Tonight is the night folk’s that myself and Mikey have a catch up chat with Greg Fraser( Storm Force, Brighton Rock).
Just a little over a year ago we had Fraze on and we did a deep dive into Greg’s years with Brighton Rock right up to his current band Storm Force who released the stellar “Age of Fear” CD back in January 2020.
Tonight we will be about talking rock and seeing what Greg has been up to over the last year.
I’m really looking forward to this so I hope you will check out my You Tube page which is Thunder Bay Arena Rock-Scotch on the Rocks and join in the fun.
Well Folk’s, I have been talking about starting my own little stream deal and with a ton of action going on in Mikey’s world at the moment I figured now would be a good as time as any to give streaming a shot.
Back in August 2020 we had Brighton Rock-Storm Force guitarist-songwriter Greg Fraser on the “Lebrain Train”.
Fraze was one of the first guys I reached out too to come on the “Train” and he agreed right away.
So a return visit was in order for Fraze to come back on but then Mikey’s world went upside down and lets for a second thank Mikey as every Friday he went live at 7pm but a break is needed for that fella.
So I figured now would be a good as time as any to get this thing rolling.
So next Friday (with Mike riding shotgun with me as a co-host) were bringing Greg to talk RAWK along with of course what else he has been up to.
There will a couple of ways for you to watch.
One is you can find my site on YouTube under the title of ‘Thunder Bay Arena Rock- Scotch On The Rocks’ as well on Facebook under the same heading.
Hit the subscribe button please! (cheap plug)
I have also have been working on bringing in a few other people as well during October and I’m happy to announce that my good pal Brent Jensen will be joining me in the not too distant future for a discussion that is yet to be determined!
On Thursday October 7th @7pm, I’m psyched to announce that my buddy “Muc” will be joining me as we discuss the year 1981. This was the year myself and Muc discovered two important bands that summer while hanging out in the local record shops!
Plus to keep the whole Thunder Bay vibe going I will also have a good friend of mine named “Probie” (nickname of course) who is going to come on another episode as I can honestly say that he has to be the biggest Tragically Hip fan here in town and he has a few good stores to share. Trust me!
Watch out for them Road Apples!
Also coming up I will have John Snow come aboard as well Robert Lawson will be on with Mikey and myself in November as we will be discussing the 45th Anniversary KISS Destroyer release!
Thunder Bay Arena Rock- Scotch On The Rocks will be different than the Lebrain Train as I will be trying to keep the episodes down to under a hour tops unless we have big names on in which we may go over that allotted time.
And yes I hope that in due time TBone will hop on…
Once again see you all this upcoming Friday at 7pm!
Styx have released what I would consider one of the best releases of ’21 in the form of “Crash of The Crown” which is the bands 17th studio album.
15 tracks clocking in at just over 43 minutes which has Styx firing on all 6 cylinders as after all there are now 6 members in the band, well 7 if you count producer Will Evankovich who is now touring with the band as a member.
Tommy Shaw/ Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Banjo, and Vocals
James Young/ Electric Guitar and Vocals
Chuck Panozzo/ Bass Guitar
Todd Sucherman/ Drums and Percussion
Lawrence Gowan/ Piano, B3 Organ, Synthesizers, Mellotron, and Vocals
Ricky Philips/ Bass Guitar
“Crash of the Crown” has that throwback ’70s vibe. The production is killer as it sounds like it was recorded in ’79 and not ’21. Thats one of the best compliments I can say about what Tommy Shaw and JY have decided to do on this record.
The performances are top notch and if you’re looking for the “Babe” version of Styx better to pull out your copy of Cornerstone for that vibe.
The chops on “COTC” are stellar as Styx can blend the use of acoustic guitars with the electrics and we must not forget the vocals and harmonies.
These guys bought the “A-Game” in this release even releasing the vinyl copy in a gatefold as well.
Even the packaging features some morse code on it to decipher the clues. At first I though this was a printing glitch of my record lol, little did I know.
“A Monster” is a stellar track and if you want to hear a sample check that track out as Sucherman’s drums along with with Gowan’s lead vocals lifts this track almost off my turntable. Must also note a real slick guitar solo as well..
Those silly Styx-ster’s fooled me when they included in there tune “Save Us From Ourselves”, Churchills rallying cry of the “We shall go on to the end” speech you know the one Iron Maiden uses at the start of Ace’s High. For a split second I was like …whut?
The title track is an interesting one as it features all three lead singers (Gowan-Shaw-JY) each taking a verse vocally which I believe is the first in the career of Styx which is now approaching 50 years!
I know there are the original fans want Dennis DeYoung back and quite frankly that isn’t going to happen and if it does it will be totally for the cash.
I can honestly say that after reading JY’s comments in the latest issue of Rock Candy that featured a 16 page cover feature on Styx.
