GUIZERJARL

GUIZERJARL – Armed And Ready WAYNE PERKINS

THE ODDLY named GUIZERJARL is in fact a progressive rock band based in Worcester. As more progressive, techno and pomp outfits appear this lot must stand a good chance of favoring well with the fans of the genre.

The line up is Scott Lannie (keyboards), Kevin Davies (drums), Mark Arnott (guitar), Daffi Williams (bass) and Graham Wilde (vox). With the average age of the band around twenty they display amazing musicianship and songwriting abilities although at the moment I think they’re too close to Genesis for comfort. But it’s the outstanding qualities that convince me that by the time they have found their own musical identity they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

A recently recorded demo. ‘Far From Here’ contains over twenty minutes of music and features four songs from their present set.
They show their Tolkien roots with the opener, ‘Middle Earth’ by far the most successful on the tape. It’s an up-tempo track that rolls along with some catchy themes and a rich synthesiser sound.

Drummer Kevin Davies comes from the Neil Peart school of skin beating utilising all his kit to best advantage. ‘Eye Of The Bow’ starts with soft picking guitar building slowly as the keyboards create an atmospheric backdrop for the guitar soloing. The swirling synths are reminiscent of Rick Wakeman’s early work.

‘Togo’ is a song about a ‘Lord of The Rings’ type character, a strong melody over a jazz-rock rhythm and the tape ends on From The Cave Came…’ a slightly disjointed song that doesn’t hold your attention and lacks a strong tune.

Overall though, this is a damn fine start for a young band.

THE GRIP

KERRANG! ISSUE 79 October 1984
0K, OK no sooner do I start complaining that there simply weren’t enough good bands to write about than I stumble over no less than THREE! Actually, in my own defense, that’s not quite true – I knew about all three prior to my diatribe in the Silent Running feature but now they seem to be reaching a level of maturity that warrants some serious attention.

OK, so what about some names? First, there’s jai Gray Jay (no, I don’t know what it means either) who have just signed a deal with MCA Then there’s Cause & Effect, perhaps best described as a rock version of Duran Duran, which may alienate a lot of Kerrang! readers from the word go… but then you should just refer to my Komment piece of a few moons ago. And lastly, there’s the Grip . . .

There may be something inherently wrong about the fact that it was Xavier Russell who dragged me down to the now sadly defunct Embassy Club to see the Grip for the first time. There may also be something wrong about the fact that he was as bowled over by them as I was. But for the time being we’ll have to let it pass; put it down as one of those quirks of fate.

The Grip instantly reminded me of another great glam / Metal / pop band in a similar vein, the Idle Flowers (Rene, whatever has become of you?), although the Grip are decidedly heavier and can turn their not inconsiderable skills to the most ardent Metal Maniac’s dream chords. The band is a three -piece based in London consisting of Willie on lead vocals and bass, Mark Keen (a man who could easily pass for a Mick Ronson clone – and that’s a compliment in my book since Ronno was my first ever guitar hero!) on lead guitar and backing vocals and Chris King who thumps things at the back.

BRIEF history, because these things tend to be extremely tedious and best got over and done with as quickly as possible. Willie used to strum guitar with premier punk/cult band Chelsea while Mark used to thrash and crash with some forgettable Metal band called Viza. Willie caught the tatter’s show and instantly recognised Mark’s guitar flurries and general fretboard dexterity as being “much superior to my own”. Losing no time in stealing the guitarist and moving himself over to bass, he had the nucleus of a band who could begin performing some of the songs he’d penned and stashed away for a rainy day. Recruiting old pal Chris from London pub band Double Agent to fill up the ranks, the Grip finally came into being after a “pathetically drunken rehearsal”. That was all last year. This year they’ve concentrated on recording and gigging and generally having a lot of fun. And why not?

Now, on to the interesting bit. What makes the Grip one of the Best Of British? Simple, they have the songs, the presentation and the performance. The Grip have a clutch of songs, any one of which could become a hit single; they are danceable, singable rockers that reach out and leap over barriers of definition. This is a band whose songs should appeal to practically everybody.

Not only that, but they also look good onstage and Willie is as natural a born poser and frontman as you could hope to encounter. He also has a very good voice (is this the ‘Identikit’ rock ‘n’ roll frontman?). Mark tends to stay a little too far in the background, but this will doubtless resolve itself in time. They play very tightly and with an all too rare sense of real tun and enjoyment (remember them?).

THIS BAND ought to be able to cross over to such a diverse audience (from Kerrang! to Jackie, if that’s possible) that their success should be inevitable. So far, curiously enough, there’ve been no real bites at the cherry record company-wise (I mean, what are these A&R people doing!?) which means, basically, that you, the record buying public, are being deprived of a rather excellent talent on the vinyl front. The easiest way to compensate for this dispiriting state of affairs, however, is to go out and see the band live. Fun and entertainment are guaranteed. Let’s all party down!

