Wednesday, August 28, 2013

World Series of KISS - Semi Final! Rock N Roll Over VS. Ace Frehley '78


Ok after a very long hiatus, we return to conclude the World Series of KISS!, up first is the semi final match up of Rock N Roll Over VS. Ace Frehley '78!!

Rich:  Well, I've been against Rock n Roll Over since the start of this, so I'll stick to my guns and go with Ace's fine solo effort for this match-up. I know that the solos are not usually high on anyone's list of favorite KISS albums, but I, myself, do have an unhealthy appreciation for them and since my actual favorite albums have suffered messy defeats in some cases, I'm going for Ace to victory! Winner: Ace Frehley

BJ:  Rock and Roll Over opens with a killer pair of Paul Stanley tunes, I Want You and Take Me, but Ace Frehley’s album opens with an even better pair, Rip It Out and Speedin’ Back To My Baby. I adore all four songs but I’d rank them this way:

1. Rip It Out 2. I Want You 3. Speedin’ Back To My Baby 4. Take Me

Ace takes an early lead! But wait. Let’s be rational. The time has come for a fair assessment. There are really only 8 songs on Ace’s album, and one of those is a cover, a damn good cover but still a cover. Rock and Roll Over is a solid ten song album. Baby Driver is a pimple on the album’s ass (in my opinion) but there are still nine very good songs. Mr. Speed, lyrics be damned, is one of my favorite KISS songs. I’m not sure what Paul is bragging about but his confidence is convincing. Whatever it is that he is swift about, he is exceedingly swift, and I guess the ladies really enjoy how, uh, punctual he is? Gene’s contributions to the album are surprisingly strong, I quite like all four, and luckily Beth II: Acoustic Boogaloo was written by Paul, i.e. Hard Luck Woman is great. I could be defiantly sentimental and vote for the Ace Frehley album the way some people voted for Paul’s solo album over my personal favorite KISS album, Dressed To Kill, and Ace’s album has always been one of my go-to records, ever since the cassette took up residence in my walkman, but taking all factors into account…Rock and Roll Over is a better KISS album, I think. Hmm…yeah…Rock and Roll Over is better. Wait…yeah…but…shit! I vote Rock and Roll Over NO TAKE BACKS I take it back YOU CAN’T TAKE IT BACK crap! Rock and Roll Over. Winner: Rock And Roll Over

AAron:  As I stated on the most recent Decibel Geek episode, I feel bad that Ace '78 beat the KISS debut in the last round. My honest thinking was that Ace deserved at least one vote, and I believed that mine would be the only one. 4 to 1 easily, right? This is the World Series of KISS after all, and not Ace Frehley. I can't, with a clear conscience, do that again here. I guess that I just didn't want to vote Ace off the island, he's too cool! Ace '78 is such a fantastic album, but this is where the lightning ends. I vote RNRO, before I change my mind... again!

Chris: This is a grudge match between, possibly, my 2 favorite albums in the catalog. The fact that Ace’s 1978 solo album has made it to this point just exemplifies what an awesome achievement it is. Since I was only 2 years old when the album came out, I don’t have any memories of its release but I think it’s pretty well known, across the board, that this album came from out of nowhere and really took people by surprise. In my opinion, there isn’t a bad song on the album (although ‘Wiped Out’ comes close). The marriage of edgy, power pop and Ace’s pentatonic-from-heaven solos make this a knockout record. Rock & Roll Over is, to me, the original band at its absolute peak. The songs on the album, as stated previously, show a more seasoned KISS that had learned to hone their influences as well as stretch their limits. Combine that with Eddie Kramer’s bare-bones approach that gives you KISS in-the-raw and you’ve got the ultimate KISS album. Not to mention, a timeless album cover. Very difficult decision but I’ve got to go with the full-band effort. Winner: Rock and Roll Over

Wally: Hmmm? Rip It Out is quite possibly the strongest opening track on any Kiss record and that says a lot! I am serious get some quality headphones, sit back, close your eyes and let Rip It Out rock you to the core. Ace's solo album has come this far for a reason, it cooks from the start. 

