Tag Archives: classic rock

SONIC WAVES…..Kiss/Creatures Of The Night

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For some this is The best Kiss record. For me I would have to put it up there as well. It was fall time 1982 and I was in grade 10 . Kiss wasn’t cool anymore with a lot of people. A lot of bands were passing em by like Judas Priest,AC-DC,Rush and upstarts like Def Leppard and Iron Maiden! I still followed em like how could I not,it was only three years earlier I had seen them live (1979) that blew my mind so I wasn’t gonna abort ship yet even though The Elder release of 1981 confused the hell out of me and guys like Muc!

So one day at school before first period one of our high school buddies named George came strolling down the hallways of Lakeview(high school) chanting ‘hey,hey,hey ya!!’ I laughed and said what the hell was that? George said that’s the new Kiss song I heard on top 9 at 9 last night on 580 CKPR !! I was like,WHAT!!! I did not even know as a fan that Kiss was doing anything! Let alone George who never talked music with us and he’s chanting Hey Hey Hey Yaaaaa! A new Kiss song??!

So I don’t think I have to tell what I was doing that night at 9pm. I was hunkered by the radio waiting and listening to new songs by Men At Work/Stray Cats/Duran Duran. Was Curious George bullshitting me?? And finally …..I LOVE IT LOUD !!!

Let’s check out the album that restored my faith in em and dumped some more of my  $$$$ in there pockets!

CREATURES OF THE NIGHT- begins with a huge thunderous thud.Guitars and drums are racing and Genes trying to keep up! This is a mean lean Kiss for 1982. Were back kids! The production was so metal sounding so heavy and holy crap listen to that solo? Is Frehley doing speed?? Every fan knows by now that Frehley did not play a note on Creatures but his face is on the cover as I guess he was already out of the band but who knows, guitars were handled by I believe  some guy named Steve Farris along with Vinnie Vincent (who,did the cowriting on some tracks) and Robben Ford.OMG these guys can play but in 1982 I thought it was Ace and well Gene and Paul wanted me to think that too!

SAINT AND SINNER- This over time I think is one of $immons best songs ever! Just love Eric Carrs drumming and Gene sings the song In a chill kinda way. The Chorus is super catchy. Actually The Demon really stepped it up with this record. I think it has some of his best singing on it! So far  so good as Kiss is back and as a 15 yr old at the time. YEAH!

KEEP ME COMIN- the writer of Love Gun is back with Keep Me Comin. This is a straight ahead rocker, no frills Stanley song. You know what your Gettin so keep on Comin! Ah ok…the pre Chorus in this song is super catchy. Starchild,you have done well!

ROCK AND ROLL HELL-Imagine this,I’m 15 and I look the credits and see Simmons wrote Rock and Roll Hell with Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Now expecting the worse as Adams Straight From The Heart was all over radio at the time I thought uggggggh could this be the end by track four? Safe to say…nope,not close this is one catchy mid tempo rock tune taking Adams straight to hell and whoever it was who took Adams straight to hell ….I salute you! Great song!

DANGER-is a cranked up fast paced number that ends side one. Stanley once again rocks it out with this one. Eric Carr never  sounded better ( my ears) than on this whole release. I was also glad for the most part that Kiss wasn’t so much chasing after hits on this record as which would come on their albums later on. Paul didn’t make it obvious on this album and for that Mr Stanley I thank you!

I LOVE IT LOUD-Yep Here was the single and a Gene song to boot!! Thanks to George this restored my faith in Kiss once I heard on the radio. Big drums/ chanting/ riffs/ Gene being Gene. Don’t wanna be President shouts the Demon. Ok man I believe you . Cool solo as well on this. Great back bounce from Kiss as a single release. Too bad that aside from their fan base no one cared back than.

I STILL LOVE YOU-now you could say Stanley was writing the power ballad for the hit but this is 1982 no one was doing big hit power ballads except for Journey. So this was kinda ahead of its time by about 5 yrs. Who knows 5 yrs later (1987) Stanley may have had Tawney Kitanen(appears in the Whitesnake vids) slinging around the hood of His car!

