Tuesday, April 24, 2012
As a kid I was under the impression that if you were on TV you were a huge, successful and probably rich rock star. Remember this was pre-internet and we would see these bands interviewed and played alongside Motley Crue, Kiss and Ozzy. Our homegrown music industry contained many bands that we considered household names (because we saw their videos on TV all the time) never really realizing that someone in Tuscon or Miami or Nashville may have never even heard of them.
So this instalment of Hoser Heavy Metal, I bring you...KICK AXE.
KICK AXE came to be in 1976 in Regina, Saskatchewan but relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia where the music scene provided more action for up and coming bands. Kick Axe worked hard on the Vancouver club scene but had their eyes on something bigger. After singer Charles McNary left the band in 1981, the remaining members Larry Gillstrom (guitar), Victor Langen (bass), Brian Gillstrom (drums), Raymond Harvey (guitar) spent the better part of 2 years searching for the perfect replacement to take them to the next level. After an exhausting search they decided on George Criston and that's when things got rolling big time for the band.
The day that Vices was released they played a gig in Calgary on the same night that Judas Priest happened to be playing in town. The story goes that while Rob Halford was being interviewed at a local radio station, a number of listener calls came in urging Rob to check out the up and coming band. Much to the surprise of Kick Axe he did and the Metal God must have been impressed because days later when Kick Axe rolled into Winnipeg, Judas Priest surprised them again with an offer of an opening slot on Priest's US tour. After many months of non stop touring with the likes of Accept, Whitesnake, Helix, Quiet Riot and the Scorpians they headed back into the studio.
the band soon was shut down due the actions of a rather unscrupulous manager who left the band in a legal and financial bind that literally forced them out of the game. For years they could not legally continue as Kick Axe and the band broke up.
With the legal issues apparently behind them, 2003 saw Kick Axe reunite with former member Gary Langden on vocals. A new album "IV" was released and Kick Axe now fronted by Daniel Nargang continue to play shows and festivals in Canada.
NOTE: I was lucky enough to see KICK AXE live back in 1985 while they were touring the Vices record. An amazing high energy show from some incredible musicians. Vices will forever be found proudly in my IPOD. In the words of Martin Popoff Vices is "a necessity of life...10 out of 10"