GIRL

KERRANG! ISSUE 4 – OCT 1981
THE GIRL ARE BACK IN TOWN an interview with Phil Lewis by Pete Makowski

GIRL ARE BACK!

After a much too long hiatus from this crazy business where at times it seemed almost certain that the groups days were numbered – with tales of the band being dropped by their management – Girl made a surprise comeback by playing two nights at the Marquee (their first live shows this year).

And judging by the crazed, enthusiastic response from the audience, they are back with a vengeance. With and album and single due to be released sometime in October the boys are definitely back in the saddle, and about time too!

Sure, initially it seemed like this group had conned their way into this business, with stories of them singing a contract on the strength of a video, when they barely knew how to stick a guitar lead into a socket.

There’s no doubt that their company did pull every string to make sure they were noticed. Ask lead singer Phil Lewis, he’ll admit that and more.

But the fact is, what once may have stunk of high powered hyping has now become a fully fledged band and the two sold out nights at the Marquee proved that without a shadow of a doubt.

They played some of the meanest, hard edged heavy rock that you’re likely to hear this side of Van Halen. It was rock and roll played with the sass and class sophistication of groups like Aerosmith in their heyday and without makeup too!

With a new drummer in tow, replacing the illustrious Brillo, in the form of Pete Barnacle (ex Gillan, Broken Home) they stunned their fans with a repertoire which in no way indicated that they hadn’t been on stage together for almost a year.

Both guitarists Phil Collen and Gerry Laffy have become much tighter, more fluid and dymanic, while bassist Simon Laffy along with Barnacle provided a solid rocksteady backdrop for an overall sound that proves once and for all that Girl have learnt to play their instruments.

Out front Lewis looks less limp, more powerful. He is still brash and as cocksure as ever but his performance relies more on vocals than sheer visuals.

The new material is years ahead of their first album ‘Sheer Greed’. The group now seem to know what they want to play, they have a direction, which they seemed to lack before.

Judging by the response of the audience, some of whom had come from as far as Manchester and Newcastle, they’ve made the right moves even though it’s taken so long.

“I really missed gigging at times, but it was really for a good reason, we were either recording or sorting out something else. But I must admit that it’s great to be working again,” announced a jubilant Lewis.

IN FACT since you last saw or read about Girl, they have by all accounts, gone through the Dante’s Inferno of the music business.

They lost their management, had altercations, with their label (which have now been settled more than amicably) and at one time there were a lot of people wandering around with a bitter taste of cynicism in their mouth.

Crippled by lack of funds some members were forced to move back home while others resorted to various hustles in order to exist for a living. But through it all Girl stuck together, which is quite admirable for a band so young in age and experience.

To a degree Phil now feels that he has benefited from his experience, in as much that it has strengthened his belief in the group and it’s given him a much clearer perspective of the business he’s working in. Mind you, I don’t think he would relish the thought of going through it all over again.

“I don’t believe that any band has had such a hard time as us. In a way I suppose we set ourselves up for it.” Lewis admitted when I interviewed him round at his less than modest abode.

“There are some people that we will never win back, because they didn’t want to know in the first place. That’s OK. I’m looking for a completely fresh audience along with the people from the old era. Whoever’s into it, great. I’m not trying to convert anybody. The change in the band was down to us, not because we were forced to change.”

The band were obviously pleased by the response they received at the Marquee, and the fact that they managed to pack the place proved the group still have quite a strong, almost cultlike following.

“Well we have got people who are into the band and we haven’t played for so long I don’t think they knew what to expect, but they still turned up. The interesting thing was that not one person came up to me after and said “well, what happened to the make up?” They didn’t even notice we weren’t wearing it.

“The whole make up/hype thing has gone. I think a lot of bands when they want to go on and do something they can’t do very well hide behind masks, behind clothes and I guess we wore make up, but we got into a lot of trouble for it, too much trouble, ’cause it really isn’t that serious. But that’s all gone now.”

Phil admits that the group are still very image conscious.

“We have become quite fit. We want to come over strong and healthy….not straight. Image is important. We like rock and roll, hard rock, even Heavy Metal. But I don’t want to be the singer in the tight leather jeans and denim jacket. It’s important to come up with something new. I really want rock and roll to become fashionable again.”

Do you think that rock and roll is unfashionable at the moment?

“I don’t think it ever has been fashionable. You have the cult following but I want it to be as big as the Adam and the Ant thing and I want us to be the rock band that’s brought rock and roll back into fashion.”

What other bands do you categorise as R&R then?

“Van Halen, to a certain extent, they’ve done it in America, although they only have a strong cult following over here… it all comes down to singles”

Which is what Girl plan to release by the end of September. Called ‘Thru The Twilight’. Putting Philip’s comments about R&R aside for the moment, this number is about as heavy as they come, although its hook and melody (strongly reminiscent of Van Halen’s ‘Mean Streets’, as it happens) is strong enough to get commercial radio airplay.