Rock And Roll Over, however is KISS riding the crest of the wave. Alive broke the band, Destroyer cemented their rock star royalty and Rock N Roll Over was the album where they could actually breath and enjoy the ride and it shows. The songs are lean, gritty, and really take you on a rock n roll ride. I have to say this is Gene and Paul songwriting at it's best. Usually there is a filler track or two (mostly courtesy of Gene) but not here. Take Me and Makin' Love are some of Paul's best ever and Gene delivers Dr. Love and Ladies Room with conviction. I love Peter singing Baby Driver the only thing missing is Ace on vocals, how ironic as it battles his solo album. A close battle but I will have to give it to Rock N Roll Over. Winner: Rock And Roll Over

With the score 4 -1, Rock And Roll Over advances to the final!

Meister Gets Touched By........Sin?

Mat Sinner is probably best known in North America as a founding member and the bassist for Primal Fear, but he is also a member of Alex Beyrodt's Voodoo Circle, having just put forth their third effort More Than One Way Home, reviewed here by The Meister in May VOODOO CIRCLE.  As well as those two outfits, the German native has been releasing great rock albums with his own namesake band, Sinner, since 1982.  Sinner has a back catalogue of 17 albums to date and it's rather surprising that they are not a bigger name here with the quality of rock contained therein.

Mat decided for this Sinner outing that the band would lock themselves in a studio for 30 days and re-record a selection of older songs from the early days of the back catalogue as those albums are long out of print.  Sinner himself does not hold the rights to those recordings, a tragedy that seems to be the case with more than one musician.  I find it appalling that the artists who created the music do not even own their own works of art, but I guess that's the nature of the beast for a young inexperienced, naive band hungry for their first record contract.  Sinner has included members of Helloween, Bonfire, Accept and future U.D.O. members over the years.  Deriving it's title from the 1985 offering Touch of Sin, Touch of Sin 2 enlists the assistance of several special guests in the updating of these classic tracks, including David Readman, vocalist for Voodoo Circle.  Sinner and guests also include three new compositions here making for a solid rock album clocking in at over 45 minutes with 14 tracks, available on September 10th via AFM Records.

Tracks include the lead-off of Born To Rock, Bad Girl, Emerald, Shout and Masquerade all originally appearing on 1985's Touch of Sin, the album that originally saw Accept's Herman Frank on guitar before he was replaced by future U.D.O. guitarist Mathias Deith for the follow-up album.  Today Sinner is comprised of Mat Sinner standing front and centre on vocals and bass guitar, while Andre Hilgers bashes the skins and the triple axe assault of Alex Scholpp, Christof Liem and Alex Beyrodt, also of Voodoo Circle, doles out the riffage.  Not knowing what these tracks sounded like originally, I can tell you that the updated versions contained herein are total ass kickers making for a stellar album start to finish, certainly enough to entice me to delve into their back catalogue and I recommend that you do the same.  As track #8, Germany Rocks, proclaims.......Germany does in fact rock \m/



The Meister

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Episode 99 - The Big 5


Okay, we've been threatening it for a long time and the day has finally arrived. We're going into the thrash genre this week. Aside from the M&M episode that focused on favorite Metallica and Megadeth songs, we've shied away from the harder-edged stuff. Why? Well, we learned early on that a large amount of our listeners are not big on thrash metal. That said, there have been a number of requests for us to delve into the genre and we think we've come up with an interesting way to do this that will, hopefully, be entertaining to everyone (including the non-thrash lovers). If not, we'll see you next week for episode 100 (please leave us a voicemail HERE to help us celebrate 100 episodes).

Thrash metal was, and continues to be, a non-mainstream form of music. The only exception, of course, would be what's referred to as, The Big 4. This elite club is, typically, filled out by metal gargantuans Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax. While the mainstream music listener would almost certainly agree that these bands deserve their spot in this exclusive club, there are a ton of great thrash metal bands out there that go under the radar due to the Big 4 taking up so much of the spotlight.

Our goal this week is to pose the hypothetical question: "What if the Big 4 became the Big 5?" What bands would be considered for elevation to such lofty status? Aaron and, most certainly, Chris' picks are going to surprise some and enrage others. Thrash fans are a lot of things and "passionate" would be at the top of that list. So, before we get into the meat of the episode, a quick disclaimer:

The following episode of the Decibel Geek podcast is being done with tongue planted firmly in cheek. While some of these songs and bands definitely could be considered for Big 5 status, certain choices by the hosts of this episode are being made and hypothetically elevated to Big 5 status in good-natured fun. The Decibel Geek podcast, it's staff, and their wives do not claim to be experts and/or authorities on thrash metal. Before threats of castration and the carving of the Slayer logo across our foreheads take place, remember this episode is being produced in a lighthearted manner and is only intended for entertainment purposes and to turn you on to some thrash metal that you may not know about. Thank you for your time and attention.....and put that knife away. - Editor

We kick things off a band that has been nominated by many thrash fans for Big 4 status, so Aaron's pick of Testament is definitely warranted. With a rich history of metal music, Testament is still one of the tightest bands in thrash today. We take a listen to a track from their 1992 album The Ritual.