KILLER-Gene basically kicks the crap out of Stanley for doing a love song and ramps it back up with Killer. She’s the Killer Demon. Pretty cool stuff Gene was writing he was total street back than with his sound! Genes sound disappeared for about a good decade after Creatures until the Revenge record(1992) and then disappeared again for another two decades until Monster(2012)

WAR MACHINE- Adams/Vallance once again hook up with Gene and crush out War Machine. The opening riff in this song is huge. The whole song is huge. Simmons basically lays waste to everything in sight cause he’s the War Machine!! Good for You Genie! Kicking ass with your dragon boots and taking names later and not writing stuff like Living In Sin At The Holiday Inn. Wow what an end for some that was a comeback album for Kiss

IN CONCLUSION- Chips were down on Kiss and they came back and kicked some serious ass with this album! It’s just too bad like I said earlier that except for their fan base no one really cared at the time about Creatures. I guess they were still sinking at the time by losing yet another original memeber(Ace) but they soldiered on. Give them there due.

Of course the Creatures tour and album nose dived and a year later off came the war paint to renew interest! But as you can see in the video they could still pull a crowd in Rio back in 1983.

Cool Lil Numbers….Living Colour/ Glamour Boys

Oh yeah man! Summer of 1988, me and Tbone jacked Glamour Boys In his car for all of Tbay to hear! Also on our playlist that summer was Aerosmiths Permanent Vacation(full album except Angel like c’mon?!)/Beatles Revolution and Van Halens Fair Warning (full album) Man,Glamour Boys by Living Colour from there very good debut Vivid album is a classic! I Ain’t No Glamour Boys(I’m fierce…ha)

Corey Glover/Vernon Reid/Muzz Skillings and Will Calhoun drop down a real cool hard rock n funk song that kicks!  These cats rocked it loud enough for the 21 year old me at the time to stand up and take notice! Hey man even Ol Mick Jagger dug EM as he played harmonica on Vivid and had Living Colour open for the Stones on there Steel Wheels tour of 1989! That’s using your connections kids!

As you know my deal with albums I really love songs that are buried at the back end of the record and Glamour Boys is one em! Track 9 out of 11 on Vivid! So there Ya go and man oh man these cats can play and Corey can sing! These dudes got the chops!Love the happy feel good picking and than the power riff along with the drumming slamming head first to rock out the chorus!

In case your wondering yeah these are the dudes that layed waste in the song Cult Of Personality!……

Crank Glamour Boys! Wooooooooo Whooooooooooooo!

SONIC WAVES….ZZ Top / Afterburner

2 years after the mega selling Eliminator comes Afterburner in Oct of 1985 and to me it’s sides 3 and 4 to Eliminator. ZZ boys decide if it ain’t broke we ain’t fixing! But along with the no fixin claus someone in the Top Organization decides to jack up the synth,throw down some drum machines and  embrace the musical sounds of the mid 80s hard rock style. Plus the cover was cool as they took the ZZ car and torqued up into a rocket ship looking car! Kudos to ZZ there going into frontiers unknown!

ZZ  stays the course and me for one I’m ok with it kinda as Eliminator was solid top to bottom Afterburner lags a little behind but it’s not  close to 3/4’s Filler material here at Arena Rock!

Billy/Frank and Dusty fire up the Afterburners(Ha) and take off and hey where did that dang drum machine go…….

SLEEPING BAG- cue Frank Beard and the drum machine and some robotic musical patterns and whoosh thank God here comes Billy with his guitar and uhhey this has too be the coolest song ever written about a Sleeping Bag. This is total 80s sound in production trickery. All the bells and whistles are here folks including ,Jesus ? Is Frank Beard even playing drums ? Beats me but man 80s ZZ Top is a different beast than 1970s ZZ Top as Tbone had bought Fandango and man it’s one side live one side studio and them dudes on Fandango don’t sound anything like the slick polished Afterburner dudes !

STAGES- ahh this sounds familiar. This song rocks straight ahead with Gibbon’s guitar driving the tune cool catchy song and was one of the singles that did well for them.

WOKE UP WITH WOOD- what a great title! This is top heavy with the synthy rhythms and beats and shit but man it’s once again like Quirkey Top. I love this tune and still do! The  solo, the outro solo is real good as well! Hey ladies be careful lying next to a piece of wood and no I’m not warning you!! Billy Gibbons/ Frank Beard and Dusty Hill are warning Ya!