The single is going to be a picture disc and I wondered if this wasn’t the sort of hype Girl were trying to avoid.

“I don’t know. Jet are only producing a certain amount of picture discs…yes that’s a hype but it’s better than a free patch. Actually I wanted to give away a free Durex with every single. I think picture discs are okay if someone is into the band, they can collect them whereas normal singles tend to get thrown away.

The new album is called “Wasted Youth” and depending on the reaction to both a series of British dates will follow. Both album and single were produced by Nigel Thomas, whose name you have probably seen on the last couple of Saxon releases.

“During our period in limbo we went to Japan, got some money and came back and recorded some demos. Originally we went to Nigel Thomas for some advice on management but when he heard the tapes he was so impressed that he managed to persuade Don (Arden, boss of Jet Records) to do something with the band.

“We had developed and matured. I think people thought we would break up when we were having a hard time. When everything went quiet a lot of people thought ‘that’s the end of them’. No chance. Jet could see our standard of writing had improved, we had been influenced by all kind of things.

“While we weren’t gigging we were seeing a lot of shows, meeting up with a lot of bands and doing sessions, and we learnt a lot of things from it, musically. We also had plenty of time to do demos as we weren’t having pressure put on us to bring product out.

“Phil was playing with a few bands, new bands that wanted him to play guitar and produce. Gerry was working with his brother who is a jazz musician. I was just writing, meeting writers. There’s this person called Fran Landesman, she’s a poet, well a lyricist. She has written a lot of really good stuff. We’ve been getting into some of that.

“I’ve also been selling cars! I love selling cars, it’s kept me going.”

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Apart from some forthcoming shows with the mighty Ozzy Osbourne, the band would also like to stop doing support gigs and not for the obvious egotistical reasons…

“It’s usually a waste of time and money because people usually go to shows to see the main band. I would rather play to a much smaller audience that were into the band, than play a huge hall where they don’t like us, the way we look and the way we sound. I can’t think of a classification for us.”

‘We Are A Rock And Roll Band’ is the title of one track off the new album. ‘Nice And Nasty’ is another.

And that just about sums girl up.


Kerrang! No. 9 Feb 1982
Girl “Wasted Youth” (Jet LP 238)

Track listing:
1. “Thru the Twilight” (P. Collen, P. Lewis) – 3:25
2. “Old Dogs” (G. Laffy, P. Lewis) – 3:40
3. “Ice in the Blood” (N. Graham) – 3:00
4. “Wasted Youth” (G. Laffy, P. Lewis) – 4:42
5. “Standard Romance” (G. Laffy, P. Lewis) – 3:58
6. “Nice ‘n’ Nasty” (N. Jack) – 3:07
7. “McKitty’s Back” (P. Collen, P. Lewis) – 4:04
8. “19” (P. Collen, G. Laffy, P. Lewis) – 4:49
9. “Overnight Angels” (P. Collen, G. Laffy, P. Lewis) – 4:06
10. “Sweet Kids” (P. Collen, P. Lewis) – 2:33

TWO YEARS ago Girl Emerged onto the British music scene with an auspicious debut in “Sheer Greed”. They gained nationwide exposure opening for UFO, but reaction to the band was somewhat indifferent. They were too often dismissed for their penchant for make-up and Britt Eckland associations.

Subsequently they were to endure constant hassles with management and their record company, resulting in a protracted absence of fresh vinyl product.

Here we are at the start of 1982 and once again Girl have been touring the country as support to UFO.

Their second album has finally surfaced but to be quite frank it’s rather disappointing. Although there are some good songs such as ‘Old Dogs’, ‘Ice In The Blood’ and the title track itself, these are hardly justified by the production.

In fact many of the sings could be heard better in demo form. It’s a pity because Girl always had the potential to score well. Their major problem has been establishing a direction for themselves – ‘Wasted Youth’ has done little to help them. Perhaps they’ll fins joy in the States where they’ll soon be playing, but I like to think they’d sort themselves out by the third album provided the record company bears with them. Don’t dismiss them yet!

Girl: St Georges Hall, Bradford 22/1/82 Karen Harvey:

GIRL – BIG in Japan, but then who isn’t? So far this band just haven’t been able to gain the respect of the British fans, even though they’ve had plenty of live exposure and have two respectable albums behind them. It seems that their image has failed them, and they’ve desperately tried to undo the damage their ‘mascara’ look has inflicted.

But this show was a different story. To say that their reception was warm would be like saying UFO were pedestrian! From the moment Phil Lewis (no sporting the rugged look, including leg warmers for street credibility) clambered and embraced himself on stage the hall became almost menacing! Was this the same Girl that died a death at Bristol? Well, it seems the British rock fan is still undecided whether it’s ‘hip’ to like these rather controversial but likeable characters.

