Tag Archives: Adrian Vandenberg

Impact Albums: Vandenberg(1982)

 

Your Friggin Rights this is an Impact album in my world!  Vandenberg dropped in my lap back in 1982 and here we are 36 years later and it once again dropped into my lap in 2018 and proves to me not that I didn’t need proving that the self titled debut album is indeed a pure form of brilliance in Rock Philosophy that a fella named Adrian Vandenberg could single handly write/perform/design the front cover even and craft a masterpiece of epic proportions

Decipher I shall!

Vandenberg put out such a stellar album  all 9 tracks kick into a whole other level that basically with this album became a determent to the other Vandenberg releases which followed.( I shall explain later)

You gotta first of all love the wacky names of these  Dutch guys. Along with Adrian you got Bert Heerink on vocals. Jos Zoomer on drums and the Greatest Bass Player name of all time…. Dick Kemper.

Yeah so when the needle hits the opening track Your Love Is In Vain the boys Vandenberg within the first 20 seconds flex their musical muscle and once Bert grabs that mic he’s taking charge telling the lady friend back off literally. Adrian torches and scorches the fretboard and Bam instant fan in moi…

From there its a display in fine workmanship as tracks like Back On My Feet Again/Ready For You/Too Late/Lost In The City deliver the hard rock in spades. All these cats in this band can play. That’s the thing that set Vandenberg apart from other new bands in the early 80s is that they all were strong players. No weak links at all…..

One of the best Vandenberg tunes on this record is Wait(Til The Shit Hits The Fan)  which  best exemplifies this band. After a quick crash course in what sounds like an ending of the song but at the beginning Adrian rips into a classical guitar piece that than morphs into a full-out electric binge. Than  ramps it up on the mid tempo pace that is so good even after all these years.

The boys in Vandenberg raided Tbiones closet fort this picture!The boys in Vandenberg raided Tbone’s closet for this picture!

Course in 1982 the term Power Ballad was trying to rear its ugly head and while bands that came down the pike in the late 80’s like Poison would basically suck the syrup out of anything remotely ballad  like Vandenberg had the tune Burning Heart which I think many acts followed by starting off slow than notching  it up during the chorus and then relaxing a little only to ramp it up again towards the end. Perhaps Adrian and the boys  perhaps as well followed someones pattern but to me they have to be one of the first ones to actually chart pretty high with the term Power Ballad!

This album top to bottom/front to back is a GEM! No Duds whatsoever.

Course how do you top it? Well in Vandenberg’s case you have a helluva time in doing so! In late 1983 the followup to the debut Heading For A Storm (cover drawing done once again by Adrian) failed to achieve in my eyes the greatness of the debut! The task of the followup fell on Adrian who once again composed all 9 songs on Heading For A Storm. This album followed the exact same formula as the debut. Side 1 with 4 songs with the fourth track being the ballad (Different Worlds) like Burning Heart was on the debut. 5 tracks on Side 2 all rockers. Same producer(Stuart Epps).  Same sound it’s just that even though some of the album was great. Some spots were patchy.

Late 1985 came the third album Alibi which I never even purchased. Why? I have no idea but if I come across it cheap on vinyl I may take the plunge. But back at that time the band parted ways with Bert Heerink and they never recovered. There are Vandenberg videos on YouTube that featured their new singer but I had a hard time getting through the one track as it sounded like a bad REO Speedwagon song mashed up with a Loverboy tune.

Course that old Geezer named David Coverdale caught wind of Adrian and tried recruiting him back in 1983 for Whitesnake but Vandenberg turned  Cov down as Adrian wanted his band to succeed but after 1985 with the failed singer and no record deal Adrian joined Whitenake and yada yada.

To my ears this album does not sound dated as it could have come out last year. So it was a real pleasant surprise when I went Record shopping and was able  to score this album for $7 Bucks!

 

 

SONIC WAVES…Vandenberg/Vandenberg

1982 and it musta been Hit Parader magazine and they had an add for Vandenbergs debut album called ……..wait for it….Vandenberg!

I was sold on the add I mean you had 4 long-haired dudes from Holland and with song titles like Your Love Is In Vain,Wait (til the shit hits the fan) Ready For You and Too Late I knew this would be a rocker of a record plus they were supporting Kiss on there Lick It Up Tour(1983)so I figured Vandenberg would have some rock balls so to speak….

