Tag Archives: Carl Dixon

Coney Hatch Live Stream- Saturday Oct 3rd 2020

What better way to self isolate next Saturday night at home (Oct 3rd, 2020) but still being able to hang out with four Canadian fella’s…

Those four fella’s are the one and only “Coney Hatch”!

If you are a reader at this site you already know that the Hatch carved out a niche in my listening habits at a very young age back in 1982. Fast forward 38 years as  Andy Curran, Carl Dixon, Dave ‘Thumper’ Ketchum, and Sean Kelly are still bringing it live.

Trust me on that last sentence as I caught Coney when they finally made their appearance here in Thunder Bay last year(first time back here since 1985) and they were beyond awesome!

So what the boys are doing is a full out Livestream concert on Nugs TV for $9.99!

What a deal! It’s easy to order and what a great way to support live music as we know there hasn’t been much live music at all. Click the link below!

https://nugs.tv/live-webcasts/5,1367/Coney-Hatch-10-2020-El-Mocambo-Toronto-4K-ON.html

Better yet a double live Coney Hatch album is going to be recorded at this show and released which takes place at the famous El Mocambo in Toronto.

Anyone out there ever heard of that place called the El Mo?

You can preorder the live album, and if you are wondering I did indeed pull the trigger and pay for it as I have been bugging Sean Kelly for about 3 years now asking him when is the Coney live album dropping?

Well, it’s dropping right to my doorstep at some point! Can’t wait! Click below to order up some vinyl!

https://coneyhatchstore.myshopify.com

If anything this supports live music and musicians so if you are looking for something to watch, click Coney, and hang around by the “Monkey Bars.”

In other words “Catch The Hatch”

You will not be disappointed!

 

Thunder Bay Arena Rocks Top 10 Music Picks for 2019!

This year I thought I would post my Best of Lists a little early. When I think back to the last 12 months of music it was the year of massive reissues of bands like R.E.M/STP/Whitesnake with 2 Reissues!!/Sloan/Def Leppard/Skid Row and the list goes on and on.

BUT …

Some bands and artists put out some new cool quality stuff so hopefully, you may check out some of these acts and artists to see what I dug in the year 2019. Feel free to post your picks in the comments below!

Here we GO!

1-Tom Keifer-RISE: Well looky, looky here. Is it 1989? No way folk’s it’s 2019 and who saw this coming? Tom Keifer shakes it and doesn’t break it as he delivers a solid blast of  CinderRock over 11 tracks that fuse all the old school elements of Cinderella while cementing a future in a really cool current sound that I hope the Keiferband will continue to follow. My favorite release this year, Congrats Tom! You have no idea who the Hell I am but I dig your album.

2-Big Wreck- …but for the sun: Guitar wizard Ian Thornley is back in a big way Folk’s as he cranked up the amps and cuts loose over the 12 tracks on this album.  Ian’s singing/guitaring and writing on this album is phenomenal as well as the two other fellas who helped him out on this as well! Kudos to Dave MacMillian and Chuck Keepling. Locomotive is one unbelievable track!

3-Rival Sons- Feral Roots: Rival Sons basically took over crap rock radio in Thunder Bay with the single Do Your Worst and on this album, the band, and producer Dave Cobb stepped up and kicked down the walls on this opus. Big Loud Fuzz Guitar Rock! How about the drums on Back In The Woods!

4-Carl Dixon- Unbroken: You want a straight-ahead hard rock album with a throwback sound to the roaring ’80s with some fantastic catchy driven rock. Than Unbroken is for you! 11 songs in the Hard Rock AOR spectrum that are pure Gold! Carl’s the definition of Rock n Roll survivor!

5-Jared James Nichols-Black Magic: Jared showed up one night this past April here in Thunder Bay opening for John5 and sizzled mine and Tbone’s brains into mush! JJN is a must-see live as he nails that heavy blues power trio format to a T. This guy is that good live and Black Magic is a stellar album that features all the fine trimmings that Mr. Nichols possess. Watch for this dude in 2020!

6-Page 38-Burning The Midnight Oil: These 4 young fella’s hail from my hometown Thunder Bay and this 5 song EP kicks serious ass. Page 38 came across my radar when they opened for and kicked to the curb ‘Cranky’ Anvil back in May of this year. I quickly scooped up the EP from iTunes as you should do as well! Love the tune Mama June! Click the video below and support our local Boy’s.

