Posts Tagged ‘Pete Wells’

These guys have great taste in music !

We here at Rockbrat HQ are big time fans of the Rosie Tatts. Read through the posts and you’ll no doubt gather that (I recall Angry passing a can of VB from the stage to a much younger Cowboy one night at Dee Why Hotel and the Cowboy gulping down the brew with great gusto ! T’was thirsty work seeing Angry and the boys).  Actually me and the Cowboy saw them live many times and have some great memories. Here is a Rose Tattoo Fan Site on the band which is well compiled with some great features. Check out the Tatts buttons and patches ! Two thumbs up from Mr Rockbrat and the Cowboy !


Rock n Roll War promo poster, Volume 1 and Volume 2

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have gone since the release of the Rock n Roll War compilation CD’s. Prior to Rockbrat, back then, Cowboy Col was operating Vicious Kitten Records, an independent record label whose mission was to fight the war against the jive. I had the idea of releasing a compilation album and did a short list of bands I wanted and things just took off from there. Vicious Kitten Records, and the Vicious Kitten Zine before that, developed a good reputation, and most bands were happy to be involved. The idea was to make it a solid balls-to-the-wall comp, and it achieved that. I wanted to show case some of the best Australian bands to an international market – and similarly get some of those international bands some exposure in Australia.   The first volume of ‘Rock n Roll War’ had such quality bands on it as the Dictators, Sylvain Sylvain from the New York  Dolls, the Hitmen DTK,  Deniz Tek and Chris Masuak of Radio Birdman, Jeff Dahl, Pete Wells of Rose Tattoo, Nikki Sudden, The Trash Brats, Asteroid B-612, Brother Brick etc.  This first volume of Rock n Roll War sold well, and following its success I decided to branch out into the USA and try and develop greater inroads there. Vicious Kitten USA was born and was co ordinated by Rick Blaze out of Boston. The second volume of Rock ‘n’ Roll War was the only release on Vicious Kitten USA and it came out in October, 2001. A CD release party was held for this album in Boston, and artists who appeared included Mike Thimren (who used to play with Johnny Thunders for five years, on and off, between 83-88) the Ballbusters and Kevin K.  Rock n roll War volume 2 was dedicated to Johnny Heff of The Bullys, a New York City firefighter who lost his life on September 11. There is a great Bully’s track on the comp called ‘New York City Man’. Johnny Thunders and the Ballbusters also do a live version of ‘In Cold Blood’. There are songs by Nikki Sudden, Dave Kusworth from the Jacobites, Walter Lure, the Streetwalkin Cheetahs, Kevin K, Freddy Lynxx, The Golden Arms, Dave Cuneo and Jeff Crane from the Ballbusters, Mike Thimren, the Detox Darlings. Cheetah Chrome of The Dead Boys was gracious enough to provide a tune called ‘The Morning’s Gonna Come, which he recorded specifically for Rock n Roll War 2. Other artists on this 2nd volume included the Cartridge Family from NYC who featured Donna from the Cycle Sluts From Hell, two Italian bands, one called The Valentines and the other called Loose. It was a very strong and impressive line up. The intent was to do release a third compilation CD, but the funds were not there.  These were a lot of work to put together, but looking back, some killer bands were released on these two comps.  These compilations occasionally turn up on eBay. Go discover.

