Posts Tagged ‘Saxon’

ARS57_large.jpgOn episode 57 of The Australian Rock Show we play new music from Scott Ginn’s outfit Mazz-XT, Nowra (NSW) HM band Temtris and also Bob Spencer (ex-Angels, Skyhooks). We look back and crank some Doomfoxx along with some classic Saxon (featuring Lemmy and Angry Anderson). Plus rock news, rants, and more – real rock n roll action which you need to hear ! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD FOR FREE! !

Music by: Mazz-XT, Temtris, Bob Spencer, Doomfoxx, Saxon. australianrockshow.com

ImageFrom memory, I purchased this around 85 and it rules. Double LP, gate-fold sleeve, pressed locally via Concept Records. Around this time period, heavy metal was all I knew. Money earnt from my menial factory job was spent on metal records….and I’ve never regretted it. Actually this compilation really is a sneak peek at the barren musical landscape that was Australia in the mid-80’s. Hard rock and heavy metal was indeed – underground. Mr Rockbrat laughs when, nowadays, you run into people – straights, who tell you they went and saw Slayer on the weekend, or they have the new Sabbath CD ! Alas, metal maniacs, it was not always like this. Anyway, I found this gem whilst rummaging through my wax recently and as I cast my eyes over it, it got me thinking how much I learnt from it. Who needed school text books when the ‘istory of ‘eavy metal had to be learned, right ?!  The collection is pretty much a snap-shot of 83-84 heavy metal releases. WASP, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Scorps, Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Ozzy, Motorhead, Dio, Motley, Priest, Kiss – big guns of the genre at that time, who all have tracks on here. But it was the inclusion of bands like Warlock, Y & T, Titan and Coney Hatch which had me in a spin. Often, the first place you would hear new bands was on compilations, and such was the case with Metal Madness. The Rock Goddess tune ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ – tuned me on to this kick-ass chick three-piece and I still listen to them today. Girlschool got a start – as did Lita Ford ! A rickapoodie and a fandooglie !  The Sabbath tune ‘Trashed’ was with Gillan up front – it confirms what I said before that the comp in fact pieced together some of the most recent releases from this time period (never could stomach Ian Gillan’s shrilling vocals). Points to the compiler – Grand Wizard Glenn A Baker – for doing that. The inclusion of local acts Titan, Boss and Melbourne’s Bengal Tigers showed Baker – or an assistant, had their ear to the ground, but the inclusion of Spinal Tap was not funny – or was it ? Is this a joke ? Is this a joke ? How the hell did Canned Heat get a look in ? Including the Kiss plodder ‘Get All You Can Take’ from their then-released Animalize opus, was a masterstroke in absurdity. ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ or ‘Thrills In The Night’ woulda been my Kiss cuts from that rekkid – but it mattered not. Adelaide’s Titan, as you may or may not know, released ‘Head Scare’ on Raven Records. I think some of those members ended up in Almost Human, did they not ? This release was followed-up by the equally rockin’ ‘Headbanger’s Heaven’ double LP a short while later. Again, the record introduced me to some great HM bands, many of which still get spun on the rockbrat turntable. As the wacky Baker states in the liner notes ‘ if you can’t get off on this brain-bending compilation, you’re beyond all hope’. Comments from the Super Coach.