Guitarists Gerry Laffy and Phil Collen deftly carried out some intricate fretwork in a set full of underrated songs from their two LP’s. ‘Hollywood Tease’, ‘Doctor, Doctor’ (no, not that one!) and ‘My Number’ held the interest as the crowd at least seemed familiar with the material. But the best of the new ‘Wasted Youth’ material was received with the same enthusiasm.

Does this now qualify Girl for being ‘Big In Bradford’ as well?


KERRANG! ISSUE 17 June 3-16, 1982
GIRL – Marquee, London – DAVE DICKSON.

SOME THREE years ago I was dragged in front of a speaker and played ‘My Number’, a song by an unknown group called Girl. I fell instantly for the swirling Mick Ronson-style guitar and have counted myself a fan ever since. Progress in the Girl camp, however, has not run smoothly.
The band give living proof to the lie mat any publicity is good publicity. They’ve suffered immensely at the hands of an unsympathetic press; the activities of vocalist Phil Lewis and their original abortive image projection has hung like the proverbial albatross. Some people just never forgive.

Which is why, after two albums, numerous singles and assorted tours, Girl can still only headline places like the Marquee. They play hard, fast and loud, the three essential elements of good Metal with guitarists Gerry Laffy and Phil Cohen making energetic use of every pose in the book, but shamefully this does nothing to alter their image problem.

If Girl were to emerge now looking like they did in 1979 they would probably be a smash-hit. Timing is crucial in a volatile world like rock and Girl have simply never had it. While they can still fill the Marquee on a Thursday night and deliver a set oozing with power and aggression, they can’t claim the ability to repeat that in other major cities.

At this stage in their career the band need to re-evaluate their position and define their market If they ever want to expand beyond the club circuit. I just hope their EP sells..


STARFIGHTERS

February 1982
FORMED a couple of years ago in Birmingham by Stevie Young (Angus and Malcolm’s nephew), the Starfighters are already making waves in the hard rock world. After a support slot on the 1980 AC/DC tour the lads went into the studios with a producer, who has worked with Euro-rockers Trust and Krokus and also boasts engineering credits with AC/DC. An impressive debut album subsequently emerged on Jive Records and the band opened for the Michael Schenker Group last year. Since then they’ve been busy playing their own gigs and are currently out on the road in America with Ozzy Osbourne.

STAMPEDE

READING 1982

Stampede, who won over a dubious audience with some class materiel which, from Laurence Archer’s Schenkeresque V-playing to step dad Rueben’s Mogg-like vocal lines and lyrics, smacked heavily of UFO. “Let’s see some hands,” said Reuben for the first time at the festival but certainly not the last. They did, and Stampede were the first band to grab my

attention.


STAMPEDE – GREYHOUND, LONDON 8/2/82 (Review by Karen Harvey)

ONCE AGAIN Stampede played the Greyhound – a grossly underrated venue – and once again it was a ‘showcase affair’ with record company personnel much in evidence. The last time this band performed under pressure sadly, was a dire loss of energy but on this occasion things were different. The set was the same, but the band had gained a new found confidence and energy that burst through in the songs.

Stampede are not Heavy Metal, but occupy the raunchy, AOR end of the rock spectrum, a fact evident from their songs, lovingly based on melodies rather than riffs and sporting a loose Lizzy / UFO influence. There’s plenty of album material here: ‘Hurricane Town’, ‘Missing You’, ‘Hideaway’ and ‘Baby Driver Blues’ (about women motorists – the chauvinists!) are particularly impressive, allowing Reuben Archer to stretch out on the vocals.

And the material is not the only thing deserving of acclaim. The rhythmn section of Frank Noon (drums) and Colin Bond (bass) pummel with determination while the fast, intricate fretwork of Laurence Archer is often reminiscent of Schenker.

To conclude: it was an impressive set, bursting with energy and self confidence. Their ability is known in business circles (press, radio, record companies etc) but the most important support is yours – after all that’s what it’s all about.



HAMMERSMITH Odeon Feb 1983 – Paul Suter

Stampede keep the frills to a minimum (look no keyboards ma!), delivering an earnest brand of workmanlike hard rock with a strong melodic backbone: UFO is the most frequent comparison but I can’t help seeing them as natural successors to Thin Lizzy. They’re hard hitting and energetic, and the dual Archer axis is a definite plus; Laurence Archer is a young and remarkably talented guitarist, and Reuben Archer’s vocals with their leonine edge emphasise both the melodic and the muscular aspects of the band.