Gowan has elevated this band as the cat can sing and is a fantastic keyboard wizard as well.
COTC is one fine listen and if you are in the mood for a band that gives its all on a record then do yourselves a favour and check this one out.
One of the last shows that I saw back in 2019 was when my good pal Frank Loffredo brought to town Sloan on there 20th Anniversary Tour of playing the classic “Navy Blues” album front to back!
Such a great show (which I reviewed in detail) and of course like any show I attend there is always a side trip to the merch table.*
Had to grab this shirt as it features the cover of Navy Blues and on the back which of course has Thunder Bay listed with a bunch of dates in not only Canada and the U.S!
Pretty cool that my buddy Andrew (who writes the excellent blog “Drew’s Reviews”) who lives in Portland took my advice and went to show along with his wife and enjoyed it.
How could you not…
*- Speaking of merch tables this was the show in which my pal Tbone gifted me with the Navy Blues Box Set after the show in which you can see in the pic below with Chris Murphy along with Frank pictured in the background!
AC/DC was a band that needed to drop an album in the shitty year known as 2020 and they delivered a real fine slab of booze bar room rock.
12 songs from the boy’s that are expertly dialled in by Brendan O’Brien and Mike Fraser.
Lot’s of highlights on here and what could I possibly add to an AC/DC album that already has not been said?
Nothing! I will add I love how AC/DC has always managed to capture that buzz saw approach of the guitars on they’re albums.
I’m going on memory here but I read some reviews where someone said Brian Johnsons vocals sounded buried in the mix. Gah to that as the dude is over 70 and he’s competing against Marshall Amps!
You know people would be bitchin if there was no AC/DC album yet when there is people poke at it…
I was going to review this last winter but everyone was smashing out reviews quicker than Tbone hollering “Bartender!!” in regards to this record so I deiced to take a pass,
I thought I would wait it out til now as recently when I put on “Power Up” I wanted to see if I still dug it as much as I did last November when this album dropped.
The answer to that is a resounding YES! I can also honestly say that you could lead off Side 2 as Side 1 and it would still be a strong sounding album..
Lots of great tracks to sink your teeth into here folks…
“Rejection”, “Through The Mists of Time”, “Witch’s Spell” “Demon Fire” are stellar tracks on their own and how about what I consider end of the album GEMS like “Systems Down” and “Money Shot” are so good and yet they are at the back end of the album.
See what I mean as Side 1 and Side 2 being equal as far as strong sides of music is concerned.
Well friends. A first ever Summertime Spin review of a current album that was released in this current year! What is going on here???
It pays to wake up early.
Back in March of this year I was up at my usual time of 5am getting ready for work. I had some time to spare before I left the house so I thought I would take a spin around the earth via the Internet.
One site I had been keeping an eye on was Wolfgang Van Halen’s page as he had been mentioning about doing a preorder on his debut self titled release calling itself Mammoth WVH.
Well that March morning there it was, WVH’s debut would be released on June 11th 2021 in various streaming formats as well on CD and Vinyl.
Vinyl! I was in. I clicked the order link and lo behold there was two options for double “clear” vinyl one of them being an autographed copy.
Plus a gatefold sleeve. I sure do love the gatefold!
I thought for a second that a signed album by the last name being Van Halen can’t be cheap.
Well to my amazement it was cheap! A signed insert (see below) copy on vinyl for 40 U.S!
I clicked and after all was said and done including the shipping and currency exchange rate the cost was $65 Canadian!
Sure, to some still a little steep but I didn’t care as I normally don’t go after this kind of thing but since opportunity knocked…
I friggin answered!
The album was shipped out on June 9th and by the end of the month I had this record in my hands.
After spending the last few months listening to this new sound from a Van Halen, I have to say its a very good modern contemporary rock record.
As we all know over the last few years Wolf has been recording and doing all the vocals himself (in between VH Tours) at his Pop’s 5150 studio with the help of producer Michael Baskette (AlterBridge-Myles Kennedy).
Give Wolf his due. On this album’s 14 tracks he forges his own path musically and in saying that if you’re looking for “Hot For Teacher” like boogie rock party tunes that his father mastered, you would be better to keep on passing by. However, you would miss out on some great rock.
The records opening three pack of tracks “Mr. Ed,” “Horribly Wright,” and “Epiphany” have that modern day rock sound. Yes there is a bit of tapping on the strings as that would be expected.
But Wolf can also make a left turn and take the foot off the gas pedal as well on songs like “Think It Over,” “Circles” and of course the bonus track tribute to his Dad, that being “Distance” which is at over 5 million plus views on Youtube is impressive.
Speaking of “Think It Over”. This one needs to be released as a single and yup I’m pretending to play A&R guy!
