Impact Albums-Aerosmith: Rocks(1976)

Writing about Aerosmith Rocks is like writing about a few other huge rock releases like AC/DC’s Back In Black or Boston’s self titled million’s upon million’s selling debut! What the hell am I going to add that already hasn’t been said about Rocks before?

If you recall from my Aero review of Draw The Line. I first dabbled with Aero  back in 1981 as my Dad’s friend at the time gave me a copy of Draw The Line as Dad’s friend didn’t really dig it too much. Fair enough so I spun Draw The Line and it knocked meant another time zone! I mean going from the comfy safe zone of KISS and now hearing  the opening title track from Aero just ripped me apart. This band was loaded on all kinds of set and taking no prisoners!

1981 was a funny year to discover Aerosmith as when I did Joe Perry had left amidst split milk the year before and there was zero press on Aerosmith. But I dug what I heard from the Draw The Line so much so that it made me take my allowance that summer and purchase the Live Album of all Live Albums  LIVE BOOTLEG.

Spread over two records LIVE BOOTLEG impacted me like no other Live album I had heard up to that point as well up to now for  that matter! It is easily my all-time fav-o Live Record one in which that will get its own Impact Record segment  at some point!

As we roll into 1982 the fall to be exact there is new Aero product in the form of Rock In A Hard Place which featured the new guitar duo of Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay. To this day RIAHP is a fantastic listen as Aero stepped up the Game so to speak. Great tunes and Steve Tyler stepped up ad brought his A Game even though the public didn’t think that as the album didn’t shift a ton of sales!

So from there eventually I think it may have been 1984 or so I finally bought 1976’s Rocks on cassette tape in which they’re  was absolutely no packaging whatsoever as were many tapes backs than and is the main reason I disliked buying them but with my Walkman kicking about at times I had to do what I had to do!

I was blown away by Rocks back than and still today!

I mean look at those 9 Tracks! From opener Back In The Saddle to end of the album kinda somewhat ballad like Home Tonight Aerosmith drops the gauntlet on a total street rock record! This album reeks of the seedier side of life. All drugged up and nowhere to go Tyler/Perry went about crafting the ultimate rock record!

Back In The Saddle crushes right out of the gate with Tyler screaming that he’s “Baaaaaaaaaack’ where they ever gone? Nope, Aero hammers it right out of the gate as Joe and Brad Whitford slice and dice their guitars mashing up flinging out brilliant lightning bolts of riffs and this is just the first track!

I have to mention Jack Douglas and his fantastic production throughout Rocks. Jack does the perfect mix between polish and keeping it ruff round the edges!

You gotta hand it to Aerosmith as they could blast right out of the gate with a stomper of a track in Back In The Saddle but then can take the foot of the gas and go in a whole different direction by track 2.  Last Child  just oozes a cool  funky groovy little ditty that does not lose any drive even if it’s played at half the speed the opening tune was….

Aero does indeed put the foot on the gas pedal and all bet’s are off as we zip right into Rats In The Cellar as Perry/Tyler load up a speedball and blast off into parts unknown during this track. Love the interplay of the guitars and Steve-o lying down some serious harp playing….

Joe steps up and delivers a fine tune on his own called Combination. What a friggin brilliant tune as Joe slices not only some mean guitar but tosses down a cool lead vocal(with help from Steven of course) that makes Combination end Side 1 with a swift kick in the ASS!  Joe as u may recall also ended Side 1 of 1977’s Draw The Line with Bright Light Fright so maybe Joe thought the could have his own little space on each album. Course that ended with the Draw The Line album as Joe didn’t get his own sung tune on a Aero album again until 1993’s Get A Grip release….

End of Side 1….now onto …..Side 2

Sick As A Dog yeah about this track for minute! The first version I heard of this tune was the Booze N Blow ramped up version off of Live Bootleg which has Tyler and Perry shooting up at the speed of the light as the song is played at super-duper cool speed. On Rocks it’s got that more of a Sleazy Aero Pace with the foot off the Aero Gas Pedal! Check out the picture I posted below as you see the guys in Aero switch up instruments for this tune..