‘At Mama Junes, back door liquor store
She got what you want, couldn’t ask for more
Knock three times, 20 under the door, forget what you know
At Mama Junes, back door liquor store ‘

7-Whitesnake- Flesh and Blood: An album I had zero interest in until Ladano and John Snow got into my noggin about how good it was. They were right. Coverdale wrote a batch of tunes with Reb Beach and together they slid out 14 good rock tracks especially Hey You (You Make Me Rock) Plus add the two reissues this year of Slide It In and Slip of the Tongue.  Cov has been one busy dude! All hail the old guy!

8-Sammy Hagar & The Circle- The Space Between: Speaking of an old guy. Crazy to think that Sammy is 71 and has been doing the Rock thing for 5 Decades! That’s longevity in the truest sense. Sammy  with his good pal Micheal Anthony along with Vic Johnson and a drummer whose last name is Bonham released a pretty decent rock record in 2019. Concept album none the less about Greed and Corruption. Trust Fund Baby is a great track and as well the production on this album is old school sounding. No Polish and that’s a good thing.

9-Motley Crue- The Dirt: Never been big on soundtracks but The Dirt soundtrack interested me for some reason or maybe I was bored that week it came out. Dunno but when Tricky Sixx and Tommy muster up some new songs with Bob Rock I’m onboard. 4 new songs 3 of which are originals are ok but the cover tune of Madonna? Ummm. Whatever, still though when you dump a bunch of tracks off the first two albums (Too Fast For Love and Shout At The Devil) the sucker in me will always bite!

10-Sean Kelly-Touch Me: All round Great Canadian Fella Sean Kelly when not playing guitar/singing/songwriting in a bunch of bands (Coney Hatch/Alan Frew/Lee Aaron to name but a few) reactivated his old band Crash Kelly and put out a doozie of a track titled Touch Me which is a Glam Rockers delight. Think Cheap Trick mashed up with The Sweet.  This is Ear Candy. I think we need a full album, Mr. Kelly!

Check back here in a couple of days for another Best OF list with a twist!

Coney Hatch: Live in Thunder Bay(Nov 23rd 2019)-eVents Nightclub

 

Pretty psyched to finally have been able to see Coney Hatch after being a fan of these Iconic Rockers since the self-titled debut hit the street’s back in 1982!

Never up until this point have I ever had the opportunity to see Coney live until this show was announced a little over a month ago.

If your a reader of this Blog (I Thank Ya!) then you know have I reviewed the 4 studio Coney albums that the band has put out over the years. Those being the self-titled as previously mentioned debut  (1982) Outta Hand(1983), Friction (1985) and Four (2013).  All of these Hatch albums are fine additions to any Hard Rock Fans Music Collection!

As per rock protocol, my good pal Tbone was along for the ride as he’s been hearing me talk about these guys for well over 3 decades!

So when Carl Dixon (Lead Vocals/Guitar) Andy Curran(Lead Vocals/Bass) Sean Kelly(Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) and Thunder Bays very own Dave ‘Thumper’ Ketchum (Drums) hit the stage shortly after midnight all bets were off as the Coney fella’s kicked out the jams with opener “We Got The Night” that has Ketchum laying down the backbeat on the drums like he’s the boss!

The real added plus of Coney Hatch was that they have two lead vocalists in both Carl and Andy who takes the lead vocal as they launch into Stand Up which has a real cool slow swagger to it which featured Sean Kelly nailing down a fantastic solo ( as Mr. Kelly did all night).

The AC/DC-driven  “No Sleep Tonight”was next followed by “Don’t Say Make Me” which is, in my opinion, one of my all-time fav’s! Love that driving Bass Line by Andy! 

What a fantastic 4 pack of songs to get the night rolling!

“Some Like It Hot” kept the show moving along and another track from Outta Hand that as Carl explained from the stage that “First Time For Everything” was a song that garnered some MTV and MuchMusic video play

“Hey Operator” one of the two big singles was played halfway through the show which shows you the number of songs these guys have built over the years which when you think of it they could have saved it to the end of the set but didn’t. Keeps us in the audience on our toes!

The band played tracks from all of there records as “Blown Away” andMarseille” were featured from the Four album released already 6 years ago!

“This Ain’t Love/Girl From Last Nights Dream/Wrong Side of Town” and “She’s Gone” were shown some love from the Friction album which in the Coney catalog of rock may be the album that flew under the radar for most but I will tell ya it’s certainly up there with the other three releases with some stellar written and performed songs!

“Devils Deck” and “Monkey Bars” from the self-titled debut album( that went Gold in Canada) ended Coney’s regular set.

Coney left and came right back out and walloped us over the head with a kick-ass cover of AC/DC’s Sin City!

Being a fan of these guys since 1982 I can honestly say it was one of my favorite shows in this town as I was 15 when I discovered Coney and finally had the opportunity 37 years later to finally see the band!