DAVE DICKSON


1988

The Grip – Marquee, London

I CAN still remember the first time I saw the Grip. Willie’s ego-maniac lambasting of his audience as they stormed through their spot on the ill-fated ECT made it perfectly clear that he was going to make sure nobody – and he meant nobody – would forget his band.

A 5K album review was just a dream then, but wildman Willie – the Grip’s big -voiced bass-player – had the sort of undying faith that just could not be ignored. Since then I’ve seen the trio countless times in various venues – with not a single duffer amongst ‘em. Not a bad track record that.

So quite what went wrong at the Marquee is a mystery.

I’ve always seen the Grip as the ultimate party band – regaling their audiences with explosions of streamers at every available opportunity along with a collection of finely crafted, extremely danceable, pop/rock tunes littered with easily accessible Americanisms that should ideally allow them to scale the dizzy heights into commercial crossover success ‘Snake or even ‘leppard style.

Perhaps Willie had the same idea cos he was very quiet and even (to my amazement) a little subdued when confronted by a less than capacity, not to mention largely disinterested audience.

Professional to the core, the band played with all their usual fire and panache. Krasher held the band together with reliable accuracy; Mark poured out solos, riffs and runs in a molten stream; the fast-becoming-infamous whining cronies appeared to have slipped into a mutually assured groove, combining their movements in visual as well as harmony.Out front Willie bound the action together as he stalked the matchbox stage with all his accustomed confidence. And yet – despite the quality of their songs and show, something got lost between the stage and the audience.

I’m at my wits’ end trying to find a reason for this sudden attack of good ole British apathy. Maybe it s time to make the break and give the States a try, cos the Grip are just too good to waste.

LYN GUY

GRIM REAPER

GRIM REAPER – Armed And Ready, October 1981 – Geoff Barton

Grim Reaper were formed about two years ago by guitarist Nick Bowcott and vocalist Paul deMercado. Phil Matthews (bass) and Angel Jacques (drums) complete the present line up – the seventh but, I’m assured, finally settled one.

A dense, Black Sabbath-like sound permeates the bands eight song cassette ‘Bled ‘Em Dry’, a four-track recording made around a year ago in a horse stable in an amazingly prolific seven hour period. Songs like ‘Maggy’ (a lengthy, showstopping epic with an outstanding vocal performance form deMercado) and the eponymous ‘Reaper (shades of the Sabs’ ‘Warning’ especially during the intro) make for an immensely entertaining package, although Bowcott’s guitar work is a little self-indulgent and samey at times.

The tape, featured in Sounds HM charts and on local radio stations, has sold over 200 copies.

GR appear on the special offer ‘Heavy Metal Heroes’ compilation (their track was laid down in a garage this time!) and hope to follow this up with a single in September, ‘Can’t Take Any More’.

Although based in the Midlands, Grim Reaper claim their strongest following can be found further north, mainly due to airplay and successful gigs in the cities of Manchester and Bradford. A review of the latter show said: ‘Live, this lot band have got more balls than Jack Nicklaus’.

Fore!

Live Nags Head, Malven WAYNE PERKINS

AFTER A successful year, which has seen the band rise rapidly in status and pack’em in wherever they’ve played, it was obvious that tonight’s Christmas party was going to be special.
‘Dead On Arrival’ has fast become a classic set opener with its instantly memorable chorus and chugging bass line, and it’s clear that the rhythm section of drummer Lee Harris and bassist Dave Wanklin has clicked into place. Two more crowd faves follow, ‘All Hell Let Loose’ and ‘Wrath Of The Ripper’, the latter causing a frenzy of air-guitaring and head-shaking with its supercharged riff.


Singer Steve Grimmett’s voice leaps out of the speakers, grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you into the songs, involving you completely. He’s got one hell of a powerful voice, which couples perfectly with the dexterous guitar playing of Nick Bowcott who has e certain empathy for his instrument, feeling and shaping its sounds at will. Random feedback is molded into a sustained note, and his skill at improvisation means fills, squeals and bursts of lead surface in songs already dripping with axework.

Mid-set, they deliver their old classic `The Reaper’ and, later, close the show with the great soccer-style chant of ‘See You In Hell’. Two encores follow – the band (and audience) are bathed in sweat, condensation runs in rivers down the walls and then it’s over, You feel as though you’ve been run over by a steam-roller and raped by 10 Amazonian women. Reaper leave you satisfied – enuff said?

