All posts by deKE

Never Gonna Stop The Rock

Summertime Spin- Def Leppard: Pyromania (1983)

How about a back to back Summertime Spin feature on Def Leppard!

Last week it was my flashback to the summer of 1987 with Hysteria. This week it’s even further back to the summer of 1983!

Pyromania was released in January 83 and my buddy Muk pretty much bought it the day it came out and one of the first things he did for me was tape me a copy of Pyromania on cassette. 

Muk was awesome that way as if he got something I didn’t have he would tape it for me so I always listening to what he was listening to which in back in those days was some excellent music and Pyromania was one of them. ^

I have always loved this cover it basically sets the bar for what you are about to hear which is some Loud Arson like Rock!

Like Hysteria from last week, I really don’t need to review Pyromania as it been reviewed a zillion times but I would just like to tell you what made Pyromania a go-to album back in the summer of 83.

While Ace Frehley back in the summer of 83 was drinking and driving and slipping and sliding in a Delorean automobile I was riding around on my 10-speed bike doing my own slipping and sliding with my trusty Sony Walkman and being a good Rock Soldier! ^^

At that point, as summer came, I still had the cassette of Pyromania that Muk had taped for me.

As it was growing up in Thunder Bay back then my Father would take two weeks of holidays and we would load up our car and tent trailer and head usually out to Western Canada (Winnipeg) or sometimes into the United States (Minnesota).

This trip I remember it was to Minneapolis and we set up shop just outside of Minny at a K.O.A campground.

With any trip, there would always be a day or two where we would hit the city whether it was to a Zoo or a Mall or even a Movie Theater at times to see a movie to get some air conditioning as Minneapolis could get pretty muggy in the summer.

With a trip planned to the mall, it was a no brainer for me to hit whatever record stores were there.  It was either Music Stores or Book Stores for Rock Mags!

One of my purchases was to buy my own copy of Pyromania but of course, it was too on cassette tape. The main reason I bought it on tape was there was really no packaging whatsoever. It was front cover and back cover, Nothing on the inside sleeve.

That is one reason why I always bought Iron Maiden on vinyl back in the 80s as they did packaging (lyrics, pics) the whole nine yards and of course EDDIE!

Another reason was when we were having a campfire at the KOA on the local radio Rock of Ages was played which blew my little mind as local crap radio in Thunder Bay never touched rock!

I was sold. I needed to own it!

Pyromania even though I had already been listening to it for 6 months was still a great listen even still is to this day it’s a great listen. No skipping tracks…

Leppard went all out on the Pyro record.

Opener Rock Rock Til You Drop has the band firing on all cylinders where Joe Elliot sounds like Brian Johnson of AC/DC.

10 Songs! All classics. Sure there are the hits (Photograph, Rock of Ages, Foolin and Too Late For Love) but there are some downright stellar classics that weren’t singles (Billy’s Got A Gun, Die Hard The Hunter and one of the best tracks by Leppard Comin Under Fire!)

All in all, Pyromania is simply put Brilliant. In other words, at certain times it may just be my favorite Leppard album depending on the day of the week.

Once CDs took over my world in the late 80s Pyromania was a for sure purchase on a disc. 

Like last week’s post on getting Hysteria in the VOL 1 Boxset on record, I finally got Pyromania on VINYL!

Pyro Rock N Roll!

^-Muk was I’m sure the first person in Tbay to own a Def Lep tour shirt back in 81 from the  High N Dry Tour. Muk’s older sister’s boyfriend was attending College in Boston and seen Leppard open for Blackfoot. It’s safe to say we wanted to hurt Muk when we saw him stroll into our High School sporting that 3/4 length Tour T! lol

^^-Once I typed the Summer of 83 lines it triggered me to the  Frehley’s Comet song Rock Soldier! I can’t help it!



