step out from behind the drum kit, pick up the mic and handle all lead vocals for Kings Of The Sun, there were those that greeted this announcement with a fair degree of caution. No mean feat stepping into the shoes of Jeff Hoad – the former flamboyant frontman who was rock star personified. Yet Cliff has managed to pull it off – leaving egg on the face of any doubters. ‘Rock Til You Die’ is the new CD from Clifford Hoad’s King Of The Sun’ and it is as good as anything in the KOTS back catalogue. Don’t make the mistake of pigeon holing Cliff with the one dimensional ‘just a drummer’ shtick either – for he is a multi-talented musician who sings the songs, write the songs, produces the songs – and still plays the drums like a man possessed. And the songs themselves ? Memorable slices of classic Aussie rock, in fact, one listen to ‘Rock Til Ya Die’ proves that in 2013, KOTS are still a rock n roll force to be reckoned with. Flying the loud n proud Aussie rock flag in the tradition of the Angels /Rose Tattoo etc, ’Rock Til Ya Die’ might just be candidate for best Aussie rock album of the year. Man, this album smokes!  First thing you notice is that Cliff has a GREAT rock voice – and makes me wonder why he only sung lead on one tune of previous KOTS albums. Yes, his voice is similar to his brother’s, but in my books that is only a good thing, for each song still retains that distinctive KOTS sound. Straight out of the gate, the album opens with a ball tearer, ‘Fire On The Mountain’. Talks about rock anthem. Big catchy chorus, crunching riff and hooks aplenty. ‘Rockpile’ is another great tune, memorable chorus and big riffing ala John Brewster / Malcolm Young. That’s the good stuff folks! ‘Switchblade Knife’ sees the momentum continued, with Cliff demonstrating his appealingly rich vocal range on this one, projecting his voice a bit further out on another hard rockin’ tune. Lots to like here. ‘Geronimo’ could be the song of the album though for mine. A song writer who can paint a lyrical picture in the listeners head is also a great story teller. Not all song writers have that skill. Ian Hunter has it spades, and as evidenced here, Cliff Hoad has it too. In fact ‘Geronimo’ would sit neatly on Hunter’s recent highly acclaimed album ‘When I’m President’. (which I reviewed here). High praise – but justly deserved. In fact, all eleven tunes on this album are blue ribbon quality, and I find it hard to highlight individual tunes when all are top shelf. In summary, ‘Rock Til Ya Die’ does not disappoint, and scores an emphatic 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col. Kings Of The Sun are back – and with ‘Rock Til Ya Die’, show all and sundry that they mean business!  Crank it up ! Mucho recommended. Check it out here


My rock n roll blood brother and I have long been Kings Of The Sun admirers. Check out some of our previous posts we’ve penned related to this iconic Queensland outfit !

I was rummaging through some of my rock merch this afternoon and discovered this gem ! According to my scrawl on the back of this set-list – it was in fact Kings of The Sun vocalist’s Jeff Hoad’s. It is dated 19th January 1989 – Manly Hotel in Sydney, supported by the Candy Harlots. I am so grateful that I used to have the good sense to gather these items ! The Manly Hotel – which was steeped in rock n roll history – and was situated opposite Manly Wharf – was demolished many many years back, to make way for apartments. KOTS destroyed that shitty live venue that very night ! Both bands (Kings and the Candy Harlots) did a run of dates together at that time and I saw many dates (including one in December WAY out west in a place called Berkshire Park)….It was a great double bill. Any fan of pure rock n roll digs the Kings Of The Sun…check the set list back then !!! ‘Bad Love’ was such a great tune to open with. ‘Drop the Gun’ had not been released yet but was already appearing in the set-list. What I would give to locate a time machine and set the date for that evening. Great memories….

