SONIC WAVES….Whitesnake/ Live…… In The Heart Of The City

Welcome to Whitesnake Week here at Arena Rock Tbay! Now all you early am readers to my blog don’t choke  on your Cheerios but I thought I would try Something different here and talk about 4 albums by Whitesnake this week that run from 1980 to 1989!

The first time I heard Ol Whitesnake was at this dudes house whose name was Darcy. He had a older brother named Stacy so Stacy asked me ( this was around say 1982ish) if I had heard of the band Whitesnake? I had! In Circus magazine they were written about a bit but not much. That day for better or worse I became a follower and my first introduction to the Snake was the live album …..Live In The Heart Of The City. Once I heard it I was hooked I had not heard a band like this before with blazing Hammond B3 organ,crazy drums,bluesy wah wah solos and a singer with a very unique charismatic voice and man I was hooked! Deke,welcome to the world of old school hard blues rock!

Now this album was recorded in 1980 but by the time I got my paws on it it was like I said around 82 or so and man here’s David Coverdale and with him are two cronies from Deep Purple,Ian Paice and Jon Lord(rip),on bass is Neil Murray and guitars Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden. So you knew these guys well the guys from Deep Purple are gonna be laying down some serious hard blues rock and by golly did they ever!

Lets check out what these ol buzzards were doing that one night when the LIVE button was pushed!

COME ON- Are You Ready shouts Dave and ol Cov begins the nights festivities! Come On is a great track! Great lyrics and and a great heavy sound but not so heavy where it drives the track crazy and makes me nauseous! But one that is awesome. OK PEOPLE THIS IS OL SNAKE THERE ARE NO CRAZY CHICKS SLIDING AROUND ON THE HOOD OF CARS WITH THIS INCARNATION OF THE BAND…reason being…THEYRE UGLY! Sorry had to point that out if your looking for that version of the band check back  here on Friday! Cool opening number and I was hooked. Actually of note also is the backing vocals there supreme on this release.

SWEET TALKER-I’m sure Cov was taking home most of the pay with Whitesnake but he would pass around the accolades of others in the band. This song he chirps Micky Moody before the solo (and also before Jon Lord destroys his organ as well on the solo)which would help me the listener at home distinguish who was playing what solo! Cool lyrics as well like…first time I ever heard the phrase….’Bitch is in heat!” Hahaha,sorry ladies!

WALKING IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLUES- Cov tells us all that this song features the other guitar player Bernie Marsden and boom great song. Ian Paice on drums and Neil Murray on bass are locked and loaded on this tune and it rips along at break neck speed. Cov tells us all that he loves the blues in this tune and yep so do I at Whitesnakes volume level which is at 10 !

LOVE HUNTER- is a 10 minute song and it goes without saying that this is one of the best songs on here it features everything,some crazy assed slide guitar by Moody interlocked with Paice on the drums. Myself as a 15 year old never heard crazy jams like this and I guess it’s the Deep Purple coming out of them in Love Hunter(great title) can’t say I blame em.

AINT NO LOVE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY-side two begins with a super slow bluesy number which a lot of it is crowd participation! This is hard slow blues rock driven by Paice on the drums! Super cool tune…..

FOOL FOR YOUR LOVING- No more sez Cov and he introduces it as the song that the British fans put in the top 20 and yep for all you later day Snake fans,ol Cov redid this track on the Slip Of The Tongue record from 1989 which Steve Vai(love him with Roth/ not so much in Whitesnake) basically manhandled his wang dang guitar bar to the point of brutality in a Whitesnake hard rock blues band! Anyways back to 1980 and hey man this is the way this song should be played!

TAKE ME WITH YOU-The Snakes are gonna exit the building and there gonna rock it out big time! This is Whitesnake playing there style at a 100 mph and not easing off the gas pedal! This album and song left me wanting more. This was heavy rock played a different way and for me it was ok !

IN CONCLUSION-for my introduction to Whitesnake this is a pretty damn good spot! Lots of Cov saying “eres a song for ya!” Lots of great musicianship these cats could play. I totally love and rocked to this album and yep the YouTube clip that is posted for Sweet Talker is the cover of the album If your looking for Slip Of The Tongue Whitesnake here, just keep trucking pal,just keep trucking!