Chris' first pick is, undoubtably, not what comes to most thrash fans minds when you think of the top of the heap of thrash. With that said, Onslaught, an English thrash metal band from the 1980's, released a real gem back in 1989 with their In Search of Sanity album. This was their only album to feature the vocal stylings of former Grim Reaper front man Steve Grimmett (many will remember him from Beavis and Butthead). While Grimmett's look caused a rather comedic reaction in many, there's no doubt that the guy had some serious pipes.

Aaron's next pick of a track from Suicidal Tendencies' 1990 album Lights....Camera....Revolution! shows that thrash metal doesn't have to always abide by a strict set of guidelines. S.T. were always pushing the genre envelope and this track shows that they could really pack a punch when it was called for but still maintain a swagger within the song to keep things interesting.

When you think of the upper echelon of thrash metal you think of Artillery.......right? Well, maybe not but Chris' choice of a track from this Danish-born technical thrash band's third studio album has this talented group showing off many twists and turns in their sounds complimented by some powerful Dio-esque vocals.

While Scott Ian and Charlie Benante are members of Big 4 act Anthrax, they are a part of another awesome New York-born thrash band from the 1980's. The Stormtroopers of Death featured Ian and Benante along with bassist Dan Lilker and vocalist Billy Milano. Aaron's track choice from their 1985 debut album Speak English or Die is a relentless number that will leave your ears pummeled with enjoyment.

Whle Kirk Hammett is the longtime lead guitarist for Big 4 member Metallica, he helped form Bay-Area thrashers Exodus back the early 1980's. Never getting their just-due, Exodus has released 9 albums since 1985's Bonded by Blood release. Chris' choice of track from that first album features some solid riffing by guitarist Gary Holt.

While we're rarely focused on thrash metal on the show, one band that transcends that and has been played a number of times is Overkill. One of Aaron's all-time favorite bands, it would be impossible to not include them on this list; especially considering how overlooked they've been by the mainstream music-buying public. His choice of a track from their 1991 Horrorscope release explains the band's sense of gratitude towards that lack of support.

We close out the show with Chris' choice of a band that is credited with helping develop the genre of thrash music in the first place. Originally from San Francisco and then via Aberdeen Washington, Metal Church formed in 1980 and took their influences from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and added some speed and precision to help solidify the thrash metal genre with their eponymous release in 1984 and have been putting out quality material ever since. The band is still going strong to this day.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Meister Shows No Mercy



I'm not really too sure how I even came across and subsequently came into possession of the CD Animal from Mad Margritt released in 2007.  But I do possess it and had spun it a few times.  It’s high energy, sleazy feel makes for some pretty good rock, it does however only contain eight tracks, one of which is a 32 second long intro.  Five years later I’d forgotten about Animal and Mad Margritt as the disc got lost in my more than 3500 CD collection, but when I received a press release from Perris Records stating that Mad Margritt was poised to unleash a new record in July it all came back to me.  I searched my collection and pulled out Animal for an immediate spin.  It was even better than I remembered and wondered how it had gotten lost in the shuffle so quickly.

Mad Margritt hail from Atlanta Georgia and unbeknownst to me until researching for this CD review article, released their first effort way back in 1997 called Cold Sweat.  The official Mad Margritt website lists Cold Sweat as out of print, and the cover is certainly reminiscent of Bon Jovi’s banned, original Slippery When Wet cover.  In The Name of Rock hit shelves in 1999 and contained the five songs from Cold Sweat along with five new tracks.  The band signed with Perris Records and unleashed the next record New Sensation in 2002.  The aforementioned Animal dropped in 2007 with the song LOADED GUN getting the video treatment and slipping into rotation on TV stations.  And by this time they have toured with and opened up for the likes of basically my entire CD collection like Ratt, Helix, L.A. Guns, Cinderella, KISS, Faster Pussycat, Pretty Boy Floyd, Poison, Every Mother’s Nightmare, Tesla, Whitesnake, Winger, Bullet Boys, Bang Tango, Quiet Riot, Skid Row, Slaughter, Warrant, Queensryche, Dokken, Great White and more.