Tom Hamilton plays guitar on Sick as a Dog while both Tyler/Perry play Bass on the track! Ha…gotta love the 70’s! Gotta love Drugs in the 70’s I suppose…

Brad Whitford inner channels some Black Sabbath like riffs of rock and along with Tyler delivers a fist to your face in the form of Nobdy’s Fault. Yet for all that Sab like slow like riffage comes the melodic chorus which takes care of business. Man wouldn’t it be a hoot at the upcoming Vegas Aero Residency if Aero would blast this one out after that good awful Disney tune? My sister Kristin  is attending one of Aero’s show’s this upcoming April  and  I bet ya $20 bucks that if Aero lifted off with Nobody’s Fault, Kristin will be hiding under the Merchandise table until the coast is clear! HAHAHA!

You know how I love end of the album GEMS as I call em?  Well here comes two in the form of Get The Lead Out and Lick and a Promise. These songs deliver in spades. Get The Lead Out has that slinky strut of a track that is one of the all time great songs in the Aero catalogue and there are many folks! Love everything about this tune. Tylers crafyt lyrics. Perry’s brilliant solo all kept under warps by Joey Kramer on the drums! Before even Get The Lead Out is finished here comes Aero driving 110 Mph in a 55 zone and were blasting off yet again with Lick and a Promise. Jeepers this song is just frigging awesome. Lick and a Promise is a tough track. Don’t Fuck around with it. Just crank it up and not  before too long you will be wanting to break things!

The album wraps up with the brilliant piano Tyler driven  ballad Home Tonight. See Folk’s that’s how you do an album right. You slam the listener through the whole album and if you really have to keep the ballad til the last song. Aero was smart man. I really like how they  did it this way on 1975’s  Toys in the Attic and  1989’s  Pump release’s

Home Tonight I have to say is a great end of the album’s track that does fit in with all the classic chaos before it. Like the calm after the storm so to speak!

Rock’s Off…

Simply put this is one of my favourite albums ever! Period! Aero is blasted, higher than kites yet they all pull together and release a brilliant album from start to finish. It’s so good! A band on a creative juggernaut that wasn’t about to slow down any time soon!

Long Live the 70’s Man!

 

 

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Motley Crue: The Dirt Movie-Netflix

 

So Motley Crue is going straight to the steaming service Netflix next month (March 22nd) to unleash the much-anticipated film based upon their successful book  titled The Dirt which tells the tale of  all the shenanigans of Motley Crue over the past 3 Decades!

Just a few short days ago Motley released the trailer for the movie. I watched the trailer and was kinda amused as in some clips Mick Mars was always the Old Geezer in the band looks like the Youngest Guy  in the band! How are they going to address the Corabi years will be interesting for me as John‘s contributions have always been wiped from the Crue History books which is unfortunate.

Having said that…

What I look forward to is seeing the track listing of the  soundtrack with the 4 new crushing songs that the Crue recorded for The Dirt Soundtrack. “Crushing” is the word Nikki Sixx has described the new songs. Then of course one song features Machine Gun Kelly (who portrays Tommy Lee in the film) doing some rapping or something that makes  the fanbase freak out about  that possibility!

I dunno this may be a total Train wreck of a film that the Crue may actually  pull off cause as we all know in life people love Train wrecks and that goes hand in hand with these guys!

Back Covers: Iron Maiden: Somewhere In Time(1986)

So I guess for me one of the Greatest Back Covers of all time would have to go to the ‘MIGHTY’ IRON MAIDEN and to the man who drew up the fabulous Back Cover as well as Front Cover the one and only Derek Riggs!

Riggs what I can I say other than the fact that he basically had me staring at Maiden Covers back in the 1980’s when I attended High School whereas I should have been doing Homework!

Job well done Mr Riggs in the form of Distraction!

Maiden’s brilliant release of Somewhere In Time was released towards the end of September 1986 so basically Maiden and the artwork took over my life for a few days as Maiden was priority and school work wasn’t! Well not quite true. I still got my assignments finished but look at this album. Every time I looked at it I would notice some other image that Riggs had drawn that I hadn’t noticed the previous hour when I last looked at it!