Tragically Hipped Out At Crocks….

Tragically Hip/Crocks/Thunder Bay/Feb 1988

So I had a friend who went to college and she told me there was this band from Kingston that was playing a local bar (Crocks) coming up on the weekend (Friday & Saturday) and that they were worth checking out. Of course with it being Feb in Thunder Bay that means cold and snow and I remember distinctively that we did not go to the Friday show but me and Tbone said we would go to the Saturday show and well not only did we go but a snowstorm came with us as well. The city got covered that day but Tbone said as Downie would say ‘Fuck This …Fuck That” and well we got to Crocks.

Crocks back than was a small bar comfortable to hang out in but it could get crowded and well with the snowstorm blasting outside I think there were maybe 25-30 people there that night so umm we had a ton of elbow space. While we were killing time there was one pool table in the joint and some guy was itching to steal someone’s money so he asked me if I wanted to play a round of snooker. I passed as I was the shit’s at it and I’m not making a $20 donation to some clown but Tbone accepted and threw down his $20 and proceeded  to demolish the  poor sap and I still recall the fella telling Tbone that no one in a long time had beaten him so bad. Tbone just shrugged his shoulders grabbed the $40 and told the guy he could have his pool table back! Classic!

So from Kingston here’s mine and T’s intro to the Hip and boom there they are all long-haired fellas jammed on the tiny stage playing it all and giving it all as well! Too be honest I don’t remember many songs as I mean  they were just plugging there 5 song cassette EP that night.( I’m sure as well the other songs would have been ones that would have been on Up To Here which came out in August of 1989)I do know that when they played I’m A Werewolf,Gord Downie was jumping all over rhythm guitar player Paul Langlois’ back! A site to see and kinda funny that’s how that’s one thing  me and Tbone still recall from that show! The other thing was they were hocking there cassette tape from the stage for $5 in which I purchased and still wish I had today!  I would sell it to Probie (huge Hip fan)for $500! Hahaha……

For me and Tbone living in Tbay it’s not too often you see a band that within a year that  is gonna go huge in Canada and boy did they ever. I did a review of when a little of a year later me and T caught the Hip playing our University plugging there Up To Here release and the place was jammed! So you knew they were making leaps and bounds in the size of buildings they were playing. But it’s sometimes cool to go back and pull off a Marty Mcfly and step into that time machine and trip out!

Also what must be noted that as crazy as it sounds that this show was 25 yrs closer to 26 yrs ago is that the Hips lineup of Downie/ Fay/Sinclair/ Baker/ Langlois is still intact today….and in the music biz that’s impressive…

Enjoy the tune posted for Highway Girl..crank it and Gord as always tells a great story……..

Slick Black Cadilliac Blows A Tire!


Quiet Riot/Inntowner Bar/Thunder Bay/March 1996

So winter 1996 and QR is showing up to Tbay long past there prime but kinda back together with 3/4 of the original Line up consisting of Kevin Dubrow (R.I.P)/Frankie Banali/Carlos Cavazo and some dude who I had never seen before or after for that fact on bass! They were plugging there Greatest Hits release from that year so someone booked em here and well they packed out the place on a weeknight which was good to see because you never know but with Tbay being a Nostaglia town so no surprise than.

Me and TBone secured tickets and went and wow here they come In from outside (straight from there tour bus)with a roadie up a few set of stairs and launch into Mane Attraction and rip into Slick Black Cadalliac and wow these guys are putting on a show feeding me and TBone what we wanna hear and than after Cadailliac ends. Someone in the crowd shouts at Dubrow chirping to him ” Play that Bang Your Head Number” Dubrow says something along the line a of ‘hey pal,this is my band,my show, my songs I will choose to and maybe play that song when and if I want too’ it was pretty close to that. TBone and myself were like WTF…hahahaha…who,pissed in Dubrows cornflakes??! The band than soldiered on you know played the hits,well for them anyways being Cum On Feel The Noise and yes of course Metal Health. They also played Mama Were All Crazee Now,Party All Night. Thunderbird (dedicated to Randy Rhoads) ,Let’s Get Crazy, Down To The Bone,Sign Of The Times . All in all a good show except we were punished meaning TBone called it,Dubrow had his candy striped mic stand  on the side of the stage so he used a regular mic stand. No candy mic stand for the Tbay crowd!