Vandenberg was named after its founder Adrian he of later day Whitesnake fame! Adrian the dude whose solo is on Here I Go Again single on the Whitesnake 87 record after OL David Coverdale gave John Sykes(guitarist)the boot! Adrian was the guy who cowrote the Slip Of The Tongue record as well for Whitesnake than Adrian mangles up his wrist and Ol Coverdale replaces Adrian on record with Steve Vai!

Got it? The rest of Vandenberg is Bert Herrink(vocals) Dick Kemper(bass and great name) and drummer dude Jos Zoomer!

Vandenberg releases an absolute gem of a debut and here’s the proof in da pudding!

YOUR LOVE IS IN VAIN- drums,bass and hot-shot guitar action start this tune! Bert bellows ‘ you better go your own way” yeah man I’m sure she will and Vandenberg drops a classic track opener and Adrian puts me into the realm of realizing that his playing is more Micheal Schenker like than Eddie Van Halen like and for me it s ok there’s only one EVH in my book! You know why Coverdale was sniffing around Vandenbergs back yard before he recruited Sykes! (Vandenberg said no) by the guitar picking of this fellow!

BACK ON MY FEET- Zoomer the drummer kicks it in with a count in and Adrian slips into guitar hero mode playing neat little licks and here’s some double bass drumming during the chorus! Great song as well! 2 for 2 folks!

WAIT (TIL THE SHIT HITS THE FAN)-hahaha great marketing ploy I had never seen anyone up to that point(1982) that had a song title with SHIT in it so I had to get it! Hahaha…..Adrian opens with a nice classical guitar piece and soon drums/Dicks bass(ha),electric guitar and Bert drive this song past the 6 minute mark! I still can listen to this record nowadays but the only thing is the drums do sound dated but everything else! Top Notch!

BURNING HEART- Ummm, a case could be made that this may be the first power ballad I ever heard back in 82! This ain’t no Journey  ballady stuff this is power ballad done right! More classical guitar and when the chorus hits its big time power riffs! Bizarro that in my kooky world here at Arena Rock that this is the first time I have written that a power ballad like  Burning  Heart didn’t want me to puke upon first listen! Braaaaaaavo!

READY FOR YOU-opens side 2…guitar rolls into drums and bass and man were off this had to have been the tour opener! This Vandenberg boys can play and the backing vocals as well are top-notch! Cool solo in this tune as well!

TOO LATE- this song kicks off right out of the gate. It’s like the Vandenberg Xpress Bullet Train is about to derail off the tracks as it just slams along at break neck speed and hey let’s drop some double bass drums in the chorus! More great guitaring from Adrian and hey if you’re keeping score not only did he write all these tunes on here he did the artwork for the cover of the album as well! Talented fella!

NOTHING TO LOSE- this song drives along as well! Man this album is a showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever! Woo-hoo and  no ballads on side 2!

LOST IN THE CITY- Bert the singer tells us he’s lost ….Lost In The City! This could have been a single as well. Drums start off and Adrian and Dick(ha) join in and this song is another great corker of a track and follows protocol here at Arena Rock that there’s hidden gems on the end of the album! This is one of Em!

OUT IN THE STREETS- bam,bam,bam double bass drums going 120 mph and crazy riffing lead the charge to the end and man Jos the drummer and Adrian just rock this track big time especially at the solo intersection! Head on crash between these two guys for sure,musically that is! What a great end to a great debut!

IN CONCLUSION- I think Tbone was wondering when I would get around to reviewing Vandenberg! Hahaha….well buddy here it is! Vandenberg for me blew my ears out with this debut and two others that followed I never really wrapped my ears around. The second album Heading For A Storm had some good tracks and I may review it someday but it lacked something,perhaps it was the fact that to me it sounded like sides 3&4 of the debut….who knows. Vandenbergs third release Alibi I just totally passed on,dunno why but just did!

Saying that though these 4 guys…Bert/Adrian/Jos and (the )Dick slammed a super-duper classic debut upon my Sonic Senses back in 1982! Yes!! Is the answer if you’re wondering if I have this on my iPod!

Like why wouldn’t I?!