Deke and LeBrain return to the year 1980 – tonight! —

Going solo was fun, but nobody can yammer on about music like Deke and LeBrain! Tonight’s theme was the brainchild of our collective chit chat. Have you noticed how many great albums are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, including Back in Black? It’s hard to turn on the radio or follow social media without […]

via Deke and LeBrain return to the year 1980 – tonight! —

CD Review-Don Dokken: Up From The Ashes(1990)

Say what? A CD Review!!? Say it Ain’t So!

So as 1989 rolled into 1990 Don Dokken by than had bid adieu to his old Dokken bandmates and formed a new version of Dokken.

The only problem was that the old partnership Don had with George Lynch/Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson sued Don from using his own last name on any forthcoming release.

No more Rockin With Dokken instead, it would be Rockin With Don Dokken.

Kind of a different ring to it.

In hindsight, this hurt on what any momentum could be built upon which is truly a fantastic Dokkenish record. It came up a little short in the Gold Record department but if the album was called Dokken It would have shot past Gold status!

We all know the silly pissy pants shenanigans that went on with Lynch and Don(throughout the 80s) and they finally put a fork in there working relationship as they each got there own record deals as George formed Lynch Mob while Don formed the Don Dokken Band.

At the time I thought if anything maybe I’ll get two good bands moving forward. For a time it was looking that way, ok maybe for a year tops! lol

Lemme Explain…

Don decided to do a pretty smart thing and that was to get two guitarists for his new project. John Norum ex of Europe and Billy White (from Texas) formed a very good guitar duo as there would be no comparisons to Lynch.

Peter Baltes on Bass came from Accept who was basically done at that point and Drummer Mikkey Dee who had played with HMO Fan Favourite King Diamond.

Together they released what I would think you could say is more of a Dokken album that Don would be more in line with than some of the actual Dokken albums that came out between 1983-87.

By that, I mean more melodic rock.

If you followed any of that Dokken drama between George and Don. It was supposedly George who didn’t want Alone Again the big power ballad to be on 84’s Tooth And Nail record. Out of the 10 songs on Tooth And Nail George had a hand on 9 tracks and guess what song doesn’t have George with a songwriting credit?

Yep, you guessed it.

Alone Again which basically saved Tooth And Nail in sales and pushed the album to Gold as it was sliding down the charts.

I’m sure Don reminded George of that on a daily basis.

So when listening to Up From The Ashes it does have a little more of a melodic slant on the tunes. Tracks like When Love Finds A Fool, Mirror Mirror, and Stay feature that kind of vibe that Don wanted more in Dokken but in turn never got his way and now he could get his way.

Having said that Don let the others contribute as White had 6 co-writes as well as Norum was in on a few as well.

Make no mistake though as these cats could lift off at a moment’s notice in the rock spectrum as in Crash and Burn, Down In Flames, The Hunger, and one of my favs 1000 Miles Away which features those big Accept like backing vocals in the chorus.

I have to add back then Don had a great melodic rock voice and when you mixed his voice with the hard rock guitars a pretty damn cool sound emerged.

Check out a couple of Bootleg vids from early 91 below…

If you watched the clip you can see this being a new band at the time they were a well-oiled machine as these guys were pros.

Up From The Ashes is a strong Dokken record or should I say Don Dokken record. It truly is a shame this band was iced by the time Grunge came along. One album and done.

Lynch Mob released the decent enough Wicked Sensation but by album two George changed singers and I couldn’t be bothered.

Back in January  1991, I had tickets along with Tbone, Rugg, and Oinks to see Poison in Winnipeg with openers Warrant.

As it turns out Warrant was kicked off the Poison tour about a week before the Winnipeg show and the two-party guys that were running the bus trip out to the show(Guy and Daryl) told us that it would be no Warrant but Dokken.

I was thrilled.

A few groans could be heard (from the ladies on the bus) as the Down Boys would not be the openers but I was totally ok with it.

Nothing personal Warrant..