After the show was classic rock 101. The stairs that the band entered which was about three steps up to the stage the same roadie handed em all robes which all band members put on and the roadie held the flashlight for them to go down the three steps out the door onto there tour bus! I wish iPhones were around back in 96 man that woulda been great footage! A former arena band trapped in a bar bands body!


Open Up And Say…..Blah!

Just a small write up from the show.......
Just a small write up from the show. Actually a highlight was after a 9 hr bus trip from Tbay to Winnipeg the fact that some dude passed out on the party bus after consuming a ton of booze to awaken to only one eyebrow  as the other one was shaved(courtesy of his friends)


Poison/Don Dokken/Jan 26 1991/Winnipeg Arena

So the Poison/Warrant tour of 90/91 are selling tickets like hotcakes but when it comes  to the Canadian part of the Poison tour Warrant gets the boot. Word on the street was due to issues,i.e. stage space,blowing off the headliner, maybe egos being hurt. Who knows what the deal is but when me,Tbone and his brother Rugg and a buddy named Oinks boarded the party bus to the Peg in Jan 91 I’m glad to hear that Don Dokken and his solo band are the opening act.

Don you know along with the rest of  Dokken  basically self destructed after a good run so Don put out Up From The Ashes and assembled a hot-shot band with two guitarists in John Norum (Europe) and Billy White( have no idea) along with bassist Peter Baltes (Accept) and Mikkey Dee(Motörhead)  and man as far as I’m concerned this band destroyed the headliner  that night.

You want proof well Don and the boys sauntered and ripped into The Hunter! Hell yeah man my fav Dokken tune and yep they plugged the album Give It Up,Crash N Burn,When Some Nights,Stay and the Hunger. Course some ol Dokken tracks from yesteryear like Breaking The Chains, In My Dreams and an acoustic  version of Alone Again.  Dokken as in Don and the fellas showed up and rocked it well for me anyways the crowd was so so I mean it was Poisons crowd but man this is a better band musically.

This was for me  and TBone our second crack at seeing Poison. The first time was gonna be on the Open Up and Say Ah tour in Duluth with Tesla opening but Bret Michael’s was sick or sumthin and the show was scrapped.


So the Flesh & Blood tour is here and here they come out on stage one by one Bobby,Ricki, CC and then the one and only Mr Bandana himself Bret and were off to see Look What The Cat Dragged In. Interesting choice as it was the Open Up tour opener as well. Look But You Can’t Touch and Good Love are now numbers 2&3 played and are we at the wrong tour is this the Open Up show? Ahhh ok current single Ride Like The Wind is played followed by Let Em Play. I Want Action is next and of course Bret works the crowd like he’s working the counter at Burger King like asking the customers instead of wanting fries,ya want some Action….the girls in the crowd shriek…..

Something To Believe in and if memory serves me correct Poison dedicates this to the Canadian Troops fighting in the Gulf War. In other news Bobby Dall has no idea he is on stage in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada at this time! (Will explain later)

Now an oddball track is played and that’s Poor Boy Blues?? Why I have no idea oh yeah so B Michael’s can play the harmonica and tell us all that even though Bret is as glam looking as the lady selling makeup at Shoppers Drug Mart He knows  the blues? Uhhh ok pal if ya say so!

The place goes bonkers for Unskinny Bop and haha…..and than the song of the night for me is next with Love On The Rocks with the all time classic 80s line….quote “She goes down slow like a shot of gin!” end quote. Love it,that my friends is rock 101 literature at its finest and hell I’m ok with it!

Wait for it here it is….Every Rose is played and the place lights up like a Xmas Tree! Lighter anyone? And now it’s Fallen Angel…and now a cover of Y&T’s (haha) of Your Mama Don’t Dance followed by Nuthin But A Good Time shows over kinda….

Poison come back out like champs and give us Talk Dirty To Me..night is over and I’m relieved and let me tell you why….