Riggs, man you messed me up to say the least! haha

Seriously though this is the Back Cover for me and probably for a lot of other Maiden fans  as well! Perhaps not for Riggs though as he explain’s below.

It wore me out quite severely,” Riggs states in Martin Popoff’s book Run For Cover: The Art Of Derek Riggs. “I was living in London at the time, and working on that for two months, and it took three months in all – I just had to stop, because I had enough. It got into my head and I just couldn’t see anything else. I couldn’t think about anything else. It did my head in, because there’re all these little details.”

So if you Google search the artwork for this album you will find that there are  a few articles claiming anywhere between 21 and 39 hidden references pertaining to the Front and Back Cover of the album.

No wonder Riggs lost his marbles on this album,

It’s almost like back than in 86 as there was no internet to read about or article’s for that matter to talk about this detailed album artwork you had to really check it out carefully for yourself.

The thing I love about this artwork  is the whole futuristic Blade Runner   Eddie that Riggs ran with  on the front cover but I still recall the trigger point for me to realize that this drawing  was going to feature a ton of Maiden references was the fact that Derek drew on the back cover  the Maiden guys with Bruce Dickinson holding a brain! Ah….Piece of Mind. 

From that point on I was Hooked! I started staring at all the images drawn on an album cover. All the little hidden detail’s involved like the Ace’s High Bar/L’Amours Bar(which I read in magazines as go to spot for bands when in NYC) Icarus/ Ancient Mariner Bar/Phantom of the Opera House. That’s just a couple I’m posting as there are many but one of my faves that Riggs put down was 23:58 meaning Two Minutes To Midnight! 

To be honest there were more than  a few I  missed and it wasn’t until I started searching for this post that I figured out the rest! Kudos to Mr Riggs for stumping this Fella for 33 Years! Talk about Wasted Years! haha…

So if you have a vinyl copy of Somewhere in Time kicking about do grab and take another look-see at it as I bet you see something you have been missing all this time!

If you only  have a CD copy of Somewhere In Time. Grab a magnifying glass so you don’t go cross-eyed!

What a detailed piece of Artwork and Design. Simply put one of if not the Best of all Time!

All Hail Derek Riggs! (cool first name-just saying !)

 

 

 

 

 

The Police:Ghost In The Machine(1981)

Been slowly collecting The Police’s excellent  studio output of material from 1978- 1983 when Crabby- Pants Sting (does this guy ever smile or laugh?)  and his two other hombres were starting to dominate the Charts and selling out  Arena Shows!

I admit it wasn’t until 1983’s mega Synchronicity that I really gave the Police a listen. Synchronicity is a stellar Top 15 album for me easy! But that’s another review for another time …..

Course in 1981 I was aware of Ghost In The Machine as local radio pounced on  opening two tracks which were Spirits In The Material World and Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.

The Police as we all know were a trio and like many a trio around that time were excellent musicians as all three of the Police Fella’s knew there instruments inside out.

Sting – Bass, Keyboards, Saxophone, Lead Vocals
Andy Summers – Guitars, Synths, Backing Vocals
Stewart Copeland – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

These 3 Cat’s could make their  albums sound HUGE like they were a 10 piece band. Plus you have to hand it to them in the production department as there records always sounded ahead of their time  and still do excellent today courtesy of Hugh Padgham. Take a bow Sir!

You can tell by this album which is Number Four in the Police studio catalogue that unlike the First Three Police albums Ghost In The Machine features more synths/horns which almost at time buries Andy Summers guitar throughout. I’m sure their was a ton of scrapping about  between Sting and Andy. Copeland as well I’m sure would join in and argue along just for the sake of arguing as you always heard his Drums!.  Come to think of it I think none of these guys liked each other but they somehow made it work and after 5 albums and HUGE success they divorced and of course reunited many years later!

Sting wrote all the tunes except for 3 songs. A  co write with Copeland (Rehumanize Yourself)  as well as Stewart delivered the puzzling end of the album synth tune  Darkness. Andy’s lone writing contribution is with Omegaman  in which you hear guitar!