ROUGH BOY- ah yes track 4 and it time to slow the brakes down. Just like Eliminator with that track number 4 ( I Need You Tonight) ZZ plays some power spacey blues that I guess it’s as close to a ZZ ballad as any. Well played and Billy, well played guitar as always! Love his sound!

CAN’T STOP ROCKING- Dusty takes over and this is 4/4 ZZ saying hey we can chillax with the Rough Boy but we ain’t staying quiet for too long….

PLANET OF WOMEN- oh yeah…one of my all time fav ZZ tunes! This song rips right out of the gate and Billy tells us he’s a nervous wreck that the girls are everywhere so check it out! Hahahaha….love it man. Super catchy chorus and wickedly good Gibbon’s solo!

I GOT THE MESSAGE- drums drums and more electronic drums Done ZZ Style….this song is pretty much saved by Billy Gibbon’s guitaring which punches in and punches out on this track! It’s pretty amazing listening back to this album after a lot of years that ZZ was firmly entrenched into 1985 musically. I mean man other bands at the time like Duran Duran were using the electronics and basically they made me wanna puke where as When ZZ dialed up 1-800-ZZ-Drums they made it at least sound cool!

VELCRO FLY-ha….big time lets makie bakie a single and shove it through some electronic gadgets and see what it pukes out! Velcro Fly is upon us! This is one that I did not play much…..I think they have a tuity fruity video of this as well…..c’mon Billy dump some cool ripping guitar will Ya….speaking of the vid …Jesus was that Dusty playing the keyboard in the vid? Single single singles……chasing the hits but can Ya blame em? They had tons o hits on Eliminator so how does that not play in your noggin when your,lazing around eating tacos,drinking tons of Corona and trying to cut 10 tracks for Afterburner?

DIPPING LOW (IN THE LAP OF LUXURY)- pretty catchy harmony vocals in this tune and its a better track than Velcro Fly! Haha…Billy slaps,down some cool guitar and ZZ sees the finish line!

DELIRIOUS- Dusty rocks up with his second lead vocal….this song is pretty good for a ending tracks but ZZ falls thru the trap door with the robotic sounding vocal of Delirious! the vocal of the chorus reminds me of Styxs Mr Roboto…Hahahaha….but at least ZZ goes to the ends with a rocker of a track !

IN CONCLUSION- ZZ doesn’t want the payday to end and neither do we,so millions buy Afterburner including of course myself and Tbone. Afterburner for me is a good record but over time after the 6th song (Planet Of Women )the album kinda lags a little and its one of those albums that I did not find one of those end of album Gems(as I call em) like I did on the previous Top album with If I Could Only Flag Her Down. So for me ZZ still pass I mean, here I am at the time In  1985,17 years old and these Ol Fuzzy Beards write a tune called Woke Up With Wood……hahaha…..classic ….the one big gripe over time is the drums on this album. Too many studioery gadgets and bells and whistles ringing off but man you still got Gibbon’s and his guitar. Plus the dude sings a cool chill vocal…..Dusty and Frank, my question is are you two hombres even on this record?

SONIC WAVES….AC/DC/Back In Black

 

What the hell could I possibly add to a review of Back In Black that already hasn’t  been said or done by someone in the last 35 years (yikes) that pertains to Back In Black, one of the best albums of all time?

Nuthin….haahahaha ….well I guess all the reviews of Back In Black were done by critics who received their vinyl copies free! Me? Ha,Nope i was 12 years old going on 13 when AC-DC dropped Back In Black in my lap(July of 1980)and taught me about…..well,just keep reading……

AC-DC I first heard about in grade 7 from a friend whose older brother had a copy of Highway To Hell(Bon Scott/r.i.p) and Powerage and he raved on about them. At the time to be honest I was fixated on Kiss Dynasty/Cheap Tricks Budokan/Queens The Game etc….hell Van Halen hadn’t even registered with me it! (Soon though) so it was a matter of time before Angus/Cliff/Phil/Malcolm and Brian(Bons replacement) would steal the show and knock me off my block with their sound……

Word on the street back in the day was AC-DC had this hot-shot new single You Shook Me All Night Long and it was a killer tune and once I heard it on our local radio station(CKPR)  the top  9 @ 9 I was hooked just like how a few years later when I first heard Love It Loud by Kiss on the top 9 @ 9  for the first time and was glad that Kiss went hard rock..well no one cared much about that ….but I did(Kiss going heavy) that is…

So as soon as I heard You Shook Me All Night Long it was like in order..1- listen to this dudes voice! 2- listen to those guitars 3-listen to the production(hello Mutt Lange) 4- wowzers check out them lyrics 5-my heads gonna explode 6- I need this!