The epic quality of “Hurricane Town” shows that Stampede can capture the imagination as well as concussing the cranium, whilst their commercial potential is made clear with the likes of “Days Of Wine And Roses” which now surpases the recorded version with ease, its colourful escalating riff full of heavyweight charm. Bassist Colin Bond and flambouyant drummer Eddie Parsons pack a powerful punch that Laurence and Reuben capitalise on majestically, whilst never forgetting that good songs have strong melody lines – for example the commercial potential of “Photographs” completely belies its pumping power thanks to an adroit delivery.

“The Runner” proves a little more bluntly heavy, its scalding riff fortunately making up for the faux-pas of an Eddie Van Halen guitar intro as it races along like the US Cavalry on speed, ‘though “Moving On” seems to be taken rather too fast, something that obscures the quality of the sleazy, flexing riff that it’s built around.

The band are occasionally guilty of errors of judgement, but by the time the rip-roaring powerplay of “ThereAnd Back” brings the set to a close, with a healthy section of headbangers clustered around the stage, doubts are few and far between. What Stampede lack in sophistication they make up for in every other department, and definately have the potential to succeed on a wide front.




Kerrang! Feature July 1983 (by Howard Johnson)

NOW LISTEN to this. As far as I could tell, Stampede could well have conspired to manufacture for themselves a desperately tricky image in the eyes of the average UK punter. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve all seen the names of Laurence and Reuben Archer smuttily spattered accross the gossip columns of many a mag, ligging it up on the London scene with musos of a far greater standing than the boys themselves, not to mention vocalist Reuben’s flirtations with certain female journalists.

They certainly do sound like a couple of scumbags without many strings to their respective bows basking in the reflected glory of others in the hope that the tiniest smidgeon of it might stick. If you hadn’t heard their records, that kinda judgement wouldn’t surprise me at all. But if you have? Well read on……..

Stampede as an outfit certainly sit closer to the melodic end of the rock spectrum than most UK troupes of their standing and I aint afraid to put my own particular scalp up for grabs by saying that they have the potential to be up there with the big boys. They have an instinctive ear for melody and a gritty style of delivery which leads to enormous hard rock possibilities. At this juncture, however, potential and Stampede have become pretty synonymous words……and fulfilment hardly enters the matter. This situation has to be explored – this boy was despatched poste haste to Polydor’s London headquarters to catch the lowdown….

FIrst blood to Stampede. Upon arriving chez Polydor and reporting to reception as is customary, who should I bump into but Laurence, complete with cycling shorts and a pretty nifty looking two wheeler. Hmm…doesn’t look like a pretentious ligger. Doubly convinced I am, when Reuben turns out to be more than a little genial. So, ready to roll we are. Engage recorder..Go!

The first topic of conversation is easy enough “Hurricane Town”. The band’s first full-blown album (“The ‘Bootleg’ LP was a waste of time and should never have been released” says Reuben) is a strange little slab of plastic. Initial spinning tends to render the listener somewhat disappointed with the overall lack of anything remotely resembling greatness, but increased aural effort is rewarding. Nuances tend to shine through, song structure and melody are slowly but surely revealed and numbers such as “I’ve Been Told” with it’s catchy out of time sounding riff and “Love Letters”, the albums outstanding moment with a well structured format hit home as songs worth spinning again and again. There’s still an overall lack of strong material, however, and the major letdown is that the sound is flat. Proceedings are rendered dull when they could have sparkled. It’s a lot of my chest and a lot for the boys to answer. Deep breathe now…

“We definitety know that there are a lot of things on the album which aren’t quite up to scratch, but extraneous circumstances dictated that it couldn’t be any other way,” explains Rueben. “We started recording at Battle Studios in Hastings and, because of machinery breakdowns, we were in there for three weeks instead of two. We couldn’t get in there again so we were forced to move down to Britannia row only to find that there was no decent engineer there to help us get the sound we wanted.”

Laurence continues: “The only place that was left open to us was the Marquee Studio, so we ended up in there with Nick Tauber producing. We didn’t particularly take him out of choice but he was available. Then believe it or not the mixing desk broke down so they had to get a new one in and that set us back another week. By the time we came to the mixing we had to go off to play some dates in Portugal, so all we could do was leave the final job to Nick with strict instructions as to what we wanted.



STAMPEDE ‘Way Up In The Air’ (Polydor) NEIL JEFFRIES
WHEN is an LP not an LP? When it’s or eight-track twelve-inch extended EP of course! Confused? Well you maybe. This is an LP of course but as it represents Stampede’s debut offering with a LIVE package. The band themselves are not keen that it should be projected as their first album. Their record company has done them proud by keeping the price and the brief is to look upon this piece of plastic as an official bootleg.