Don had this band with him that night and they whipped out a tight 40 minute 8 song set that featured 4 Dokken songs( The Hunter-Alone Again-Into The Fire- In My Dream) and 4 tunes from Up The Ashes. (Give It Up-Mirror Mirror-Stay-Down In Flames)

Don Dokken Band wiped Poison off the floor that January night in the Peg.




Summertime Spin: Def Leppard-Hysteria(1987)

Hard to believe that as of tomorrow (Aug 3) Hysteria will be 33 years young!

Instead of doing a song by song breakdown of Hysteria which there are a million reviews of it( including this site) everywhere, I thought it would be fun to step back in the Time Machine and dial back to that day in August when Def Leppard released there first new studio album in 4 Years! (Pyromania was released back in 1983)

 4 years between albums back then was huge news as bands in the mid to late ’70s would release multiple albums in a year. As the ’70s rolled into the 80s you would have most bands putting out an album every year or at least under every 2 years but 4 years??

What the hell! 

Nowadays we’re lucky if a new album drops every 5-10 years lol

Age, of course, has something to do with it now but…

Back to  August 87.

I think it was Circus Magazine that I had first read about back in early 87 that the Leppard was pretty much done and Hysteria was targeted for a summer release.

Finally, I thought here comes some new music by a band that I had invested in back in the summer of 81 when my pal Muk bought On Through The Night and we were blown away at how good Leppard was and became instant fanboys!

I still remember August 3rd, 1987 like it was yesterday.

I worked my 6am-2pm job at our local hospital kitchen (doing up those dishes, mopping up that floor)^. It was raining out that day so I didn’t ride my bike to work instead I rode the 40 seat limo(transit bus)to my job,

Once 2 pm rolled around I was on the bus and off to the local shopping mall that had A&A Records and another record shop Music City and between the 2 of them whoever had Hysteria cheaper that’s who I would buy it from.

A&A was the winner and in saying that I think I still paid around $13.98 for it on cassette tape! The reason I wanted Hysteria on tape was for the good old trusty Sony Walkman so I could rock out with my bike out!

I was glad to see that Hysteria had all the packaging included in the cassette tape, not just some tape dumped into a blank case with the cover being the only thing to look at.

I basically had read all the credits listed inside the tape  on that 40-minute bus ride back home from the mall.

Def Leppard opened Hysteria with Women which is still a great opener on any Leppard album even though when Women was released as the first single it tanked on the charts. I’m sure there was a mild freak out over that but when all is said and done Hysteria is one of the biggest all-time Hard Rock sellers and why wouldn’t it be.

25 million and change.

Look at the first 6 songs on Side 1. (Women, Rocket, Animal, Love Bites, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Armageddon It) All singles! When you really think about it that was amazing. 

Side 2 though is no slouch with some great tracks like Gods of War, Run Riot and Don’t Shoot Shotgun. 

Basically, lot’s of great rock on this one folk as I don’t need to tell you that.

Joe Elliot, Rick Allen, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, and the late great Steve Clark knew their backs were against the wall in recording Hysteria (accidents, firing Jim Steiman as producer) yet delivered 12 classics on Hysteria. Mutt Lange should also be credited as not only did Mutt dial in the sonics but he also had a co-write with the Leppard boys on all 12 tracks!

 Once I started working full time in 1988 I bought a boom box and one of my first ever CD purchases was indeed Hysteria.

When Hysteria was released as the 20th Anniversary in 2007 I once again bought it on CD as it had an extra CD with material on it.

I think there is a pattern developing here.

Back in 2017, I was in Montreal with my good pal Tbone and I bought the 30th Anniversary of Hysteria on VINYL! Yeh!

Better yet at Christmas Time 2018, my 3 Awesome Daughters bought me the Leppard Box Volume One on vinyl which came with there first 4 studio albums, and Hysteria was included as well!

So now I had two copies of Hysteria on vinyl so what did I do?

Gave Tbone a copy!