Well nearly, but after all this superfluous praise a couple of niggles. Live, they have two problems; firstly, they tend to be lazy on the visual side and secondly, the set still includes several cover versions, I hope they drop these in the New Year – they simply are not needed.

Finally, they now need to go further afield. They’ve got the music, the following and the debut album behind them. . . now it’s time to take the power to the people.

GRAND SLAM

MARQUEE – JULY 1984 – MARK PUTTERFORD

THE SWEAT stung my eyes. It ran down both cheeks and collided underneath my chin. It fell from the tip of my nose into my beer (as if it wasn”t watered down enough already) and it rolled down my back into the forbidden valley.
This was the Marquee awaiting the late, late arrival of Grand Slam in a stifling sauna bath atmosphere you could’ve slit with a blade. This was an oven of expectancy; a smouldering tin of sardines poised to cast eager eyes of examination over the bouncing baby fathered by Phil Lynott.

It’s been a while since this pen pusher felt the goose -bumps crawl as the lights died and wore an ear-to-ear grin as guitars were dropped over shoulders. But admiration for Lynott, a past member of one of the best and most accessible rock bands of the last decade, Thin Lizzy, coupled with the confidence in his new band, gained from a tantalising taster at rehearsals a few weeks earlier had me hooked.

Suddenly there was a shrill dipping note from keyboardsman Mark Stanway chased by a rowdy rattle from skinsman Robbie Brennan and ‘Yellow Peril’ gloriously crushed its pop connotations, revelling in its set-opening splendour.

Hot on its tail, newie ‘Nineteen’ scorched along on crude teenage energy featuring the digital brilliance of Lawrence Archer, while ‘Sisters Of Mercy’ built into a pricely reminder of ‘Emerald’.
‘Military Man’ marched on brute raunchiness either side of its tear-jerking soft centre and mushroomed into a mighty mountain-sized masterpeice, before Slam smooched into the realms of funk with the excellent ‘Harlem’. Here Stanway’s silvery keyboard scatterings and the sweet twin- soloing of Archer and Doish Nagle iced Lynott and Brennan’s funky foundations and showed us that all the bands songwriting aspirations don’t lie solely in Riff Street.
Next up, Lynott cast a nostalgic glance over his shoulder, steering Slam through the evergreen ‘Parisian Walkways’ and the sweltering ‘Cold Sweat’. After that, it was back to the blistering newies in the shape of the cartwheeling ‘Crazy’ and the Lizzy-esque ‘Dedication’, as the boards burned, the sweat streamed and the sardines raved.

Pausing only slightly for a well-earned gasp of breath, Lynott inevitably asked if we were “out there” then bounced into ‘Dear Miss Lonely Hearts’ to the accompaniment of our hoarse hollers and ‘helping hands’, adding a few snatches of ‘Some Guys have All The Luck’ and ‘Every Breath You take’ before ounching the air in triumph and withdrawing his troops.

Encores were a cert, of course, and Slam delighted us with a marvellous mixture of ‘Whiter Shade Of pale’and ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. Such an exercise (obviously there as a filler as the band hadn’t enough original material for a whole set) could’ve been a disaster, providing ample food for the cynics to feed on. But the quintet carried it off with class and style.

More sweat, more applause and another barnstorming encore, the name of which I can’t even remember. But what does it matter? The sardines stomped and cheered for five minutes and the band could’ve returned time after time. I hurriedly jotted down “best gig this year” in my soggy notes and rejoined the clapping.

KERRANG! FEATURE AUG 1984 BY MARK PUTTERFORD

SERGEANT ROCK comes lurching towards me. Slightly overweight, yet looking the part in his shiny jackboots, half-opened shirt and obligatory skin-tight strides, he quickly swaps hands with the huge bottle he¹s holding (which I can assure you isn¹t lemonade), rubs his palm a couple of times on his thigh and holds it out in a friendly greeting.

In the fading sunshine of the afternoon, the Sergeant, better known to y’all as Phil Lynott, is taking a breather with his men during their arduous stretch of rehearsals. He looks knackered.
“I am knackered,” he announces. “We’ve been here from two to ten six days a week and we’ve really put some hard work into these rehearsals. I mean, I’ve been so tired I haven’t been able to go out raving recently! But I’m not complaining. In fact I’ve been really keen to practice so much and my playing is getting better because of it. Anyway, it’s all worth it when everything is so fresh and sharp like it is now with us. With Lizzy, a rehearsal was just showing the new guitarist the songs, but now we¹re all starting out together and ideas are coming in thick and fast.”

The band in question is Grand Slam. Arisen from the ashes of Thin Lizzy, it’s solely responsible for the new twinkle in Lynott’s eye and the boyish enthusiasm which radiates from him at the very mention of things new. After the personal and professional heartbreak he suffered last year, Lynott needed a new socket in which to plug his energy and creativity. He needed a fresh start and a new challenge, and before the dust had time to settle on that famous mirrored bass, he was proudly parading as new set of troops.