Ghost In The Machine I came across on one of my  Record Store Jaunts and once I seen Ghost sitting in the racks for $5 Canadian it was no brainer Grab N Purchase!

 

 

Promoting Shows In A Sleepy Northern Town!- Part One…..

Hey Folk’s! If you have been following my Blog  for a while you may have seen some concert reviews that have come through Thunder Bay. You will  have noticed the name of the facility that I have reviewed these shows is at an establishment called CROCKS!

Frank Lofreddo has worn the Promoters Hat for well over 3 decades here locally (bringing bands to Crocks) and if it wasn’t for Frank hundreds of bands would have just skipped or basically made a gas stop in Tbay and just kept trucking either to Eastern or Western Canada. Frank has seen it all man, and this is the guy that brought many bands for the first time here to our Sleepy Northern Town.

For myself and my Pal Tbone the one show that we can lay claim to is the first time The Tragically Hip rolled into Thunder Bay back in early 1988 for three shows at Crocks on which Frank has told me that attendance for the three shows totalled about 75 people! The night in which we attended(Saturday) granted there was a massive snowstorm I think there were about 15-20 peeps at Crocks..

I could list many more of them but I will let Frank tell ya at some point as I plan on getting inside the noggin of man who at one point of his life decided to bring Live Music to Tbay and continues to do so today!

Here’s Franks Words from FaceCrack a few days ago! ( I told Frank I’m going to make  this a feature at this site as he’s got a few good stories to tell! haha)

Take it away Frank!

From my upcoming book My Bizarre Life in A Sleepy Northern Town or something like that.

“I was a cook playing a wannabe promoter in a restaurant. The kitchen telephone cord was 20 feet long but I was able to stretch at least another 10 feet. Those curled up old phone cords stood up to all sorts of abuse, not like this new crap that breaks within 24 hours of leaving Best Buy.

That said, day after day the phone rang & I would pencil in shows on the calendar beside the walk in cooler. No contracts, no email, no nothing. Just old school word & no fuck ups.

For several weeks something different happened. I had people non stop asking about a certain band & when tickets would be available ( I never sold tix unless it was a no brainer, not even for Colin James or 54 40 , which is another story lol ) .

I was clueless and told people repeatedly this certain artist was not performing. After dozens of enquiries I just kept saying to myself damn maybe I should have booked this one after all. Well just so happens that Greyhound called to tell me a package was sitting at the depot. I go to the depot the day before the show was to happen. I look at the poster and it was the band everyone knew was performing the next day but me.

The show ended up happening and it was one if not the most financially succesful nights even with me sabotaging myself. All I ever said to the agent while making those fucking grilled cheese sandwiches with the 50 foot phone cord wrapped every which way was , yes the date is open. Nothing confirmed. Now that band? The Tea Party but the support was none other than legendary UK folk hero Roy Harper.”

More stories to come Folk’s!…
STAY TUNED…..

Greg Fraser from Brighton Rock-2019 Interview!

Just a little over a week ago at Brighton Rock‘s Facebook Page was a post about how they recorded there first new track in 28 years! Not to miss a beat I reached out to Brighton Rock Guitarist Greg Fraser who graciously answered my few questions about the New Song ‘End of Time’ and how they ended getting producer Beau Hill to do the mixing!

‘End of Time’ is available from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify! Please take the time to check it out …..

Actually Folk’s why don’t you all show your Visa or Debit cards a good time and just buy the song from iTunes! Here in Canada it’s for 99 cents! Not even a buck! Where can u find anything for under a buck nowadays??  The Dollar  Store doesn’t  even sell stuff for under a Dollar anymore!! ‘End of Time’ is great Ear Candy! 

For the record I purchased this tune….

Check out the video below for the song!

Listen to that opening  Guitar Riff and the song just lifts off! Full out kudos to  Gerry McGhee(Vocals) Stevie Skreebs(Bass) Johnnie Rodgers(Guitars) Mark Cavarzan (Drums) and Greg Fraser (Lead Guitar).  End of Time has that Brighton Sound. Total current sounding track that just flat-out Rocks but could have slid right on the Love Machine album back in 1991!