^I nicked that line from Van Halen’s Diver Down album! Do you know which song it’s from?

Below is a Gatefold shot inside Hysteria!




Back Covers: Vandenberg- 2020

So glad to report that Vandenbergs first new studio release since 1985 is one fine return to hard-rock form from the fella named Adrian whose band sports his last name that being Vandenberg.

Pete from the fantastic Destroyer of Harmony blog site was the first guy to post that it was a solid album. I took his bait and bought it off iTunes.

I was blown away at how good this record is. I did review upon its release a few weeks back. 

My daughter Kylee for Father’s Day gave me a gift card from Amazon. One purchase I made from that gift card was Priest Live. The second purchase was the 2020 album from Vandenberg.

For starter’s the price was right. $20 Canadian which was a steal. (I’ll explain later) The other was I really don’t buy anything new in a physical product by bands. The last new release I bought was the last Monster Truck album (True Rockers)which I purchased at the Truckers show when they came through Tbay last year.

In other words, I’m a retro rock kind of guy.

2020 is a cool back cover. I like how they did the credits for the album like a movie poster. Remember those?

Simple yet effective. Also included was a download card for the album which was cool and since I already bought 2020 on iTunes I sent Mikey the code so he can listen to it. That’s if he ever gets through his Loudness Box Sets. lol

Another cool feature was this pictured below.

Red Vinyl! Very slick looking.

Remember how I said I got this record for $20 Canadian. Well after I purchased it I checked back the next day and copies of this album we’re going between $47 and $63 Canadian through second-party sellers.


Summertime Spin- Whitesnake:1987



One of the biggest Summer Spin back in  1987 for me and Tbone was cranking Whitesnake 87 on cassette tape (Loud) in Tbone’s car!

A&R Guru of the times John Kalodner made or quite possibly told David Coverdale to get rid of the old looking guys and streamlined Whitesnake into firepower 80’s hard guitar rock band courtesy of John Sykes!

Sykes and Coverdale cooked up a batch of massive songs. Sykes muscled up the sound of Whitesnake so the 87 record slammed onto the music charts throughout the world head-on.

It worked. 

Opener Crying In The Rain steamrolls with huge riffs and huge drums courtesy of Ansley Dunbar. Coverdale howls like a wolf at the start of next track Bad Boys and this is where Sykes gets right down to business as he blitzes his way through a firewall of epic riffing and soloing.

It is so over the top sick that I don’t know how many times me and Tbone drove around in his car in 87 blasting Bad Boys like a couple of knuckleheads not knowing any better^

The sonic barrage continues with Still of the Night. Bit Zep. Bit Whitesnake and a whole lot of muscle behind the music.  This song cooked in 1987 and still cooks in 2020.  What else can you say about a tune that features a wolf sniffing around one’s door!

Here I Go Again is still played today on commercials etc and is the one track to feature Adrian Vandenberg playing the solo while Sykes was told to take a hike. Give the clip I posted below a listen. Mind-blowing good drama coming right from Adrian’s mouth himself!

That clip with Adrian and Eddie Trunk was great as Eddie sounded like he was about to shit himself with excitement. considering this happened 33 years ago!

So there ya have it Adrian lays down the solo and Coverdale already had booted the band out the door.

But we must not forget there is a Side 2.

Gimmie All Your Love Tonight lifts off right out of the gate and is a great straight-ahead rocker. Is This Love is the ballad that got a ton of radio play and perhaps pushed this album in the sales department a little further as all the soccer moms were digging in on what that old Snake Charmer was going on about lyrically on this song.

Sykes cranks his amps to 11 and soars with Children of the Night. Another bonafide winner as  87 proves that the album is still strong throughout meaning there is no drop in productivity on Side 2!

One of my favs on this record Straight From The Heart is a real catchy song with a stellar chorus and Sykes as he does all over this record lays done yet another fabulous solo.

Don’t Turn Away ends the album. A song which I like better than Is This Love as the tempo picks up towards the end and ends 87 on a high.