Picture are a way underrated metal band. They released a bunch of albums in the career – but they never surpassed this one. Picture is a Dutch heavy metal band and are noted for being the first band in the country to play heavy metal. (Before Vandenberg?) In the early 80’s (and with Diamond Dreamer in particular) they were definite contenders to the big boys like Priest, Maiden and Saxon – playing their distinctive brand of traditional or classic style HM. Samson may be a better or more accurate reference point actually, both in sound and style. Before I go on though, let me say that looking back, having a bland and non descript name like ‘Picture’ was never going to increase your appeal to the masses. It doesn’t mean anything – and metal heads needed names they could easily identify with – like Wolf or Saxon or Scorpions or Motorhead. And if they were going to be called Picture – why not name each album – Picture – This, or Picture Show or something. You get my point. Nuff said. Picture’s original vocalist, Ronald Van Prooijen left prior to the recording of this album, and he was replaced by an Israeli guy called Shmoulik Avigal. He has a powerful vocal that at times is so close to Samson era Bruce Bruce upon first listen you’d swear it was Samson. Picture have a sound that kind of crosses Saxon with Samson – imagine Dickinson fronting Saxon and you are probably pretty close. Ironically, this is the only album to feature Avigal, as he fought with the bands management and was booted out. Picture were formed as far back as 77. They released three albums prior to this one and gigged throughout their native Netherlands and also appealed to the denim clad head bangers of West Germany. Picture supported AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Saxon in the Netherlands. With Saxon, they did a full European tour in 1981. Later on they toured with our own Rose Tattoo in Germany in 1982, and headlined tours in Italy and Israel. I had read that the bands record company were reluctant to get behind the band financially, so the album sold by word of mouth or through the metal underground, Kerrang! etc. From what I’ve read, the band were also far from happy with the Tatts. The Picture boys considered themselves to be more popular in Deutschland than Rose Tattoo – and felt that they were sabotaged by the Tatts and their crew. I find that a little hard to believe. In 82, the Tatts would have wiped the floor with most bands. Diamond Dreamer was released in July 1982 and in order to improve on the audio quality of their first two albums, Picture recorded Diamond Dreamer with the help of Saxon producer Pete Hinton – and you can certainly hear the Saxon influence, right down to the Oliver/Quinn like dual guitar work. In some countries, the album was released with the title ‘Nighthunter’. So on the album, you get 10 tracks, opening with the anthemic Samson like rocker, ‘Lady Lightning’. ‘Night Hunter’ follows suit and is reminiscent of classic era Whitesnake – tuneful, melodic, riff heavy and very Coverdale like on the vocal. ‘Hot Lovin’ is up next and it’s another kick ass tune – kick ass rock n roll, that changes nicely down from verse to chorus. The rapid fire riffs continue on the title track ‘Diamond Dreamer’ complete with double kick. Not my favourite cut on the album but still a rockin tune. ‘Message From Hell’ sounds like it was an extra track that didn’t make the cut of Saxon’s ‘Wheels Of Steel’ album – that a compliment my friends. The grinding ‘Lousy Lady’ sees the boys take it down a gear before ‘The Hangman’ sees the band back with the rapid fire riffs and air raid siren like vocals. Classy tune. This is classy metal – as my old mate woganozi used to say. Though I’m pretty sure he was referring to Queensryche. Picture are far more blue collar than that though – denim and leather, meat and potatoes – Priest, AC/DC and Saxon. ‘Get Me Rock and Roll’ is another thundering metal tune – and if you are like me, and dig hard rock/metal before bands like Bon Jovi came along and sanitised it all – you could do a hell of lot worse than starting with this album. It scores a massive 9 out of 10 from Cowboy Col and is indeed a lost classic. By the mid 80’s, the band only had one original member, and was headed towards a commercial, hair metal look and sound. The original members tried a reunion in 1988 and the chemistry was still there. Unfortunately, management reared it’s ugly head and unknown to the band, their manager was asking an outrageous amount of money for them to play, so they never got any gigs after their one reunion concert. To have this happen after being burned by management the first go-around was just too much, and once again, they called it a day. In 2007, the classic line-up reunited for rehearsals. They still had that spark, and planned to cut a CD in 2008 and play some gigs around the Netherlands and Germany. Though Ronald van Prooijen helped out, singer Shmoulik Avigal was asked to participate as well as Pete Lovell, the singer on the Eternal Dark album. In 2008, a permanent lineup was established with Jan Bechtum, Rinus Vreugdenhil, Laurens Bakker, Rob vanEnkhuizen, and Pete Lovell. Towards the end of the 2000’s they were gigging throughout Europe to receptive crowds. They released a new album, ‘Old Dogs, New Tricks’ in 2099.

Nothing to laugh at here folks - not bloody much! No striped spandex fellas ?

Nothing to laugh at here folks - not bloody much! Can you name this band ?