Now in 2013 they hit us with Show No Mercy.  While they were originally rumoured to be working with legendary producer Beau Hill (Winger, Ratt, Warrant, Twisted Sister) the album credits state Eddie Smith and Carl Culpepper as producers.  With some member changes from album to album, singer Eddie White has remained the constant and now has Brandon Faulkner on drums, Carl Culpepper slinging the axe and Skip Mullis with the bass guitar for Show No Mercy.  Of the nine tracks contained in Show No Mercy one is a 1:35 minute long acoustic instrumental called Indian Summer and one is a cover of AC/DC's Touch Too Much.  That leaves a meagre seven new compositions from this Atlanta quartet and while Eddie's higher vocals, Carl's guitar virtuoso, Brandon's pounding drum beats and Skip's thumping bass lines can all be heard crystal clear throughout, Show No Mercy's run time is rather short at just over 30 minutes.  Even with the short run time what is contained here deserves to be listened to at a ridiculously high volume, so crank it up to eleven!  Stand out cuts for me are the lead song of The Way You're Loving Me, sounding directly off any late 80's rock album, Down In Flames and the crunchy riff of album closer Breaking Down.

This self described explosive high energy rock band out of Atlanta Georgia has released another fine selection of tracks here although it does sound a little more subdued or restrained as compared to the previous release it's certainly worth checking out especially if you're a Ratt, Warrant, or Winger fan.  Show No Mercy was available July 16th on the Perris Records label, where you can also find their other work.


The Meister

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Now Hear This: Britny Fox - Boys In Heat


     The first, self-titled Britny Fox album, released in June of 1988, was not a great album. I enjoyed it at the time, especially those first two singles, "Long Way To Love" and "Girlschool," but in retrospect it's a bland record filled with simplistic songs that, for the most part, fall flat. 

     I am sure that I bought Boys In Heat the day it came out, probably already familiar with every song title thanks to a Metal Edge magazine "In The Studio" exclusive. I took the cassette home and, well...I definitely didn't crank it up, with my Dad in the next room, but I might have plugged in the headphones and thereby facilitated maximum volume. Who knows what I was expecting.

     The album opens with a straight ahead rocker called "In Motion," better than decent. The second song was the first single, "Standing In The Shadows," simply decent, not great but better than the majority of the songs on the first record. A completely pointless and unfortunate cover of "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth comes next, Terrible!

     But wait a minute, there are four songs left on side one and...I love them all

     First up is a ragged rocker called "Livin' On A Dream," headbangin' riffs and all.

     Next up is another riff heavy blast of attitude called "She's So Lonely." Hot damn.

     Song number six on side one is an awesome acoustic tune called "Dream On." This is not a power ballad, it's a great, mostly acoustic rock song. I suppose it filled the "potential hit ballad" slot on the record but it's a very well-written song and definitely transcends most of the formulaic ballads MTV was pushing heavily at the time. "Dream On" is an example of stellar songwriting in my opinion.

     Side one closes with a simple but highly effective pop rock song called "Long Way From Home." 

     Side Two opens with a generic hard rocker called "Plenty of Love," not terrible but unimpressive. The next two songs, "Stevie" and "Shine On," are in a similar vein, I like "Stevie" a lot but "Shine On" is probably the worst song on the album. The last three songs are all keepers. "Angel In My Heart" is very poppy, similar to "Long Way From Home" but not quite as good.

     Ditto for "Left Me Stray," another fun pop tune.

     The last song on the album, "Long Road," is an excellent ballad, very well done, neither forced nor contrived but heartfelt and on target.

     Boys In Heat was a creative triumph but it failed to shift the desired number of units. Nevertheless the band's career still seemed to have quite a bit of potential at this point, thus it was sudden and shocking when singer and chief songwriter "Dizzy" Dean Davidson quit the band and with startling speed formed a new band called Blackeyed Susan and released a really strong album called Electric Rattlebone. If Boys In Heat was Davidson's Long Cold Winter then Electric Rattlebone was his Heartbreak Station, a creative celebration of seventies rock. "Satisfaction" and "Sympathy" were as good, maybe better than anything by Britny Fox.