From Stampede, there’s one of the most promising young guitarists, Lawrence Archer. From the highly underrated Magnum there’s keyboard player Mark Stanway and from Ireland there’s two much-respected session men, Doish Nagle on guitar and ex Auto-Da-Fe stixman, Robbie Brennan. But enough of my boring brays, let the Sergeant take up the story.

“When Lizzy ended, me Sykesy and Downey were gonna stay together and I grabbed Doish and Mark for a tour of Sweden as the Three Musketeers. It was really only a bit of fun, to check out the audiences’ response and so on. Anyway Sykesy got..erh..paid to join Whitesnake, “he says with a rye smile, “so I decided to check out Lawrence after Jimmy Bain told me a bout him. I was a bit sick and disillusioned when Sykesy left and I even considered joining (sorry, no names!). But I liked Lawrence’s playing so much that I decided to stick with the band and we prepared for a tour of Ireland. Unfortunately, just before the tour, Downey left because he didn’t want to go back on the road again. He’d had so much time off since Lizzy ended, he’d got used to being with an’ that. He wasn’t prepared to leave his home again for long periods of time.”

What about the pact that you two made years ago about always working together?
“Well, he made a bigger pact with his wife and kids, y’know!” Phil chuckles. “And I think that one was a more permanent than the one he made with me. But there¹s no bad blood between us at all and I wish him and Scott (Gorham) the best of luck in whatever they do in the future.”
What WILL Brian Downey do now?

“Oh, I think he’ll just do some session work in Ireland and he’s hoping to set up a drum clinic as well. He’ll just be taking things easy. He was the quiet one in Lizzy, I s’pose – the one who always went to bed first! But it’ll be strange playing without him, all the same.”
So exist Brain Downey and enter one Robbie Brennan. Over to the Sergeant again.
“During the break I’d been doing lots of silly things things like production and basically just fiddling round in the studio trying to get away from it all. I’d worked with Junior, an Irish folk band and Auto-Da-Fe, who Robbie played for. He’s a very good drummer and I’ve worked with him before, so When Downey left he was an ideal choice.

Once I’d got the line-up complete, we went out on the road and did a few dates in Ireland.” Phil continues, “!but it was really just an experimental tour and we used the kids as guinea pigs to test out a few things. It went down great, but then 50% of the material we did was Lizzy material, so that might have been something to do with it,” he adds with that familiar chuckle.
Did you mind having to play Lizzy stuff?

“Oh no,” fill drawls, “I was really proud to be in Thin Lizzy. If Thin Lizzy wasn’t a great band I would’t have been in them for ten years. But the way I looked at it was like this; when Lizzy started we did 50% of other peoples material just like most new bands do, so I adopted that attitude and thought if we we’re gonna do other people’s material we might as well do Lizzy’s” he grins cheekily.

“We soon got tired of that though, because it started to sound like we were another version of Lizzy. So when we did our first dates over here we made sure we had our own material sorted out. Now we only do two Lizzy numbers: ‘Sarah’ which Lizzy never did live anyway, and ‘Cold Sweat’. The kids have really been on our side so far, ” Phil continues, trying to ignore Brennans yelps of delight having hit a tin can on the wall with an air-rifle, “but I hope people that come to see us realise that it’s early days yet. At the moment we’re just constructing a comfortable working atmosphere. I don’t want to come in and rehearse blatant riffs. I feel it¹s very important to have some kind of tangible aspect that the Who had or the Stones have. Y’know you’re listening to the Stones and they just sound like the same old Stones – but all of a sudden there’s a certain feeling there and it’s a great record. We’re trying to build up a feeling between us as musicians and to help us we’re doing a funk number called ‘Harlem’. I don¹t want this band to become Germanic in any way, and even though I feel it should be playing heavy music, there’s gonna be more than that.”

There certainly is, if the glimpse of rehearsals I was treated to was anything to go by. Despite the fact that they’ve only been together for a short while, the band seem naturally integrated and perfectly at ease with each other, in spite of the constant demands and instructions that have earned lynott the nickname of Sergeant Rock.

The six-string rapport between Archer and Nagle is both exciting and enterprising, with the former handling some dazzling lead work and the later offering him a punchy but controlled cushion to spring from.