As anyone who has read this blog will know – many of the articles are written with a healthy dose of humour throw in. Life gets serious enough, and you’ve got to laugh at something when it’s genuinely funny. Some pretentious, self absorbed geezer who takes themselves way too seriously is a prime candidate – and why not ? If you can’t laugh at yourself and see the humour in things then happy trails to you – I guess.  When Spinal Tap was released in 1984, Paul Stanley commented, “Take the movie with a grain of salt”. How funny is that? KI$$ were the living embodiment of Tap in 84 and it was THEY who needed to be taken with a grain of salt. Shark Sandwich, Rock n Roll Creation, Asylum. If I heap scorn on someone’s appearance, like Vince Neil or Yngwie getting fat – don’t take it too seriously OK. I love the music of those guys and have seen both of ’em live and have owned all their albums, so keep that in perspective. Mr Rockbrat and I LOVE heavy metal, we were raised on it and were rock soldiers committed to the cause, denim, patches, white runners – the whole bit. Read through these posts and you will see that they are also written with immense integrity and knowledge of rock n roll…..BUT, as I said from the outset, if you can’t take the piss out of your rock hero once in a while and knock the ego down a few pegs, then sheesh – I dunno what to say for you. Case in point. I wrote a post about Saxon – one of the most ridiculous looking bands in heavy metal (View it here). I have a sense of humour and although I love Saxon’s music, they looked bloody ridiculous! Heavy metal fact was always funnier than fiction. Great music, but some of the outfits and hairstyles of the genre – HA! Anyway, it would seem that there is a Saxon tribute web forum in one of those dark Nordic countries who have taken umbrage at my swipe of Saxon’s comical appearance back in 1984. Although I don’t speak Viking, I can pick up the heated tone of comments on the forum aimed Cowboy Col’s way, so let me remind you again my Norse friends – ‘eavy metal is cool, but don’t forget to laugh. The fact that Saxon have a dedicated hard core fan base and web site presence in those Nordic nations comes as a surprise to me. It’s good to have a hobby now that there’s no churches left to burn. JOKE! Anyway, Rob Reiner took inspiration from Saxon for Spinal tap – so it  ain’t just me who finds their appearance humorous. Do you really want a poster of Graham Oliver’s moustache on your bedroom wall? The fact that Paul Quinn battled with losing his locks in the masculine long haired world of HM is funny. Anyway, on the same theme, here is a photo of an unknown Euro metal band from around 1983. Do you know who they are? They look German to me, animal print tank tops, heavy leather belts and yep – a moustache, as favoured by many Deutsch metal man in the early 80s. As for that good looking lady killer at the back left of the photo – Jon Bon Jovi, make way!

Picked up this killer comp in the UK twenty odd years back and I’m always amazed at the assembled line-up. It’s a Carrere Records pressing so that means only one things. It’s gonna be loud my friends. From memory they were chiefly a HM label outta France and tended to put out only the good stuff – as indicated here. Saxon, Demon, Rage, Dokken and the mighty Rose Tattoo. Woulda made for a great album showcase I reckon. Don’t for one instant think that Dokken are out if place here cos they ain’t, with their earlier material a purer style of metal than the melodic hard rock which would give them MTV rotation and cover shots on Hit Parader Magazine some time later (which Mr Rockbrat very much digs). Saxon unleash Motorcycle Man, Denim and Leather and Heavy Metal Thunder. If you ain’t heard these timeless heavy rock tracks then come out of your cave and do so. This was the stuff I grew up on from one of the leaders of the NWOBHM movement. Demon released the very rockin’ Night Of The Demon album which is a long-time favourite of mine. Well written, catchy rock songs with loud guitars – enough said ? Liar is incuded here off that album, along with the song Total Possession. The two Tatts songs are One Of The Boys and Assault and Battery. Dokken and Rage round off this compilation which is being played at maximum volume as this post is being composed. When it’s this good, there’s not really much to add is there. Let me say this though and it is stating the bleeding obvious – (and I couldn’t give a shit what this says about Mr Rockbrat) – but I’d rather listen to this nearly 30-year-old HM compilation to most of the utter, utter rubbish which the kids listen to nowadays or what I hear on radio as well. If it wasn’t for great bands like Saxon, Demon and the Rosie Tatts there’d be no Metallica or Guns n Roses, which in turn means there’d be nothing to jam to as you ‘play’ your Guitar Hero toy thingy. Maybe Ulrich and Hetfield should re-listen to this type of material to remember where their roots are as I think they sometimes need reminding. Lesson over kids, ensure you do your homework with this one.