What can you say about the 87 album other than David and John wrote one of the best hard rock releases in the ’80s It’s unfortunate that the bad blood spilled between these two has never been resolved.

Sykes has become a recluse at putting out records and you can’t blame him as he still maintains his full publishing off of this album which was perhaps the smartest thing he ever did. 

I recently watched a Youtube video done a few weeks ago and Bob Rock was asked about John Sykes. Rock when talking about Sykes said two things that stuck out.

1-When Whitesnake was recording this album in Vancouver, Sykes had a hard time getting the sound he wanted to hear out of his amps as no could figure it out, Bob was asked to give it a shot as he was recording another band in the next studio so he went over and within an hour of moving mics and amps around got the sound that Sykes wanted. Rock says that led to them becoming fast friends and producing the first Blue Murder album.

2- Bob in that same interview said that Sykes is the best guitarist he has ever recorded.

Crank this one!

^-for being a couple of knuckleheads back in the 80s we turned out alright I think!


Ask Wolf A Question and…

Twitter is a whole new world to me as I will be the first to admit I’m a kinda a noob with social media. 

Guys like Ladano and John Snow are great with it and I do like Twitter as music sites get info out quickly etc.

Mikey though says Twitter is a big self-promotion tool and when you think about it Mikey’s right.

Case in point…

Wolf Van Halen is coming out with a solo album at some point as he’s been answering a ton of questions about his first release which has been cool. 

It’s unfortunate as they are the idiots out there commenting but Wolf is great at taking the high road in all of it. 

I figured I would throw out a question about his upcoming album and well…

Check it out. 

Kinda cool.

Course Mikey called me out later in regards to iTunes! lol

Scorpions: Crazy World (1990)


Once again I have to thank one of my daughters who got me this classic on vinyl by the Scorpions.

Lauren, as you may remember from one of my earlier posts a few weeks back got me KISS Revenge for Father’s Day! On that same order from Amazon was Crazy World by the Scorpions.

While I got Revenge in a week from, Crazy World took a little longer as it was coming from California! Amazon pulled a fast one as they said they had it in stock and as a Prime Member they said it was free shipping.

Umm yeah in stock in another country! Still though If I had picked up on that I would have probably picked something else as the order was already placed and besides Laurnie was doing if for me as I didn’t want her to go through the hassle!

Crazy World was set to arrive between July 15th and August 15th and guess what it came on July 15th so all good. 

To make a long story longer its good at times to wait on things and in this case I’m glad I did!

When the Scorps released Crazy World back in 1990 I pretty much purchased it right away on CD as that was my choice of purchasing tunes back in 1990.

I always liked this album but for some reason, I kinda at times forget about this album being that good.

See for me you can’t go wrong with Blackout, Love At First Sting, World Wide Live. That 1982-85 period of the Scorps can’t be beaten. Stellar stuff.

Then in 88 when Savage Amusement was released I bought that one right away and I was not amused. It wasn’t a solid album.

Come 1990 when Crazy World came out I was back on board for a bit anyway.

Hearing this 30 years after its initial release on vinyl sounds awesome! Whoever did what to tweak the Bass and bring it up in the mix was a brilliant move. 

11 songs of German Rock with a solid dose of Canadiana added and that was the addition of Jim Vallance who we all know co-wrote all those Bryan Adams tunes as well as Aerosmith, KISS and a few dozen other acts.

Vallance is the key ingredient on Crazy World. Jim had a helping hand in 7 of the 11 tracks whether it is lyrically or musically.

Such a smart move by the Scorps to bring in another writer and Vallance delivers in spades. Crazy World is basically a Bryan Adams record on steroids at times.

The performance of the Scorps is wicked as well. Matthias Jabs burns his fretboard with some sizzling solos. Jabs is one of the best that is so underrated. Case in point check out Jabs flinging quick lightning bolts of riffs on Hit Between The Eyes or the slide guitar and return of the talk box on Money and Fame.