As great as the show was the Coney guys are even better people! Carl was in the audience(before the show) when he cruised by our table I asked if him if he wouldn’t mind signing my Coney albums!  Carl asked me if I was the guy who left a message on his Facebook page telling him to bring a sharpie to the show to sign my records! (Yup it was me!)

Carl even took my 3 Coney records and two Andy Curran solo CD’s backstage and had the fella’s all sign them and Carl brought them back to me along with Sean Kelly!

Thanks, Carl!

It was great meeting Sean as if you recall he was one the first guys to do a ’10 Questions With..’  interview for me and was very gracious. Meeting him though was awesome as we talked about Music, Families, more Music and well you get the drift! Solid dude if there ever was and a fantastic guitar player/singer and performer!

Just as we were about to leave and head home I bumped into Andy as well and we chatted for a few minutes as it was nice to talk to him and tell him that the last time Coney was in Thunder Bay in 1985 I was 17 and couldn’t get into the show as you had to be 19 to get in to Bar’s here in town. Cool to talk to Andy about his past project Soho 69 and the Rush book Wandering The Face of The Earth.

Oddly enough Dave Ketchum was the only guy I didn’t get a chance to speak to and he lives here in town! Maybe next time!

It was a great night period and if ever Coney Hatch comes around do go as you won’t be disappointed!

Check out Coney Hatch on your various streaming devices or buy the reissues on disc from Rock Candy or better yet track these albums down on Vinyl!

Photo of the Coney Hatch stage courtesy of Sean Kelly.

Live band shots were taken by Adriana Coslett (Thanks Buddy!)

Band Photos were taken by Tbone (Whiskey on the Rocks).

Coney Hatch/Friction(1985)

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After I read Coney Guitarist Carl Dixon’s Autobiography Strange Way To Live the title of the third Coney album Friction has more substance to it than just the title.

Crappy Record Company not doing anything to promote the third Hatch release,  a producer not sure which direction to go with these guys(Max Norman) plus add in a new drummer(Barry Conners) Coney is fighting to survive.

Friction is a different Coney compared to the self titled and the second album Outta Hand.

It’s a sound that is matured somewhat and perhaps an eye on more mainstream rock that was out at the time. A little more polish added to smooth off those rough edges sonically.

The song’s are great Coney Tracks that 32 years later I appreciate more as in This Ain’t Love/She’s Gone/Fantasy and Bassist Andy Currans rocking Wrong Side Of Town. Lead Guitarist Steve Shelski plays brilliantly a little more melodic than what was on the first two Coney albums but still has enough juice to get the job done.

It’s a shame this album was dead upon arrival but as a Fanboy I bought this at the time and it has aged like a fine wine.

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Canada Day Rock Out….Monkey Bars/Swinging Stars!

 

Hey Folks! HAVE A GREAT CANADA DAY! 

Now! Crank the video below as it’s a tune by a Canadian Act that in my humble opinion should have been MEGA and that’s CONEY HATCH

Monkey Bars( from the debut album Coney Hatch) Is a great rock track! Lead Singer/Bassist Andy Curran   has that real cool rock voice and stage presence and while the three other Coney’s (Carl Dixon/Dave Ketchum and Simon Brieley) hold down the fort musically and deliver the knock out Sonic Punch!

Check out below a snippet of lyrics I posted… So True!

We’ve got a job in the Amazon
Everyone’s a jungle, out to con
We drive for miles and see lots of trees
We get home in time to pay our managers fees

Enjoy  The Long Weekend & Stay Safe Kids!

Folks I’m gonna be easing of the posting Gas Pedal for a bit as it’s summer and such but fear not when I do decide to blog something its gonna be a whole  new eye poppin  category called Cool Vs Gah! ….watch for it!

ROCK 101…Carl Dixon/Strange Way To Live

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So of all the rock biography books that I have read lately for example Joe Perry/Paul Stanley/Stephen Pearcy/ Sammy Hagar the one that interested me the most was Carl Dixons Strange Way To Live(A Story Of Rock N Roll Resurrection) The reason is simple all those musicians I have mentioned above all ended up millionaires and more power to them but although Carl may have not tasted the Holy Grail of a Rock N Roll Payout. Dixon is a millionaire and has won the lottery in more ways than the Stephen Pearcys off the world have its just in a different kind of way!

Let me explain it to Ya……

Alright,so everyone knows my deal here at Arena Rock about how much the three  Coney Hatch albums(the self titled and Outta Hand) had on my sonic senses as a young lad back in 1982 thru to 1985s Friction(title makes total sense now after reading Carl’s assessment of the recording and interband working relationships).