The only real knock I have is that once it ends that’s it!  Your left with that wanting more feeling. You know I had to ask the questions to Greg like how about more songs? An album in the works? Showing up to play  in Thunder Bay? ( Ok that last one was my doing) Seriously, you have to hand it to these guys that these are same Fella’s that released the debut album Young Wild and Free back in 1986! Now in this day and age of rotating band lineups these guys have stayed intact as a Musical Unit!

I would like to personally Thank Greg for being a great sport as always like he was last summer when he was one of the first guys to get back to me with My ‘10 Questions With’ segment…

Let’s Do This…..

1- Greg! Thanks for doing this Interview with me once again! Pretty exciting news from the Brighton Rock camp that you guys are releasing your first new tune in 28 years! End of Time is the new song and tell us all about whose idea it was to get a song done/recorded/written.

 

My pleasure Derek.  A while back BR was trying to write & record a new record & we soon found that our schedules could never match up. It was impossible to get all 5 of us in the same room together. There was always somebody that had other commitments.  After a while we decided to scrap the idea hoping one day things would open up for everybody schedule wise. If anything it’s even harder to get together now than before. A lot of songs were written & recorded but in pieces, meaning some songs still needed vocals or keyboards or guitars etc. The only song fully completed was ‘End Of Time’ & we decided to finally release it.

 

2- Now correct me if I’m wrong but this being your first new song since the Brilliant Love Machine release from 1991. This song would mark Keyboardist Johnny Rogers first tune with Brighton since  1988’s Take A Deep Breath release!

 

You are correct sir. And the song does not have any keyboards on it! It’s a real balls out rocker & we found that keyboards sweetened it up too much. So Johnny strapped on his Les Paul & rocked out with me to get that twin guitar attack. He plays great on this song.

 

3- What also is real cool is that you got the great Beau Hill to mix the new song as well! How did you guys go about getting Beau who produced many albums in my collection including Ratt/Winger/Europe/Alice Cooper basically a who’s who of hard Rock back in the 80’s!

 

Back in the Myspace days over 10 years ago I was in the process of releasing a solo/band record called Fraze Gang. I started posted songs & Beau somehow got wind of it & reached out to me & said he loved what he heard & said to call him. I was shocked to say the least. This guy is a legend so I initially that this was a hoax. I called him & was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was indeed really him. He said he wanted to mix my songs. I told him the record is pretty much done but we have one more song to record & if he’s interested he can mix that. He said send it over. The song is called Jackhammer & he loved it & mixed it. We actually did a video for it on YouTube if you want to check it out. When we were making our second record Fraze Gang 2 he said he wanted to mix the whole record. So I would send him each song as they were recorded & we would talk about how to approach things and slowly built a friendship that has lasted to this day. We would always check in with each to stay in touch & in fact he’s making plans at some point to come up here a visit me. When we decided to release this new song I mentioned it to Beau he jumped right on it & did a fantastic job .We could not be more happier with the results.

 

4-Now the question has to be asked. Is End of Time going to lead to more songs or is this indeed the End of Time for Brighton? Am I digging too deep here? LOL!

 

We would love to do more stuff but like I mentioned our schedules our insane. Just getting us all together to rehearse for a gig is near impossible. Time will tell.

 

5- Brighton has an appearance on the Monsters of Rock Cruise next month (February) after that is there anything on the cards for more Live Brighton shows in 2019?

 

We have a bunch of offers that we are mulling over but no contracts have been signed yet. We definitely will be doing more shows though.

 

6- With Lead Singer Gerald McGhee running a successful record plant any thoughts on reissues of the current single or perhaps the previous albums being issued on Vinyl?

 

There are talks on reissuing all the BR stuff on vinyl at some point but nothing is set in stone yet.

 

7-  Once again thanks for doing this Greg! Please keep us posted here at Thunder Bay Arena Rock on any more news with Brighton Rock! Take Care and Continued Success!

 

Any time Derek. Have a fantastic 2019 my friend!

 

 

 

Hard Rock Album and Concert Reviews! (Odd Book Review as well!)