All posts by deKE

Never Gonna Stop The Rock

Back Covers: Van Halen: OU812 (1988)

 

Man,crazy to think that this past May marked the 30th Anniversary of Van Hagar’s  ‘OU812′ release! Where does time go?

Back in May of  88 when this album dropped I was a first day buyer as I bought two copy’s.

My brother Todd who was 11 years old at the time still needed some serious musical  direction  as I didn’t want him getting into anything remotely Top 40 at the time.(1988)(Erasure and Information Society being two)  I bought Todd the cassette copy of OU812!

For myself CD’s were the rage!  I didn’t bother about it on vinyl that is back in 1988!

Until about a month ago when me and my daughter Lexie were hanging out and checking out local Pawn Shops and Bam….there it was!  OU812 on vinyl!

Never have seen it ever on vinyl and it was an easy peasey quick grab!

Man my mind was blown when I flipped the cover over and realized there are no song titles on the back cover anywhere!

The pic above is all the info you’re getting on the back cover!

Speaking of the back cover  that’s the work of  Hugo Rheinhold‘s statuette Affe mit Schädel

You can click the link above and read all about Hugo and the whole Darwin like vibe that was going down at the time back around 1893!

The picture of the back cover of the OU812 was taken by Stuart Watson.

When Sammy and Eddie were on the radio show Rockline at the time plugging this record someone asked about the whole Darwin thing on the back cover. I think Sam said something to the effect of “Ask Alex!” amidst laughter!

Who knows for sure but for myself there were no albums that came out in 1988 that didn’t have any of the songs listed on the back cover!

Kudos to Halen for if you were one of the smart ones back in 88 to have purchased OU812 on vinyl. You basically  bought it on the marquee name alone!

Advertisements

KISS: Dressed To Kill(1975)

Dressed To Kill is one of those funny KISS albums that I always dug but never owned on vinyl! I originally bought it decades ago on cassette and as the late 80’s approached and Record Companies were putting out anything remotely on CD to make a buck I bought Dressed To Kill on CD. Course back than no liner notes in the CD just a quick throw together by the suits to cash grab suckers like me! There plan worked!

Well if wasn’t for good ol fashion plain luck when my daughter Lauren and myself spent an  early October Saturday afternoon hitting pawn shops  and up on the rack at one of the shops was a sealed copy of Dressed To Kill for $10! The 2014 reissue  180 gram copy of this record. The original price in marker on the outside cover was $27.95 while a smaller sticker had the number 10!

I asked the fella behind the counter if it was actually $10 bucks! He said ‘You Bet’ I said ‘Sold!’

So that night for the first time in many years perhaps a few decades I listened to Dressed To Kill from opening track ‘Room Service to closing track ‘Rock N Roll ALL Night’.

 Dressed To Kill is an album that succeeds on all levels! It seriously does. Look at the time line for this album! 1975. KISS is making headway on the concert scene but the records this being the third album (after the self titled debut and Hotter Than Hell) didn’t really catch on sales wise.

It took the live version of ‘Rock N Roll All Night’ from late 1975 KISS Alive for KISS records to finally start moving out the door!

The great thing about Dressed To Kill is KISS was broke at the time, No money means no funny they say and look at KISS on the cover wearing suits all belonging to their manager Bill Aucoin as drummer Peter Criss was the only one who owned a suit at the time!

Neil Bogart the President and Owner of Casablanca Records produced the album as the Record Company was about to go bankrupt so they couldn’t even afford a producer for this record!

See where I’m going with this Folk’s! A band with Nothin to Lose and everything to gain. 

Love the fact that its just the four KISS guys that are on this album. No studio guitarists/drummers/outside songwriters to dilute and pollute an evolving sound!

10 Song’s=30 minutes! 

The songs featured are classics that many of you have heard many times over  so instead of going track by track I’ll just talk about each KISS Guy’s contribution!