So off to downtown Tbay and to a local record shop Record On Wheels(which for all you Tbay readers was once located in what is now Gargoyles Resteraunt ) anyhow myself,Tbone and John Young (real name) bought 3 vinyl copies of Back In Black. We all raced back to our individual home bases dropped the needle and within 10 minutes we were all phoning each other! We’re we blown away with what we were hearing? Was this the second coming of J.C?

Well I wish I could say that. But in all honesty all 3 records that we bought were skipping everywhere,each song (the whole shipment of BIB albums were duds) man we were deflated so the next day we returned our 3 copies of BIB to Record On Wheels and then began the proceedings of harassment on my part of calling Record On Wheels daily from home ….’Is  it in? When? What? How Long? Tomorrow? Maybe they would tell me just to shut me up! I mean I probably gave the sales person a nervous breakdown with my relentless calling but hey I’m a 13 year kid with snot running out of  my nose and my school marks ain’t so great but You don’t understand………

I need this…and hear comes the saviour in this. Chico,mine and Tbones childhood buddy who just lived about a half a block away from me(just down the road) Chico back than and still does loves cars/snow machines/motorcycles basically anything with speed. My need for speed on the other hand consisted of my 10 speed bike back than!

Chico didn’t really talk music much but he had an older sister who I remembered had a copy of Queens News Of the World that we had listened to so Chico had a bit of schooling in music and of course when he turned 16 (a few years later)and got his driver’s license he flipped me a 10 pack of Maxwell blank cassette tapes and told me  quote ‘give me some Rockin stuff” for his tape deck in his car!

Ok,so back to 1980 I told Chico about the new AC-DC album and he goes ‘yeah I got it!” I was like ????…. He said “I got a copy of it on 8 track” I was like ??????

Who the hell cares what it’s on. Chico came through in the clutch and man my first time hearing BIB in full was in Chicos moms car(can’t remember what kind of car,kinda resembled a Sherman World War 2 Tank without the turret) and we sat in his driveway as Chico was too young to drive and he cranked it and of course halfway through Given The Dog A Bone the 8 track would change mid tune,make some clacking noises and then resume …who cared man? I didn’t ..Chico stepped up an delivered ….come to think of it Chico back than must have thought I was like some crazed out music junkie  looking for a hit (Back In Black)

For Those About Rock Chico,I Salute You!

So after about a week of nonstop harassment of Record On Wheels they said “yeah we got some new copies of BIB” Bam,phone is dropped and I’m gone back downtown/back home unwrap the plastic put it on and …..ahhhhhhhh Mothertrucker…it skips?!! Again?!..Yep but this time no fooling around no more trips to downtown no more harassing Record On Wheels this time it was scotch tape and 2 pennies taped to the top of my needle to give it weight! Viola! No skip!

So here it is BIB in my house! And so begins the AC-DC journey……

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be……so some say!

HELLS BELLS- The bell chimes and I guess it’s the tribute to Bon. Angus opens the  song with one of the many classic riffs of all time and Malcolm,Phil and Cliff join in and here comes new boy vocalist Brian Johnson telling me that Satan will  get Ya! Ahh yeah man if he does I’m taking Tbone/Chico/Muc and John Young with me! Angus takes about 3 minutes to become my new guitar hero and well why wouldn’t he? He shifts gears and steers the bus right down to hell with all of us on board! What a opener!

SHOOT TO THRILL- To this day I love the opening of this song! Those guitars of The Young Brothers are cranked! Phil drives the song along and Cliff lays down the bass and this is just straight ahead rock! The solo once again is off the charts especially at the end of the solo when Johnson is yelping “Pull it…Pull it….Pull  The Trigger” of course when your about to turn 13 and the lead singer is chiming off about too many woman and too many pills ….ummmm instant street cred!