Make no mistake though as Wolf shows what a great multi instrumentalist he is on three of my favourites that being “Don’t Back Down”, “Resolve” and “You’re To Blame” which are filled throughout with enough hooks to keep any hard rock fan happy.
Mammoth WVH is a stellar debut and worthy of your attention. I look forward to hearing what Wolf has up his sleeve now that he has put a band together and has hit the road supporting this record.
See Folk’s, It pays to get up early!
Thanks for reading along over the last two months and commenting as well now that summer is coming to an end so is this series.
Curious George goes right outside the box on what I believe is his first all instrumental guitar album.
The 12 tracks rock and George keeps it real interesting as he just doesn’t shred like it’s the end of the world. Course there is that but George makes this album real interesting with a bunch of tempo changes and a killer rhythm section along for the ride as well. (bassist Eric Loiselle and drummer Jimmy D’Anda)
01. “Quiver” 02. “Cola” 03. “TJ69” 04. “Death By A Thousand Licks” 05. “iThink” 06. “Sharks With Laser Beams” 07. “Octavia” 08. “Supersonic Hypnotic Groove Thing” 09. “Falling Apart”
Bonus Tracks: 10. “Blue Light Effect” 11. “House Of Eternal Return” 12. “The Weight”
Considering I have been listening George since 1983 when I hear these songs there is that tinge of the Dokken sound in ’em.
Fair enough as Lynch was a huge part on that sound and I could actually hear “The” Don singing over a lot of this stuff so its that close to actually being an Dokken or maybe a Lynch Mob record .
But it isn’t and fair enough as this is George’s deal and he delivers a real solid instrumental record and normally I do not go for this kind of thing, but Lynch proves me wrong and for that I salute him!
As I mentioned George does go off on tracks in the shred department like “Death By A Thousand Licks” and “Quiver.”
I have to add I really dig it that at times Lynch goes right down in the power trio format during the solos.
What a talent this guy is still doing what he does!
I can admit that it wasn’t until the Summer of 69, oops I mean the Summer of ’85 that I really got on board with the “Reckless” opus that was selling like hotcakes but had already been out in the shops since November ’84.
Bryan Adams was everywhere that summer as it was only a matter of time before I took the plunge and originally bought it on cassette tape.
Why the wait you ask? Simple. I had to stretch my funds until my summer job of washing dishes at the hospital. If Maiden, Priest, AC/DC, RUSH were to release music they took priority over everyone else musically that is.
Oh yeah add Rock Mags to that list!
So once young dEke’s had a little money in his pocket going Jing a little Jing I liked what I heard from the continuous rotation of Adams videos on MuchMusic!
“Run To You*,” One Night Love Affair”, “Heaven”, “It’s Only Love”, “Summer of ’69”, “Somebody”, basically more half the album was already out as singles so I liked what I heard especially the guitar chops of Keith Scott** who its say to safe is in my all time TOP 10 of 6 stringers!
But I have to say its those other four songs that seal the deal and they are not fillers by any stretch of the imagination.
“Kids Wanna Rock” (listen to those guitar licks courtesy of Mr. Scott), “Long Gone”, album closer “Ain’t Gonna Cry” (what an end of the album scorcher) and one of the best songs on “Reckless” that being “She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing” which has a Stonesy like guitar riff during the chorus and features the great Lou Gramm on backing vocals!
An absolute beginning of the record GEM! (see what I did there Mr. Geoff Stephen?)
After “Reckless” I was onboard with what ever Adams was putting out up until after his “Unplugged” release as for some reason Adams found the light fluffy avenue of rock and decided to stay on that street.
“Reckless” and the one that followed “Into The Fire”(1987) are such great pieces of rock that always deserve a spin at Arena Rock HQ’s!
I have an VHS insert in case Ladano wants to order a copy..
*- Adams offered Blue Oyster Cult “Run To You” in which B.O.C turned Adams down so Bryan recorded it and kept it for himself.
Blue Oyster Cult= Dumb Ass Move
**- When Eddie Van Halen lists you as one his fav’s, I think it’s safe to say your doing something right on that 6 string!
How about a SummerTime Spin compilation post? I thought it would be neat to compile what I have been streaming and spinning recently as well as this post is an request from a good pal of mine…
One of the first guys to follow my blog a bunch of years ago was my good pal RockStar Supa Paulie whom a few years back moved to Southern Ontario after being placed in the Witness Protection Program!
But Paulie did reach out to me to check in and that he still enjoys my nonsense and asked if I would be willing to do a Top 10 list of what I have been listening to this summer.
That’s a damn fine idea and to appease my huge audience (insert laughter here), why not tell you all what I have been streaming or spinning the last few months.