I won’t lie. At the time  I liked em and so did you! So don’t try to bullshit your way out of this one. This show for me was a letdown for a few reasons….

15 tracks were played yep that’s 15 tracks (17 tracks if you include drum and guitar solo)in a 75 minute show.

7 of which were from Open Up And Say Ahh from there 1988 album 3 from Look What The Cat Dragged In and 5 from their current release Flesh & Blood.

Bobby’s Dall was well,basically he laid around on a ramp for a good while before B Michael’s helped him up.  The dude was in another zone that night. Basically if I want to see people inebriated and lying around smashed out I will just spend a night drinking with the Erickson brothers. Nuff said!

A good 20 minutes was bogged down in solos(10 for Rikki,10 for CC)

But we did have a good time as we were about 10 rows back in our seats and then Michael’s told the crowd early in the show were all too far back and the floor went chaotic and next thing you were pushed almost 2 rows from the stage. During CC Devilles  solo he started nicking EVH’s Eruption so me,Oinks and the brothers chanted Eddie.Eddie,Eddie not that he heard us…but it was fun….

Flesh & Blood sold tons and not to plug said current release? Bizarro move ….


SONIC WAVES…Steve Earle/Shut Up & Die Like A Aviator

Steve Earle circa  1991 could and would kick the shit out of you and than  drag your ass down Copperhead Road as  this dude was badass! My intro to Earle was Copperhead Road as I had seen him on some CMT interview plugging that album back in 1988.He looked like Axl Roses Cousin and Earle was sporting a Apettite  For Destruction tshirt so I figured what the hell? I could put my Iron Maiden albums away for a few minutes and check out this Earle fellas release and guess what it was a very good record! So when Earle put out The Hard Way in 1990 I picked it up and it too was a good album! WTF I’m expanding my musical horizons…….

So in Septemeber of 1991 and Earle drops the gauntlet and releases a live album and man I love live albums as long as the mix is good and  the mix on this  is fantastic as well and the bonus fact is that he recorded this album in London And Kitchener Ontario as Earle had sold a shitload of albums in Canada alone….

Lets get on the back of Earles pickup truck and shotgun a six pack down the hatch and crank this live gem!

GETTIN TOUGH- Steve and The Dukes get the party rolling and Steve is pulling out all the stops on this cruncher of a number ! Cool chorus,actually a real cool chorus and Steve is a good Ol boy Gettin Tough and ya you can ask him,I aint!

DEVILS RIGHT HAND- Earle and the Dukes are saying yer sellin your soul to the devil? Well watch out cuz ol Satan will backhand ya across your mouth and boot you into tomorrow if your not careful! Cool guitars and cool dude on the lap steel. I don’t ever want to call this country rock. I just call it Rawk!

I AINT EVER SATISFIED- great song,with cool keyboards and it rocks in a different way and one thing becomes evidently clear is Earle is a master at lyric crafting! Cool use of backing vocals as well in this song. Whoever the lady is on this she’s good!

SOMEDAY- Steve tells us there ain’t much to do in this here town. Cool strum action on the ol acoustic and than it all melds together with the rest of song. And yep I already mentioned lyric crafting this one is even better than the one I just mentioned( I Aint Ever Satisfied) this has to be one of my faves of Earles and man we can all relate when he says I need to get out here Someday! F*#kin rights Brother!

WEST NASHVILLE BOOGIE-cool opening riff and this song is a good straight ahead rocker of a track. Love the riff on this it just keeps the song going and going and that’s Steve pushing to the tune pass the 7 minute mark! Eat that Garth Brooks!

SNAKE OIL- cool title  Snake Oil man I could say that  all day! This song sound like it could been sandwiched somewhere on Gunners  Use Your Illusions between a few Izzy Stradlin numbers! Great no b.s song. Cool stuff and it was good to see Earle smashing around in Canada on the Hard Way Tour!

STANDIN ON THE CORNER(BLUE YODEL #9)- this is just Steve and his mandolin strumming for a little over a minute and he does his southern drawl countdown of 1-2-3 into….

THE OTHER KIND- leadoff single from The Hard Way and its a great track on the chorus Earle just gives er his all and it almost sounds like he downed some scotch with a pack of razor blades! Great song and Stevey isn’t letting up!