     Britny Fox replaced Davidson with a singer named Tommy Paris and made a noble effort with Bite Down Hard, it's not a terrible album but Britny Fox was Davidson's baby and lacking his talents the band clearly struggled. Of course none of it mattered when grunge hit. The end.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Meister's Right to Rock With Keel


When I saw the track listing for Part One of 1985 year in review episode last week one of those songs sparked a huge cord in the ole' Meister.  I immediately opened up my music file containing my over 3500 albums (all backed up on external harddrive of course) and clicked on The Right to Rock album.  By about halfway through the first track the memories were flooding in so thick that I had to swat them away as they buzzed around my head in a foggy haze.  Not the memories of 1985 because I have the memory of a fish and often can't remember this morning, but these Keel memories concern the past two Monsters of Rock voyages.  I pulled out the hardcopy of The Right to Rock from the shelf and studied the 25th
Anniversary edition's autographed cover, only missing original bassist Kenny Chaisson having new (several years with Ron now) addition Geno Arce in place.  I had purchased this particular edition on the inaugural Monsters of Rock Cruise right after I saw them perform on the first night aboard ship.  Their first show in the small claustrophobic Pigalle lounge with the low ceiling and dark red color scheme on the the first night of the trip marked my first time ever seeing Keel live, even though I've been a fan since purchasing the Final Frontier cassette (based solely on seeing Gene Simmons name on the back) as a kid and from there collecting the rest of the catalog.  In fact it is Keel that I have to thank for being aboard the Monsters of Rock Cruise.  Being out of music for a time, I missed that they had released Streets of Rock & Roll in 2010, their first of new material in many years and the best they've ever recorded cover to cover in my ears.  When I found out, I went directly to RON KEEL to make the purchase and saw there on the home page an icon proclaiming "join us on the Monsters of Rock Cruise"...."click" and the rest as they say is history.  Being so enthralled (and absolutely without a doubt hammered) with that first Keel live experience, where I was right at the front of the stage, I saw vocalist and namesake Ron Keel sitting
Meister and Ron Keel
in the lounge after the show.  In my excitement to talk to him and congratulate him and shower him with praise on a great show I approached, interrupting his conversation and mumbled and slurred my way through spitting out "best show on the boat tonight" as I totally embarrassed myself.  Keel's second show of the voyage went much better, for me anyway.  They closed out the pool stage and after an eventful show in which Ron tripped over bassist Geno's patch cord, tumbling to the stage, but seemingly not missing a note and special guests Oz Fox (Stryper), Brian Vollmer (Helix) and Jamie St. James (Black N' Blue) joined the stage for a magical music moment during "The Right To Rock".  Ron proclaimed that the band would all be over at the merch table to meet us all and thank us for keeping this genre of music alive.  I shook his hand and got a photo with him, thankfully he didn't seem to remember the incident of two nights ago, at least he didn't mention it anyway.

The second voyage in 2014 absolutely blew anything previous away totally.  I began to work on a full sleeve tattoo, 26 of my favorite bands logos depicted on the background of a guitar case and of course Keel was one of those logos.  Through a friend I was able to worm my way into attendance at their rehearsal session the day before we embarked for the trip.  If that wasn't enough, I was told that we would be taking a limo out to the space, collecting a couple more fans/cruisers at their respective hotels along the way.  After a stop or two we rolled into the parking lot of the next hotel (a more ritzy one) and I saw the trio of gentlemen waiting out front with their long hair, ripped jeans, bandanna's and guitar cases....holy shit
Singing The Right to Rock with Bryan Jay
 we were picking up Keel!!  Ron Keel, drummer Dwain Miller and bassist Geno Arce were some of the nicest guys and made us all feel comfortable during the limo ride out to Deerfield, regaling us with stories such as the bellhop at the hotel trying to get them to wait for the limo inside the lobby as they were scaring away customers and Ron's "Geno book".  It was literally our own personal concert during the rehearsal and for "Speed Demon" Ron came next to me with the microphone and we sang a line of the song together.  Wow!  Can it get any better than that?.....well, yes it can!  During "The Right to Rock" guitarist Bryan Jay called me up to sing with him for about 3/4 of the song!  The band loved my tattoo and Bryan Jay even took a photo of the Keel portion and asked me to send pictures when it's completed fully.  What an awesome experience all around with an awesome band!  Long live Keel \m/!
The ride back was filled with more stories, Ron and I even briefly talking about Toronto band Diemonds that he has played on The Streets of Rock & Roll Radio show and my conversation with Dwain.  You see Dwain and I had become Facebook friends awhile ago and in true stalker fashion I followed his updates as they crossed my news feed.  To be fair, we also had a loose arrangement to do an interview aboard ship.  I remembered that he had posted something like this as a status one day "I will be following Saxon around the boat like a stalker." and I immediately thought to myself that he wasn't the only one as I pictured me following Dwain as he followed Saxon like a conga line around the upper deck.  Well Dwain told me in the limo that Nigel Glockler, Saxon's drummer was a hero of his and he wanted to meet him, that's about when I opened up my big fat mouth and said something like "I know Nigel, maybe I can set up a meeting".  This
Meister with Nigel Glockler
was not wholly untrue, but over exaggerated perhaps as Nigel and I had done an interview as a part of my before the cruise series of Decibel Geek articles.  I sent Nigel a message that evening and he said that he would be more than happy to meet Dwain.  Perfect!  After a couple of days of shipboard adventures I was finally able to make the introductions.  Nigel and I had run into each other earlier that evening and were now in the process of enjoying several drinks as Dwain happened upon us.  I made the introductions and the two drummers gave each other a big hug as I heard Dwain say "You make me want to practice", what a cool moment, made even cooler as I looked over and saw that Ron Keel was interviewing Saxon lead singer Biff Byford for The Streets of Rock & Roll.