The tracks were recorded in July at the Mildenhall festival and a month later on the Friday at Reading. Four from each. The “feel” of the gigs is authentically reproduced by the characteristic open-air sound and the record presents Stampede very faithfully. No Eagles-style studio re-recording here – just the bare minimum of touching up that hasn’t extended to the removal of the mistakes. There aren’t many of them but the one or two that are audible make it so much more credible and remind you that they are only human.
Virtually the whole set is included beginning with the pairing of “Missing You’ and Moving On’ The latter is particularly strong with its mid-way pause as the song gets snipped right down to the rhythm. The chorus returns then it goes straight into a fast yet fluent guitar solo from Laurence. His playing is spectacular.

‘Days Of Wine And Roses’ comes from Mildenhall -I ts first public performance – and still manages to sound great. Quite different too, to the single version. Personal favourite is ‘Baby Driver’ with a swaggering riff reminiscent of the old chestnut ‘Rocky Mountain Way’. It follows a fine rendition of one of the other highlights- the moody ‘Shadows Of The Night’




‘The Other Side’ (Polydor) 1983

Stampede are one of those bands that are fab on disc, but sadly always very disappointing live. A good ‘un this, and very American sounding; thanks must surely go to Nick Tauber who’s brought the best out of Archer and the boys.
The B-side really stands out with the axework of L. Archer surprisingly good.



Hurricane Town PAUL SUTER
THIS ALBUM has been along time coming, but the wait seems to have worked in its favour. Stampede have their roots in Bristol’s Lautrec, a highly interesting oust fronted by the dual Archer axis that didn’t quite manage to keep its head above water thanks to being one of the first new HR outfits at a time when muppet metal HM was all the rage. Thereafter the Archers resurfaced in the rather wobbly Wild Horses before giving up the fight against adversity and putting Stampede together on their own terms instead.

The approach is much more upfront then Lautrec ever were; Stampede are a sturdy, traditional British rock band falling somewhere between UFO and Thin Lizzy and therefore potentially well placed to win a floating audience looking for new heroes. They don’t feature too many frills/subtleties (call them what you will, depending from which side of the HM/HR fence you’re approaching Stampede) and have all the scorch-marked characteristics of a bend going for broke in a big way.

This debut album is certainly strong enough to win Stampede plenty of support and give them the up to stretch themselves a little more in the future. Since they write genuine songs there’s an inherent commerciality that could earn them hit singles (‘I’ve Been
Told’, ‘Love Letters’, Turning in Circles’) Yet never detracts from the basic, ahem, heaviness of what they’re doing. There’s a mini-epic
too in the form of the title track with its big, angry sound and Lawrence Archer’s incandescent guitarwork; in fact every track has an individual strength that I could drivel on about for ages, but maybe it suffices to point out that there’s not a single lame duck aboard this debut release.

There’s an awful lot of instability among all the biggest heavy bands that Britain has these days, with line up changes and break ups happening almost week by week. At the very least Stampede are a cautioning slap in the face to the big boys, and quite possibly a knock out blow too.



SPLIT BEAVER

Armed And Ready, February 1981

SPLIT BEAVER: this, ahem, distastefully titled band are based in Wolverhampton and have been on this plane of existence for some 18 months. Originally a five-piece group ‘underwent rationalisation’ and reduced their numbers to four. The members are as follows: Darrel ‘Savage’ Whitehouse (vocals), Mike ‘The Bike’ Hoppett (guitar), Alan ‘Honk’ Reese (bass) and Keith ‘The Mod’ Allen (drums).




JULY 1982

SPLIT BEAVER ‘When Hell Won’t Have You’ (Heavy Metal)

THE OPENlNG number on this little opus, ‘Savage’, is a straight rip-off venture into the worlds of early Tygers Of Pan Tang and AC/DC. I’m sure that the cranium could be crushed under the weight of the rifferama but what the hell is the point? It’s so banal!

OK, Split Beaver try a different tack with a little of the old ‘Quo’ blues riffing. Going Straight’ is more enjoyable but it still heads up a blind alley faster than Ted Nugent hunting out pussy. What’s more, the end result ain’t as pleasurable.

It’s hard to see any future for either Split Beaver or Heavy Metal Records on this pitiful display. Think that Paul Birch could’ve signed the mighty Last Flight? Criminal! As far as the album title is concerned, no wonder Hell won’t have them – I wouldn’t even bestow this on the devil!

HOWARD JOHNSON

S.O.S

1982

BERNIE MARSDEN’S: S.O.S Old Diggers, hipperlham

“BEAR IN mind this is the first date we’re doing, we’ve still gotta get a few things in proper shape.” Bernie looked a little worried as we sat in the hotel restaurant before the show (couldn’t think of a better way to avoid Angelwitch’s set!), but he needn’t have been concerned. S.O.S. are, you see, truly fab sir! New vocalist Tommy Jackson (ex-Turbo) is an affable Glaswegian with a strong voice that takes a little getting used to, but by the second number ‘Give Me All Your Love’ – -the highlight of the show – he’d won everyone over.