BILLY AUSTIN-is a true story of a fugitive and that’s the thing with Earle is he’s a storyteller first and foremost and he goes on about Austin being persecuted by the law for a murder. Yes sir…I’m enrolled at the Earle Justice Law Firm and he has more,check out Justice In Ontario off of  The Hard Way if ya don’t believe me.

COPPERHEAD ROAD-yep the biggie  album title track single from Earle that got ol Dekester interested and it worked. Great song and hey another cool story! Like why not! Can’t ya smell the whiskey burnin from Copperhead Road? Great use of a mandolin and mixing it with all things rock and it kicks yours,mine and all our asses everywhere!

FEARLESS HEART- Steve slams the brakes on his pick up after he’s clocked at going over 100 mph down Copperhead Road and shows us the listener that he can slow it down and perhaps just perhaps this may just be my fav tune off of Shut Up And Die …hell a slower paced tune….listen to the vid posted above and that is indeed the album cover. Cool cover as well kinda metalish looking. The cover itself can boot ya real hard!

GUITAR TOWN-guess this is the song that put Earle on the map in the Great White North before 88. Pretty neat guitar riff and of course Earle and the Dukes rock it out live. If you haven’t heard Guitar Town by now …..get a life!

I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH-ha your probably thinking a ummm gasp ballad..nope this is a barrom little stomper that just when you about to leave the bar someone shouts ‘Last Call’ and Tbone responds with “Alcohol!!! ‘ yippity  ky yeh mother*%ker!”

SHES ABOUT A MOVER- ge’ez us some one jacked up the Hammond B3 and this one just rocks it up. Steve and the fellas aren’t letting up and man this song just slithers along and man it makes me wish I was there that night in either London or Ladanos backyard at which this disc was recorded!

THE RAIN CAME DOWN-this is a mid tempo song that perhaps was it ever a single? I dunno but it coulda been one that’s for sure! Steve is at his best man strumming his guitar and just having a good time,naaaa make that a real good time!

DEAD FLOWERS-the Dukes and Steve lay it all on the line with this Stones cover and that’s if I hadn’t known this was a Mick/Keef cover I would have thought it was Steves own and that my pals is a great thing when a artist can take a cover tune twist it around somewhat and make it sound his own! Bottom of the ninth bases loaded and Steve clobbers a fastball over the centre field wall. Friends he has hit the slam ! What a way to end the show!

IN CONCLUSION -If I was a betting man I betcha you would have thought you would ever see a Sonic Waves review other than someone hard rock right?! Well fool ya all! I have been thinking about writing this one for a while now and boy I’m  glad I did and basically Mike   knows a dude who works for Earle so this review spurred me on. Earle and The Dukes are awesome on this and man I wish I couda caught the tour back in 1990! Give this one a spin people and don’t bother with current country boy outfits like the Florida Georgia One Hitters or what ever the fuck those ass clowns are called. Kick it loud with the Dukes! They’ll show  you how it’s done and them some!

SONIC WAVES…..Billy Joel/Glass Houses

“Don’t throw stones at Glass Houses!” my drafting teacher in high school Mr Dowhos used to tell us daily along with other quirky one liners!  He was a great teacher and geez how does this tie in with this review. Well let me explain it to ya’s…

My Parents were members of Columbia House back in 1980 or so. You remember Columbia House right? Well for those that don’t well here’s how it worked back than. You would get sumthin like 15 albums or 8 Tracks back than for like a $1 and than you would have to order over the next 12 months and pay  full price for those next 12 releases  So once you paid back Columbia for the 12 records owed you could cancel and rejoin for a $1 and do it all again. In 1988 to build up my cd collection I did this but I’m getting ahead here so back to 1980,are ya with me still? So anyways my parents one month decided to let me look thru that months Columbia House catalogue and pick out any selection I wanted!

Umm ok no Kiss,no Cheap Trick,no ACDC,no Queen….shit now what?

Hey what’s this one with some dude about to throw a stone at a Glass House?

Ladies and Gents to this day this is the only Billy I own.( I bought my second copy of it on iTunes ) and its a classic to still own!!!