Both Keel shows aboard were magical and moving and I was front row for both.  I love this band and although Ron is announced in a solo gig aboard the upcoming 2014 voyage I wait with baited breath, wishing that Keel the full band will yet be announced as joining us again.........if not maybe they'll get to Toronto for a show at The Rockpile one day.....what do you say boys?

The Meister

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Episode 98 - 1985 Year in Review Part 2


We're back this week to celebrate the second half of 1985 as we dissect July through December. There was a ton of music released in the second half of 1985 and Chris and Aaron are back to bring you some of the best tracks from the year. Without further ado, here are the stories, the people, and the sounds that made 1985 an interesting year for Decibel Geeks:

July 13 – The Live Aid concert takes place in Wembley Stadium, London, UK and Philadelphia, USA. The headlining acts at the latter venue included a Led Zeppelin reunion, the first since their 1980 disbandment.

Rough Cutt – Take Her (Rough Cutt) 

August 31 – Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as the Night Stalker, is captured in Los Angeles.

Metal Edge Magazine is Launched.

Pantera – I Am the Night (I Am the Night) 
DIO - Fallen Angels (Sacred Heart) 
KIX – Sex (Midnight Dynamite) 

September 6 – Michael Jackson purchases the publishing rights for most of the Beatles' music for $47 million, much to the dismay of Paul McCartney, whom he is bidding against.
September 19 – The Parents Music Resource Center's (P.M.R.C.) United States Senate hearing on rock censorship begin in Washington, D.C. Heavy metal singer Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, rock star Frank Zappa and country singer John Denver testify against the P.M.R.C.
September 22 – The Farm Aid concert is held in Champaign, Illinois, USA.

KISS – Who Wants to be Lonely – (Asylum) 
Slayer - At Dawn They Sleep (Hell Awaits) 
Vandenberg – All the Way (Alibi) 

October 18 – The first Nintendo home video game console in United States is released by the Nintendo Entertainment System.

ZZ Top - Planet of Women (Afterburner) 
The Cult – Rain (Love) 

Aerosmith – Let the Music Do the Talking (Done with Mirrors) 
Twisted Sister - Kill or Be Killed (Come Out and Play) 
Dokken - The Hunter (Under Lock and Key) 
King Kobra – Shadow Rider (Ready to Strike)
WASP - The Last Command (The Last Command) 

December 23 - Two young fans of Judas Priest in Sparks, Nevada shoot themselves, one fatally, after listening to the band's records. A lawsuit is brought against the group in 1986 claiming that they were compelled by backwards subliminal messages hidden in their music.

Bands Formed:
Britny Fox, Dream Theater, Drivin and Cryin, Roxx Gang, Guns N Roses, Jane’s Addiction, LA Guns, L7, The Mr. T Experience.
Band Breakups:
Diamond Head, Hanoi Rocks, Mercyful Fate, The Power Station, Quarterflash, Scandal

Orianthi, Reggie Bush, Bruno Mars

Nicolas Colasanto (Coach from Cheers), Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch), Rock Hudson (AIDS), Orson Wells, Ricky Nelson 

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Slaughter Stick It To Ya in Toronto!



