Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Now Hear This: Fastway - Trick or Treat: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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     Fastway began as, basically, a supergroup. You had former Motorhead guitarist "Fast Eddie" Clarke and former UFO bassist Pete Way, hence the name Fastway, accompanied by former Clash drummer Topper Headon, but Topper only rehearsed with the band for a few weeks before deciding against making it a full time commitment. Clarke and Way eventually recruited former Humble Pie drummer Gerry Shirley. Clarke found his singer in a pile of demo tapes he'd been sent, a red-headed Irishman named Dave King. Fastway swiftly signed with Columbia and booked studio time to record their debut album. 

     Not long before the band was set to enter the studio Pete Way up and disappeared. Clarke made frantic attempts to track him down but unable to do so was forced to enlist a replacement for the recording sessions. As it turned out Pete Way had joined Ozzy Osbourne's band for a European tour jaunt and neglected to inform Fast Eddie. According to Clarke he never spoke with Pete Way again. There were also legal issues at play since Pete Way was still contractually obligated to work for Chrysalis Records, UFO's label. Thus after the Ozzy tour he instead formed his own group, Waysted, and released the excellent Vices album with Chrysalis in 1983, the very same year Columbia released the first Fastway album. 

     Fastway's debut, produced by Eddie Kramer, is an undeniable classic of the hard rock genre. The band toured with Iron Maiden and AC/DC and the record went Gold. The band's second album, All Fired Up, also produced by Kramer, is excellent as well. The band went through some line-up changes at this point and the album they released in 1985, Waiting For The Roar, while it might contain some good songs, is a keyboard-laden mess. It appeared as if the band might be going out with a whimper. But wait. In 1986 the band were asked to write and record the soundtrack for a feature film to be called Trick Or Treat.

     Trick Or Treat was written by Joel Soisson, a film producer by trade who had no business writing anything. The film was directed by Charles Martin Smith, an actor by trade (he's the naked dude in Never Cry Wolf) who had no business directing anything (he would go on to prove this point even further by directing Air Bud). To top things off the star of Trick Or Treat was Skippy from Family Ties. He plays Eddie, a "high school outcast" and Sammi Curr superfan. Who's Sammi Curr? Just some ultra-famous Satanist rock star metal guy. Have you ever noticed that the bands/musicians in movies who are supposed to be insanely famous and adored would obviously not be famous or adored in real life? Like the band in that horrible Rainn Wilson movie The Rocker? But we're supposed to suspend disbelief here, right?

     Sammi Curr gets burned up in a hotel fire and then comes back to terrify poor Skippy from Family Ties, or something like that. You don't expect me to go back and watch the movie, do you? One interesting sidenote: Sammi Curr was originally supposed to be played by Blackie Lawless. Instead Curr would be played by Tony Fields, whose IMDB page is, well, uneventful. The film got a lot of hype for pointless cameos by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne but the only redeeming quality the film possessed was its awesome soundtrack.

     The album opens with the killer theme song the band penned for the film, entitled (duh) "Trick Or Treat." You'll probably notice that Dave King sounds a lot like Jack Russell from Great White on these songs.


     That great song is followed by an even better song called "After Midnight." Vocalist Dave King had quit the band by the time the video for the song was filmed and Fast Eddie made the dubious choice of having none other than Tony Fields, Sammi Curr himself, lip sync the tune for the video.


     The third song on the record, "Don't Stop The Fight," is just as good as the first two. These are excellent pop metal tunes, what else can I say? Keep it simple stupid. 



     The next song is called "Stand Up" and it's not terrible, it has a decent hook but it's a bit plodding, gets kinda boring. Not as good as those first three, that's for sure.



     Side One ends with a short, upbeat yet generic tune called "Tear Down The Walls" that was obviously written to work as an interstitial piece in the film. Side Two opens with an excellent hard rocker called "Get Tough."


     Next up is a bouncy rocker called "Hold On To The Night." It's a really good song, I like it a lot, but it doesn't sound at all like the rest of the album. I'm guessing it was written for a specific scene or to serve a specific purpose in the film, but I'd have to watch the film again to figure out what scene or what purpose. Thanks but no thanks. The last two songs on the record are classic Fastway tunes: "Heft" from the first album and "If You Could See" from the second. The latter is a great ballad, one of the better metal ballads of the early eighties.


     And that's that. A quality album all the way through, one of those records you can just put on and let it play. And thanks to Youtube, you can do just that right now, one click.








1 comment:

Mars Attacks Radio and Podcast said...

A few things, Dave King was out of the band by the time the video was shot for After Midnight, hence using Tony Fields instead. The soundtrack was Eddie's way of getting Dave interested in Fastway again (the second time he did so), but they were done for all intents and purposes. Dave was moving on to his next project by then (which would ultimately become Katmandu). Dave King bankrupted Fastway by making Eddie record Waiting For The Roar at Abbey Road Studios, use the London Philharmonic, and reform the band with friends from Ireland where he was originally from. The first incarnation of Katmandu was essentially the Waiting For The Roar/Trick Or Treat line up without Eddie. Also, Dave went on to form band that became much more successful called Flogging Molly. That's right he's the chubby short haired lead singer, who now refuses to discuss his work in Fastway.

The band recorded some decent songs with Lea Hart, even Rerecorded the song Trick Or Treat, but never reached the level of success as the first two albums. Their release Eat Dog Eat a few years ago was just a bunch of rehashed Eddie solo album riffs with a lead singer. Nothing remotely decent. Sad, the band has always been one of my favorites.

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