WHAT YA DO FOR MONEY- Ok so young DeKEs is getting schooled by  AC-DC. The song starts in with everyone soon to be followed by Johnson and we’re off .Cool,simple yet effective hard rock! And back to the schooling deal from 9-3:30 pm Monday – Friday it was math/history/Geography/science/gym from 4pm to bedtime my rock schooling consisted of Mr Johnson and he taught me about Hell/Pills/Women/Prostitution with a side order of licks and tricks!…and were only on track 3!

GIVEN THE DOG A BONE-The sonics on this album sound heavy like it was recorded LOUD! This song well its sleazy dirty grimey AC-DC and man Like I said In my review of Flick Of The Switch. Who needed sex education class in high school just listen to AC-DC they will tell Ya what to do! Case in point in this song the words used are….in no set order/easy/knees/Devils/degrees/crazy/dry/again/head/ union/hot/doing/got! Yep there it is folks just play the tune and you can fill in the blanks(ha) here at Arena  Rock!

LET ME PUT MY LOVE INTO YOU-ACDC slows the party bus down(kinda) and Ummm yeah if ya think AC-DC is getting lovey dovey think again. So since Angus and Malcolm write the riffs they start off the tune with Phil and Cliff and bam this song is a slow driver and the pre  chorus with the lines’ don’t ya struggle,don’t you fight” man I love the guitars at this point of the tune and of course Jonno drops the chill vocal and delivers one of the best lines ever that Gene Simmons would have wished he wrote” Let me cut your cake with my Knife” Brillant!

And so ends Side 1……..

Side 2 begins with a little unknown track(ha) titled …

BACK IN BLACK-this song and riff reminds me of Zeppelin on steroids! Who the hell has not heard of this track? This is one little ball of nasty. Angus and the boys groove it down with some real cool chops and Johnson sounds like he’s gonna heave a lung across and thru my stereo speakers! Geez this song is tense,makes me wanna break things! Plus Angus takes it over the top with the solo and man it does not get any better when he’s locked and loaded with his brother Malcolm on rhythm guitar and BIB the song proves it!

YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG- The song that kicked AC-DC into Maximum Overdrive(ha)into the households of North America! Dirty lyrics,dirty guitar, pounding drums and bass and you got one hell of a monster track! This is a great song. I’m sure Mutt Lange got a lot of work do to after  his production on this album and from this song as it was plastered everywhere!

HAVE A DRINK ON ME-cool opening riff and now Brian and the boys are teaching me about alcohol and it wasn’t til years later that after I got real familiar with the Bon albums and his lyric prowess and Ummm I think he may have had SUMTHIN to do with the lyrics on this record but Bon was uncredited!  Just saying! I mean take a listen to the lyrics on this album and well each album after the lyrics kinda take a bit of a dip(like I could do better!) but seriously Bon when he wrote Sin City ….that’s Bon right there or NightProwler for instance. I dunno man my own  conspiracy theory but I have read a few things in my time(mystery note-book with Bon’s lyrics supposedly disappeared after his death) and no one but the brothers of AC-DC know for sure! Still though when your song starts off with “Whiskey,Gin,Brandy/with a glass I’m pretty handy!” Holy hell did Tbone write these lyrics?….

SHAKE A LEG-Ok tighten up the hatches and Wowzers Johnson hits the vocals sky-high on this. I mean he sounds like his head is about to explode! The verse is great and so is the music to this tune! Bam enter solo bam exit solo….still umm yeah Shake A Leg with Jonno and sing along…

Magazines,wet dreams,dirty women on machines for me/Big licks skin flicks tricky dicks are my chemistry /Goin against the grain trying to keep me sane with you/so stop your grinning and drop your linen for me…..

Rock n Roll Poetry(in motion)

ROCK N ROLL AINT NOISE POLLUTION- what a great title man! This is simple but effective tune and ACDC keeps it simple and well I think I can sum up this tune with one of the best titles of a ACDC album review ever and that was years ago in an English magazine called Sounds and I think it was for Highway To Hell and the article was titled “More songs about humping and booze” hahaha…..that my friends sums up this song and of course Angus and Brian end the album!