Robbie Brennan, the amiable Irishman with the Phil Collins hair do, complements the Sergeant’s leading bass lines as well as Brian Downey did for years and Mark Stanway adds the atmospherical third dimension to sweet effect. With the Sergeant calling the orders, Slam rifle through some excellent new songs and some rejuvenated oldies. I’m profoundly impressed.
“it’s a bit awkward at the moment,” Phil pants as we resume our verbal in the cooling afternoon breeze outside, “because I’m still working on my bass parts and formulating some of the lyrics, so I can’t really have a go at them if they get things wrong! I have been chasing them up a bit though, but once I get myself sorted out I’ll be on their backs even more! In fact, I’m being too harsh on them at the moment, but I know that the critics and the supporters will be even harsher if they’re not performing at their peak, so I’m not letting up.”

THE SERGEANT is obviously relishing his new endevours. He doesn’t have much time for nostalgia and feels excited about coming back into things underrated.
“I don¹t feel I have any god-given right to success because of what I’ve done before,” he explains honestly, “and I want Grand Slam to be successful for itself and not because it’s Phil Lynott’s band. I wouldn’t want any band to be a cheap imitation of Thin Lizzy and I’m trying to make sure that this band isn’t built around me.”

But wont it be difficult to steer clear of any Lizzy comparisons, as for most people you WERE Thin Lizzy?
“Well I can’t help being Phil Lynott, y’know,” he chuckles again. “There is gonna be a comparison because I do lead the band, but as much as you could say that Mick Jagger is the Stones, you can’t say that Keith Richards isn’t the Stones as well. So as much as you could say I was Thin Lizzy, you can’t say that the kids didn’t also come to see some of the best lead guitaists around. I suppose I will dominate the Slam sound, but it’s a different group of musicians and a different set of songs, so it’s really a different band altogether.”
One major difference between Grand Slam and Thin Lizzy is that Slam have only one lead guitarist, where as Lizzy’s distinctive sound came from twin lead guiarists.

“That’s right, ” Phil nods, “this time I’m featuring the one guitarist and I’ve got Doish there for that ‘feel’ I was talking about earlier. I found that it’s easier to get a balance rhythm player who knows his position and doesn’t try to steal the spotlight from the other guitarist. Anyway, one of my main aims for the band is to feature Lawrence because I’ve worked with some of the best guiatrists around and he’s potentially as good as any of them.”

With that, the Sergeant strides across the rubber-spaghetti floor covering of elcetric leads to resume rehearsals with the forthcoming Marquee gigs foremost in his mind. As yet, the band haven’t singed a record deal and the sweatbox capital gig is to be their showcase.

“The Marquee shows are inportant,” Phil stresses later, “because there’ll be a number of record companies there and it’ll be nice to get a deal on the strength of our live show rather than because we make good demos or take good photographs. I want to see who’s into the band because we make good music and I’m trying to get away from the celebrity thing. Who cares if I used to be in Thin Lizzy or Mark used to be in Magnum? Let’s just say, ‘look, here’s Grand Slam.”

AND THAT’S exactly the forthright attitude the band displayed at their glorious Marquee work-out a couple of weeks earlier. The Sergeant’s harsh drilling has honed them into a razor-sharp outfit and they slashed through a very impressive set.
Backstage, the Sergeant slumps shattered into his seat , swigging the shampoo like it’s going out of fashion. He’s very pleased.

“I though it was very good,” he beams proudly, “even though I had a bit of trouble breathing because of the heat. “We’re developing well.”


GRAND SLAM – KERRANG WEEKENDER – SEP 1984 Mark Putterford

Slam area well balanced team of top notch musicians who’re complementary and inspirational to each other. The Laurence Archer / Doish Nagle guitar partnership is increasing in confidence all the time, the keyboard contributions of Mark Stanway are calssy and effective without being presumptuous, whilst the punchy, up-front rhythm rapport between Lynott and drummer Robbie Brennan revs like a finely tuned engine.

Also the band’s strength in depth of material is exemplary. Kicking off with the familiar ‘Yellow Pearl’, they intertwined a glittering array of new material, such as ‘Nineteen’, ‘Sisters of Mercy’ and ‘Crazy’, with the ravishingly revamped oldies like ‘Parisienne Walkways’, ‘Cold Sweat’ and ‘Dear Miss Lonely Heart’, sounding sharper and fresher than Lizzy did in their later stages.

But for me, two songs stood out, encapsulating Slam’s potential, ‘Harlem’ is a relaxed, slightly funky dedication to New York’s slum area, that I’m confident would stroll into the Top 20.And ‘Military Man’ is a powerful anti-war blitz. Built ironically on a military style Brennan beat and incorporating a tear-jerking middle verse that really hits home. Just wait for the album kiddies, this’ll be a classic.

In case you didn’t guess, GS went down a storm and returned for three encores in the shape of ‘Whiter Shade Of Rolling Stone’ (a clever combination of the two famous oldies), ‘Crime Rate’ and ‘Breakdown’. They could’ve easily come back for more, but by now they’d done enough to ridicule their lowly billing and make it extremely difficult for the following bands.