Peter Criss- Believe it or not the Catman plays some brilliant drums on this album. Petey knows his place and provides a straight ahead beat keeping everyone in line. Criss always had a raspy Rod Stewart like vocal vibe with his singing and on this album Peter sings his ass off on ‘Getaway’. Give it up for Peter Criss and say what you want about him but read the official KISS Book Nothin To Lose: The Making of KISS(1972-1975) and hear about the fact that Pete’s drums are the only recorded Live instrument on KISS ALIVE! Yeah…No Shit!

Ace Frehley- Man his solos on here are brilliant! Not your usual flash n pan wank fest. These solos sound like Ace just pulled them out of his back pocket when the red light for recording went off in the studio! Ace actually wrote ‘Getaway'(speaking of broke just read the lyrics to Getaway)and co wrote ‘Rock Bottom’. Must mention that throughout the album you can hear acoustic guitars mixed under the electrics! Give it up for the SpaceMan who doesn’t have to play a million miles per hour to make his guitar work memorable! Considering Ace was juiced up here on whatever was floating around for him to consume the solo’s are downright timeless gigantic riffs!

Gene SimmonsI always like Mean Gene the Demon’s voice on these earlier albums as he sang with a chill like vibe that even though he doesn’t do drugs you think he was hitting weed quicker than Cheech can say Chong! Gene sings what he knows best and that topic is surprise surprise …. Women! ‘Ladies In Waiting’ ‘Two Timer’and what could possibly be the Greatest Tune about Hookers that the Demon  wrote called ‘SHE’. I dig that part of ‘She’ where the Bass  grumbles and Drums hook up before Space Ace lifts off the solo.I have to add that Simmons is a great Bass Player as he never gets credit for as everyone was  focused back than on the fire-breathing and the blood like crap dripping from his mouth!  Course Genie Gene also co wrote the biggie track which would become the biggest track ‘Rock N Roll All Night’. 

Paul Stanley- Opens Dressed To Kill with ‘Room Service’ which is a great fun rocking track! Stanley knew how to write straight ahead  simple but very catchy rock tracks. Those being the co write in ‘Rock Bottom’ and the co write in ‘Rock N Roll All Night’. Where Starchild excels is in the songs he wrote himself. ‘Love Her All I Can’ the excellent ‘C’mon and Love Me’ and especially ‘Anything for my Baby’ which should have been a single as the  first time I heard Dressed To Kill I was drawn especially to this track! Paul knows his deal and thats writing tunes with Hooks! Hooks indeed!

I love writing KISS reviews as they have been part of my listening habits for basically 40 years now! Why not as everyone has a opinon of KISS wether it be good or bad but an opinion no less!

Sure KISS has recently announced there 3 year Farewell Tour which to be honest I couldn’t care less about as it’s hard for me to keep wrapping my head around the replacement guys acting like  the original guys and basically doing the whole schtick that has been done to death already. 

BUT……!

If you catch KISS ten times on their Farewell Tour and write about it you can bet your KISS Cassette  Tape Collection I’ll read about it. Even if they doled out a new studio record  I would buy it as there last studio album back in 2012 ‘Monster’was quite good.. Kinda of a mixed bag of thoughts when it comes to what Gene and Paul are doing with the KISS brand nowadays but they deserve and have earned it to do what they want…

Good on em! Having said that….

 What a great reconnection with ‘Dressed To Kill’ as I really do love broke and poor KISS. 

If you’re a reader of this Blog thanks for reading and as you would have read by now my Top 3 KISS studio albums over the years have been…‘Rock N Roll Over’ Creatures of the Night’ and ‘Alive’.

But in the last year knocking on the door of my Top 3 would be ‘Lick It Up’and now ‘Dressed To Kill‘…

Better make it a Top 5 from now on!

 

Impact Album: H.S.A.S- Through The Fire(1984)

 

Sunday Special here at Arena Rock as it was this day October 7th 1984 34 years ago that myself and my buddy Muc caught  Sammy Hagar/Krokus in Duluth Minnesota on his V.O.A Tour! So here’s what Sam was up to the year before in 1983!

Once upon a Decade ago, well make that just over 3 Decades ago was a Guitar Hero named Neal Schon who played his 6 String  in a monster arena act named Journey.