Now don't get carried away there my little perverts, it's not that kind of three-way, but a three sided concert review as Kate, Wally and The Meister all took in Slaughter's show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on August 3rd, 2013.  This review, while typed by Meister contains thoughts and notes from all three of us.  The show, presented by The Rockpile Bar & Nightclub in Etobicoke was held at the larger Phoenix Concert Theatre venue expecting a larger crowd.  The move may have backfired a little as there was lots of room to move around in the club.  I can only attribute the not totally packed attendance to the fact that it was a long weekend here and many cottages I'm sure were in full swing.  

Wally and Meister arrived a bit late for the show after grabbing a bite to eat at Gabby's up the street, missing a song or two of the first band.  We met Kate and her friend inside up front near the stage and were immediately impressed with what we were hearing from Suckershot.  Kate readily agreed with our sentiments and mentioned the purchase of merchandise after their set as she showed me (Meister) her phone's memo pad with her show notes.  Kate had also noted that they had a really good and clean sound and were a bunch of clean cut guys, although she was not impressed with their fans.  A lady who seemed to know the band kept elbowing Kate and her friend, which was totally unnecessary as there was plenty of breathing room down on the floor in front of the stage.  Wally seemed to be ready to cut loose and enjoy some beverages this evening as he made two trips to the bar in rapid succession and before Suckershot's set was over he had already disappeared on the third acquisition.  Under the guise of the beverage run he returned with two Suckershot CD's, just like he was reading Kate and Meister's minds, of course his hands were also filled with the next round of drinks as well.

I figured it was about time that I bought a round as Wally had been burning a path in the floor with his bar trips, Kate and her friend declined as they were driving tonight.  I immediately saw what may have contributed to Wally's thirst for beers tonight as I approached the bar and recognised the beautiful and talented Priya Panda of Toronto's own sleaze rockers Diemonds tending bar.

The second band got under way and started out quite heavily music wise as the singer/guitarists fingers buzzed in a blurr of speed over the strings.  Then he opened his mouth and I for one was aghast at the screamy noise that erupted from his lungs.  Not an enjoyable listen at all and I literally prayed for them to be off stage asap!  Wally's bar trips continued, but he echoed my sentiments agreeing as I yelled in his ear that "these guys blow goats".  In looking at Kate's face I could tell she was on the same page.  Her trademark "Yikes" was the first thing on her memo pad directly followed by "Will not be buying a CD or shirt!".  She also had noted that apparently they hate everyone and everything and I'm surprised that she could discern that much from the noise.  Her last note simply read in capital letters "OMG MAKE IT STOP!!"  We later discovered that they go by the name of Demonic Warfare, but I think even the devil and his demons would be embarrassed of that crap.

Symphony Grind filled the stage next and I literally mean filled the stage as there were a lot of them up there.  I felt that the two female back-up singers, one at either side of the stage, were a nice touch and I mean in more than just their looks.  Kate noted that although they seem to sing fairly well individually, it was like watching The View as they were just all singing over each other.  I myself started off grooving to these guys, but they failed to hold my interest as their set went on, maybe the initial reaction was just pure relief that the last band had stopped abusing my delicate ears.  I think the tambourines were the final straw for Kate as her memo notes stated "Tambourines?  Really?  Tambourines do not belong anywhere near a metal show in my humble opinion".  We all began to pay more attention to drinking and carousing with our Geek cohorts and other friends, all joining in the festivities of making fun of some of the other audience members, a sure sign that the band did not have a big (other than the sheer number of them) stage presence.  There were a ridiculously high number of prettied up dudes in the crowd and I threatened to pinch ones ass and point at Kate after she showed him to me.  Kate noted that she was completely distracted by the most stunningly beautiful boy standing to her left as there was not a girl in the place prettier than he was, perhaps this is some kind of hot-tub time machine and we're back in 1986?  But Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum were a part of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion then weren't they?