3/4’s Filler….Whitesnake/Slip Of The Tongue

Oh oh here comes Nov 1989 and Whitesnake are striking while the iron is hot! What would a new Whitesnake be without a whole new lineup on the new studio album! Of course the whole 1987 album band is canned and gone and Coverdale pretty much keeps the touring band from the 1987 tour intact (Sarzo /Aldridge/Vandenberg) Vivian Campbell is gone so he carries the  WS tradition of getting your ass fired! So what does Dave Coverdale do? He goes after Steve Vai he layed down some serious guitar action with Dave Roth on the Eat Em And Smile and Skyscraper albums and man his guitar suited Roths voice so when I heard he had joined Whitesnake I was like ?….??….??? I mean I had a hard time wrapping my head around Vai’s Wang Bar  7 String Sting Ibanez Workout Extravaganza!

But with all  big band releases I was a first week buyer of Slip Of a The Tongue! I dunno I had a hard time taking this album serious and I will explain why….

First of all Adrian Vandenberg wrote with OL Cov all the tunes on this album but than he fucked up his arm and Coverdale waits for no one so he enlisted Vai who did all the guitars on Slip Of The Tongue! Now don’t get me wrong here people Vai is very good but not in Whitenake 1990! His playing is just over the top nuts at times on some of these songs and I will review quickly my thoughts on a few tunes!

SLIP OF THE TONGUE- bam this is the opener and it’s pretty good it almost sounds like a tune that could have maybe just  maybe fit on the 1987 album.  Tommy Aldridge plays some serious double bass drums and Dave is already screeching like his nutsack is being squeezed by that crazy chick on the previous albums videos! Oh wait a minute she was doing that to him! Ha! Seriously though Vai is restrained on this tune ….he’s setting a guitar trap!

CHEAP AN NASTY- now this has some cowbell and it kicks along with a pretty cool chorus but man the Vai solo just goes into Eat Em And Smile territory which is fine and dandy but not here in Whitesnake hard blues which has turned into arena c*%k rock 101!

NOW YOURE GONE- I dunno these guys are now writing for the radio! I understand it’s the game to be played but c’mon Cov don’t make it so obvious now.

KITTENS GOT CLAWS-next…..

JUDGEMENT DAY- now we’re talking! The Snakes pull of some big bombastic Zep riffs and it works! Jimmy Page must have been listening to this one as a few years later him and Coverdale did the fantastic Coverdale /Page album! Man that was a good one! So yep this is a great Whitesnake song…..

SLOW POKE MUSIC-this is another good song and it fits Whitesnakes style but the lyrics well are kinda goofy but hey it’s 1990! It’s time for some Slow Poke followed by  some Cherry Pie along with some Poison ( take your pick of any Poison song!)

SAILING SHIPS- this totally could have fit on any Vandenberg record and it’s well played and it’s got some great acoustic work on it!

The rest of the songs I never really took a liking to them. This album was the end of the line for me and Whitesnake. I got tired of all the personal upheaval and band member changes like geez Dave just call your your band Coverdale or Coversnake or Fire Yer Ass! …just don’t call it a band when it ain’t. The other thing to me was OL Cov it seemed would just run and gun with whoever was in his band and once he used up there creativity …..Now Your Gone(Hahahaha) seriously though he’s written some great albums but by 1990 times were a changing…….

KINDA IN CONCLUSION- perhaps I’m being harsh here folks but seriously by 1990 Whitesnake was a brand name in North America. I mean look at the vids I have posted for all 4 Blogs. You can see the transformation from 1980 – 1990 in sound and look and yep it worked for a album or two. I think Dave should have called this Coverdale/Vai instead of  Whitesnake and I may have skipped on this on the 3/4’s Filler column! Vai is a gifted guitarist (check out my Roth review of Eat Em And Smile) but for Whitesnake he was just playing way over the top crazy for my liking at the time. Of course Ol Cov shut down the Snake  in 1990 perhaps he knew the tide was turning and perhaps that was due to some of the turnouts in North America.

Case in point…….

Tbone and myself when we were in Winnipeg to see Motley Crüe in June of 1990. We were talking to some guy in the hotel lobby who went and seen Whitesnake/ Bad English when they played the Peg 4 days before the Crüe show!  I asked him how was Whitesnake. The dude told me they were good but only 2,000 people were there whereas when the Crüe played 4 days later 12,000 were there…. I don’t know what shocked me more. The fact that there were only 2,000 people at the show or the fact that that Tbone came 4 days from snagging that elusive Bad English Tour Shirt!

Damn,a missed opportunity ……