Journey made big dough selling out shows in the early to mid 1980’s but when it came time to cut studio albums with Journey  Neal’s Guitar was always buried under a mountain of Keyboards. Too much snazzy over produced slick let’s get it on the radio deal kind of sap for my liking. At the time in 1984 I was 17 and the louder the Rock Guitar the Better! Journey did not deliver Loud Rock Guitar so I flipped em off!

Enter Sammy Hagar.  Sam the Man was just starting to sell a lot of albums and that was in due to a ton of touring where his current album back in 1982-83 (Three Lock Box) had gone Gold.

Sam and Neal obviously knew each other(both from the San Fran area) and hooked up along with Bassist Kenny Aaronson and Drummer Micheal Shrieve

Neil and Sam with a band in hand wrote about 14 tracks and hit the road before the album was recorded!

For some reason only 8 original and 1 cover  song  made the debut and only album of H.S.A.S.

Side one

  1. “Top of the Rock” – 4:21
  2. “Missing You” – 4:28
  3. “Animation” – 4:55
  4. “Valley of the Kings” – 3:30
  5. “Giza” – 1:22

Side two

  1.  Whiter Shade of Pale-4:49
  2. “Hot and Dirty” – 4:19
  3. “He Will Understand” – 4:49
  4. “My Home Town” – 4:06

Here’s the interesting Part 1!

H.S.A.S: Through The Fire  was recorded on tour as the band played around in there California home turf. So basically you were going to the shows, hearing song’s never heard before and  only to be  eventually released  on a live album.

Here’s the interesting Part 2!

When the album was released other than the last two numbers the audience had been removed, So it’s a live studio album if that makes any sense!

Bizarro…Than again Sam and Neal were in charge of the production of this album … Ask them about this if you think it was a silly move. If Sam and Neil get squirrely about it tell them both that ‘Tbone’ sent you!

Kind of an interesting way of doing it. That way you can do overdubs and no one will bust your balls about it not being live  as you removed the crowd.

I remember buying this when I was 17 and going “Where the Fuck is the audience?”  as the album lists the recording in November of 1983 at various points…hahaha ….Silly fool I was!

Let’s get to the meat an potatoes of this album…

This album simply put is……Brilliant!

It just takes  One Minute and Forty Four  Seconds of opening track ‘Top of the Rock’ to hear the brilliance of Schon lifting off on his  guitar like it’s nobodies business!

Neal’s amp is cranked and he  sizzles like a crazy mofo on the 6 string! Listening to this track again 34 years later just gives me goosebumps on how good this guy is when he’s unleashed. Thank you Sam for bringing out Neil on this album…

Watch the track below which is a little different from the version that appears on the live umm  I mean studio version. Still, you get the message … Loud N Clear!

Sam as Sam always does gives 100% vocally on this album and why wouldn’t he? He’s got Neil riding shot-gun in the passenger seat. Having said that let’s take nothing alway from Micheal and Kenny who drive the rhythm section. Kenny especially keeps the Bass moving when Neil goes bonkers during his solo’s…

Tight Ass Kickin Band…

Neal’s playing is wicked  on tracks like ‘Missing You’  which I think given the right push by Geffen Records could have been a decent hit for these guys…

Instead the record company released the Procol Harum tune Whiter Shade of Pale  as I guess cover tunes for hits was the rage back than. It was released as a single and dented the charts around #90 which in all fairness did nothing…

H.S.A.S even dabble with some kind of trippy Prog Rock like the triple header three track of ‘Animation/Valley of Kings/Giza. 

‘Hot and Dirty’ is your typical 80’s Hard Rock as the title says it all but the last two tracks ‘He Will Understand’ and ‘My Hometown’ fall under my category of ‘GEMS’

‘He Will Understand’ has a beginning of a mashup of electric and acoustic guitars before the song torpedoes with one great chorus with Sam singing his ass off while Neil and Kenny lock horns musically!