Billy hits the keys and unleashes on the world a gem…

YOU MAY BE RIGHT- smash,crash and glass and a drunken stupor of a guitar sound starts off some of the best after party fallout lyrics I have ever heard! Billy and the boys are pounding out in track 1 a classic and man it’s a rollicking good time! You may be right sez Billy,I may be crazy ….whoa, but I might just be the lunatic your looking for! Great song 34 years later and guess what we can all relate to it. That is a sign of a great track!

SOMETIMES A FANTASY- Hey!! Who sampled Tbone dialing on the  phone back in 1980? Track 2 and whoa Billy’s blowin my mind back in 1980. I mean the guy looks like he coulda smacked me around if he was in the mafia,like he’s  a real tuff looking dude. Look at the album cover of Glass Houses,you gonna stop him from throwing that rock? Yeah your a bullshitter,u ain’t stopping him and neither am I! So anyways this is a great rock track. Simple,snappy to the point and a pretty damn catchy chorus with ohh ooh oh ooh! Listen to the vid with your ears and crank this simple yet effective cool rocker!

DON’T ASK ME WHY- After Billy runs the first two tracks thru the rock blender,he than spits out  Don’t Ask Me Why! Billy throws down with his band a different vibe with some nice acoustic guitaring and Joel delivers a real good vocal on this and man did this ever get radio play back in the day! For me being a hard rocker Billy is opening my eyes to new frontiers and that’s ok sez I,cuz I don’t wanna get punched out by Billy!

IT’S STILL ROCK N ROLL TO ME- wowzers 4 tracks in and 4 singles! Another one of his mega singles with some cool sax thrown. Sounds to me Billy may have been going thru a mid life musical crisis back in 80 by the sound of the lyrics as he’s trying to fit in with trends. I think it’s safe to say after this album sold 5 million in the U.S. Billy said Fuck You to any kind of trend ! He’s doing it his way!

ALL FOR LEYNA- Billy ends side 1 with a real cool chill song about the girl he’s chasing named LEYNA! He’s doing it all for LEYNA and that’s Allright man as we know which side of the tracks Billy is on! Kinda funny I could go from listening to Shoot To Thrill by ACDC back than right into All For Leyna! Hahaha…no shit and hey thanks Billy for scoping once again my musical landscape!

Folks, if your reading this far, congrats and guess what? This ends side 1 of Glass Houses and for a little rock trivia 101, All 5 songs  up to this point that were on side 1(vinyl)  were released as singles!

Now onward and upwards…..

I DONT WANT TO BE ALONE- Billy rocks it up on this track and this one has some clean guitar action as well but it’s punchy and catchy. Great tune.

SLEEPING WITH THE TELEVSION ON- atta boy Billy, a classic album for me is always the sleeper tracks and this is one of em! I would say if You May Be Right was not a single I would vote  for that one but nope it was a single I gotta Disqualify it from contention! Billy probably got some inspiration as after he was partied up and everyone helped themselves to the Doritos and finished off the last of the beer, Billy was the last guy standing so off people went and Billy bunkered down say at 5 am awoke at 8 am….bam tv is on! Great tune Billy smacks the keys around on his piano and this one has some real cool backing harmonies! Great great track!

C ‘EATAIT TOI(YOU WERE THE ONE) -Billy becomes the first artist in my collection up to that time to name a song I had no friggin idea what It meant ! I mean I understood tunes like Given The Dog A Bone and Shake A Leg but ummm C ‘EATAIT TOI ?? Hahahaha,I guess it means You Were The One. Billy’s looking for comfort and well I’ll be damned there’s some accordion floating around in the sonics of this tune! Kinda surprised this was never a single but we’re at that point where Billy coulda released the whole damn album as singles!

CLOSE TO THE BORDERLINE-well Allright! Joel’s band rocks it up with a kick off with the drums starting the song and some heavy duty cool electric guitar on tap and we’re off with Billy to the borderline and if you  don’t believe me how about these for some of Billy’s lyrics…’blackout heatwave,44 caliber homicide,the bums drop dead and dogs go mad in packs to the West side’ or later on how about these lyrics ‘I got real close friends who will get me high,they don’t know how to talk and they ain’t gonna try’…see I told yous reading earlier in this review that Billy will smack ya around…..this is another solid track!

