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.
- “Top of the Rock” – 4:21
- “Missing You” – 4:28
- “Animation” – 4:55
- “Valley of the Kings” – 3:30
- “Giza” – 1:22
- Whiter Shade of Pale-4:49
- “Hot and Dirty” – 4:19
- “He Will Understand” – 4:49
- “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!