Marsden’s songwriting, before overshadowed a little by Mr. Coverdale who seemed to be able to turn all songs into long, rambling blues exercises, is now showing its true colours. He’s found a harder edge, whilst retaining the subtlety his songs are renowned for, a good example being the opener ‘Liar’ which took me by surprise with its sheer power.

But what really hits home is the sheer enjoyment exuding from the hallowed stage. Somebody remarked to me that the only way to
get an audience on their feet is to have a good time up on the stage yourself, and I don’t mean pretend, it’s got to be for real. S.O.S. were for real and the very fact communicated itself to an audience that for its size made an awful lot of noise. One more thing in their favour is that despite Marsden’s established position as a ‘guitar hero’ (!). there were no drawn out solo’s. Pity really, I could go on listening to that man forever!

Anyway, this band is going places. I’m sending out an S. O. S to all you headbangers to get along and see them, you know it makes sense.

NICK KEMP


JULY 1982


Reading Review SEP 1982

S.O.S., following the not so amicable departure of vocalist Tommy Jackson, are still fighting fit and rarin’ to go (or whatever it is they say in those circles), with new throat strainer,

Robert Hawthorn, formerly with Last Flight II think), ideally suited to Marsden’s bluesy style,

I’ve seen the band three times now, and they just seem to get better and better. No highlight, everything was on par with everything, and that was ‘par excellence’. ‘If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want To Be Right’, is a beautiful ballad, gleaned from the unlikely source of Millie Jackson, while a storming version of ‘Come On’ was considerably enhanced by the arrival of Mick Moody in casual dress.

By this time the entire audience had given up trying to catch piles from the wet turf, and was on its feet to offer the victory salute. Marsden, obviously incredibly moved by this show of appreciation from the out-front hordes merely grinned, said ‘thank you’ politely and wandered off stage to prop up the corner of the bar in the beer tent. Needless to say, S.O.S. were brilliant.

SPIDER

SPIDER: Talkin ’bout Rock’N’Roll’. (RCA)
Of all the singles here this has undoubtedly the best chance of becoming a hit. Why? Because Spider know that a good single is one you can’t stop singing whether you’re in the bath or walking down the street. This has plenty of bounce, a catchy hook and simple lyrics that roll off the tongue.


KERRANG! ISSUE 17 June 3-16, 1982
SPIDER Marquee, London – NEIL JEFFRIES
FOR THOSE keeping records, this date came under the banner of the ‘talking ‘Bout Rock’n’Roll Tour’ (I don’t think the never ending chain of gigs ever breaks, they just change titles now and then tokeep the punters on their toes.)
This time, though, Spider are finally touring to promote an album — ‘Rock’n’Roll Gypsies”. It’s not known yet just which label it will be released on but hopefully it’ll be in the shops soon and judging by the number of Spider fans who turned out for this gig there should be no shortage of takers nationwide when it does come out. a

Having a good night out is what Spider are all about so the opening tape of ‘Liberty Bell’ (Monty Python’s theme to you squire!) and ‘The Boys Are Here’ chorus from ‘It Ain’t Halt Hot Mum’ are a perfect introduction to the evening’s proceedings. Smiles all round then straight into the ritual boogie-blitz, with lead guitarist Sniffa bouncing around the stage like a peroxide and red dervish – pretty energetic considering the almost stifling heat.

Vocal duties as usual are traded between bassist Brian Burrows and Rick Parfitt-clone, rhythm guitarist Col Harkness, but it’s Brian that organises the sing-a-longs and distributes the sweeties and Rizlas (the latter during Did You Like It Baby’).

Although the set includes two covers, ‘Born To Be Wild’ and Get Down And Get With It’, there’s no shortage of good original matenal. Best of the bunch are probably ‘What You’re Doing To Me’ and set closer ‘All The Time’ but the encore, a twelve-bar arrangement of ‘Amazing Grace’ that gives way to a medley of rock classics, is also worth a mention. A recorded version of this should go down a storm in any heavy disco.

In the end then, a very entertaining evening. Let’s hope Spider’s hard work is soon rewarded with the LP’s release.


JULY 1982

SPIDER ARE an honest, hard-working Liverpudlian quartet who fulfil every ideal that was ever imagined of BOOGIE!

While Krokus and AC/DC have thee ‘boogieing brains’ lodged firmly in the heavy metal camp, and Status Quo continue to produce an empty— though sometimes enjoyable — pastiche of the music, Spider are probably the only true purveyors of blues/boogie, as It should be played.

‘We get a lot of people coming up to us after gigs telling us that were the only real boogie band going nowadays,’ states bassist, occasional vocalist and band leader Brian ‘Bugs’ Burrows.