THROUGH THE LONG NIGHT- Billy slows things down after kicking ass by the borderline and its ok man I’m glad Bill though can show a sensitive side but I will be honest as a 13 year old I skipped this track but later in life I had random play on the on  the iPod and yeah man I can dig this track now! Nice acoustic tune with a total influence of the Beatles on this closing track ! Good ending to a Gem of a recording!

IN CONCLUSION-Dateline 1980…Kiss/Cheap Trick/ACDC/Queen/ Billy Joel….does anybody notice anything?…Bingo!! We got a winner Aaron ! Yep Billy is the solo guy not a band guy and he takes home the prize of being the first ever solo artist I had ever owned and Glass Houses I can still listen to it and man it’s a classic no doubt about it! The funny thing is I never owned or bought anything of Billy’s  after this and it’s kinda crazy I guess when I think about it,but yeah I respect the guy and shit but I dunno why that is but going back  Mr Dowhos I would listen too before launching that rock towards the house but I doubt Billy would have  listened to Mr Dowhos Circa 1980!

SONIC WAVES….Helix/ Long Way To Heaven

This review is a request from Tbone …..

In the year of good ol 1985,Helix became one of those bands that myself,Tbone and his two younger bros (Darr and Rugg) followed immensely. I mean how could we not? They were on Muchmusic constantly with the Rock You vid,they were selling a ton of vinyl and cassette tapes of there 1984 release Walkin The Razors Edge and hell Tbone took the plunge and bought No Rest For The Wicked which was super solid as well! And of course we caught Helix here in Tbay in I think early of March of 1985 when they were still plugging away on the Razors Edge tour( gotta review that show)

So when Helix dumped into the record shops there new release Long Way To Heaven ( I love this record cover,simple yet effective. The cover is the one featuring the song Long Way To Heaven/YouTube)there were 4 guys buying it and you know who the culprits were right?! Helix we love and still do as me and Tbone still make the pilgrimage out to see em whenever there here in Tbay.  Anyways I’m getting ahead here…but whoa it’s summer of 85. New Helix is on the street and were like the Kids ……were all shakin!

Time to check out what Brian,Fritz,Paul(Rip) Daryl and Doctor Doerner are cooking in the Helix Lab….

KIDS ARE ALL SHAKIN- yep Helix is back and they got a new single and its this one. Have you heard the news today,the Kids Are All Shakin In the USA? What ?? Why the U.S.? Were shaking are wallets here in Tbay for Helix product but we understand to get Alot of pay,you must make it in the US of A! This is Helix jingle single time! Gone is the previous albums opener of Rock You and here is a more streamlined snappy happy Helix treading commercial waters kinda and that’s ok guys,me and Tbone understand,I mean Tbone made a mess of himself over Y&Ts Down For The Count album but we all know that this Helix track is better than anything on Y&Ts hunk o junk! So Tbone is relieved !

DEEP CUTS THE KNIFE- holy hell song #2 and were into another single and this ones a keeper friends! The song starts off kinda moody with Brian kicking it off and than the song ramps up into one catchy chorus and this song is a good Helix rock song. A little on the powerballad drive  side but with a good kick in the musical chops to keep it from becoming a puss ballad! Also of note it must be said that with Helix albums the vocals were top notch both lead and backing. This song proves it!

RIDE THE ROCKET- oh yeah man …I mean lets go with ‘ Hey whadda say! Let’s Ride The Rocket,climb aboard with me, its in my pocket!’ At the time (85) this was in, this style of silliness and its Helix on there tour bus ripping down some Highway in Arizona not giving  rats ass about anything except for the girls in the back of the bus(well that’s how it’s played out in my noggin ) and good on me remembering these lyrics all these years later! My 3 teenage daughters would be horrified if they heard me yapping these lyrics now  but you know what? This song takes me back as a 18 year old and my tour bus was my 10 speed bike with just a back fender at the back(no girls!!!) watch the vid I posted as whoever did it shows some photos from the Long Way Tour of Helix well done whoever ya are!