‘My Hometown’ is one of the heaviest tracks and what a send off as these guys show no such thing as mellow on this album. My Hometown has Neil demonstrating what it takes to be a Guitar Hero and a take no prisoners approach with this style of hard rocking on this song and the others!

H.S.A.S for some reason never really took off sales wise which as a total drag as I would have loved to heard a follow-up even though these guys said it was a One and Done album.  Shortly after it’s  release in April of 84 Sammy returned to finish his next studio album V.O.A which took off sales wise and hit Platinum and then of course Sam in 1985 went and joined Van Halen and we all know the rest!

Neil of course returned to the money-making Journey machine which would soon release ‘Raised on Radio’ in which I purchased thinking maybe Neil would take his new-found heavy guitar rock vibe to Journey.

The result was ‘No!’

Journey once again watered down Neal and I was disappointed but that’s Journeys deal. All was not lost as Neil did ramp up the volume on the very excellent ‘Hardline-Double Eclipse’ release from 1992. So all hope was not lost…

Still though H.S.A.S is one Brilliant album that still stands the test of time and I was so psyched to score this LP for $5.00!

Some of you may say Impact Album? Yeah for sure  as Schon’s playing on this album is beyond Phenomenal! I would put up this up  there with a lot of Guitar Driven Rock Albums that I dig!

It’s really too bad that a follow-up was never pushed through but as Hagar explained a few years ago it was basically Schon’s day job that ruled back than and that was Journey. Sam said if H.S.A.S wanted to tour for 6 months on this album he would have done it as he would have made time but Schon had Journey commitments.  Course Journeys Record Label wanted product as well as Journeys Management  along with Hagars Manager were all involved in the decision-making and as I mentioned earlier this was a ‘One and Done’ project!

One fine live er I mean studio album Folk’s!

 

Jet: ‘Get Born Live'(2018)

 

Sometimes those albums that were mega hits years ago just slip under your musical radar. You know the ones where you say to yourself ” Yeah I will get around to picking this one up later!”

Australian act Jet would fall under this category not intentionally as back in 2004 Jet was all over radio with their debut album Get Born and the singles that I still hear even on our local crap radio today that being Are You Going To Be My Girl and Cold Heart Bitch.

 

I know Tbone’s brother Darr was into Jet and why not. We were all suckers for a straight ahead rock sound. Jet kept putting out records than disbanded of course but now we are in 2018 and hello “Reunion”.

Over at John T Snow’s Blog every  Friday he let’s us all know what the new release’s are for that week! Back on  Friday May 25th  I noticed he posted a pic and a writeup about this new Jet Live album.

Wowzer’s! Say what??! New Live Release??!

Over to iTunes and there it was Jet-Get Born Live the whole album played from to back with a couple of cover tunes. (14 Tracks Total)

Click…bought and delivered to my iPod! Thanks again Mr Snow for the Tip! You could say about time I bought this album as well….

Jet Get Born Live is from back in 2004 recorded in the Melbourne.

It’s a great listen through from opening track Get What You Need to the end of set closer a cover of That’s Alright Mama.

Considering I don’t own any Jet material. This is a good one to own!

Jet comes across sloppy cool as the guitars sound like a cross between AC/DC and the Georgia Satellites!

If these Aussie’s ever strolled into Tbay I would go for sure…

A fun good time listen!

Y&T: Contagious(1987)

 

So after the 1985 Tbone*  approved ‘Down For The Count’ in which I didn’t approve Y&T still went about their business and in doing so retooled their sound, signed a new deal with Geffen records and released in September of 1987 ‘Contagious’.

I thought I would give Y&T the benefit of the doubt and purchased ‘Contagious’ on cassette for the Walkman that was in overdrive at the time  and to be honest I never ever even thought of buying this on Album.

POP QUIZ QUESTION: When you think back to 1987 what huge hard rock album ruled supreme on the charts well into 1988 and was also on Geffen records?

No cheating folk’s…Got your Guess? Ok scroll down….