Give the man his due! He’s friggin brilliant!

Klaus Meine as well delivers some great vocals as well throughout the album. Rudy Schenker handles the guitar solos on the slower tracks while Jabs delivers the goods on the fast stuff. Francais Bucholz and Herman Rarebell drive the Bass and Drums respectively and effectively keep the Scorps train on the tracks!

Lately, Winds of Change has taken a life of its own 30 years later as someone claims the C.I.A wrote it.  Here’s the link below…

Crazy World huh?

 The title track itself is brilliant. I love the guitars on this song with the vocals. Such a killer tune and how about these lyrics in the song which seem kind of fitting considering whats going on.

I get up in the morning
For my dose of the news
Crawl right back in the sack girl
Had enough of the truth

Spend your dollars and rubles
Buy a piece of the wall
Build it up in your backyard
I’m so sick of it all
Ooh, it’s a crazy world
Ooh, it’s a crazy world
Drivin’ down to the city
Doin’ 155
Better late than never
I’m more dead than alive

We can find the Titanic
Put a man on the moon
But we can’t fix our backyard
Man, we better start soon
Ooh, it’s a crazy world
Ooh, it’s a crazy world

Did these guys have a crystal ball back in 90?

Now for all the seriousness of a couple of songs including the ballads the Scorps still at times could get silly with a tune like Kicks After Six

Good girls get their kicks after six
Good girls get their kicks after six
(She needs it bad, real real bad)
She wants what she never had
All the things that make a good girl bad
She gets her kicks after six

Crazy World is one fine listen. Some serious issues are tackled while there is some fun spread throughout.

That’s what this Crazy World needs right now. Some Fun!

Crank this one!









Summertime Spin- Kim Mitchell: Shakin Like A Human Being (1986)


Kim or as we sometimes call him Akimbo released in June of 1986 the cool as a summer breeze Shakin Like A Human Being.

Just like Van Halen did that summer Kim’s album (I bought this on cassette tape) set the stage for a lot of plays on the trusty old  Sony Walkman for myself that summer. 

Kim laid off the hard rock a  little more on the Shakin album yet he still retained a lot of rock qualities so to speak of to please my 18 (about to turn 19 years young that year) yr old self-induced Rock N Roll Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu I had caught back in 1978. (still continues to this day)

Kim borrowed the ZZ Synth sound with the super-duper fabulous Get Lucky (Boys and Girls) which is one of my all-time fav Kim openers to lead off any of his solo albums. Nice little quick blasts of guitar rock prove that Kim was ready and able to rock come that summer.

Shakin upon its release sold like hotcakes as the leadoff single Patio Lanterns was on heavy rotation on MuchMusic as it was played all the time. Smart move on Kim’s or his record company to hit the summer hard with a song about summer. Patio Lanterns.

Not only that but three more singles came out with Alana Loves Me, That’s The Hold and  Easy To Tame which was another massive played video at MuchMusic. ( Saw Kim a few years back and he did a brilliant stripped back version of Easy To Tame which was quite good).

Kim and his band showed up to Thunder Bay in August 86 and rocked our socks off as Kim was touring right off the hop and was selling records, singles, and getting video play.

It was a great show. Patio Lanterns were strewn across the stage to give it that outside feel.

Mitchell was on fire…

It worked, after all, was said and done this album went Triple Platinum here in Canada yet even though it came out on Atlantic Records in the States I don’t think it made a dent there which is a total shame.

Do check this one out!

Lead Singer’s Disease: Live Stream with Deke and LeBrain —


A great time was had by all, as LeBrain and Superdekes tackled the fallout of the 1990s in Lead Singer’s Disease: a live stream about all the singers and bands that parted ways in that decade. Motley Crue, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax and Skid Row are the focus. Some minor technical issues […]

via Lead Singer’s Disease: Live Stream with Deke and LeBrain —