‘They say it takes them bark to the day when Quo released ‘Piledriver’ and how they wish that Quo were still doing that kind of thing. It’s nice when people say things like that but we don’t consider ourselves as just an imitation of Quo. In fact I don’t even think our album sounds like Quo. You’ve heard a tape of it; do you think it sounds like them?’

Having listened to Spider’s forthcoming ‘Rock’n’RolI Gypsies’ debut, my answer is a rather blunt monosyllabic ‘Yes’.

Undeterred, Brian continues:

‘Well I’ll tell you one thing — we’ve never seen them in the flesh, l won’t deny that we’re not influenced by them, but we’re not simply a Quo rip-off act.’

Clearly Spider are eager to quell the comparisons with Rossi and Co. but one wonders who they might cite as direct musical influences. Curiously enough, Eddie And The Hotrods no less, as blond axeman Sniffa Bryce explains.

“We saw them in Liverpool about five years ago and what really impressed us was the fact that the music was so fast. We’d seen nothing like it before and thought that was definitely the way to do it”

Has life as an HM band been difficult in Liverpool?

‘Well, it’s a city full of futurists,’ declares Sniffa. ‘By that, I don’t mean that there are no rock fans around, but rather that they’re ‘strangled’ by all these kids with daft haircuts who think that picking out a bass line on one finger is an art! Those sort of people are very Into ‘art’. You know, the less you can play, the more of an artiste you are,’

Consequently Spider were forced to break-out and hit the road, which brings us to the subject of their legendary tour bus. In fact this interview is taking place within confines of the Spidermobile – and believe me readers, ‘luxurious’ is no p**s-take! The band we obviously well and truly pleased with their latest house on wheels, which took from ‘Valhalla’.

“We spent about six days working on the bus before our last tour. We were working literally ‘round the clock’ to get it ready in time. We had about three or four hours sleep each per day, but it worth it as you can see.

Gazing around the interior, I’m impressed. Eight comfortable seats for sight-seeing, smoking, playing cards and generally relaxing. Further back, in the sleeping quarters, there are four bunks with sink and cooker close at hand.

Finally, the rear end of this modern day wonder is designed to accommodate all the band’s gear!

“There is just no way that we could have done all the tours that we have without these buses.’

I am informed.

‘The hotel bills would have meant that we would never have been able to afford the new PA we’ve just bought outright – and we’re still in debt!”

Be that as It may, ‘Rock’n’Roll Gypsies’ should soon be available in your local record store. Alter my ‘sneak preview’, I concluded that while Spider’s new elpee holds few surprises, it should certainly endear itself to every fan of fast’n’furious boogie played as it should be – no frills and absolutely no pretensions.

‘A.W.O.L’, Them That Start Fighting Don’t Fight’ and ‘All The Time’ will delight you I’m sure – it you have this specialised taste. And if not, well…

As to the future, Spider promise:

‘We’ll be touring over the place as usual, so that people can see what we’re about. It’s all about enjoyment as far as we’re concerned, although we’d like to make money to be comfortable, which we aren’t at the moment!

“We’ll be off to Europe as well, that should be a laugh!”

A trip to a Spider gig can certainly be recommended. Give ’em a try, they’ll boogie your blues away.

HOWARD JOHNSON



READING FESTIVAL 1982

And so to Spider. The ‘It Aint Half Hot Mum’ intro tape rolled, the explosions roared and the band set about shaking some life into the multitude of hung over bodies, pretending to be a rock audience. Never ones to be too serious, they sang of sex and sweets and rock ‘n’ roll in a way their teenage audience desires, and by the time they careered into ‘Did You Like It Baby’ most of the crowd were on their feet an getting down to some serious bopping. As ever guitarist Sniffa Bryce, poised centre stage, blasted out those magnetic three chord riffs that, since Status Quo became a parody of themselves, have been Spider’s hallmark.

Few bands have worked as hard as this lot for their success and fewer still deserve it, and a soon as some people realise there is a place for good old- fashioned fun in heavy rock, the sooner Spider will attain their true position in the music spectrum.



KERRANG! ISSUE No.36 Feb 24-Mar. 1983 reviewed by Neil Jeffries
Spider: “Why D’Ya Lie To Me” (RCA)

Oh dear. I really like this band but this record is a million miles away from what they’re capable of delivering onstage. Far too pedestrian, and just when I’ve decided otherwise they turn up sounding like Quo, and latter day Quo at that. An attempt at a catchy single that has failed badly. Come on lads, you can do better than this.


SPARTA

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982

SPARTA: formed in early 1980 from the remains of two Midlands rock bands. They’ve mainly played the pub and club circuit but have had several support slots with bands like Diamond Head, Budgie, Praying Mantis, Lionheart and the Ken Hensley Band.