I’m getting ahead here….

The first part of Carl’s journey ( after two  great forwards by Larry Gowan and Pat Stapleton) is about Carl growing up in Sault Ste Marie Ontario and he talks about the Dixon clan and his Grandma who Carl says is one of his heroes as in 2011 she celebrated her 100th Birthday. You know by reading in the early part of the book how much family has meant to  Carl.

Carls career as a professional musician starts at the age of 16 and he gives credit where credit is due to his music teacher in high school a lady by the name of Sharon Sibthorpe who also contributes a page in the book as well and commends Carl on his dedication to being a musician and taking his craft seriously. They have the upmost mutual respect for each other.

From there Carl writes in detail about his earlier bands that he was in like Boots and than onto Olias  back to Boots who borrowed a name of a band to become Hollinger(great story) back to Boots to which they finally called themselves Alvin Shoes who became a touring act like Carl says you drive all day Sunday to play your next bar in some forsaken Northern Ontario city to perform 4 shows a night 6 days a week and living in seedy conditions with cheap pay to do it all over again but the gratitude he says is when the crowd appreciates what your doing. Many are called….few are chosen! Eventually Alvin Shoes packed it in except Carl whose decides to keep going.

Firefly is the name of Carl’s next band which was based out of Montreal and he as he puts it had to fight to get his 2 songs into there set and like anything times were tough so Carl packed up and went back to Toronto and hooks up with Andy Curran,Steve Shelski and Dave Ketchum and they become Coney Hatch!

The Coney Hatch part of the book is a big reason I was looking forward to this read. Back when they were putting out records there was press but not too much. Carl here tells it how he remembers it as like he says he stayed pretty focused meaning he stayed straight so what he says is not just some juiced up rock n roll frat party!

Coney Hatch became a big deal in the Toronto area in the early 1980s being discovered by Kim Mitchell and this led to there deal with Anthem Records (home of Rush and Max Webster) Some cool facts from Carl in the early years of Coney are.

They signed for $10,000(1982) and there lawyer bill was $9,364 meaning Carl,Andy,Dave and Steve split $366 between them to get to there next gig! (Welcome to the Music Business).

Carl speaks highly of Kim Mitchell who produced the debut(1982) and guided them through the studio and showed them the ropes.

Coney started making the Rounds touring wise opening for Trooper/Saga/Peter Frampton but the one show that stands out in the book is when Coney returned home to open for Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent in Toronto. Cheap Trick were cool to hang with but Nugents road crew gave Coney shitty sound and basically sabotaged there homecoming but as Carl puts it you put your head down and get on with it even if people in  the crowd can’t hear you!

Judas Priest is a band they opened a ton of shows for as well and Carl has nothing but high praise for Priest especially singer Rob Halford who would hang out with Coney and even occasionally drive with them to gigs! No ego whatsover and Dixon says that both Priest band and Crew treated them very well!

When Coney went to do the second record (1983s Outta Hand)they were manipulated by management and there record company in dumping Mitchell producing there second record and hiring Max Norman(producer of the first two solo Ozzy Osbourne records) and it wasn’t a pleasant fit! Band had no say in the matter…

Opened for Iron Maiden on Maidens 1983 Piece Of Mind tour and like Priest Carl says Maiden were awesome to tour with and still remain pals to this day. Watch out for those flying M80s In Seattle Carl!

By the time the Hatch record  1985s Friction there third release it is a aptly named record to say the least. Problems with producers ( they had to reluctantly go back to Max Norman) management,changing drummers(Dave Ketchum gets the boot) not getting on a big tour,and inner band turmoils and Dixons marriage was crumbling as well so he bid adieu to Coney Hatch and moved on.

This part of the story is about survival,working odd jobs to support his young family becoming a staff song writer out of New York than losing that job joining the Guesss Who as the keyboard guy basically doing the Burton Cummings deal! Moving on and joining April Wine as the keyboard/guitar slinger and Also there are numerous rock stories to go along with him joining these bands! Carl pulls no punches in regards to other musicians behaviours etc. I wouldn’t even so much say dishing the dirt as opposed to just calling it like it is! I think Carl tends to take the high road on most of it but he gives you great examples on what it like to be on other bands payrolls! Hired Gun I guess they call it!

Of course the book also goes into great detail on Carl’s  car accident when visiting his daughter who was filming a TV show down in Australia and his long road back to recovery.( He has a pic of the car that he was in the accident,it’s amazing he survived. I’m sure that’s not the first time he has ever  heard that or read that comment) I think this is the part of the book where he finds Resurrection and happiness in both his personal and professional life after something so traumatic.