Mick Cocks in 1988

For a long time there, particularly during the late 80s and early 90’s, Michael Thomas Cocks looked ageless, like he’d been drinking heartily from the fountain of youth. Yet he we are, the 22nd of December, 2010 and Cocksy has been gone for a year already. Sure there was benefit concert for him in July, 2009 at the Enmore whilst he was still alive, but one year after his death, with no sign of any tribute gig  – spare a thought for Mick, one of rock’s finest. Since his death, Murray Engleheart’s excellent book  ‘Blood Sweat & Beers’ has been released, and that book certainly pays tribute to the man and his music – and it will hopefully serve as a long standing reference for kids to go read and discover the guy who really wrote the blue print for Guns ‘n’ Roses and all those other wannabes. Cocks was the real deal – fact.  His ‘stutter gun’ method of right hand playing gave him an original sound and style that heavily influenced bands like Guns ‘n’ Roses, who despite all their bravado, never even came close (although apparently they did ask Cocks to replace Izzy Stradlin). If you wanna hear what I’m talking about with the term ‘stutter gun’, go listen to the riffing in ‘Nice Boys’ or ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw’ or better yet, ‘Manzil Madness’. I never saw him with Heaven, although I do have a couple of bootlegs from shows in LA they did in 84 when they were based there. As a rock disciple and a student of rock history, I knew how significant a band the Tatts were, so when I saw a lot of Cocksy playing around the traps in Sydney in the late 80’s I lapped it all up. To see Cocksy and Wellsy playing together in Heart Attack was indeed something special.  Many venues, many dates – most of which escape me. He was great with the Headhunters, he was great with the Wild Colonial Boys (click here to read a review of the Wild Colonial Boys and hear a Mick Cocks guitar solo from 1988). In 93 I saw a bunch of the reformed Tatts shows and Mick was great, as you’d expect.  I even saw him in 1992 in Canberra playing rhythm guitar with TMG and a few Tatts shows in 98.  I never saw him in Doomfoxx but I have their album and its killer. Even after seeing him live all those times I never once bothered to get a photo with him, or to get him to sign something, cos I thought that these guys would last forever and would always be around. I do remember chatting to him at the Gladesville Hotel in 1990 though where I saw him lead a version of Heart Attack minus Pete Wells. (I think I have that show on cassette somewhere). Mick was only 54 when he died. Far too young, and like many others, I will always remember him fondly.

Heart Attack 1990 (Mick Strutt, Pete Wells, Lucy De Soto, Paul Demarco, Mick Cocks)

And you know something? If you look skyward and you hear a thunderous sound emanating from the heavens, fear not. It’s just the house band – Digger Royal on drums, Ian Rilen on bass, Wellsy and Cocksy on guitars, and Thorpie out front – playing loud, very very loud. If you listen real close, you can still hear that ‘stutter gun’ blazing away. RIP Mick Cocks. Never forgotten.

Check out a Mick Cocks interview from 1988 that talks about the Wild Colonial Boys project here.

What: Pete Wells Set-List
Britannia Hotel, Sydney – 23 April 1995

What we have on display here folks is a real piece to treasure. It’s a genuine set-list from a Pete Wells gig circa 1995. For future reference, the Rockbrat always used to note the relevant details on the reverse – and this here set-list, was actually Pete’s and came from a Brittania Hotel gig – Chippendale – Sydney April 23, 1995 – a Sunday evening if my memory serves me correctly. As Pete did many times, there are three sets – with five songs each. Looks like that is the great man’s handwriting as well. Man what a great set they ran through that night….what I’d give to hear Cris Point Casino or No Hard Feelings just one more time.  The original rock n roll outlaw ended the evening with the Tatts classic of the same name – played in unison of course with Mick Cocks who was in Pete’s band at that stage. Hopefully this will bring back some good memories for fans of the much-missed Peter Wells.