LONG WAY TO HEAVEN-One of the best written and lyrical songs that Helix has ever done and as far as I know they never play it live anymore??! One of life’s great travestys !  Helix lays it all on the line with this tune. The lyrics are classic check out the vid I mean how can you go wrong with lines like ” Too many women,too many bars.too many songs about sex ,drugs and rock n roll!” And to top it off Vollmer  nails back the classic line of all time that myself and the Erickson brothers still to this day will say to each other..”Long Way To Heaven but 3 short steps to Hell!” So true Mr Vollmer,so true! Helix ladies and gents, hit one out of the park with this tune!

HOUSE ON FIRE- I’m sure everyone has heard that April Wine tune Ooowhatanite! You know the one with the ringing bell at the beginning of the tune? Well Helix takes that bell and cranks it up to 78 mph and wowzers we now have the opening number from the Long Way To Heaven tour! This song kicks it into overdrive and I can see why! Fritz is smashing his kit,Gray is laying down the law on the bass,Hackman and the Doctor are ripping it up on guitar and Vollmer is summersaulting all over the stage and bringing home the goods  with his voice! Bam opening number all rolled up into one little tune!

CHRISTINE-hmmm to my ears anyways it sounds like Helix is trying to grab a stab at radio AirPlay with this one! Can ya blame em? I’m sure the pressure was on from the record company after Rock You went viral on old school tv in 1984 and it must be a daunting task when you have some cigar smoking suit and tie guy from the record company chirping at you to write another Rock You! This song is good with the guitars and its always good as a 17 yr old boy at the time to hear some rock dudes sing about some chick named Christine and her legs! Wowzers!

WITHOUT YOU(JASMINE’S SONG) – I think  Vollmer wrote this one about his daughter. Think about it  for a sec! A lot of us have kids ( well in my case 3 beautiful teenage daughters) and think back to 1985 and Vollmer and Helix go out on tour and he leaves behind his newborn. So he’s out on the road for months at a time away form home while his daughter is growing up! And of course compared to today’s technology I guess the rotary phone was the only way to go back than. That musta been hard on the dude,full props and ya man Brian Vollmer can have a song on a rock record about his kid if he wants to! The song itself is good the chorus is big time catchy and once again Helix shows off there vocals!

SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS- Helix sez time to kick ass and its back to the alleys with this one. The title says it all. At the School Of Hard Knocks is where you get your Helix education. Helix writing once again  with big vocals in mind and the song has a pretty memorable hook in it! Catchy Helix….

DON’T TOUCH THE MERCHANDISE- hahaha, whats this one about? Yeah man don’t touch Helix’s merchandise! This is a cool little 3 minute song,brief and too the point! Helix tells us that everyone wants a piece of paradise but please don’t touch the merchandise! Whoever pulls off the solo in this tune (Doctor?/Hackman?) it’s cool slipping in sliding all over the place! And of course Helix goes into Capella mode with snappin fingers and Brian leading the charge with Don’t Touch….Helix was always good with quick 3 minute rockers(When The Hammer Falls Down,Dirty Dog come to mind) Helix said were not here for Rocket Science..were here to Ride The Rocket! Amen to that!

BANGING OF-A-The BRICKS-Helix wraps up with a straight ahead rocker and this one features also some real slick lead playing and Fritz and Gray lay it all down with some straight ahead bottom end! I never really understood the title at all! But never the less Helix ends the record with some good Ol fashioned hard rock!

IN CONCLUSION- Helix in Canada anyways went into arena mode with this album as it went platinum here and number 1 in Sweden! Good for them man and I remember reading about there tour In that old magazine Metallion. For some reason though and this is just my deal Long Way..seemed to fall thru the cracks for some reason and for me it kinda did as well. Not as good as Walking The Razors Edge and Wild In The Streets but still pretty good. I found the production a little more clean than Razors Edge butcan you blame Helix? They were trying to dent the U.S. market!

But Helix did deliver some well written tracks esp the title track,Deep Cuts,Kids,House On Fire so all in all a pretty good record and l like this album cover simple yet effective and for myself and brothers Erickson, Helix back than that was A-ok!!!

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