2010 and Ozzy Osborne and Metallica are household names, and everybody’s a freakin’ Maiden fan. Well let me tell you friends, 25 years ago the landscape looked a little but different to what it does today. Growing up a metal head in Sydney’s early to mid 80’s – metal was underground, which you might find hard to believe, but it was. That all began to change a couple years later with the more digestible and light metal sounds of Jon Bongiovi, which made hard and heavy rock accessible and radio friendly. Yet I was a Saxon fan, and Maiden too, and Ozzy, and Randy Rhoads for pete’s sake – not Sambora. There was no internet, no instant download of any of these artists entire catalogue – you joined fan clubs and wrote away to addresses that were on the back of album covers. The thrill of getting a letter or newsletter in the mail from your favourite band was something today’s generation of kids don’t quite understand. I remember Mr. Rockbrat received a Xmas Card once from Mark Slaughter of Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion and let me tell you, that was a buzz.  Anyways, the point of all this is that I was once in the Maiden fan club, and I recently unearthed my fan club application letter from 26 years ago.  You think you’re a Maiden fan ? As Izzy Stradlin once sung, ” I was here before you”.  By the way, you’ll notice that the letter is signed by Keith Wilfort. Wilfort was one of Maiden’s  earliest fans and caught Maiden’s first ever performance at the Cart & Horses tavern by accident. As the story goes he was giving a barmaid’s boyfriend the slip at the time after getting caught taking her out, and came in. He was completely blown away by ‘Transylvania’ and was converted on the spot. One night Keith walked into the Bridge House (another popular early gigging spot) with a home-made t-shirt proudly proclaiming ‘Charlotte Rules OK’, and soon followed it with a more elaborate ‘Invasion’ t-shirt. So, he is pretty much the inventor of the first Maiden t-shirt. He later ‘graduated’ to pushing the band’s merchandise, turning his home into a pit with thousands of copies of THE SOUNDHOUSE TAPES E.P. This EP never went on retail sale, but was distributed by Keith and and his mum from their house in Beaconsfield Rd, East Ham. They shifted 3000 copies in the first week alone which gives you some idea of the demand. So now you know….

The other day I was selling off my Saxon albums, and as I went through the jackets and inserts to make sure there were no freebie inserts / flyers etc for the buyer, I came across this gem. Have a look at these guys! This is Saxon circa 1985, the inner sleeve of the ‘Innocence Is No Excuse Album’. More commonly, its known as a fashion faux pas. Dear me, what the hell is going on here ? These guys look absolutely ridiculous! How did the photographer manage to keep a straight face throughout this session ? For cryin’ out loud, Spinal Tap had been out for at least 6 months when this album was released, but our NWOBHM heroes (who incidentally never made it in the States), obviously hadn’t seen it. I find that hard to believe, for Saxon bass player Steve ”Dobby’ Dawson was a key inspiration for Derek Smalls after all. One look at this photo will tell you why. Is he wearing a NIKE sports sweat shirt ? With a white jacket ? As for his folically challenged mate Paul Quinn ? Dear me. Is that a plastic sun visor he’s wearing ? Note the sweat bands too. Did he just come off the tennis court ? Ina few years Paul would be seen wearing a dead animal on his bonce, and looked scarier (but just as ridiculous) as Kev DuBrow in QR’s ‘Wild and the Young’ video, rest in peace Kev. What the hell is a glammed up Biff wearing ? Did someone forget to tell him that ‘Crusader’ was the album and tour from the pervious year? Is he wearing a Matador’s jacket ? Go easy with the make up Biff. Just let me rock! He looks just plain silly. About as silly as Phil Cohen and those white naval stripes he used to don. As for the drummer Nigel Glockler?  Well, he’s the drummer. You expect this kind of thing from drummers. Guitarist Graham Oliver is clad head to toe in Quo approved denim. A safe option. More to come soon!