The much-missed Peter Wells and Mick Cocks

For the uneducated, Peter Wells and Mick Cocks were the twin guitar attack for Rose Tattoo. I have many great memories of seeing the Tatts over the years, and Pete and Mick in other incarnations as well. Their contributions to rock n roll are immense and it is important that the memories of Cocksy and Wellsy live on.  I was fortunate to see Pete dozens of times in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, and those memories will live with me. Pete was an original, the pioneer of the bad bay tattooed rock n roll outlaw that was shamelessly ripped off by Guns n Roses and other Sunset Strip wannabe posers in the late 80’s. I saw him play with Mick in the band Heart Attack in the late 80’s, I saw him play at the Espy in St. Kilda in 1991 with the thunderous Warwick Fraser on drums (Billy Thorpe – in Australia at that time was also in attendance). I saw him do a residency at the Northpoint Tavern in North Sydney for many Tuesday’s throughout the winter of 1993. Also, residencies at the Hopetoun Hotel in Surry Hills spring to mind, as does the Brittania Hotel in Chippendale. Pete was always giving of his time and was always kind enough to chat with me. I remember sitting on milk crates with him and his partner Lucy DeSoto, chatting and drinking beer, after a gig at the Manly Boatshed in 1992. So many fond memories of those shows. His slide guitar sound, Lucy’s rollicking piano and spirited harmony vocals – man I thought those days would last forever. For a time Pete had Mick on guitar in his line-up, along with long time Rosie Tatts drummer Paul DeMarco ! What a killer line-up ! What I’d give to see them one more time. Selecting the best time I saw these two on the same stage is a tough decision. But I would probably name the 22 January 1993 show at Wagga – of all places – as my choice memory. You gotta remember that the Tatts had been on hold for some years – with both Angry and Pete forging succesful solo careers (Angry even said on a nationwide Radio Interview in 1990, in response to my brother’s question of ‘would he ever work with Pete and Mick again ?’ that “there will never be another Rose Tattoo” !!) The prompting of Guns n Roses for Rose Tattoo to open the shows on their 1993 Australian Tour set the wheels firmly in motion. My memories of the Wagga show are still vivid. It was a sweaty Friday evening and baking hot – at a nightclub called The Copacabana.  The scorching summer heat was matched only by the ferocity of the re-united Rose Tattoo when they hit the tiny stage at around 11PM. As usual, they were ungodly loud – and their heavy-handed blooze and boogie assault was relentless. I stood in awe – whilst being pounded by rock n roll in it’s purest form. I also remember – when they started playing Astra Wally, finding a public telephone at the back of the venue and calling my brother back in Sydney so he could hear what he was missing out on. ‘Cop this !’ I thought !!    

For a time, Mick filled the shoes of Gary Dixon in TMG when the band re-commenced gigging in the early 90’s as well. I have very fond memories of seeing TMG during this period at Coogee Bay, the long-demolished Manly Vale Hotel and also in Canberra at a venue called the Charnwood Inn. I remember seeing the smirk on Cocksy’s face that night with a sparse Canberra crowd – that was mostly made up of drunken females – (70’s throwbacks weened on Countdown) who were dancing at front stage clutching vinyl copies of ‘Here We Are’. Many times I did not bring my camera with me to these shows – as I said before, I thought these days would never end. Only they did. In 2006 Pete passed away from prostate cancer and in 2009 Mick succumbed to liver cancer. Rose Tattoo continue to carry on –  it’s not something I believe they should be doing. Imagine hearing some kid in Germany in 2010 saying he just saw Rose Tattoo – when Wells and Cocks are not there !?  It’s like the Stones without Richards – but that’s just my opinion. These are some of my thoughts and memories of Peter Wells and Mick Cocks – I will add other photographs, live reviews and album reviews when time permits.  I hate all that Rock n Roll heaven bullshit which people carry on with, but if it is true….geez….Bon, Wellsy, Mick Cocks, Lobby, Thorpie, Rilen…..J.C would want some serious ear plugs !