GRAND SLAM – MARQUEE DEC 1984 – MARK PUTTERFORD
One band I’ve been checking out regularly for the past six months, however, is the quite spiffing Grand Slam, who tonight were kicking into the last few dates of their first nationwide tour. And as anyone who has seen them on this stint will tell ya, they were shit hot.
Since those simmering summer days, Slam, under the leadership of Sergeant Phil Lynott, have harnessed their initial explosion of (nervous?) energy and are now settling down with their growing individual rapport into a controlled and confident outfit.

Tonights powerful and passionate performance boasted (already) Slam classics like ‘Nineteen’, ‘Sisters Of Mercy’, ‘Military Man’ and ŒDedication¹ along with valuable antiques like ‘Yellow Pearl’, ‘Parisienne Walkways’, ‘Cold Sweat’, ‘Dear Miss Lonely Heart’ and a coupla fine new songs hot from the rehearsal room, ‘Can’t Get Away’ and ‘Gay Boys’.

Both newies have ‘Lynott’ stamped all over them, of course, but cynics should take note that Slam are moving further away from the ‘Lizzy sound all the time. Indeed, the brilliant ‘Can’t Get Away’ seems to be an idication of Lynott’s intention to sell Slam Stateside, and its enchanting, emotive quality plus a catchy chorus offers strong 45 potential.

The other recent addition, ‘Gay Boys’ (no names as the bribe money arrived this morning, dear), is also a cracker, with an hilarious lyric that I suspect has nothing whatsoever to do with a certain mishap in Norway a coupla years ago, eh Phil?

Grand Slam are well on the way to achieving the kind of rapport Lizzy had with their audience and tonight the band were called back for 4 encores, plus a fast-rockin’ version of the popular terrace chant, ‘Here we go, here we go’ etc, in a knackering 90min set that left Lynott litterally speeechless.

GLASGOW

The Venue, Glasgow 1985 PAUL SUTER

BOTH ‘GLASGOW the place and Glasgow the band have rather more to offer than their reputations might suggest. In my days in Scotland I can recall only a fairly scruffy city replete with hordes of questionable pubs seeming to offer a free fight with every pint; now nothing could be further from the truth. Similarly, Glasgow the band are only known for a year-old Tommy Vance session and a highly dodgy low-budget single on Neat (which they prefer to forget about); captured on home turf, after repeated entreaties, they clearly have something more to offer.

This was definitely a gig for reading between the lines, though – metaphorically speaking, of course. Quite frankly, the sound was disgusting, and only the last few numbers gave any fair approximation of the band’s true ability. But throughout the aural endurance test the quality of the material and the potential of the group was there for anyone who cared to listen.

They’re a four-piece not overflowing with frills, built on the hard rock rhythms of drummer Joe Kilna and bassist Neil Russell, the pair staunchly powering a succession of excellent songs. With only one guitarist in the line-up, Archie Dickson, there’s a concise lead line flowing through it all, although off-the-wall flashiness isn’t entirely absent. Generally, though, the feel is more solidly British than with most of the dual-lead line-ups currently in contention, leaving plenty of room for vocalist Mick Boyle to flaunt himself.

Boyle is tall and commanding; the miniscule stage at this show clearly hampered him but the guy has both the presence and the looks to attract attention and no small amount of female interest. His voice is curious and almost monotonal, lacking dynamics but bristling with power; a bit of development could be needed here, but the effect was nevertheless impressive, and I’d place him well above several established names when it comes to actually delivering what’s required.

The material’s ballsy and attacking, with at least one eye on America, but as noted above a shade more British-rooted than some. Ironically, despite having only one guitar in the line-up, Wishbone Ash are a clear reference point on the exciting `Shaman’ and ‘Searching For Glory’. There’s a dark tension to much of Glasgow’s material that’s ultimately more exciting- and lasting – than straightforward thrashing. But they can also burn with the best of ’em, as evidenced by a scorching cover of ‘Faith Healer’ and a frenzied rendition of their own ‘Heat Of The Night’, presenting a neat contrast with their dramatic rock ballad, ‘Say Goodbye’.

As I noted above, the sound was pretty grim for most of the show. But given the fact that I was impressed under such circumstances, I’m prepared to predict great things ahead for Glasgow.


1988

Heavy Pettin, Glasgow, Drunken State – Rumours, East Kilbride

GOODBYE, HEAVY Pettin. Yes, tonight the local faithful bade a final farewell to a band which prom ised so much but never quite delivered. A sad demise really, brought on by an unworkable relationship between band and label. But first.