All three of us "Geeks" are in total agreement when it comes to the next band, J'nai and just cannot say enough good things about them.  We have all seen these mostly University age kids perform on several occasions and they absolutely rock every time!  Jeanette Ricasio (vocals) is described by Kate as a little spitfire, being a tiny girl who has the most enormous stage presence ever!  A statement that has never been truer and Wally and I 100% agree although I swear she's going to hurt herself one of these days with her outrageous dance moves!  They opened tonight with a cover of Rainbow's Kill The King, replacing the former staple opening song of Heart's Barracuda which I personally preferred.  In The Light saw the now expected unison bouncing of all members (except skin basher Rui Cimbron) and this time guitarist Stephan added a new great stunt in which he whipped out the ever present samurai sword from it's sheath home on his back for a little slide guitar.  After Accident it was time for Wally and I's personal favourite J'nai tune in Skipping Stones followed by the as yet unrecorded Gone which saw wood chips
flying as Jeanette wailed on drummer Rui's cymbals with a drumstick, giving it all her little powerhouse had.  Guitarists Stephan and Richie usually perform another neat trick during Defeat Them All where they switch their guitars with each tossing them through the air at each other!  Alas, the previous time I saw J'nai at the Stryper show they failed for the first time and one of the guitars came crashing to the stage, with no major damage.  Tonight they got rather closer to each other than usual, understandably a bit nervous after the last bungle, too bad it's amazing when they do it fully and I'm sure the confidence level will get back up there again soon.  They closed out with their standard finale of Welcome To The Jungle and Kate summed it up the best saying "the one thing that I always take away from this band is their incredibly positive energy", do yourself a favour and go and see J'nai perform live as soon as you can.  Say "hi" to the Geeks as well, we'll probably be there!

Now well lubricated with frosty adult beverages (except driver Kate), I've never seen Wally hit 'em that hard and fast before, maybe he just kept returning to the bar to ogle Priya some more.....good choice sir in either case!  Slaughter took the stage (Kate seemed to think it took them an awfully long time to come out, perhaps thinking they were Justin Bieber!, but that time was lost on the male "Geeks" with our alcohol induced state).  The crowd tightened up around us as they stormed out after a recorded intro and wasted no more time charging into The Wild Life.  By this time Kate and her friends' choice of footwear had got the better of them and they retreated to the rear of the concert hall in search of a place to sit.  Drummer Zoltan Chaney was off to a flying start as his sticks spend more time in the air than in his hands and he even uses his feet from time to time.  They chose Take Me Away for their second track and it's certainly not one of their more well known songs unless we all three were asleep at the wheel.  During the song however,
bassist Dana Strum, who formed Slaughter with namesake Mark after they left the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, came over to the right side of the stage and noticed my circa 1990 "Stick It To Ya!" Slaughter tour shirt.  Pointing at it he tossed me a pick and smiled.  Burning Bridges was up next and the guys were sounding great and tight musically, a total relief after some horror stories I'd heard about Mark's inability to hit the notes at some performances over the years.  It's nice to see what kind of a show we were in for tonight, although I will say it appears that Mark's beefed up a little in the gut area with the passage of time.  Spend My Life and Mad about you followed, giving the Stick It To Ya! debut record a lot of coverage already, as expected.  It was time for the inevitable guitar solo next, a process that always causes me to lose interest as I'm not a player myself, so it just mainly amounts to noise for a guy like me, but it was reasonably short and they charged into Eye to Eye which saw Mark jump off of the stage and into the crowd circling the whole room during the song.  The next song was Living Inside and I was unfamiliar with the tune although I thought I had all their work, I must be missing one
somewhere!  Real Love preceded the ultimate power ballad and ridiculous hit Fly To The Angels, which of course had the audience crooning along with Mark, the Decibel Geeks included, at least the drunk male ones.....where is Kate anyway?  Up All Night, the track that started me on Slaughter was next in line on the roster and then it was all over!  What, over??  What the F**K? a 70 minute set for the ticket price of $40!  A minimum headlining set should be at least 90 minutes without question!  Y&T tickets back in April were worth $26 and they played for almost two and a half hours.  What Slaughter played was awesome, but there just wasn't enough of it.  Ripping the fans off in this manner is totally unacceptable.  A couple of weeks ago Harem Scarem pulled the same horseshit.  It's amazing that these bands are all getting back together or back out on the road and including Toronto thanks to the Rockpile, but don't rip us off!  I hope that it's not a growing trend in these ageing rockers.  In any case Kate and I both look forward to seeing Slaughter aboard ship for Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2014.  They blew me away with what they did play and Zoltan Chaney is an absolute and utter pleasure to watch, Ive never seen anyone drum like that before, very entertaining.  I gave away two more Dana picks at the end of the show as I had mine personally tossed to me and also had secured a Mark pick, so let another fan have the souvenir for their $40!

Kate, Wally & The Meister
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