POP QUIZ ANSWER: Whitesnake  or as I call it the John Sykes Guitar Exhibition  with the 1987 album would be the answer! Whitesykes ruled video and radio time back than. If you guessed another Geffen act ‘Guns N Roses’ good one but Whitesnake came out in April of 87. Guns ‘Appetite for Destruction’ was released in July of 87 but ‘Appetite’ didn’t really take off until the summer of 88…

Why the Pop Question you ask?

Well Y&T not only being on the same label as Whitesnake also used Hugh Syme who also designed the cover artwork for Whitesnakes 87 album and Y&T also went for a more hard rock modern approach as well in the tunes! Syme by the way was Rush’s Art Director for basically all of Rush’s albums.

I guess the suits at Geffen were banking on the fact that hopefully some mojo in the form of huge success would finally take Y&T to the next level.

Did it?

For starters Drummer Leaonard Haze(RIP) departed and was replaced by Jimmy Degrasso. Four outside writers were brought in perhaps to get song’s on the radio including the song ‘Bodily Harm’ that Y&T didn’t even have a hand in writing.

Taylor Rhodes a song doctor you could call him had 3 co writes and is the chap responsible for ‘Bodily Harm’.

Suits want. Suits get! Y&T with a new label had to play by the rules!

Acquiring Contagious 31 years later on vinyl is an interesting listen as to be honest outside the title track I couldn’t even recall any of these songs. So do these songs stand the test of time?

The production of the album is very 1987 in hard rock circles. Producer Kevin Beamish  keeps the guitars and drums cranked of course but it’s the late 80’s and big time catchy like hook’s are the choice of many!

The song’s ‘Contagious’ ‘L.A Rocks‘ ‘Armed and Dangerous’ ‘Rhythm or Not’ and especially the non written band track ‘Bodily Harm’ subscribe to this theory of big time ‘Ohh-Ohh-Ohh’s that are used throughout.

Contagious the song is the best out of these with Armed and Dangerous being a close second. Bodily Harm is the one that is a little to obvious for my listening buds now and back than.

Posted the video for Contagious and man you just gotta love those old Metal Vids as in this vid the Geek is  not cool. Hangs with Y&T becomes cool and gets the girl! Shit,this is Tbone’s life in HighSchool except he got a car not Y&T to hang with in his car! Instead he got…Me! haha

Beautiful!

The only song on here that really sounds like the old Y&T is the musical only  blues driven tinged ‘I’ll Cry for You’ which closes out the album.

Guitarist/Lead Vocalist Dave Meniketti and Guitarist Joey Alves(R.I.P) play some great guitar and such and I will say Meniketti being the main songwriter of the band must have had a ton of pressure on him to produce songs and to keep the band moving forward.

Contagious is a good not great album by these guys and outside of a few live albums by Y&T throughout the years was the last actual store purchased studio  product that I bought by these guys!

Seriously, like 31 years ago!

Give these guys credit for always trying but like so many acts at the time  always came up a little short!

I will give Dave Meniketti his due that he’s still out there touring the clubs and flying the Flag of Y&T…

Gotta respect em for that!

*-After the ‘Verbal Hazing’ Tbone took after the Down for the Count album I think he avoided Y&T at all costs. Who can blame him really but then again maybe he snuck  a few more of these kind of albums under my radar like the time he thought he could get away with hiding  the ‘Bad English’ debut from me! To his credit Tbone has been great fodder to write about. Better yet it’s all true!

 

 

Y&T: Open Fire-Live(1985)

In what has to go down as one of the goofiest live album covers of all-time is rectified by the songs that are inside the album!

Y&T in the early 80’s were slogging it out in the United States playing coast to coast and opening for bands like Motley Crue  who in turn had outsold Y&T by a crazy amount.

The albums like 1982’s ‘Black Tiger’ and 1983’s ‘Meanstreak’ had made a dent on my listening radar,

England had taken to Y&T a lot more quicker than the States and definitely Canada.

But….

Once 1984’s ‘In Rock We Trust’ came out Y&T had finally got that kinda of a hit in ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’ and golly wouldn’t  you know that  even Tbone cracked open his wallet with his hard earned dough from pumping gas at the local Garage and  purchased ‘In Rock We Trust’!