Who: Rose Tattoo
When: Labor Club, Canberra – August 11, 1998

It had been some years since Rose Tattoo last graced a Canberra stage, so their return to the national capital was indeed an event to cherish. Witnessing the musical muscle that is Rose Tattoo is pretty much like watching a retired heavyweight champ climb back into the ring. The glint is in the eye, the mind is focused, and boy, do they pack a punch ! A lot of challengers and inferior imitators have had a shot at their title, but only failed miserably. No one, but no one, can touch the original bad boys of rock n roll when it comes to blooze based bad-ass raunch, and tonight, they fired with all the precision of a finely tuned muscle car. My eye cast a glance upon the assembled masses of flannel shirts and mullet cuts, who all clung tenaciously to the walls of the venue as if some one had thrown a dozen death adders in front of the stage – such was the sparseness of the crowd at the front. So much so that Angry Anderson commented with “This’ll be interesting,” to an obviously Tatts ignorant crowd, who had seemingly only come to contribute to the Angels’ superannuation fund. With that trepidation, the band launched into a street fightin’ version of ‘Out Of This Place.’ The unenlightened Angels army may not have been familiar with this classic, but as the first riff of ‘Bad Boy For Love’ came wrenching out, more of the throng made their way to the front. A scorching version of ‘Assault & Battery’ soon gets the crowd warmed up with Pete Wells’ bluesy slide appealingly prominent. ‘Tramp’ was one of the highlights for mine, with the rhythm section pumping hard, Ian Rilen in particular laying down the groove like a man possessed. An unnecessary ‘Rock n Roll Is King’ ensues before Angry inevitably hopped on his soap box and preached about religion and politics (how could he resist having found himself in Canberra ?) The sermon over with, Mick Cocks’ deadly stutter-gun guitar roared into action, introducing the ferocious ‘Remedy’ and my second high point for the evening. To see Cocks, Wells and a sneering Rilen front n centre mouthing the chorus sums up what rock n roll is all about to me. Rilen definitely gave the band added spark on this tour. Angry continues his ravings about the meaning of life like a deranged TV evangelist to a largely ignorant mass, preluding the blues epic ‘The Butcher and Fast Eddie’. The timeless signature tune ‘Rock n Roll Outlaw’ follows, before another treat, the rambling ‘One Of The Boys’ gets the place rockin’. The third ace was an explosive ‘Astra Wally’, Mick Cocks again firing with razor sharp precision. A true as steel run through ‘Nice Boys’ signals the end of proceedings and I make my way out to the street, again choosing to forgo the Angels experience, savouring the memory, and wondering if this will be the last time I see the mighty Rose Tattoo live. I would have liked to have heard ‘Suicide City’ (it was written about Canberra after all) or ‘Manzil Madness’, but when Rose Tattoo play 8 of the 10 numbers off their classic debut album live, in 1998, I don’t have much reason to complain.

22.95 US…GREAT Price for a GREAT ALBUM!

VARIOUS: Rock ‘n’ Roll War (MINT/OOP/OZ/24 TRACKS)

Issued in Australia by Vicious Kitten Records in 2000. Prefix and catalog number are VK008. Complete title as follows, VARIOUS ARTISTS ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll War – A Compilation of International Rock Action’. Track listing: THE DICTATORS – “Who Will Save Rock ‘n’ Roll?” / SYLVAIN SYLVAIN – “Trash” / HITMEN D.T.K. – “Something Wicked” / KEVIN K BAND – “Losing Hurts” / Z-28 – “Yeah Yeah” / RICK BLAZE & THE BALLBUSTERS – “Born To Die” / ASTEROID B-612 – “September Crush” / JEFF DAHL – “Caught In A Dream” / ROAD VULTURES – “Stranded in L.A.” / BROTHER BRICK – “See You Tonight” / SOUR JAZZ – “I Live On A Street Called Rock ‘n’ Roll” / THE BOTSWANAS – “Jennifer” / THE GOLDEN ARMS – “Diamond Head” / FREDDY LYNXX & THE CORNER GANG – “No Room For You” / CHRIS MASUAK – “Stone Cold Pity” / NIKKI SUDDEN – “Looking At You” / SHEEK THE SHAYK – “Mary Lee” / TEXAS TERRI & THE STIFF ONES – “Women Should Be Wilder” / TRASH BRATS – “Nice Girl To Visit” / DENIZ TEK – “Out Of The Mood” / B-MOVIE RATS – “1000 Miles” / REPO – “Fistful Of Redbacks” / PIRATE LOVE – “Midnight Song” / PETE WELLS BAND – “Nothing Wrong With Money” (Live). An international collection of rock ‘n’ roll action featuring 24 tracks from some of the best band’s on the planet. This title is out of print. Condition is Mint (new & unplayed). Here’s the deal: Winning bid pays shipping & handling charges, USA, your choice, shipped either first class mail/delivery confirmation for $3.00 or priority mail/delivery confirmation for $5.75. CANADA, EUROPE, AUSTRALIA and JAPAN shipped First Class Mail International, check with us for rates. We must receive payment no later than 7 days from date of purchase. To All Overseas Buyers Please Read The Following Disclaimer: We Will Not Mark Shipments As Gifts Or Devalue Them In Anyway.Overseas Buyers Are Responsible For All Tariffs/Duty Imposed. We Will Not Be Responsible For Uninsured Lost/Missing Shipments. Any questions, give us a shout. Thanx for looking & good luck!