You are encouraged to visit the band’s Facebook page here


I’m of the opinion that Michael Monroe’s current album, ‘Sensory Overdrive’ is THE album of 2011. Having said that though, this new album from Kings Of The Sun (KOTS) runs a very close second. This album was recorded in the late 90’s and is only seeing the light of day in 2011. The landscape for guitar fuelled rock n roll is much healthier in 2011 than it was back then, so hopefully punters will be a little more receptive to KOTS than they were in the mid 90’s. Four facts before we get started. 1) KOTS are the most underappreciated and criminally ignored of all Australian bands. 2) Jeff Hoad is the consummate front man/rock star. 3) Drummer Cliff Hoad is an incredible drummer who oozes originality and should be the guy all aspiring drummers look up to. 4) KOTS are one of the ten best Australian bands of all time. As someone who has been a rock ‘n’ roll disciple since 1980, the reader is well advised to consider those facts, as they are not made lightly.

You will not hear a better album in 2011 by any Australian band. They are not a major label? You don’t hear ‘em on the radio? Just add those two injustices to a list of ‘em that KOTS have endured throughout their lengthy career. KOTS are now releasing their albums direct to the public via their web site, (eliminating the music biz bureaucracy altogether), including this, their newly released album, ‘Daddy Was A Hobo Man’. The album kicks off with the title track, a likable mid tempo rocker with capital groove. ‘Disco Devil Man’ is up next and it cooks, underpinned by a fuzzed out shuffle riff and a lyric that tells of the tale of dance club raver with a head full of chemicals. Some nice time changes too. ‘Speak To Elvis’ is a also a goodun’, so get a message to the King. ‘Take Off Your Pants And Dance’ is my favourite cut on the album. Tasty wah wah, suggestive and sexy lyrical theme (which KOTS have excelled at for a long time), swagger aplenty and just damn catchy. No one on the planet, (with the exception of Kevin K) write catchy three minute pop songs better than KOTS. In fact this tune typifies the KOTS signature sound. Catchy, melodic and memorable – lots of hooks, lead guitar (that often follows the melody line) and unparalleled (in Australia at least) drumming.  The Hoad Brothers are amazing song writers who can craft music that is catchy, distinctive and memorable – which in essence is perfect pop music. Don’t forget also that front man Jeff Hoad is also an incredible lead guitar player – a fact that often goes unnoticed. My second choice pick from the album is ‘Louis Punk From Hell’ which again follows the signature KOTS sound. Great riff, lyrical wit and humorous delivery. Sing along chorus to boot.  I really dig ‘Strange Ground’ too. It’s got a nice groove to it and a tasty guitar tone. It’s nice to hear Jeff really test his vocal range on this one. You want full tilt rock n roll ? With its high octane tempo, ‘Jokers Wild’ will no doubt get you out of your seat. Best cranked up nice and loud. Surprise of the album has to be the brooding, epic like ‘Blue Surf Tragedy’. This is indeed a well crafted tune, plaintive yet almost spiritual, that deals with the subject of drowning. “We prayed for waves to wash out sins away, the tide did turn, echoes of that fateful night when I lost you”. It’s sombre, though provoking and littered with emotive lead guitar work. First class. A rating for the album? 9 out of 10.

Back in the late 1980’s, many people couldn’t tell the cream from the crap. Every hard rockin’ dude had long hair and a low slung Gibson – from Underneath What to dross like Ugly Kid Joe. Far too few were clued on enough to recognise that KOTS were a cut above the rest and indeed – world class. KOTS over ANYTHING that came out of LA in the mid to late 80’s – Guns ‘n’ Roses included. Don’t believe me ? Head to and prove me wrong. I’ve been listening to Hoad Brother rock ‘n’ roll for well over twenty years now – become a convert too and join the party. It’s truly addictive. (You can buy this album from the band’s web site here for only $15)