So once 1985 came around Y&T punched out this live seven song album and one new studio track to push the live stuff and that track would be Summertime Girls’. (more on this song later!)

No. Title Length
1. “Open Fire” 4:26
2. “Go for the Throat” 4:51
3. “25 Hours a Day” 4:22
4. “Rescue Me” 5:53
Side two
No. Title Length
5. “Summertime Girls” (Studio Version) 3:30
6. “Forever” 5:55
7. “Barroom Boogie” 4:35
8. “I Believe in You” 8:02

It boggled my mind when I originally purchased this on cassette back   in the Summer of 85 that Y&T had no songs included from the previous  ‘In Rock We Trust’ album. I didn’t get it at the time but perhaps these guys were trying to push the product from there earlier releases as so many people overlooked the early 80’s output.

 

Who knows what the reasoning was…

The seven live songs featured are great tracks. From opener ‘Open Fire’  Y&T cooked up a real cool batch of rocker tracks as in ‘Go For The Throat’,’25 Hours a Day’,’Baroom Boogie’. Dave Meniketti (lead vocals/lead guitar) had a real good knack at writing excellent catchy hard rock tracks and none is  more evident  than in the song ‘Forever’.

‘Forever’ packs a hard rock punch. Drummer Leonard Haze drives the tune with his drums. Big song for me off this album.

These guys could also show off their melodic rock side and that would be in the form of the songs ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘I Believe in You’. Meniketti who pretty much wrote all the songs himself could dial it down on the slower stuff but not make it so obvious to call it a power ballad!

For that Sir! dEke’s salutes you!

Now…

To push the album sales ‘Summertime Girls’ ( or as Mr 1537 calls it ‘Summertime Gill’s) the lone studio track on here  was released and was easily a move to push the more commercial slant of Y&T. I get it but as an 18-year-old in 1985 I wasn’t necessarily drinking the Kool Aide that Y&T was selling!

‘Summertime Girls’ was way to keyboard driven. To much fluff going for the hit, too obvious  even to me..I couldn’t handle it…haha

But the suits wanted hits so ‘SummerTime Girls crept up to #55 on the Single Charts and pushed this album to #70 on the album charts. Did ‘Summertime Girls’ do the trick?

Linked below is my review from about 4 years ago  of the next studio record of Y&T that they released in 1986 titled ‘Down For The Count’ in which you can read for yourself when friends get led down the “Wrong’ path of rock!

Just Click The Link Below!

https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/down-for-the-count-yep/

I still have steered clear of ‘Down For The Count’. I do have to add that even though this album wasn’t my thing. It was for many including my pal Pete from Australia who writes the excellent  ‘Destroyer of Harmony’ Blog! Maybe I’m the noob who missed the boat on ‘DFTC’?

Naaaa…it’s still fun bugging Tbone on it! That will never change!

Basically a real good live album for the times. Crap album cover! But the music inside does indeed do the talking! Well the live material that is!

Just a few weeks back I seen this album along with ‘Contagious’* sitting in the bins and it was a quick grab for both! Don’t worry folk’s the review for Contagious is coming! Thanks for asking! haha..

Too this day Dave Meniketti still has Y&T out on the road and releasing music so the dude has never given up carrying the flag!

But…

Hard to believe that 3/4’s of this band has passed on that being ,Joey Alves/Phil Kennemore /Leonard Haze. R.I.P Boy’s! 

*-I sent Tbone a pic of these two Y&T  records(Open Fire and Contagious) a few weeks back and told him ‘Sorry no Down for the Count’. 

Ha! 33 years later and he’s still getting Chirped about DFTC!

 

 

 

 

Today I like The Mailman!

Big Friggin Shout Out to the one and only MR BOOKS  who sent me this fantastic looking read written by  Geoff Pevere on one of the coolest Canadian Punk bands ever…

Gods of Hammer:The Teenage Head Story

Will be hitting this book this weekend! Review will be coming shortly…Thanks a million Mr Books!

As Mr Books himself always sez….”Community”