The band is Tony Foster (lead guitar), Snake (guitar), Tony Warren (bass) and Radge Reders (drums) have already had one single out ‘Fast Lane’ – which made Sounds ‘Heavy Metal Single Of The Week’ and have currently got a new single out with two of their own songs. ‘Tonight’ and ‘Angel Of Death’ – both singles were released on Suspect Records.

Sparta have such a following that they’ve formed their own fan club where you can buy the groups T shirts, badges and posters.

SOLDIER

SOLDIER – Armed And Ready, 1982 Wayne Perkins

“On the band – their history is the usual complex and heart rending story of splits and line up changes but the current formation –
· Gary Philips (vocals)
· Steve Barlow (bass)
· Nick Lashley (guitar)
· Steve Taylor (drums)
Is the most solid and stable to date. The band first came to prominence on the bland Heavy Metal Heroes compilation album following up that appearance with a single “SHERALEE” on Heavy Metal Records early in ’82. This winter sees them feverishly gigging and preparing material for a possible independent album.


On vinyl – truthfully, the track “Storm of Steel “on the HMH compilation wasn’t good enough to stand out from the rest, though the record itself was a mediocre affair with only a couple of impressive contributions. Also their single “Sheralee/Force” with its grinding Sabs axework lost some effect through being released in a 3-pack “monsters of rock” deal where it had to rub shoulders with the awful handsome beasts “Sweeties”. And the amazing “Rock lives on” by Shiva which really pushed it out of the limelight.

On stage – it wasn’t until I saw them live that I fully appreciated soldier. They gave a loud, energetic performance that sent me rushing home to give their records another going over. Definitely a cut above most bands doing the rounds, they have a professional but down to earth quality.

On tape – a demo containing four songs for possible use on the album shows much progression all round. Although the over riding Sabbath influence is still there, the dual lead on “fire in my heart’ and the mellow ‘lost in time” give the impression that the best is yet to come.

On the future – they’ve just completed a massive pub/club tour around the country and hope to be going to Holland for some gigs in November as their single did well in Europe. The planned album “Infantryside” should be out to tie in with the tour.”

 

KERRANG! ISSUE 33 JANUARY 1983

Live The Wellington, London. DAVID LING
FIVE-PIECE Soldier pulled a fairly large crowd considering MSG were playing at Hammersmith only ten minutes down the road, but they kept everyone wafting until nearly 10:30 before they came onstage,

The opener called ‘A Fire In My Heart’ was rather poor, and the sheer volume at which they were playing made it difficult to think straight (perhaps that was the intention?)

‘Don’t Throw Your Life Away’ was a little better but it elicited only a lukewarm reaction, save for a lone idiot dancer at the front and some polite applause at the rear.

“This is our obligatory slow number,” said the singer before a song called ‘Why?’ I had seen all the facial grimaces and poses a thousand times before but 1’d have been prepared to forgive them if their musk had been a little more original. The lead guitarist seemed to think he was Scott Gorham and his lead break was blatantly Thin Lizzy influenced to say the least.

SNAKEBITE

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! ROBERT ROBERTSON

FORMED A year ago. Snakebite have become one of the top rock bands north of the border. Their combination of heavy rock and subtle melody has given them the biggest rock following in lowland Scotland.

The Livingstone based group of Gary Boag (bass), Grant Hawthorns (vocals), Bobby Irvine (lead guitar), Gordon Duff (drums) and John Boag (rhythm guitar) cite Zeppelin and Lizzy as predominant musical influences and, while covers of these groups songs made up the majority of their early sets, as the music matured so self-penned songs pushed out the classics

On the strength of a demo tape played on a local radio station the group accumulated more requests than established stars like AC/DC and Motorhead and a recording session duly followed at Edinburgh’s REL studios (home of Aneka and Exploited products) in February last year. ‘Black Horizons’, ‘Once Ain’t Enough’, ‘Angels’ and ‘Fight For Yourselves’ were the tracks recorded and all still feature in the live show.

Then after an extensive summer of sell-out gigs, including a prestigious Edinburgh Nite Club show it was back to REL in November for new recordings.

“The band were very pleased with the finished product,” says guitarist John Boag. “The heavier sound was just what we wanted” and ‘The Message’ an epic of Rush-like grandeur, the individualistic ‘Burning Sky’, the tough ‘Waster’ (about guitarist John Boag) and pick of the bunch ‘Fight For Yourselves’ all augur well for the band’s future.

An English tour, a one-off gig with Diamond Head in Edinburgh and a journey to London in search of a long overdue record deal are the most important items on their agenda. In addition to which they hope to release ‘Burning Sky’, ‘The Waster’ and ‘The Message’ on a limited 1000 pressing and already 400 advance sales have been made.