Jed Starr

As a gig goer and hard rock/ heavy rock fan in Sydney in the 1980s, I saw guitarist Jed Starr on dozens of occasions in different bands. All great. I haven’t seen (or heard about) Jed Starr since 2002, and I’d be interested to know of his current musical activities if any.  Jed certainly had a few bites of the ‘success cherry’, yet ultimately, none came to fruition. He was always very close to ‘making it’ but fate can be cruel, and despite some great recordings, he never made it to the top.  Darren McCormack and his brothers Matt and Shawn grew up in Sydney, but by the early 80’s, he and his brothers and family were residing in Los Angeles, and in 83, they were playing the Hollywood Clubs. By the mid 80’s however, the family moved back to Sydney. As history has shown, he was a victim of poor timing, as the LA rock bubble was just about to explode and he was close, for the first time, to being at the right place at the right time and ‘making it’ (a recurring theme in his career). If they had of stayed in LA ? Who knows. Poor timing I guess. So anyway, by the mid 80’s, he and his brothers has all taken pseudonyms (Darren was known as Jed Starr, Matt was known as Big Bird, and Shawn was known as Snuff Beastly) and were playing the Sydney circuit with a couple of bands including ‘Kings Cross’ their glam/hard rock outfit, and also ‘Massive Appendage’ their speed metal band. By around 1987, they had a third band called ‘Festers Fanatics’, featuring the irrepressible Fester on vocals. Festers played largely covers. Great and inspired versions though. The McCormack’s had their own label called ‘Original Records’ and released albums by all these bands on their own label. I saw him with Kings Cross on several occasions, including supporting Stryper at Sydney’s Homebush Stadium. I used to spot him and his brothers everywhere. I spied them coming out of the Hordern Pavilion after Metallica in 1989, and even coming out of the Valhalla Cinema after the screening of ‘The Metal Years: Decline of The Western Civilisation’. I bought all the records, even the 7” of ‘Georgie Girl / I Can’t Take It’. In around 1990, McCormack moved to Melbourne and hooked up with a band called Killing Time. An amazing band. Heavy, funky, metal. Lots of hooks, grove and originality. I saw Killing Time on several occasions and they were always great. The bonus of having his former Kings Cross buddy Tubby on drums made it better still. The amazing ‘Ruby’s Mind’ (his tune) had the industry in a buzz, with labels falling over themselves to get the bands signatures. I bought the Mandelbroth Set and Dream Alone 12” EPs, for no other reasons than I was a Jed fan. ‘Dream Alone’ in particular showed off his melodic song writing and likeable vocals. After a couple of EP’s though, he was gone – as was Tubby on drums. Killing Time morphed into Mantissa and a heavier direction yet without Jed’s infectious knack for melody – it left me a little cold. In 1992, Mr. Rockbrat would run into him at countless Girl Monstar gigs in Melbourne, and he ended up producing their debut album, ‘Monstereo Delicio’. Post Killing Time, he fronted his own band, Starworld. I saw Starworld a couple of times, including a gig in the front bar of the Brookvale Hotel on a Thursday night (with Kings Of The Sun’s Anthony Ragg on bass). In around 94, he was the guitar player Jon Stevens chose to work with on his new, post Noiseworks solo career. I saw Stevens on ‘Hey Hey Its Saturday’, and there was Jed on guitar. I was sure that Stevens album would be massive, and Jed would go along for the ride. Nope, the album stiffed. Fate can be cruel. By the end of 96 I’d moved out of Sydney and lost track of his musical wanderings, that was until 2002 when I found myself sitting at the Railway Hotel on Chapel Street in Windsor. I was with Mr. Giglizard and we were having a few pre gig drinks prior to heading to Richmond to see Radio Birdman. Giglizard alerted me to the fact that Lucy De Soto was also in the pub and was talking to….none other than Jed Star, sporting long hair and long beard. In spite of suffering a stinking hangover the next day, what followed was a memorable evening spent with Giglizard (who had gone to the same high school as Jed) and Jed, where many old rock stories were told over several glasses. I recall Jed being impressed in both Giglizard and my knowledge of his musical output, and various gigs and venues we had seen him at over the years. He was also impressed that I had a copy of ‘Georgie Girl’ on 7”. He managed to sell his Peter Green ticket to Giglizard and then was gone – that’s nine years ago now. If anyone knows where 2011 finds Jed Starr, please let us know, and if you run into him, let him know that he is fondly remembered here at Rockbrat HQ.

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