Local Thrashers Drunken State opened tonight’s musical menu. Lacking killer instinct and raw power, maybe as a result of a clean and quiet mix,

Drunken State are nonetheless a talented and disciplined band showing signs of potential. Despite their youth, they are quickly gaining experience having supported Wolfsbane, DRN and soon Chariot. A good prospect, given time to develop songs and image.

Glasgow certainly aren’t short of experience, having been around for some time before releasing a promising debut album, ‘Zero, Four. One’, late last year. Consequently, they are no fools when It comes to working a crowd, structuring a set and delivering what people want to hear.

Most of the tracks from the new album, especially the opener ‘Meet Me Halfway’. ‘Under The Lights’ and the current single ‘Secrets In The Dark’ seem made for live performance, which is, after all, what most of them were intended for.

A double encore for Glasgow was not a surprise, given the proximity of East Kilbride to Glasgow’s hometown, but they fully deserved the acclaim.

Check out the album and look out for them on tour.

And so to Heavy Pettin. Determined to enjoy his farewell, frontman Hamie gave everything ably assisted by band members old and new; Gordon Bonnar (guitar), Gary Moat (drums), David Leslie (bass) and the quite brilliant Alec Dickson (guitar).

In a set also full of old and new. high spots were provided by ‘Rock Me’, ‘Sole Survivor’, ‘Hell is Beautiful’ and of course ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’. Oh, and a nifty solo spot from the youthful Alec Dickson, including two-handed tapping.

On one or two occasions, the old fire was rekindled, with Hamie astride the monitors, proud and loud, but this really wasn’t a vintage performance.

How could it be under the circumstances?

Somehow an air of gloom seemed to creep in as the Pettiri set progressed with the growing realisation that this event was equivalent of a rock ‘n’ roll funeral. Who put the nails in the coffin?

A suitable epitaph was provided by AC/DC’s ‘Gonna Be Some Rockin’ closing the story on a high note with Pettin joined by most of Glasgow (the band), Dougie White (La Paz), Ian Donaldson (ex-H2O) and various others for a final singalong. An appropriate finale tinged with a touch of sadness and maybe even bitterness.

As the band left the stage, an eerie silence fell. The dream is shattered. Heavy Pettin are nothing more than a memory.

RICHARD HEGGIE

GIRL

St George’s 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 their reception was warm would be like saying UFO were pedestrian! From the moment Phil Lewis (now 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 Daffy and Phil Colleen deftly carried out some intricate fretwork in a set full of underrated songs from their two LPs ‘Hollywood Tease’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ (no, not that one!) and ‘My Number’ hold 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?

‘Wasted Youth’ (Jet LP 238) February 1982
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 all too often dismissed for their penchant for make-up and Britt Ekland 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 ’82 and once again Girl have been touring the country with 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 songs 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 find joy in the States, where they’ll soon be playing, but I’d like to think that they might sort themselves out by the third album provided the record company beers with them, Don’t dismiss them yet.

GEDDES AXE

GEDDES AXE – Armed And Ready, 1981

GEDDES AXE found inspiration for their name in the unlikliest of places – a school textbook entitled British Economic And Social History, 1700-1977. Seems like an MP with the surname of Geddess reduced educational ependiture in an Act Of Parliament. So stringent was the cutback that it became known as the Geddes Axe… the rest is history.

Andy Millard (vocals), Martin Wilson (guitar), Andrew ‘Baz’ Barrot (guitar), Mick Peace (bass) and Dave Clayton (drums) are the band. Their music has been described as ‘an effective mixture of ‘Farewell To Kings’ Rush and ‘Killing Machine’ quality Judas Priest, with the odd section of ‘Status Quo Live’ thrown in for good measure.

Confused? You won’t be if you buy the band’s self-financed ‘Return Of The Gods’ EP. It’s out now and it really is an essential purchase.

KERRANG! ISSUE 33 – JANUARY 1983

Live Ad-Lib, Kensington XAVIER RUSSELL
IF I was a member of Geddes Axe, I would be feeling more then a little peeved off, at the poor attendance, on this cold Thursday evening, in mid-November. Mind you having said that the Ad-Lib, isn’t the easiest of venues to get to, and is too far of the beaten track, for yer average H.M. fan to find.

Still the few that did show up seemed to enjoy the show, but I was disappointed, and got the feeling the axe were just going thru the motions, even Kerrangs own Paul Suter whom, I seemed to re-call raved about the G.A.’s last year when they played a showcase gig at the Marquee, was seen to be shaking his head sadly, and said that the boys have definitely gone down hill, and accused ’em of turning into a trash metal band. Apparently they favoured Rush / Sabbath crossover materiel last time out.