IN CONCLUSION-at the time 1980 album covers were colourful affairs like Kiss with their mugs everywhere. Queen The Game with all that cool silver around the band picture and here’s ACDC black everything (in tribute to their fallen comrade Bon Scott) and how about those band pics on the inside. Angus looks crazed in that live shot. I mean pretty impressive they lose their main guy (Bon Scott)in Feb 1980..audition and hire Brian Johnson….record Back In Black with Mutt Lange in the Bahamas …and start their tour in July 1980. That’s 5 months man…..

What a way for us 13 year olds to learn about the birds and sleaze… oops I mean bees  via AC-DC. It’s all here like I said earlier! Satan/Women/Pills/Booze/Women/Hookers/More Women/Tricky Dicky Chemistry/Noise Pollution…

I had a ton of fun writing this one and I hope Ya dug it!

 

SONIC WAVES….Billy Squier/Hear And Now

 

Ahhh frigg,it’s 1989 and no one cares about Billy Squier after that one video ( I ain’t saying it here) demolished Squiers career into the waste bins of North America! But me buying and snapping up everything in sight musically related back than, I seen Billy Squier under the new release section with Hear And Now. Now don’t feel to bad for Mr Billy as when he signed his record deal in the early 80s it came with full control(no middle man)in other words he gets all the $ when someone nowadays samples his music. Business savvy that fellas was/is. When I seen the cover (You tube pic is the cover of Hear And Now) it looked like one of two things.  1- a mug shot or 2- Billy’s all night Bender photo. I took the gamble and bought this and boy am I ever glad I did. Now this is not crazy balls out heavy record but a well written big o slab of melodic rock. Billy outdid himself on this album. Too bad the masses did not take notice,I did though and Hear It is,

Let’s give Billy some props now shall we,

ROCK OUT/PUNCH SOMEBODY- starts off the record with some crowd noise and Billy asks ya Do you wanna Rock out?  Hell ya sez I! If not Billy’s gonna Punch ya out! This is a great leadoff track as Billy throws down the gauntlet! Welcome back !

STRONGER-is a nice little mid tempo rocker with a pretty cool sax solo thrown in. Pretty cool rhythm drives the track along…..

DON’T SAY YOU LOVE ME- this one is a little more of a slow groover. Pretty neat little riffing on this one.One thing I say this album has some good production on it. Always dug Squiers voice. This was I believe the first single off of it…..

DON’T LET ME GO- Billy’s night goes from the previous Don’t Say You Love Me to Don’t Let Me Go which is the first slow burner on Hear And Now. Song starts off with some classical guitar and it finally ramps up a bit……

TIED UP-must have been a single also but why this didn’t catch on in 89 who knows why. Oh yeah that Video with him from back in 1985…. shit not going there! But this song ends side one on a high little fast paced rocker…Atta boy Billy don’t give Up!

(I PUT A)SPELL ON YOU- Billy cranks up side two right out of the box with a straight ahead rocker kinda like the same pace that Bill had done with Everybody Wants You. Good solid tune!

G.O.D- hey where you going now G.O.D.? Asks Mr Squier. This song is pretty damn cool and one of my faves on this album.  Funky beat and Billy pulls out the stops on this song. Once again I really dig the vocal!

MINE TONIGHT -Is a simple song ,straight ahead pull no punches power ballad. It’s alright on this album would not be so on AC-DC Blow Up Your Video album! Why the hell I said That I have no idea, it just came to me.

THE WORK SONG- C’mon Billy says..get up,get moving,check out the cool horns on this little bad boy ..oh yeah Billy is saying Work Baby Work……this song is like a head on collision between Pour Some Sugar On Me and The Stroke..

YOUR LOVE IS MY LIFE- Yep Billy notches it right down to close the album off in Squier ballad fashion….

I had a buddy named Moose who was big into the Ramones,D.O.A,Forgotten Rebels,Motörhead, Gwar ,get the picture? Well as soon as he heard Hear And Now he jumped on board and got his own copy of Hear And Now. That my peeps is the power of a good rock n roll album.

Now as for the vids….Tied Up is a pretty cool little rocker and once again check out the cover! The second vid is Squier live from 2009( about the 2 minute mark,after the dudes drum solo)Good on him getting his rock n roll feet moving again!