Of course it all comes full circle as he reconnects with the original Coney Hatch fella’s and they put out the very good cd titled ‘Four’ back in 2012.

This book was a great read and as a fanboy of Coney Hatch from 1982 it was great to read about Carl Dixons obstacles and how he always survived and his journeys to do what he loves to do without the real fame and fortunes of rock stars! Carl just found fame and fortune travelling down other roads !

 

 
 

 

SONIC WAVES….Coney Hatch/Outta Hand

I was pumped when Toronto’s own Coney Hatch back in 1983 released Outta Hand! I had become and still am a huge fan boy of these guys and after all these years later I have not caught em live yet! What the hell,one of life’s mysterys I suppose but hey I can yap about em and yap is what I’m gonna do!

Like  I said 83 and here’s some new Coney……

Once again Carl,Dave,Andy and Steve drop down some good ol fashioned hard rock!

DONT SAY MAKE ME-Coney rips out of the gates and man the first thing you notice is how slick this albums is gonna sound. Gone is the raw sounding  of the debut and here comes some hard polish from Max Norman he of the two iconic Rhoads Album with Ozzy that Norman had produced! Carl Dixon nails it vocally and the rest of the Coneys are telling me the listener Don’t Say Make Me and there will be no pushing in Carl’s backyard! Snappy vocals,snappy guitar…..man as a 16 year old in 1983 this song slayed me and well in 014 it still does! Check out the vid below this year filmed in England! The boys still got it…..

SHAKE IT- Andy Curran drives the lead vocal on this one …Shake The Stick umm ok. The song has a cool vibe to it with some added percussion by Dave Ketchum. Steve Shelski rips on guitar but it’s a chill ripping and the one thing I can say about Shelski is that for a guitar guy thats making records in the 80s this dude did not over play his parts to the part of making the listener (moi) puke! I thank you sir for that!

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING- the big debut single from Outta Hand and if you read Sean Kelly’s excellent book Metal On Ice you can read Carl’s own words on how this single was booted or dropped by there record company once Def Leppard released Pyromania. In other words Coney got dissed by record company politics and I think they may have never recovered from this! Record Company in the 80s= F*%kers!

SOME LIKE IT HOT-Andy once again at the mic and this has some cool cowbell and well Some Like It Hot. Andy I think may have spent some time in Arizona I myself back in 83 spent a lot of time reading Circus,Creem,Music Express and Kerrang in my bedroom wishing I was a cool rock bassist hanging in Arizona with some chicks while it’s hot! Cool song and like I said before it was cool that Coney had two co vocalists with Carl doing about 60% of the lead vocals with Andy doing the other 40% in other words Carl sings with cool laid back flair and he at times reminds me of if Lou Gramm had a full set of 24 hr rock balls whereas Andy comes from the Monkey Bars and snarls with his own cool set of pipes ….man I love these guys!

TOO FEEL THE FEELING AGAIN- wowzers Coney slams the breaks on and offer up a somewhat melodic piece of hard rock. Carl delivers a great vocal and you know what? If Mercury hadn’t screwed these guys around who knows this album was at least 3 tracks deep in singles whereas bands at the same time like Autograph got the company push and only had 1 single to push over 3 studio records! Like c’mon man!

TOO FAR GONE- I had said earlier that Carl can pull off a hard rock Lou Gramm and this track  he delivers this track and man the guitars just rock this song and Curran and Ketchum lay it down on the bottom end!  You don’t have to be a raging metal maniac playing  at hyper speed to be and sound super cool. This track proves it!

LOVE GAMES- Andy deals his high cards last it’s a game of chance high prized romance! And no this is not a ballad quite the opposite the chorus is kinda of a metal funky rhythm and wow the Coney boys can play any style. Metal Jazz I call it!

FALLEN ANGEL-drums and bass start this tune off in almost like a Radar Love kinda vibe but by the time Andy pipes the vocals that’s when the comparison ends to my ears anyways! Cool solo and the band just keeps chugging along.

MUSIC OF THE NIGHT- Carl ends the album with a mid tempoish rocker and the boys tell me that its ok to rock out at a little slower of a pace to end a album.

IN CONCLUSION- Outta Hand should have broke Coney wide open but like i said earlier read Sean Kelly’s excellent book Metal On Ice for Carl’s recall of it all. It’s too bad but i still supported  them and still do. It’s good to see them still rocking in 2014! Outta Hand was for me a shift in production as  this was a little more slick sounding with little more polish but hey there still rocking and for me that’s all that mattered! A solid follow up !