Some of these I have reviewed and a few I haven’t yet but may do so at some point.
Without further ado here we go…
Styx- Crash of the Crown (2021)– Styx go all late 70s early 80s prog and deliver a stellar album with a ton of acoustic guitar but enough snap crackle n pop in the tracks to keep you coming back for more. All Hail Gowan. The best thing that Shaw did was hire Larry. Take that all you Dennis DeYoung fans. Fight Me!
Mammoth WVH (2021)- A real fine rock record that proves Wolf is his own man and will forge his own path of Rock. Great catchy songs plus added points as Wolf is a hoot on Twitter.
Polychuck-Shadows Exposed (2021)- This fine 5 song EP has some wicked playing and has a total different vibe then what is out there currently. Polychuck also told us when we talked to him that his first full-length releases may be a concept album. This dude not only has balls but he will kick your ass as well!
George Lynch- Seamless (2021)– In a what took ya so long to do. One of my favourite guitar hero’s George Lynch is about to release a full length guitar driven instrumental record. I’m not big on these albums, but considering George is one the best he gets a pass. George looks like a great interview (dry sarcastic humour) as I just watched one the other day and he can’t remember the name of the guy who played bass on this record lol. First single “Death By A Thousand Licks” you should all check out. Great song. Mr. Scary is coming for ya!
Lee Aaron- Radio On! (2021)– Does Lee Aaron age? Wowzer’s man and Radio On! is an album with a lot of rock swagger especially when you have guitar slinger Sean Kelly co writing and laying down big bombastic riffs of rock over and over!
The Tragically Hip- Saskadelphia (2021)– The Hip don’t mess about on this 6 track EP, 1 live tune and 5 (and I’m not calling them leftover) studio tracks from 1991. These tracks are Gold! Stream this one, buy this one on vinyl or buy it on coaster(CD’s). Just get it dammit!
Stone Temple Pilots-Tiny Music ..Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop(1996/2021)– I always will and still do dig STP. Great live act when they opened for the Stones back in ’94. Great studio act that had a great run of albums throughout the ’90s as well. This reissue is mega with a bunch of outtakes and a live show from ’97 which is the real deal for me. I loved the look of this band as you had a drummer (Eric Kretz) who looked like a surfer. You had a lead singer (Scott Weiland R.I.P) who was not only a great vocalist/frontman but a slick dresser as well. Plus you had two brothers. One being on bass (Robert DeLeo) who looks like a slick D.E.A officer while his brother on Guitar (Dean DeLeo) who looked like a member of the Narcos Cartel. Somehow they made it work.
KISS-OFF THE SOUNDBOARD(2021)– Gene and Paul do the right thing and release a KISS show from way back in 2001 with the real Ace and fake Peter in the lineup and it’s a stellar listen. Like many I hope Eric Carr gets his long overdue with one of these live ‘soundboard’ releases at some point.
Metallica- The Black Album(1991/2021)– Crazy to think that The Black Album is 30 years old. Where does the time go? Metallica is reissuing this in a huge way. Every single format possible. Demos, live stuff, the whole nine yards. Myself I have preordered the double vinyl of the The Black Album which I have never owned except for on coaster (CD) upon its original release back in ’91. I will be streaming all the extra stuff from Apple Music as I want to hear all this music and how they built it up from scratch!
IRON MAIDEN- The Writing On The Wall (2021)– September 3rd 2021 drops the new Maiden 82 minute opus “Senjutsu” and we all will be better off. Debut single ‘The Writing On The Wall’ written by Bruce and Adrian have Maiden doing what they do best. Writing 6 minute plus like tracks that continue to push the band on the ledge known as Prog Rock yet still retaining that Maiden Sound!
Jared James Nichols- Shadow Dancer (2021)-I love this guy as JJN has a throwback sound yet an ear to whats current in the hard blues rock genre. “Shadow Dancer” is a 4 song EP that will drop in early September yet Jared has put out a couple of cool tracks beforehand. “Skin N Bone” and “Bad Roots”. “Bad Roots” I have to say is bad ass as I love that fuzzy Geezer Butler like Bass vibe that is laid down with Jared doing what he does best over top of it! Rawk!
How about a bonus 11th pick….!
Night Ranger- ATBPO (2021)– You would have thought Tbone was lurking around these parts with a Night Ranger pick popping up on this page. Night Ranger I do like, well the rock stuff is good whereas I always found there ballads were a ploy to sell records so to me there “meh”. In 2021 with a new album calling itself “ATBPO” whatever that means is a pretty good kick at revisiting the hey day of the 80s. What I mean by that is you still have Jack Blades singing about “school girl” and “cocaine” so I guess 2021 isn’t all that bad.
Two more “SummerTime Spin” coming up on the next couple of weekends than thats a wrap for another summer!