Starting off with ‘Rock’N’Roll Is The Way’, a Def Leppard influenced song, with catchy twin lead attack, I thought these boys could do no wrong. But when they followed that with ‘Life In London’ and ‘Wild Fire’, I began to realise, Geddes Axe, were living on borrowed time, ok they may hail from the same heavy metal steel town as the aforementioned Leppard, but to start cloning them is unforgivable, and the funny thing was, that a rather quite and subdued Joe Elliot was sitting in the corner, and couldn’t keep the grin off his boat. “Anyone heard of Kiss”, shouted vocalist Tony Rose, as he introduced, ‘Detroit Rock City’, and the reply was a loud and clear, “NO”. Surprisingly enough they turned in quite a good cover version of the Stanely-penned classic, the twin lead axe attack of Messrs., Martin Wilson and Nick Brown being spot-on. ‘666’, which promptly followed, was very amusing, as the title suggests, even the Ozzy sounding evil laugh was thrown in for good measure, but during ‘Escape From New York’, I escaped to the bar, for a much needed pint and found the rest of their set boring end tedious.

A pity coz lead guitarist Martin Wilson is a fine axe man, and I got the feeling he was playing material he wasn’t really at home with. Maybe a return to the Rush-influenced sound would do Geddes Axe a power of good. Or maybe I caught ’em on an off night.

GBH

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982

SGBH: a bit of a Venom situation as regards this one. For GBH is a popular name: to my knowledge there are at least three bands playing the circuit under this label, the most famous/notorious of which is a punk band, recently signed to the Clay Records label.

However, while the spikey tops’ moniker is probably an abbreviation for ‘Grievous Bodily Harm’, this here HR band have taken the initials from its previous incarnation, Great British Heroes.

The Heroes were well-known on the London gig circuit and once released a single on Lightning Records. When they split late last year dual guitarists Graham Reed and Mick Feleppa began the search for members to form a new band.

First acquisition was Phil Lewis lookalike Steve Wilde (ex-May West remember their track on ‘Brute Force’, MCA’s answer to EMI’s ‘Metal For Muthas’?). The five man line-up was completed by the arrivals of bassist Andy Jack (late of Vibrators spin-off group Knox) and drummer Graham Roberts (one-time skins beater with Bird Of Prey, alongside Paul Di’Anno, current Iron Maiden vocalist).

GBH will embark on a ‘First Offence’ tour at the tail end of August, concentrating on venues in London and South-East England. Later in the year they plan to cover other parts of the UK, hopefully as support act on a major tour.

Having rather unprofessionally lost my copy of GBH’s demo tape, I’ll leave it to the band to describe their music. A solid. jazz-like rhythm section backs a harmonic twin guitar attack, complementing the raunchy vocals’ they report, adding that this combination ‘just can’t fail to leave an audience demanding more’. We shall see.

GASKIN

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1981 GEOFF BARTON

GASKIN: While the band called Gaskin are undoubtedly ‘new’ and ‘young’ enough to merit inclusion in this section, they are nonetheless the first out of the 20 or so frenzied fledglings covered so far to put a damper on my ‘Armed And Ready’ enthusiasms.

Hailing from Scunthorpe of all places, Gaskin take their misplaced moniker from the surname of the groups leader Paul, who plays lead guitar and handles vocals. A self-proclaimed ‘powerhouse trio’, the roster also includes bassist Steff Prokopczuk and drummer Dave Norman. The members are aged 23, 24 and 22 respectively.

Talking to an affable sounding Paul Gaskin on the phone the other day, he was anxious to dispel any notion that his outfit are HM bandwagon jumpers.

“The present line-up has been together for 18 months, ” he said “and moreover I’ve had the material together for the past three years.”

‘End Of The World’ is the title of the group’s recently released debut on Rondolet Records. It’s an enticingly plush, gatefold sleeved project, with ‘epic’ pretensions – as evidenced by such songtitles as ‘Victim Of The City’, ‘Sweet Dream Maker’ and, would you believe, ‘The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended’.

Certainly the band are ambitious – but that’s as far as it goes. To these ears at least, the LP sounds stuck in an overwhelmingly old-fashioned early Seventies Wishbone Ash time warp and bears little relation to the nuclear NWOBHM of today.

However, Gaskin himself I unrepentant: “I’ve never really heard that much Wishbone Ash, and what’s more I don’t really want us to be labelled an HM band. We’re into Heavy Rock and we want to expand and develop the medium. We’re anxious to avoid any of the classic clichés and pave the way with an eighties-style stage presentation.”

Admirable sentiments, to be sure. But when the band’s slogan goes ‘Remember – if someone comes askin’, tell them it’s Gaskin!’ you can’t help but have doubts.